1. John Henry Lloyd, baseball player and manager in the Negro Leagues. He is generally considered the greatest shortstop in Negro League history, and both Babe Ruth believed Lloyd to be the greatest baseball player ever.
He was a heavy hitter, usually batting cleanup during his prime, but also knew how to play “inside baseball,” and was an expert place-hitter and bunter. Lloyd was also a renowned shortstop, ranked by most experts as second only to Dick Lundy among black shortstops before integration, and was referred to as the “Black Wagner,” a reference to Pittsburgh Pirates Hall-of-Famer Honus Wagner. (On Lloyd, Wagner said “It’s an honor to be compared to him.”) Known for his gentlemanly conduct, Lloyd was probably the most sought-after African-American player of his generation. “Wherever the money was, that’s where I was,” he once said. His career record bears this out, showing him constantly moving from team to team. Note: some reports has him born on April 25.
2. Asa Philip Randolf, civil rights leader and the founder of both the March on Washington Movement and the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, a landmark for labor and particularly for African-American labor organizing.
3. Bessie Smith, Blues singer, “The Empress of the Blues,” was the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s. She is often regarded as one of the greatest singers of her era and, along with Louis Armstrong, a major influence on subsequent jazz vocalists.
4. May Chinn, An early pioneer in medicine, was the first African-American woman to graduate from Bellevue Hospital Medical College, one of the first female African-American physicians in New York City, and the first African-American woman to intern at Harlem Hospital. In her private practice, she provided care for patients who would not otherwise receive treatment due to racism or classism. Later in her career, she performed pioneering research on cancer, helping to develop the Pap smear test for cervical cancer.
5. Elizabeth Catlett, Distinguished sculptor and lithographer, best known for the black, expressionistic sculptures and prints she produced during the 1960s and 1970s. 95 Years ago
6. Harold Lee Washington, lawyer and politician who became the first African American Mayor of Chicago, serving from 1983 until his death in 1987.
7. Walter E. Washington, Lawyer, politician ,first black mayor of a major American city, Washington D.C. the first home-rule mayor of the District of Columbia. He was also the last presidentially appointed executive of Washington, D.C., and the only person to serve as Mayor-Commissioner of the city.
8. Norma Merrick Sklarek, First Black Female Licensed Architect, She earned B. A. from Barnard College (part of Columbia University). She was the first black woman to be licensed as an architect in the United States with certification in the state of New York in 1954 and then in the state of California in 1962. She was the first black woman to be elected Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1980. Another first, she was the first African-American director of architecture at Gruen and Associates in Los Angeles, CA and she also worked with the Jon Jerde Partnership.
In 1985, she became the first African-American woman architect to form her own architectural firm: Siegel, Sklarek, Diamond which was the largest woman-owned and mostly woman-staffed architectural firm in the United States. Among Sklarek’s designs are the San Bernardino City Hall in San Bernardino, California, the Fox Plaza in San Francisco, Terminal One at the Los Angeles International Airport and the Embassy of the United States in Tokyo, Japan.
Semi-retired today, she currently serves on the California Architects Board. She also formerly served for several years as Chair of the AIA National Ethics Council. In her honor, Howard University offers the Norma Merrick Sklarek Architectural Scholarship Award. Norma Merrick Sklarek is an honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.
9. Evelyn Ashford, Olympic gold medalist, athlete, the 1984 Olympic champion in the 100 m. She has with automatic timing run under the 11 second barrier over 30 times and was the first to run under 11 seconds in an Olympic Games.
10. Flex Alexander (Mark Alexander Knox), Actor and comedian (Tv show One On One). As a teen, he began dancing in New York clubs earning the nickname “Flex” due to his acrobatic dance skills. After being discovered by DJ Spinderella, he began touring with rap trio Salt-n-Pepa’s dance troupe for three years. In addition to dancing, Alexander also choreographed for Mary J. Blige and Queen Latifah. In 1989, he made his stand-up comedy debut and eventually turned to acting, making his film debut in a bit part in the 1992 film Juice.