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7 Influential Black Scouts in History

Scouts Who Trailblazed Through History

Throughout history, numerous black individuals have made significant contributions to scouting, leaving an indelible mark on the movement and inspiring generations to come.


Here are a few notable black scouts who have made a lasting impact:

first African American Eagle Scouts
Matthew Henson
  1. Clarence "Soup Bone" Glover: Known as one of the first African American Eagle Scouts, Clarence Glover joined Troop 58 in the 1930s. Despite facing discrimination and adversity, Glover persevered and became an influential leader within the scouting community, advocating for diversity and inclusion.

  2. Matthew Henson: Renowned for his role in the first successful expedition to the North Pole with Robert Peary in 1909, Matthew Henson was also a dedicated Scoutmaster. He believed in the transformative power of scouting for young black boys and worked tirelessly to promote Scouting in African American communities.

  3. Colin Powell: Before becoming the first African American Secretary of State, Colin Powell was an active member of the Boy Scouts of America. He credited scouting with instilling in him the values of leadership, teamwork, and service, which guided him throughout his illustrious military and political career.

  4. Dr. Bernard Harris Jr.: A former NASA astronaut and the first African American to walk in space, Dr. Bernard Harris Jr. was also a Boy Scout. He attributes his success in part to the lessons learned through scouting, including teamwork, perseverance, and problem-solving.

  5. Freeman Bosley Jr.: As the first African American mayor of St. Louis, Missouri, Freeman Bosley Jr. was also an Eagle Scout. He credited scouting with providing him with the skills and values necessary to succeed in public service and leadership roles.

  6. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Before becoming a civil rights icon, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a Boy Scout. King credited scouting with instilling in him the values of service, citizenship, and brotherhood, which he carried with him throughout his life and activism.

  7. Raymond W. Pulliam: An Eagle Scout and trailblazer, Raymond Pulliam broke barriers as one of the first black district executives in the Boy Scouts of America. He dedicated his career to promoting scouting among African American youth and played a key role in advancing diversity initiatives within the organization.


These individuals exemplify the spirit of scouting and demonstrate how it can empower people of all backgrounds to overcome obstacles, achieve their goals, and make a positive difference in the world. Their stories serve as an inspiration to scouts everywhere, reminding them of the enduring legacy of leadership, service, and resilience within the scouting movement.


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