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1. Victoria E. Matthews, educator, noted social worker and writer, Wrote articles for leading Black newspapers: The boston Advocate, the Washington Bee, The richmond Planet, and the Cleveland Gazette, as well as The New York Times. Mrs. Matthews was interested in race advancements, and her efforts to support Ida B. Wells led to the founding of the Women’s Loyal Union of New Youk City. Matthews was a founder and the first president of the club. She aslo founded the White Rose Mission to provide Black girs with opportunities to learn practical skills and self-help.
2. Vivian Harsh, librarian, historian, and administrator, who made an important contribution to saving African American history. On February 26, 1924 she became the Chicago Public Library system’s first black librarian. Harsh first began working for the Chicago Public Library as a junior clerk in 1909 after graduating high school. She later went on to graduate from Simmons College Library School in Boston. Harsh was named director of the new George Cleveland Hall branch in 1932. Harsh’s goal for Hall Library when she became director was to have it serve as a community gathering space and to provide educational outreach opportunities. As a librarian, Harsh was passionate about collecting works about African Americans and she traveled extensively throughout the South finding books to add to her collection. She assembled the “Special Negro Collection” at the library which drew a large number of diverse readers and researchers to the library.
Additionally, in her role as the director of Hall Library, Harsh organized community programs such as black history clubs, literary study clubs, a literature forum, art exhibits, storytelling sessions, drama clubs, a senior citizen’s group, and debates. The literature forum she created met twice a month and provided community members a place to come and listen to book reviews or lectures given by fellow community members. Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Gwendolyn Brooks, Horace Clayton, and Margaret Walker were some of the people who participated in these forums
3. David Crosthwait, Jr., Electrical and mechanical engineer. responsible for designing the heating system for Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center in New York City. Author of an instruction manual on heating and cooling with water and guides, standards, and codes that dealt with heating, ventilation, refrigeration, and air conditioning systems.
4. Junior Parker, Arkansas, blues vocalist/songwriter (Mystery Train), Herman Parker, Jr., or Little Junior Parker was from Clarksdale, MS. His velvet-smooth vocal delivery to the contrary, Junior Parker was a product of the fertile postwar Memphis Blues circuit whose wonderfully understated harp style was personally mentored by none other than regional icon Sonny Boy Williamson. Herman Parker, Jr., only traveled in the best Blues circles from the outset.
5. Ramsey Emmanuel Lewis, Jr., Jazz composer, pianist and radio personality. He has been referred to as “the great performer”, a title reflecting his performance style and musical selections which display his early gospel playing and classical training.
6. Dr. Richard R. Green, Educator, teacher, superintendent, and principal, introduced a testing system that served as a national benchmark. Students were held to more accountability, which resulted in better test scores. awards include Top 100 Executive Educator’s Award 1984, the Hubert H. Humphrey Labor Award, and the Urban Family of the Year award, both in 1982.
7. Louis Gossett Jr., actor best known for his role as Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley in the 1982 film An Officer and a Gentleman and Fiddler in the 1970’s television miniseries Roots. Gossett has also starred in numerous film productions such as The Deep, Jaws 3-D (as SeaWorld manager Calvin Bouchard), Wolfgang Peterson’s Enemy Mine, the Iron Eagle series, Toy Soldiers and The Punisher. He has won an Academy Award, an Emmy Award, and two Golden Globe Award’s in an acting career that spans over five decades.
8. Todd Bridges, He is best known for his childhood role as Willis Jackson on theNBC/ABC sitcom Diff’rent Strokes, and for his recurring role as Monk on the UPN/CW sitcom Everybody Hates Chris. He is currently a comedic commentator on the television series TruTV Presents: World’s Dumbest…, which airs on truTV.
9. Frank Thomas, nicknamed “The Big Hurt”, is a former Major League Baseball designated hitter and first baseman.
Thomas became one of baseball’s biggest stars in the 1990s, playing for the Chicago White Sox. Broadcaster Ken Harrelsoncoined the aforementioned nickname for Thomas in the 1992 season. Frank Thomas is known for his menacing home run power; he routinely swung a rusted piece of rebar (reportedly found during a renovation project in Old Comiskey Park) in the on-deck circle. He have at least a .300 batting average, 500 home runs, 1,500 RBI, 1,000 runs and 1,500 walks in a career. He retired February 12, 2010. Thomas is one of the biggest players at 6’5″ and 275 pounds.
10. Dondre Whitfield, Actor, He was featured on the sitcom The Cosby Show as Robert Foreman (the love interest of Tempestt Bledsoe’s character Vanessa Huxtable). Since then, he has appeared in many television series, including The Jamie Foxx Show, Martin, and Girlfriends. He had a starring role on the short-lived sitcom Between Brothers. Portrayed Terrence Frye on the ABC Daytime drama All My Children from 1991-1994.
11. Lisa Nicole Lopex, better known by her stage name Left Eye, was an American rapper, singer, dancer, and songwriter, best known as a member of the R&B girl group TLC.
Lopes contributed her self-written raps to many of TLC’s hit singles, including “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg”, “What About Your Friends”, “Hat 2 da Back”, “No Scrubs”, “Waterfalls”, and “Girl Talk”.
12. André Lauren Benjamin, better known by his stage name André 3000 (formerly known as Dre, no association with Dr. Dre) is an American rapper, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and actor, best known for being part of Americanhip-hop duo OutKast alongside fellow rapper Big Boi. As an actor, Benjamin has made appearances in a number of TV series and films, including Families, The Shield, Be Cool, Revolver, Semi-Pro, and Four Brothers.
In addition to music and acting, Benjamin has also been an active entrepreneur. In the spring of 2008, he launched a clothing line called Benjamin Bixby and created a line of dolls based on a species of alien he’s dubbed “The Green Meanies.” He has also been an advocate foranimal rights. He is also known for his work on the short-lived Cartoon Network animated series Class of 3000.
13. Jason Phillips (Jadakiss), Rapp Artist. He is a member of the group The LOX. Jadakiss is one of the three owners of the imprint known as D-Block. He recently signed to Roc-A-Fella Records, an imprint under Def Jam Recordings and he is the one of two last artists who still records for the label, the other being Kanye West.