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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] As of 2010 Nobel Prizes had been awarded to 881 individuals,[2] of whom 15 were black recipients.

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 as of 2018, Denis Mukwege, was awarded his Peace Prize in 2018.

Two black laureates – Barack Obama and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf – were presidents of their countries when they were awarded the prize. As of 2018, fifteen Nobel Prize laureates have been black.



Year Image Laureate Country Category Comment
1950   Ralph Bunche   United States Peace First black person to win a Nobel Prize[3]
1960   Albert John Luthuli   South Africa Peace First black African to win a Nobel Prize
1964   Martin Luther King, Jr   United States Peace Youngest African American to win a Nobel Prize
1979 W. Arthur Lewis   Saint Lucia Economics First and (so far) only black person to win a Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences; first West Indian to win a Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences[4]
1984   Desmond Tutu   South Africa Peace
1986   Wole Soyinka   Nigeria Literature First black person to win the Nobel Prize for Literature[5]
1992   Derek Walcott[6]   Saint Lucia Literature
1993   Toni Morrison   United States Literature First black woman to win a Nobel Prize[7]
1993   Nelson Mandela   South Africa Peace
2001   Kofi Annan   Ghana Peace
2004   Wangari Maathai   Kenya Peace First black African woman to win a Nobel Prize and first and only environmentalist to win the Nobel Peace Prize
2009   Barack Obama   United States Peace
2011   Ellen Johnson Sirleaf   Liberia Peace
2011   Leymah Gbowee   Liberia Peace
2018   Denis Mukwege   Democratic Republic of the Congo Peace

See alsoEdit


  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 linksEdit