10 black child geniuses you should know

Autum Ashante

Raised by a single father, Autum was ridiculed by highly regarded conservatives at the age of 7 for writing a poem that highlighted the travesty of slavery. Autum never wavered and mastered languages such as Arabic, Swahili and Spanish. She scored 149 on the standard IQ test. At age 13, she was accepted into the University of Connecticut.

A.R. Shaw
A.R. Shaw

A.R. Shaw is an author and journalist who documents culture, politics, and entertainment. He has covered The Obama White House, the summer Olympics in London, and currently serves as Lifestyle Editor for Rolling Out magazine. Follow his journey on Twitter @arshaw and Instagram @arshaw23.

52 Comments
  1. HOW DOES ONE GET MENTIONED IN ( ROLLING OUT ) ? WHEN YOU ARE THE ONLY PERSON ON THE PLANET WHO DO WHAT YOU DO, YOU MIGHT TEND TO GET A LIL BIG HEADED. NOT ME, I AM SO GREATFUL TO BE BORN IN THE GREATEST COUNTRY ON THE PLANET, WHERE OPPORTUNITY ABOUNDS. Fathiyyah (the hat lady ) www,typeourname.com

    1. You should have said why a prodigy and not a genius. A Child Prodigy does something that is well beyond their age. There are no adult prodigies. But there are adult geniuses a person can be both a geniuses and a prodigy.

    2. I agree. While many of the kids in that list probably would qualify as geniuses, others are prodigies. My first thought was you have to be a genius to play golf?? o_O

      1. Why do we continue to be crabs? There we go judging and correcting
        each other. We are the ones (black Americans) destroying
        our culture by being so critical of one another. Protege, genius
        whatever. Those young people are going to read these comments
        and they will probably think; there’s no geniuses here. Think before
        responding. Nite! Oops I meant good night. Lol

        1. So we should lie to them? There’s actually a definition to the word genius and it differs from the definition of the word prodigy. One is applicable to some of these kids and one is not. As if being called a prodigy is an insult or something. Yes, let’s lie to them and call them geniuses so that they can be disenchanted when they’re older and find out they’re probably not. They would feel even worse after thinking that about themselves for years, rather than being set straight immediately. Maybe we should also give everybody trophies whether they win or lose a soccer game, just so they don’t feel bad. Oh wait, we already do that. And a Google search will turn up quite a few articles on how that is more harmful than good in the long run.

  2. This is not surprising at all because there are SO MANY gifted and talented African American children. The problem is that mainstream (read white) mass media has absolutely no interested in reporting their narritatives.

    1. We cannot continue to expect anyone to admire, report, or share our accomplishments. We are not thought of as viable group of people. We MUST empower ourselves, quietly, without RIVALRY/COMPETING with each other, without expecting honor or prestigue. Please read A People’s History of the US: Howard Zinn and PBS: The War on Drugs! WE MUST COME TOGETHER AS A GROUP!

  3. It is wonderful to feature these young people and we will pass this on. However, I have some questions. We live in a region that features ethnic organizations such as Celtic Women, The Irish American Club, The Sons and Daughters of Italy, The Chinese American Club,The Hispanic American Council, The Latvian Club, The German American Club, etc. The Sons of Scotland. They are featured regularly in the news. Why are the editors of this article still using old language like “black American” (with a lower case “b”), or just “blacks”, and referring to one of the young women as a “female”? This shame-based vocabulary does nothing to uplift our children.
    Also, why is it that European Classical music is considered such an accomplishment? All cultures have “Classics”. We hope one day to see Classical (Traditional) African Dance and Music considered to be the accomplishments that the truly are. Then, maybe our children would not turn to shallow and superficial, disconnected expressions of what they think is their ethnic heritage. Language is powerful. Please take its impact on our youth into consideration.

    1. I agree wholeheartedly, Sista Baraka-Love. Indeed, your post should accompany this outstanding news. Another less-known, or rather less-expressed, fact is that JAZZ is America’s ONLY original classical music.

      1. As I was told many years ago. The Blues are America’s original music. But! In truth, both have contributed beyond measure to the world beyond our borders.

  4. Excellent! i’m so very proud of our PRINCES AND PRINCESSES, We need to

    make as many Black children as possible aware of the accomplishments of these Prodigies. I feel like a proud mom. Congratulations! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK! (-:

  5. This is valuable information that we must share with the children. I certainly will be sharing it with the children that I volunteer with at W.W. Bushman Elementary School in Oak Cliff (South Oak Cliff) Dallas Texas 4200 Bonnie View Road

  6. Autum Ashante: “At age 13, she was accepted into the University of Connecticut.”

    Or maybe not.

    Did Dad Dupe Media About 13-Year-Old Daughter’s College Admission?
    http://newsone.com/1403485/autum-ashante-uconn-13-

    QUOTE:

    NEW
    YORK — The story was compelling when it was first broken several weeks
    ago by the New York Daily News — a 13-year-old Black whiz-kid named
    Autum Ashante accepted to the University of Connecticut, only to have
    that acceptance rescinded, and her fraught father calling for justice.

    But the story might be a work of fiction.

    Veilleux and Michael Kirk from UConn’s communications office tell a different story.

    “She applied, and her application was denied. It was not accepted. Nothing was ‘rescinded,’” Kirk wrote in an email to NewsOne.

  7. “At 17, Rochelle Ballantyne is one of the top chess players in the world.”
    Really?

    Number 9 among Top Girls Under 21 in US, current rating 2087.
    http://www.uschess.org/component/option,com_top_pl

    Number 36 among US players of age (exactly) 17.
    http://www.uschess.org/component/option,com_top_pl

    Top 100 Under Age 21 in US takes a rating of 2223.
    http://www.uschess.org/component/option,com_top_pl

    So
    Rochelle is “one of the top chess players in the world” without even
    being within shouting distance of being top 100 under age 21 in US.

  8. I mentor children , to see that children this young from an African American
    decent [10 Black Child Geniuses] have been recognized lead me to thankfulness . There are so many African Americans that from a child up to adult gave to our society contributions in comfort items and foods that have never been properly recognized for their contributions. I am also a best selling author in the Children and Teen Categories and know that it is a struggle to even get a glance of recognition from the mainstream and this is 2013!! I may get local recognition in lieu of a honorary plaque to my contribution in giving inspirational literature back to my community and beyond after I am dead , if I get it then would be a miracle. So Congrats to you in the Top Ten category of African American Child Geniuses!!

  9. I love talented, committed people, period. Whether they play classical or jazz, piano or drums, speak Chinese, Arabic, Italian or Swahili, are great cooks, dancers, actors, comedians, writers talent is talent is talent because innate ability met with diligent work ethic to breed greatness. Good on every awesome kid who is devoted to their passion. Go on and excel with your bad selves 🙂 <3

    1. A few are children of African immigrants to the US and the UK. Anyone who tries to claim “genetics”, must accept the good and the bad of that ethnic group. So it’s not advisable to go in that direction in order to figure out why these kids’ gifts were nurtured at an early age and not so many others.

  10. I would like to add an additional name to this. Congratulations to Mr. Jelani Norman, age 11 from Brooklyn, NY. He has been accepted to Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY. He will be starting with 4 classes on campus this summer on campus before he begins the fall semester on a Full Ride Scholarship! I’m proud of all of these babies for persevering beyond adversity, not falling into the trap of mediocrity & following their calling & dreams!!!

  11. The one that developed a system that cut the amount of time in performing a hysterectomy should be talking about a patent, not getting honored. Or did I miss something?

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