Five African-American Leaders Who Started in Scouting

In celebration of Black History Month in February, here are five African-American leaders who got their start in Scouting.

Martin Luther King Jr., Boy Scout and Civil Rights Pioneer

Before becoming the leader of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and delivering the famous “I Have a Dream” speech, Martin Luther King Jr. was a Boy Scout. From ages 11 to 13, King was registered as a member of Troop 151 in Atlanta, Georgia. His troop met at Ebenezer Baptist Church, now part of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site.

Cool fact: King was such a gifted student that he entered college at age 15.

Ernest Green, Distinguished Eagle Scout and Member of the Little Rock Nine

Ernest Green made history as a member of the Little Rock Nine, a name given to the first black students ever to attend classes at Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas. In 1958, Green became the first African-American student to graduate from the high school. In 1999, he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award in the U.S.

Cool fact: Green has been portrayed in two movies: Crisis at Central High and The Ernest Green Story.

Hank Aaron, Boy Scout and Baseball Legend

Hank Aaron hit 755 home runs in his legendary baseball career — the second most in history. Hammerin’ Hank is considered one of the greatest players ever, playing in 25 All-Star Games and winning three Gold Glove awards for fielding. Aaron is often incorrectly regarded as an Eagle Scout, but he has been a friend of Scouting throughout his life.

Cool fact: The National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, features a permanent exhibit dedicated to Aaron. He and Babe Ruth are the only two players with that honor.

Guion Bluford, Eagle Scout and the First African-American in Space

After serving in the Air Force for 13 years, Guion Bluford set his sights on space. He was named an astronaut and, in 1983, became the first African-American in space. In all, he participated in four space shuttle flights from 1983 to 1992 and rose to the rank of colonel.

Cool fact: As an Air Force engineer, Bluford logged more than 5,200 hours of flight time in jets like the T-33 and F-5E.

Emery Moorehead, Distinguished Eagle Scout and Super Bowl Champion

Emery Moorehead played 12 seasons as a tight end in the National Football League and was on the Chicago Bears team that won Super Bowl XX. In his career, Moorehead had 224 receptions for 2,980 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Cool fact: Moorehead was on the Bears team that starred in the infamous “Super Bowl Shuffle” music video. Check it out below.

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