• The History Makers
  • Our Methodology
  • Our Pledge
the most searched
  • abolitionist
  • athlete
  • autobiography
  • ballerina
  • boycott
  • drag queen
  • EGOT winner
  • female poet
  • guitar solo
  • gymnast
  • homecoming
  • interception
  • jazz musician
  • march
  • movement
  • NASA mathematician
  • remix
  • sit-in
  • speech
  • star-spangled banner
  • tap dancer
  • tennis player
  • ww2 airmen

Frederick Douglass

Social reformer and writer

Powerful speeches and written works made Frederick Douglass one of America’s most well-known abolitionists. Maryland, Douglass’ home state, has searched for him more than any other U.S. state overall. And his relevance continues today: In the United States, search interest for “abolitionism” peaked in February 2019.

LeBron James

Basketball player and philanthropist

LeBron James is both the most searched athlete and basketball player in the United States, but his achievements off the court are also shaping his legacy. Cleveland, the Cavaliers’ hometown, searched more for him over time than any other U.S. city. James’ commitment to his home state is mutual. In 2018, he founded the I Promise School, which serves Akron, Ohio’s future history makers.

Malcolm X

Minister and activist

In 1998, Time magazine called “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” one of the 10 required reading nonfiction books of the 20th century. Search interest for the autobiography in the U.S. peaked in February 2005, coinciding with the 40th anniversary of Malcolm X’s death. On this day, people gathered at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City – where the activist was assassinated – to celebrate his life. Today, the ballroom serves the community as The Shabazz Center.

Misty Copeland

Principal dancer for American Ballet Theatre

With 4X more U.S. search interest than the next most searched ballerina, Misty Copeland is known for breaking barriers. In September 2014, she became the first African American to star in American Ballet Theatre’s production of "Swan Lake." Less than a year later, U.S. search interest for Copeland hit an all-time high in July 2015, just after she became the first Black woman to be promoted to principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre in its 75-year history.

Montgomery bus boycott

Political and social protest Dec. 5, 1955–Dec. 20, 1956

Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat for a white passenger helped spark the civil rights movement and began America’s most searched boycott. For 381 days, Black Americans joined the first U.S. mass demonstration against segregation. Alabama – where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spent his first years as a minister – has since searched more than any other U.S. state for the event.

RuPaul

Actor and TV personality

RuPaul found international fame with his music – and then he gave the world “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” U.S. search interest for RuPaul peaked in March 2018, the same month season 10 of the show premiered. Even out of drag, RuPaul dazzles. Of all his Met Gala appearances, the U.S. searched most for his 2019 appearance, when he wore a pink-and-black-striped suit. RuPaul sashayed his way to stardom, along the way helping other queens shine.

John Legend

Singer-songwriter

John Legend is the first Black man to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony, collectively known as an EGOT. U.S. search interest in Legend spiked by 1,400% the day after he performed the Academy Award–winning song “Glory” at the 2015 Oscars, which he cowrote for the film “Selma.” As a relentless advocate for social justice, he has recently expanded his philanthropy into the criminal justice space.

Maya Angelou

Poet and civil rights activist

Maya Angelou’s most searched poem in America, “Still I Rise,” was published in 1978 as a part of her third volume of poetry, “And Still I Rise.” Since then, more and more people have found meaning in her words. Search interest in the phrase “still i rise tattoo” has increased 140% in the United States since Angelou’s death in 2014.

Prince

Singer-songwriter and producer

Prince’s guitar solos have more U.S. search interest than any other artist’s guitar solos in Google Trends history. Minnesota, Prince’s birthplace and the setting of his 1984 musical drama, “Purple Rain,” searched for “prince guitar solo” more over time than any other U.S. state. The musician even rivals real-life royalty – he is also America’s most searched prince.

Simone Biles

Gymnast and Olympic gold medalist

At just 22 years old, Simone Biles is already regarded as a living legend. U.S. search interest leaped 26,000% between January and August 2016, when, along with swimmer Katie Ledecky, Biles became the most decorated female athlete at the Summer Olympics in Rio. In August 2019, U.S. search interest spiked by 800% after she became the first woman to land a double-double beam dismount, a feat since named “The Biles.”

Howard University

Historically Black university

The pride that comes from attending Howard, the most searched historically Black university in the U.S., can be said in one word: Yardfest. Of all Howard University’s homecoming events, Yardfest is the most searched in the U.S. Though Yardfest is known for legendary performances from artists like Jay-Z, Drake, and Kanye West, it is the celebration of Black unity that continues to draw thousands every year.

Malcolm Butler

NFL football player

Twenty seconds was all Malcolm Butler needed to make history. After intercepting the pass that would have won the Seattle Seahawks its second championship, Butler put the New England Patriots in position to win Super Bowl XLIX. U.S. search interest for Butler soared 27,000% on February 2, 2015, the day after his historic interception. The NFL network later voted the catch as one of the top 10 plays in NFL history.

Louis Armstrong

Trumpet player and jazz musician

Louis Armstrong first played on riverboats in his hometown, New Orleans – the city that searched at least 5X more than any other U.S. city for the jazz legend over time. He recorded his most searched song, “What a Wonderful World,” late in his career, at 66 years old. The ode to stopping and appreciating life’s everyday beauty topped the U.K. charts, cementing Armstrong’s status as a worldwide legend.

March on Washington

August 28, 1963

More than 250,000 people attended the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. During the historic protest, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his most famous – and the most searched – speech in America. U.S. search interest for the march peaked on its 50th anniversary in August 2013, when President Barack Obama addressed the nation from the same steps where Dr. King said, “I have a dream.”

Civil rights movement

1955-1968

The civil rights movement was the struggle against social injustice and Black America’s fight for equality. Mississippi, home of activist Medgar Evers, searched for the civil rights movement more over time than any other U.S. state. Significant victories of the movement include the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968.

Katherine Johnson

NASA research mathematician

Katherine Johnson’s calculations helped put people into orbit around the Earth, then onto the moon. West Virginia – Johnson’s home state – has searched for her more than any other U.S. state. Shortly after the biographical film “Hidden Figures” was widely released in January 2017, U.S. search interest for Johnson peaked. U.S. search interest for “women in STEM” has also increased 2,300% in the past decade, as more female achievements in STEM are recognized.

Lil Nas X

Rapper and singer-songwriter

Lil Nas X’s meteoric rise is a sign of times to come. “Old Town Road” is not only a record-breaking song, it is also America’s most searched remix and country-rap song. U.S. search interest in him peaked on July 1, 2019, one day after he publicly came out as gay. As the first openly gay artist with a Country Music Association award, Lil Nas X has become a role model for so many – by being himself.

Greensboro Sit-in

Political protest, Feb. 1, 1960

In 1960, four Black college students entered a Woolworth in Greensboro, North Carolina, and began a series of sit-ins that spread across the country. Of those four students, the most searched in America is Joseph McNeil, who went on to become a major general in the U.S. Air Force. The protest started by the “Greensboro Four” shows how great movements often begin with everyday people. Check out our Google Doodle commemorating this pivotal moment in civil rights history.

“I Have a Dream” by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Aug. 28, 1963

The most searched speech in America was delivered to a crowd of thousands, but Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words inspire millions today. Mississippi, the state mentioned most in “I Have a Dream,” searched for the speech more than any other U.S. state over time. An advocate for the equality of all people, he is also the most searched human rights activist.

Whitney Houston

Singer and actress

In 1991, at Super Bowl XXV, Whitney Houston sang a rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner” that was so powerful, it was later released as a charity single. “I Will Always Love You,” Houston’s most searched song in the U.S., is also the best-selling single of all time by a woman. On February 12, 2012, the day after Whitney passed, U.S. search interest for the song soared 9,900% as America remembered one of its greatest artists.

Gregory Hines

Dancer and choreographer

Gregory Hines has been a singer, a film and TV actor, and a director, but his passion since the age of 5 was tap. His 1978 Tony-nominated performance in the Broadway musical “Eubie!” has been credited with helping to spark a resurgence of tap in America. In the U.S., Hines is searched 3X as much as “tap classes,” and 36X more than National Tap Dance Day, which he helped establish in 1988.

Serena Williams

Tennis player and former world No. 1

With 23 Grand Slam singles titles, 14 women’s doubles titles, and 4 Olympic gold medals, Serena Williams has established her preeminence. She has more U.S. search interest than Wimbledon, tennis’ oldest tournament. Since her debut in 1995, she has changed how tennis is played, and her dominance in the sport is also changing who plays it.

Tuskegee Airmen

Military pilots

The first African American U.S. military pilots flew over 1,800 missions during WWII. U.S. search interest for the airmen peaked in January 2012, when “Red Tails,” the film about them, was released. Montgomery, Alabama, an hour from where the Tuskegee Airmen trained, searched for the men at least 3X more than any other U.S. city over time. The Tuskegee Airmen played a pivotal role in WWII, as well as in the fight for racial equality.

Celebrating the history makers and those they inspire

Google Trends Data offers a unique look at what the world is currently searching for. And yet these trends can also help us understand what has endured: what has captivated our attention over time, who has had an undeniable influence on history, and who is shaping our future. Some of these people and moments rise above the rest – and we search for them more than any others. They are the Most Searched.

To find the most searched in Google Trends history, we used U.S.-based Trends Data to identify Black American achievements that were searched more than any others between January 1, 2004 – when U.S. Google Search Data first became available – and July 1, 2019. (See data methodology here.) In other words, being the most searched talk show host means Oprah Winfrey was searched more than all other talk show hosts over this 15-year span. From the most searched speech to the most searched NASA mathematician, these individuals and moments not only have defined American history but also continue to inspire the nation.

See the data on Google Trends

The top searched talk show hosts, based on U.S. Google Trends Data

Everyone should have a chance to make history.

Google.org believes in the next generation of Black leaders and in 2018, committed $25 million to help Black and Latino students develop the technical skills and confidence they need to succeed in career and life. As part of this commitment, Google.org will provide a $3 million grant and enable volunteering support to help scale the NAACP’s Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) over the next three years.

ACT-SO is shaping a generation of leaders who will have their own chance to make history. The program gives Black high school students – over 300,000 to date – a platform to bring their ideas to life, compete, and begin their journey to becoming leaders in STEM, humanities, business, and the arts.

“Growing up, I saw firsthand how the NAACP ACT-SO program inspired young Black talent to believe in and showcase their brilliance.”
– Justin Steele, Director, Google.org

“Growing up, I saw firsthand how the NAACP ACT-SO program inspired young Black talent to believe in and showcase their brilliance,” said Justin Steele, director of Google.org. “We know that 65% of students will work in careers that don’t even exist today, so programs like ACT-SO that are preparing, recognizing, and rewarding Black students are important to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to be innovators and culture makers.”

ACT-SO saw a 7% increase in STEM category participation in 2019 and is looking to grow its authority and capacity to raise up mentors within tech and coding. To support this effort, employees from the Black Googler Network and Black@YouTube employee resource groups are creating volunteer opportunities for Googlers at local and national ACT-SO competitions across the country.

ACT-SO includes 32 competitions in STEM, humanities, business, and performing, visual, and culinary arts.

“ACT-SO is a celebration of Black excellence,” said Derrick Johnson, NAACP president and CEO. “This funding and volunteer support will help our outstanding youth, who exemplify scholastic and artistic achievement, to continue to pursue their passions free from limitations. We are excited to continue this tradition and ensure all of our students have access to mentorship in STEAM careers.”

Here’s to the next generation of history makers.

February 1, 2020 marks the 60th anniversary of the start of the Greensboro sit-in, America’s most searched sit-in. Click here to learn more about the Google Doodle that launched on this day to commemorate this pivotal moment in civil rights history.

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