1. Thomas Dexter “T. D.” Jakes Sr. Chief pastor of The Potter’s House, a non-denominationalmegachurch, with 30,000 members, located in Dallas, Texas. T.D. Jakes church services and evangelistic sermons are broadcast on The Potter’s Touch, which airs on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, Black Entertainment Television, the Daystar Television Network, The Word Network and The Miracle Channel in Canada. Other aspects of Jakes’ ministry include an annual revival called “MegaFest” (which draws more than 100,000 people during that period of time), an annual women’s conference called “Woman Thou Art Loosed”, and gospel musicrecordings.
In the fall of 2009, Jakes planned on launching a secular daily talk show, syndicated through the CBS Television Distribution group; however, economic troubles in the industry may put his new program into jeopardy.
In 2005 Jakes accompanied President George W. Bush on his visit the areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina. In his book Decision Points, President Bush describes Jakes as “a kind of man who puts faith into action.”
On January 20, 2009, Jakes led the early morning prayer service for President Barack Obama at St. John’s Church in Washington, DC, according to NBC News.
2. James C. Napier was born of free parents on June 9, 1845, in Nashville, Tennessee. His father, William Carroll, was a free hack driver and a sometime overseer. James attended the free blacks’ school on Line and High Street (now Sixth Avenue) with some sixty other black children until white vigilantes forced the classes to close in 1856. Although the teacher, Daniel Wadkins, a free black, reopened the school, the December of 1856 race riot caused a temporary end to black education in Nashville until the Union occupation in February of 1862. After the riot, the Napier family and several other moderately wealthy free black families either moved or sent their children to Ohio to continue their children’s education under free black teacher Rufus Conrad.
Upon returning to the Union-held city of Nashville, James Napier became involved in Republican party politics, John Mercer Langston, an Ohio free black who became a powerful Republican politician and congressman, was a friend of Napier’s father. Langston visited Nashville on December 30, 1864, to speak to 10,000 black Union troops, who had taken part in the recent and victorious Battle of Nashville, and to address the second Emancipation Day Celebration. He later invited James to attend the newly opened law school at Howard University in Washington, D. C., where he was founding dean. After receiving his law degree in 1872, James returned to practice in Nashville. In 1873, he married Dean Langston’s daughter, Nettie. This wedding was the biggest social event in nineteenth-century black Washington.
Between 1872 and 1913, James C. Napier became Afro-American Nashville’s most powerful politician and its most influential citizen. Between 1878 and 1886, he served on the Nashville City Council and was the first black to preside over the council. He was instrumental in the hiring of black teachers for the colored public schools during the 1870s, the hiring of black “detectives,” and the organization of the black fire-engine company during the 1880s. His greatest political accomplishment was his service as President William H. Taft’s Register of the United States Treasury from 1911 to 1913.
Napier also was a successful businessman and a personal friend of Booker T. Washington. Margaret Washington was a personal friend of Nettie Langston Napier and often spent two or more weeks each summer at the Napier’s Nolensville Road summer home. Washington visited the city several times a year until his death in 1915. Napier was elected president of the National Negro Business League, which Washington had founded. The League held several of its annual meetings in Nashville, and Napier organized a local chapter of the League in 1905. He was a founder and cashier (manager) of the One Cent (now Citizens) Savings Bank organized in 1904, and he gave the new bank temporary quarters rent-free in his Napier Court office building at 411 North Cherry Street (now Fourth Avenue). He helped organize the 1905 Negro streetcar strike and the black Union Transportation Company’s streetcar lines. He presided over the powerful Nashville Negro Board of Trade and was on the boards of Fisk and Howard universities.
3. Meta Vaux Warwick Fuller, sculptor, Her sculptures will be exhibited at the salon in Paris as well as extensively in the U.S. for 60 years. Her most famous works will include “Ethiopia Awakening,” “Mary Turner (A Silent Protest Against Mob Violence),” and “The Talking Skull.”
She is best known as the first African American artist to make art celebrating Afrocentric themes. A multi-talented artist who created poetry and paintings, she is mainly known as a sculptor who explored her African-American roots. Fuller created emotion-packed work with strong social commentary, and became a forerunner of the Black Renaissance, a movement promoting African-American art.
4. Johnny Ace (John Marshall Alexander, Jr.) Rhythm and Blues Artist. His major hits include “My Song” and “Pledging My Love.”
5. Jack Leroy “Jackie” Wilson, Jr. , was a singer and performer. Known as “Mr. Excitement“, Wilson was important in the transition of rhythm and blues into soul. He was known as a master showman, and as one of the most dynamic singers and performers in R&B and rock history. Gaining fame in his early years as a member of the R&B vocal group Billy Ward and His Dominoes, he went solo in 1957 and recorded over 50 hit singles that spanned R&B, pop, soul, doo-wop and easy listening. During a 1975 benefit concert, he collapsed on-stage from a heart attack and subsequently fell into a coma that persisted for nearly nine years until his death in 1984. By this time, he had become one of the most influential artists of his generation.
A two-time Grammy Hall of Fame Inductee,Jackie Wilson was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. In 2004, Rolling Stonemagazine ranked Jackie Wilson #68 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time
6. David Gene “The Cobra” Parker, is a former player in Major League Baseball. He was the 1978 National League MVP and a two-time batting champion. Dave was the first MLB player to sign a million dollar contract. Most people believe it was Nolan Ryan. On November 19, 1979, Nolan Ryan became the first player to sign a contract for more than a million dollars per year. Richard Moss, Ryan’s agent, helped negotiate a 4-year, $4.5 million dollar contract for the future Hall of Famer, making him the highest paid player at the time.
Although most people would say the above answer is the official first one million dollar a year player, in actuality Pittsburgh Pirate Dave Parker was the first player to make one million dollars a year signing the contract a year prior to Nolan Ryan. The reason he isn’t commonly cited as so is because the Pirates worded the contract in a way to make it look like he was making that much because they didn’t want to be known as the first team to pay a player one million dollars a year Parker’s career achievements include 2712 hits, 339 home runs, 1493 runs batted in and a lifetime batting average of .290. Parker was also known as a solid defensive outfielder during the first half of his career, with a powerful arm. From 1975 to 1979, he threw out 72 runners, including 26 in 1977.
He was a baseball All-Star in 1977, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1985, 1986, and 1990. In the 1979 All-Star Game, Parker showcased his defensive ability and powerful arm by throwing out Jim Rice at third base and Angels catcher Brian Downing at home. Parker also contributed an RBI on a sacrifice fly and was named the game’s MVP.
7. Gloria Reuben, singer and actress of film and television, known for her role as Jeanie Boulet on the popular hit medical drama ER and for her role of Rosalind Whitman in the TV show Raising the Bar.
8. Wayman Lawrence Tisdale, was a professional basketball player in the NBA and asmooth jazz bass guitarist. A three-time All American at the University of Oklahoma, he was elected to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.