Celebs Who've Played Civil Rights Icons

These actors stepped into historical shoes.

Jackie Robinson as himself

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Jackie Robinson as himself

Angela Bassett as Betty Shabazz \r

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Denzel Washington as Malcolm X - Playing the role of slain Black nationalist leader Malcolm X wasn’t a stretch for Denzel Washington, having played him on stage in the play When the Chickens Come Home to Roost. In Spike Lee’s Malcolm X, Washington earned an Oscar nomination.\r(Photo: Courtesy of Largo International)

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Denzel Washington as Malcolm X

Cicely Tyson as Coretta Scott King

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Paul Winfield as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

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Lynn Whitfield as Josephine Baker

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Lynn Whitfield as Josephine Baker

Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela 

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Courtney B. Vance as Bobby Seale \r

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Daniel Sunjata as Langston Hughes

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Salma Hayek as Frida Kahlo

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Salma Hayek as Frida Kahlo

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Ali - Will Smith got into the best shape of his life to play the champion, Muhammad Ali in the biopic Ali. Besides studying tons of Ali's film, Will took on the role and played the champ to a T which included him getting his ears pinned back during filming to look more like the man himself.  (Photo: Peter Brandt/Getty Images)

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Ali - Will Smith got into the best shape of his life to play the champion, Muhammad Ali in the biopic Ali. Besides studying tons of Ali's film, Will took on the role and played the champ to a T which included him getting his ears pinned back during filming to look more like the man himself.  (Photo: Peter Brandt/Getty Images)

 Angela Bassett as Rosa Parks \r

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