First African Nobel prize winner
In 1971, Wangari Maathai received a Ph.D., effectively becoming the first woman in either East or Central Africa to earn a doctorate. She was elected to Kenya's National Assembly in 2002 and has written several books and scholarly articles. She won the Nobel Peace Prize for her "holistic approach to sustainable development that embraces democracy, human rights, and women's rights in particular." Maathai died of cancer on September 25, 2011, in Nairobi, Kenya.