Hubert Henry Harrison – The Black Socrates
A. Philip Randolph – “We consider prayer as nothing more than a fervent wish; consequently the merit and worth of a prayer depend upon what the fervent wish is.”
Bayard Rustin – Principal organizer of the March on Washington in 1963. He was openly gay, anti-communistic, a socialist, a civil rights activist and also a freethinker
J. A. Rogers – “The slogan of the Negro devotee is: Take the world but give me Jesus, and the white man strikes an eager bargain with him.”
George S. Schuyler – “On the horizon loom a growing number of iconoclasts and Atheists, young black men and women who can read, think, and ask questions, and who impertinently demand to know why Negroes should revere a God who permits them to be lynched, jim-crowed and disfranchised.”
John G. Jackson – The family minister once asked John G. Jackson when he was small, “Who made you?” After some thought he replied from his own realization, “I don’t know.”
John Henrik Clarke – “As a grade school child in Columbus, Georgia, Clarke recalled inventing notes from local white people to allow his access to library books in his quest for knowledge.”
Yosef ben-Jochannan – “The churches can’t help the people when the chips are down because their interest is with the power structure.”
Bobby E. Wright – “Guess what you talk about when you go to church? Everything but what to do, you talk about some God that nobody ever did find.”
John Ragland – Chauncey Bell Herbert Brown Ken Hamblin Walter E. Hawkins
James Forman – Civil Rights Activist
Lorraine Hansberry – Playwright known for her drama, “A Raisin in The Sun“.
Butterfly McQueen – Maid in MGM’s 1939’s Gone with The Wind.“As my ancestors are free from slavery, I am free from the slavery of religion.” Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Oct. 8, 1989
Charlie “Bird” Parker – was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Parker is widely considered one of the most influential of jazz musicians, along with Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. A PBS special on the life of “Bird” (i.e., Charlie Parker) quoted his widow as criticizing Parker’s family for giving him a Christian funeral even though they knew “he was irreligious”.
Alice Walker – The Color Purple – Interview with Beliefnet. Calls God “Mama”.