Nothing will motivate a man to move forward faster than knowing what's behind Him.


1. Mercer Kennedy Ellington, jazz trumpeter, composer, and arranger. Ellington was born in Washington, DC, the son of famous composer, pianist, and bandleader Duke Ellington. By the age of eighteen he had written his first piece to be recorded by his father (“Pigeons and Peppers”).

In 1939, 1946–1949, and 1959 he led his own bands, many of whose members went on to play with his father, or to achieve independent fame (notably Dizzy Gillespie, Kenny Dorham, Idrees Sulieman, Chico Hamilton, Charles Mingus, and Carmen McRae). During the 1940s in particular he wrote pieces that became standards, including “Things Ain’t What They Used to Be”, “Jumpin’ Punkins”, “Moon Mist”, and “Blue Serge”. He also wrote the lyrics to Hillis Walters’ popular song, “Pass Me By” (1946), which was recorded by Lena Horne, Carmen McRae and Peggy Lee.

2. Ralph David Abernathy, Sr. , a leader of the American Civil Rights Movement, a minister, and a close associate of Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Following King’s assassination, Dr. Abernathy took up the leadership of the SCLC Poor People’s Campaign and led the March on Washington, D.C. that had been planned for May 1968.

3. Robert “Bobby” McFerrin, Jr., vocalist and conductor. He is best known for his 1988 hit song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. He is a ten-time Grammy Award winner.

4.  Lynda Cheryl Smith, known better by her professional name Cheryl Lynn, is a female African-American disco, R&B and soul singer known best for her 1978 disco song, “Got to Be Real”.

5. Terrence Dashon Howard, Academy Award-nominated actor. Having his first major role in the 1995 film Mr. Holland’s Opus, which subsequently led to a number of roles in films and high visibility among African American audiences. Howard broke into the mainstream with a succession of well-reviewed television and film roles between 2004 and 2006. Among his roles in movies includes Ray, Lackawanna Blues, Crash, Four Brothers, Hustle & Flow, Get Rich or Die Tryin’, Idlewild, The Brave One. Howard co-starred in Iron Man and reprised the role in the video game adaption. He was replaced in this role in the sequel Iron Man 2, by Academy Award nominee Don Cheadle (his Crash co-star). [1]

His debut pop album, Shine through It, heavily inspired by popular soul singers such as Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield, was released in September 2008.

6. John Thompson III,  is the current head coach of the men’s basketball team at Georgetown University. He grew up in Washington, D.C. and was named first team All-Metro by The Washington Post while playing for Gonzaga College High School in 1984. Thompson was hired on April 20, 2004 to replace Craig Esherick. Prior to being hired at Georgetown, Thompson was the head coach for four years at his alma mater, Princeton University.

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