Every now and then you get to bare witness to a magnificent, paradigm shifting moment that is so inspiring, so extraordinary that its impact is immediately felt and you just know, on an instinctive level, that you’re witnessing history and things will never be the same. At other times the impact is more subtle, quietly setting off a chain of events that gradually changes the way people think, move and operate in society. It’s the fusion of those steady, calculated moves and the dramatic, pivotal moments that evolve social norms and ultimately transform the world.

In honor of Black History Month, here are 23 magnificent moments in recent history that forever changed us.