1. Blanche K. Bruce, was a U.S. politician who represented Mississippi as a Republican in the U.S. Senate from 1875 to 1881 and was the first elected African American senator to serve a full term. Hiram R. Revels, also of Mississippi, was the first to ever serve in the U.S. Congress, but did not serve a full term.
2. Ralph Ellison, novelist, literary critic, scholar and writer. He was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Ellison is best known for his novel Invisible Man (ISBN 0-679-60139-2), which won the National Book Award in 1953. He also wrote Shadow and Act (1964), a collection of political, social and critical essays, and Going to the Territory (1986).
3. Harold George “Harry” Belafonte, Jr. , singer, actor, and social activist. He was dubbed the “King of Calypso” – a title which he was very reluctant to accept (according to the documentary Calypso Dreams) – for popularizing the Caribbean musical style with an international audience in the 1950s. Belafonte is perhaps best known for singing the “Banana Boat Song”, with its signature lyric “Day-O.” Throughout his career, he has been an advocate for civil rights and humanitarian causes, and was a vocal critic of the policies of the George W. Bush Administration.
4. Norman Connors, jazz drummer, composer, arranger, producer, and headliner, who has led some influential jazz and R&B groups. He also achieved several big R&B hits of the day, especially with love ballads.
Connors became interested in jazz as a child when he began to play drums, once sitting in for Elvin Jones at a John Coltrane performance he attended while in middle school. Connors studied music at Temple University and Juilliard.
His first recording was on Archie Shepp’s 1967 release, Magic of JuJu. He played with Pharaoh Sanders for the next few years until signing with Cobblestone Records in 1972 and releasing his first record as a bandleader. He went on to front some great jazz recordings with Carlos Garnett, Gary Bartz, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Herbie Hancock such as “Love From the Sun” on Buddah records..
5. Mayce Edward Christopher Webber, III, better known as Chris Webber and nicknamed C-Webb, is a retired American professional basketball player. He is a five-time NBA All-Star, a former All-NBA First Teamer, a former NBA Rookie of the Year, and a former #1 overall NBA Draftee. As a collegian, he was an NCAA Men’s Basketball first team All-American and led the University of Michigan Wolverines’ 1991 incoming freshman class known as the Fab Five that reached the 1992 & 1993 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship games as freshmen and sophomores. However, Webber was indicted by a federal grand jury, and stripped of his All-American honors by the NCAA, as a result of his direct involvement in the Ed Martin scandal. He is also a former National High School Basketball Player of the Year who led his high school Detroit Country Day to three Michigan State High School Basketball Championships.