1. Grafton Tyler Brown, Grafton Tyler Brown was a cartographer, lithographer, and painter, widely considered the first professional African American artist in California. Born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 1841, Brown learned lithography in Philadelphia and then became part of a cohort of African Americans who sought better economic and social opportunities in the West during the 1850s.
2. Horace Pippin, Painter, considered one of the major American painters of his period. One of his more significant works, “John Brown Going to His Hanging,” is owned by the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. The injustice of slavery and American segregation figure prominently in many of his works.
3. Ernie K-Doe (Earnest Kador, Jr.), Singer, Had one of the biggest selling singles of 1961, “Mother-in-Law.” Written by Allen Toussaint went to #1 on both the pop and soul Charts.
4. Ishmael Reed, poet, essayist, and novelist. A prominent African-American literary figure, Reed is known for his satirical works challenging American political culture, and highlighting political and cultural oppression.
Reed has been described as one of the most controversial writers. While his work has often sought to represent neglected African and African-American perspectives, his energy and advocacy have centered more broadly on neglected peoples and perspectives irrespective of their cultural origins.
5. Julius (Dr. J) Erving, NBA Superstar, commonly known by the nickname Dr. J, is a retired American basketball player who helped launch a modern style of play that emphasizes leaping and play above the rim. Erving helped legitimize the now-defunct American Basketball Association (ABA). He was the best known player in the ABA. The ABA joined with the National Basketball Association (NBA) after the 1976 season. Erving won three championships, four Most Valuable Player Awards, and three scoring titles while playing with the ABA’s Virginia Squires and New York Nets and the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers.