Music producer and executive Rick Rubin (The Loop 21)

Loop 21 has compiled a list of the white Americans with the greatest impact on black American lives. It's not about those who have worked their way into black popular culture, or those we might have put on The Root's lighthearted Blackest White Folks We Know list. Rather, these are non-celebrities who have exerted their influence either through politics or behind the scenes.

Some have played key roles in altering America's laws to end legalized racial inequality, while others have helped increase the cultural imprint of black Americans through the arts and entertainment. A good handful of them aren't household names in homes of any color — but maybe they should be. Check out a couple of the picks below, and read the rest of the list at Loop 21.


Brandon Tartikoff, Television Executive (1949-1997) During his tenure as head of Entertainment at NBC in the 1980's, Tartikoff spearheaded such landmark programming as "The Cosby Show" and "A Different World," programs that to this day are credited with forever changing the image of black Americans in mainstream culture. “The Cosby Show” is even credited with laying the groundwork for the eventual election of President Obama.

Michael Schwerner (1939-1964) and Andrew Goodman (1943-1964), Civil rights activists The murder of two young, white Civil Rights workers, killed at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan (alongside a black civil rights worker) in Philadelphia, Mississippi cast a national spotlight on the brutality of the Jim Crow south and transformed the issue of civil rights from a philosophical debate viewed primarily as a "Southern problem" into a human rights issue viewed as an American problem. In 2005 Edgar Ray Killen was convicted in their deaths and in 2009, Philadelphia, Mississippi elected its first black mayor.

Read more at Loop 21.

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