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20 Ways Black People Made History in 2020

February 22, 2021

By Brittney Johnson, Communications Intern

As we celebrate another Black History Month, we reflect on the milestones and accomplishments of Black Americans. From the ringing bells of Emancipation to the Civil Rights Movement, to the election of the first Black president, we continue to make history and move mountains despite the odds against us. For starters, 2020 was a tough year. Not only because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also because of the multiple lives we lost to police brutality, social injustice and racial inequality.

BUT, 2020 also brought many historic moments for the Black community as we pushed for change and greatness. This Black History Month, we want to reflect on 21 things that the Black community did to make history in 2020.

1. Kamala Harris became the first Black woman to become Vice President of the United States.

(Photo by Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images)

2. Beyoncé created “Black is King,” a film highlighting Black culture, tradition, and excellence through the journey of a young Black king.

3. Black Lives Matter became the largest movement in U.S. history with 20 million people in the U.S. participating in Black Lives Matter demonstrations since the death of George Floyd, along with several international countries taking a stand against racial statutes, police brutality, and racial inequalities. Local and international support has made Black Lives Matter the largest movement in American history.

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

4. Terry Rostic and Jamaal Ewing founded Black Calder Brewing Co., Michigan’s first black-owned brewery.

5. Advancement Project National Office and the Alliance for Educational Justice’s school policing campaign successfully organized to eliminate policing in Black and Brown communities. So far, Black and Brown students got police out of schools in:

  • Minneapolis, MN

  • Oakland, CA

  • San Francisco, CA

  • Los Angeles, CA

  • Sacramento, CA

  • San Jose, CA

  • Madison, WI

  • Milwaukee, WI

  • Phoenix, AZ

  • Rochester, NY

  • Louisville, KY

  • Columbus, OH

  • Denver, CO

  • Paul, MN

  • Portland, OR

  • Charlottesville, VA

  • Seattle, WA

Check out the full list of #PoliceFreeSchools wins at

6. Texas City, Texas elected Dedrick Johnson as the city’s first Black mayor.

7. History was made on Monday, November 23, 2020, as an all-Black referee staff took the field during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Los Angeles Rams NFL game in Tampa, Florida.

(Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

8. New Georgia Project in partnership with Georgia Voting, registered Georgian voters submitted 107,000 voter applications during the 2020 election. Their engagement of Black and Brown voters resulted in the election of Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock to the U.S. Senate.

(Photo by David Y. Lee via Advancement Project National Office)
(Photo by David Y. Lee via Advancement Project National Office)

9. Chef Mariya Russell became the first Black woman to earn a Michelin Star in the Michelin Guide’s 93-year history for her Japanese restaurant in Chicago called, Kikkō.

10. Janet Mock was honored at the 2020 GLAAD Media Awards and received the prestigious Stephen F. Kolzak Award for her television series Pose and her activism supporting transwomen in media.

(Photo by Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage)
(Photo by Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage)

11. Advancement Project National Office successfully sued to extend the voter registration deadline for Virginians after their online voter registration system crashed on the day of the registration deadline. The extension allowed an additional 24,000 people to register as a result.

(Photo by David Y. Lee via Advancement Project National Office)
(Photo by David Y. Lee via Advancement Project National Office)

12. The NFL started 10 Black quarterbacks for the first time in history to kick off the 2020-21 season. Shout out to these NFL players:

  • Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson

  • New England Patriots’ Cam Newton

  • Los Angeles Chargers’ Tyrod Taylor

  • Carolina Panthers’ Teddy Bridgewater

  • Dallas Cowboys’ Dak Prescott

  • Houston Texans’ Deshaun Watson

  • Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes

  • Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson

  • Arizona Cardinals’ Kyler Murray

  • Washington Football Team’s Dwayne Haskins

13. The Louisville, Kentucky Metro Council passed ‘Breonna’s Law,’ a law banning no-knock warrants after the tragic killing of Breonna Taylor. Advancement Project National Office, in collaboration with Black Lives Matter – Louisville, hosted #SayHerName: A Town Hall for Breonna Taylor with celebrity influencers urging council members to pass the bill.

14. Marlon Coleman became the first Black mayor of Muskogee, Oklahoma.

15. The WNBA postponed games in response to the Kenosha police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin. The Milwaukee Bucks refused to take the floor against the Orlando Magic in August in response to the shooting, forcing the NBA to postpone three playoff games the next day. The sight of empty basketball courts with “Black Lives Matter” lettering reverberated across the country.


(Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for MoveOn)
(Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for MoveOn)

16. Marsai Martin became the youngest executive producer in history and earned several awards for her work at the 2020 NAACP Image Awards.

(Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

17. Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones made history as the first openly gay Black men elected to Congress. Torres serves as the Democratic Representative for New York’s District 15, and Jones serves as the Democratic Representative for New York’s District

(Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
(Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

18. Minneapolis, Minnesota voted to cut millions from the Metropolitan Police Department budget after Black and Brown communities protested and organized in response to the death of George Floyd.

19. Black News Channel (BNC) became the first Black-owned 24-hour News channel. The station launched on Feb. 10, 2020. The channel is now accessible on Direct TV, Comcast Xfinity, Roku TV, Spectrum, BNC 24/7, Amazon Fire TV, Pluto TV, Redbox free live TV, Xumo, TikiLIVE, and SelectTV.

20. Naomi Osaka won the 2020 Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year Award and 2020 Sportsperson of the Year by Sports Illustrator for her racial justice activism. She made statements by wearing the names of victims of police brutality on her masks during games and appearances.


(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Brittney Johnson - Comms Intern

Brittney Johnson is a senior journalism student at The University of North Texas minoring in African American Studies and Marketing. She joined Advancement Project National Office in 2021 as a communications intern.