Comics were the one of the first places that black characters were cast as lead figures in the American and Canadian imagination. Does it matter that North America had/has visibly black superheroes? Absolutely! These images were subversive of mainstream media, and the characters were fully empowered.
As media and marketing experts will say, images have a huge impact on social attitudes. It’s in the imagination where even before Barack Obama, America had Luke Cage and Green Lantern. Clearly this list is incomplete, as it’s missing one of the most influential black superheroes, Blade and of course, Afro Samurai.