History’s Most Influential Vegans

Thanks to celebrities, buzzy restaurants, and innovative chefs, Black veganism is trending. But it’s a decades-old practice, steeped in the fight for social justice and informed by in the narrative of American history and the civil rights movement. The lifestyle gained a growing popularity as people of color began to connect the pain and torture of animals to the fight for equality and rights that continue today. Meet the African-American artists, activists, athletes, and public servants whose commitment to plant-based eating highlighted the practice and helped the world take notice.


Peter Benson is the City Guides editor for NEHA. He has lived in four different countries and visited another couple dozen. He brings the lessons he learned from traveling and meeting people from all over the world to the publication. Benson earned his degree in business management from The University of Edinburgh in Scotland, his home country.

Jamie Jenson is the managing editor of NEHA. An avid reader while growing up, Jenson made a promise to herself that she would visit all of the places she enjoyed reading about, and to date, she’s traveled to more than 40 countries. She taught middle and high-school English for more than 10 years before moving to Syracuse. Jenson received her Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Rosemont College and a Master of Science degree in education from Binghamton University.