1. John William “Blind” Boone, musician, famous classical pianist known all over the U.S., Canada & Mexico who also reportedly played in Europe. He became known as the “pioneer of ragtime” because he brought in ragtime music to the concert stage as an encore or when the audience became restless, saying “Let’s put the cookies on the bottom shelf where everybody can reach them.”. His motto was “Merit, not sympathy, wins.”
2. Frederick McKinley Jones, inventor, who was one of the most prolific Black inventors ever. Frederick Jones patented more than 60 inventions, but is best known for inventing a practical automatic refrigeration system for long-haul trucks. His invention eliminated the far less effective use of ice and salt to preserve foods for transport and greatly extended the distance over which food could be successfully delivered.
3. James “Cool Papa” Bell, baseball player, considered by many as the fastest player in the sport. pitcher/outfielder with the St. Louis Stars in 1922. Ten years later, he joined the powerhouse Pittsburgh Crawfords, a team that boasted a lineup that included four future Hall of Fame members. Later he contributed to the rosters of the Homestead Grays and the Kansas City Monarchs.
4. Buster Brown, Tap dancer and entertainer. Dr. Buster Brown, one of the most prominent legends of the tap dance world, career spanned more than seven decades and began in the late 1920’s at annual high school shows in Baltimore called the“Autumn Follies”. With two high school friends he formed his first act “The Three Aces” and started touring the US in the 1930’s. His next act“The Speed Kings”, a trio known for its precision and rapid-fire tap dancing, toured the US and Canada for several years in “The Brown Skin Models” and “The Rudy Vallee Show”. Other acts Dr. Brown worked with included “Beige & Brown” and “The Entertainers”, sharing bills with, among many others, Sarah Vaughan. As a soloist Dr. Brown toured with the orchestras of Cab Calloway, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Jimmy Lunceford and most importantly, his personal favorite Duke Ellington. With the Ellington Organization he was the featured tap dancer in “David Danced Before The Lord”during a tour of the Sacred Concerts in the 1960’s.
5. Idi Amin Dada, a military leader and President of Uganda from 1971 to 1979. Amin joined the British colonial regiment, the King’s African Rifles, in 1946, and eventually held the rank of Major General and Commander of the Ugandan Army prior to taking power in the military coup of January 1971, deposing Milton Obote. He later promoted himself to Field Marshal while he was the head of state.
6. Eloise Greenfield, writer, children’s book author and poet famous for her descriptive, rhythmic style and positive portrayal of the black experience.
7. Hazel Rollins O’Leary, the seventh United States Secretary of Energy, from 1993 to 1997, appointed by PresidentBill Clinton. As of 2009, she is the first and only woman and first and only African American to hold the position. Since 2004 she has served as president of Fisk University, an historically black college (HBCU).
8. Henry Saint Clair Fredericks (born May 17, 1942), who uses the stage name Taj Mahal, is an internationally recognized blues musician with two Grammy Awards to date who folds various forms of world music into his offerings. A self-taught singer-songwriter and film composerwho plays the guitar, banjo and harmonica (among many other instruments), Mahal has done much to reshape the definition and scope of blues music over the course of his almost 50 year career by fusing it with nontraditional forms, including sounds from the Caribbean, Africaand the South Pacific.
9. Sugar Ray Leonard, Boxing Champion, boxing analyst, win the National Golden Gloves championship at 16, an Olympic gold medal in 1976, and had a successful professional boxing career. Named Fighter of the Decade for the 1980s. five world titles in five weight classes and competed in some of the era’s most memorable contests. Career boxing record: 36 wins (25 by knockout), 3 losses, and 1 tie. Inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1997.
10. Danny Manning, NBA Basketball Star, retired American professional basketball player in the National Basketball Association. He is an assistant basketball coach at his alma mater, the University of Kansas Jayhawks. Manning won the National Championship with the Jayhawks in 1988 as a player, and again on the coaching staff in 2008. He is the son of former NBA player Ed Manning.
11. Kandi Burruss, better known by her stage names Kandi or Kandi Girl, is an American R&B singer-songwriter and record producer. She is also a former member of the group Xscape from Atlanta.