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I AM: Black in America

  • Story Highlights
  • "I AM" is built on the belief that the labels we use for others, don't reveal who we are
  • Meet four African Americans who challenge conventional notions of blackness
  • CNN Presents: Black in America airs July 23 and 24, at 9 p.m. ET
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Visit cnn.com/blackinamerica each day this week to see another person who is challenging the conventional notions of blackness. CNN Presents: Black in America airs July 23 and 24, 9 p.m. ET.

(CNN) -- "I AM" is a new CNN.com feature built on the belief that the labels we use for one another don't really reveal who we are.

We present a collection of people who may surprise you. They not only defy their labels, but they've done it in very public and dramatic ways.

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This week, I AM presents four African-Americans who challenge conventional notions of blackness. But then defining what it means to be black has long been a matter of debate within the African-American community. The R&B singer, Billy Paul, once had a song called, "Am I Black Enough?"

Well are they? You be the judge.

Barbara Hillary Video -- At the age of 75, she became the first African American woman to reach the North Pole.

Maurice Ashley Video -- Is the first and only African American to attain the coveted title of International Grand Master of Chess.

Bliss Broyard Video -- Author of "One Drop: My Father's Hidden Life -- A Story of Race & Family Secrets," learned her father was black just before his death.

Marvin Perkins Video -- As an African American elder in the Mormon church, Perkins says he is one of the world's best kept secrets in the world.

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