By now you’ve probably seen or heard about these iconic names: Bob Marley, Malcolm X, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Robert Fripp, and Tupac Shakur.
But which one of these icons of blackness should you be referring to when you say the word green?
Well, the answer, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center, is John F. Kennedy.
The report points out that Kennedy is widely recognized as a founding father of the environmental movement, with his support for the Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Air Act.
He also played a key role in promoting clean energy and was the first president to address the United Nations’ climate summit in Copenhagen in 1997.
He was a fierce opponent of nuclear weapons and was a vocal advocate of ending poverty.
But his legacy, according the report, “has been largely overlooked and often misunderstood.”
While some have argued that Kennedy was a visionary, he wasn’t the first black man to embrace the environmental cause, nor was he the first to publicly acknowledge climate change.
He is also one of the most notable figures in the history of environmental activism, and the report notes that Kennedy “is a key example of a leading environmentalist and politician who was a true visionary and committed to a more just world.”
According to the report:The first of the Kennedy brothers to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was born on March 13, 1946.
He served as the first African American to lead a major civil rights movement, which led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
In 1968, King founded the Black Panther Party and later led the nonviolent civil rights struggle in the South.
He died in 1968, but he is remembered as one of a number of black leaders who made bold statements that eventually shaped a movement that would change the world.
In the mid-1960s, Kennedy was one of only a few black Americans elected to Congress.
In 1964, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, serving from 1962 to 1964.
He became a Republican senator in 1974 and was reelected in 2008.