List of black Nobel laureates

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The Nobel Prize is an annual, international prize first awarded in 1901 for achievements in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, and Peace. An associated prize in Economics has been awarded since 1969.[1] Nobel Prizes have been awarded to 881 individuals[2], of whom 15 - 1.7% - were black recipients, although blacks comprise around 15%[citation needed] of the world's population.

Blacks have received awards in three of six award categories: eleven in Peace, three in Literature, and one in Economics. The first black recipient, American Ralph Bunche, was awarded the Peace Prize in 1950. The most recent, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee, were awarded their Peace prizes in 2011.

Three black laureates —Anwar Sadat, Barack Obama and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf— were presidents of their countries when they were awarded the prize. As of 2015, 15 Nobel Prize winners have been Blacks.

Those awarded the Nobel Peace Prize were: Ralph Bunche, Inkosi Albert John Luthuli, Martin Luther King Jr., Anwar El Sadat, Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan, Wangari Maathi, Barack Obama, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and Leymah Gbowee.

Those awarded with the Nobel Prize in Literature were: Wole Soyinka of Nigeria, Derek Walcott of St. Lucia and the United States, and Toni Morrison of the United States. Sir William Arthur Lewis is the only black to have received a Nobel Prize in Economics.


Year Image Laureate Country Category Comment
1950 Ralph Bunche - 1963 March on Washington.jpg Bunche, RalphRalph Bunche  United States Peace First black person to win a Nobel Prize[3]
1960 Albert Lutuli nobel.jpg Luthuli, Albert JohnAlbert John Luthuli  South Africa Peace First black African to win a Nobel Prize
1964 Martin Luther King Jr NYWTS.jpg King, Jr, Martin LutherMartin Luther King, Jr  United States Peace Youngest African American to win a Nobel Prize
1978 Anwar Sadat cropped.jpg Sadat, Anwar ElAnwar El Sadat  Egypt Peace
1979 Lewis, Sir William ArthurSir William Arthur Lewis  Saint Lucia Economics First and (so far) only black person to win a Nobel Prize other than Peace or Literature; first West Indian to win a Nobel Prize[4]
1984 Archbishop-Tutu-medium.jpg Tutu, DesmondDesmond Tutu  South Africa Peace
1986 Soyinka, Wole (1934).jpg Soyinka, WoleWole Soyinka  Nigeria Literature First black person to win the Nobel Prize for Literature[5]
1992 Derek Walcott.jpg Walcott, DerekDerek Walcott[6]  Saint Lucia Literature
1993 Toni Morrison 2008-2.jpg Morrison, ToniToni Morrison  United States Literature First black woman to win a Nobel Prize[7]
1993 Nelson Mandela.jpg Mandela, NelsonNelson Mandela  South Africa Peace
2001 Kofi Annan.jpg Annan, KofiKofi Annan  Ghana Peace
2004 Wangari Maathai in Nairobi.jpg Maathai, WangariWangari Maathai  Kenya Peace First black African woman to win a Nobel Prize and first and only environmentalist to win the Nobel Peace Prize
2009 Official portrait of Barack Obama.jpg Obama, BarackBarack Obama  United States Peace
2011 Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, April 2010.jpg Johnson Sirleaf, EllenEllen Johnson Sirleaf  Liberia Peace
2011 Leymah-gbowee-at-emu-press-conference.jpg Gbowee, LeymahLeymah Gbowee  Liberia Peace

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Nobel Prize" (2007), in Encyclopædia Britannica, accessed 14 November 2007, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online:

    An additional award, the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, was established in 1968 by the Bank of Sweden and was first awarded in 1969

  2. ^ "All Nobel Laureates". Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  3. ^ Ralph Bunche, PBS.
  4. ^ "Unsung Heroes". Time. 2007-12-01. Retrieved 2010-05-08. 
  5. ^ "Wole Soyinka Biography". 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Grimes, William (1983-10-08). "Toni Morrison Is '93 Winner of Nobel Prize in Literature". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-08. 

External links[edit]