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

1.  James Walker Hood,  In North Carolina Hood found his major area of service. In early 1864, against the opposition of white Northern Methodists, he persuaded the black Southern Methodist congregations in New Bern and Beaufort to affiliate with the A.M.E. Zion church. When the Northern Methodists contested his conversion of these congregations to Zion, Hood was forced to appeal to the secretary of war for a ruling that permitted the blacks to align with whichever church they desired. In late 1864 he helped to found the North Carolina Conference, and over the years he aided in the establishment of numerous churches within its bounds. Hood was a pastor for three years in New Bern, two years in Fayetteville, and over three years in Charlotte. After becoming a bishop in 1872, he resided in Fayetteville until his death.

Hood became active in North Carolina politics on behalf of his people. In the fall of 1865 he presided over the first statewide political convention of blacks, which met to demand civil and political rights. In 1868 he participated in the state constitutional convention and contributed greatly to placing strong homestead and public school provisions in the constitution. From 1868 to 1871 Hood served as assistant state superintendent of public instruction, with the major duty of founding and supervising schools for blacks. Although hampered by white hostility and the lack of black teachers, he increased attendance to 49,000 students in 1871. Hood remained active in the Republican party, serving as a delegate to the national convention in 1872 and as temporary chairman of the state convention in 1876. He also served briefly as a magistrate and a deputy collector of customs and from 1868 to 1871, without pay, as assistant superintendent of the Freedman’s Bureau in North Carolina.

2. Stepin Fetchit, was the stage name of comedian and film actor Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry.  Perry parlayed the Fetchit persona into a successful film career, eventually becoming a millionaire, the first black actor in history to do so. He was also the first black actor to receive a screen credit.

Perry’s typical film persona and stage name have long been controversial, and seen as illustrative of negative stereotypes of African-Americans. However, a newer interpretation of his film persona contends Perry was ultimately subversive of the status quo.

3. Countee Cullen, One of the leading poets of his time and one of the lights of the Harlem Renaissance.

4. Ralph Metcalfe,  athlete and politician who came second to Jesse Owens in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Metcalfe jointly held the world record for the 100 meter sprint. Metcalfe was known as the world’s fastest human from 1932 through 1934. He later went into politics and served in the United States Congress.

In 1949, Metcalfe won election as an alderman representing the South Side of Chicago, Illinois. He was a Democrat representing Illinois’ 1st congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 1971 until his death in 1978 at age sixty-eight. He was a co-founder of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).

In 1975, Metcalfe was inducted into the United States Track and Field Hall of Fame (USATF) and named a member of the President’sCommission on Olympic Sports.

5. Clora Bryant, is a jazz “Trumpetiste”.  She started in music as a singer in her Baptist church, but took up the trumpet after her brother, Frederick Bryant, left it when he went to the Army in 1941.  She studied improvisation using a wire recorder to record her own soloing along with jazz records, and studying the results. She became adept at a variety of genres, from jazz to classical, and performing versions of famous jazz solos of the day. In addition, she honed her own unique improvisational skills in jam sessions along Central Avenue in Los Angeles, the center of the mid-forties West Coast African American jazz scene.

Clora Bryant performed in high school bands, and in the early 1940s toured Texas with an all-female band, the Prairie View Co-Eds. The Prairie View Co-Eds went to New York in 1944 for a successful gig at the Apollo Theater, where Clora Bryant scored a hit with the song “I had the craziest dream” on with her version of a solo by trumpeter Harry James.

Clora Bryant also spent a week at the Million Dollar Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles with the legendary all-female orchestra International Sweethearts of Rhythm, and in 1948 she toured with the all-female, all Black Queens of Swing. In 1948 Clora married, Joe Stone, who was a Bassist, who played with a lot of R&B Bands, and they started a family, and Clora continue to perform while pregnant and as a young mother. Later she attended UCLA where she became influenced by bebop and gained the attention of Dizzy Gillespie.[1] She was the only female musician to perform with Charlie Parker, at the Lighthouse Cafe in Hermosa Beach, California. Later she toured with singers Billy Daniels and Billy Williams.

Her album Gal with a Horn was released in 1957 and in the mid-1960s she briefly did duo work with her brother, who was a vocalist. She took time off to raise her four children.

She also appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and later became the first American female jazz musician to play in the Soviet Union on a request from Mikhail Gorbachev.  Unable to play the trumpet after a stroke, She still sings and lectures on jazz.

6. Gale Sayers, also known as “The Kansas Comet”, is a former professional football player in the National Football League who spent his entire career with the Chicago Bears. Sayers is a member of both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame.

7. James Chaney, civil rights activist, one of three American civil rights workers who were murdered duringFreedom Summer by members of the Ku Klux Klan near Philadelphia, Mississippi. The others were Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner.

8. Ralph Carter, actor, and singer, best known for his work as a child and teenager, both in the Broadway musical Raisin (based on the Lorraine Hansberry drama A Raisin in the Sun) and as the character Michael Evans, the youngest member of the Evans family, on the 1970s sitcom Good Times.

9. Thomas DeCarlo Callaway,  better known by his stage name Cee Lo Green or simply Cee Lo, is a singer-songwriter, rapper and record producer. He originally came to prominence as a member of the southern hip-hop group Goodie Mob, later launching a critically acclaimed solo career and forming Gnarls Barkley with DJ/producer Danger Mouse.

Internationally, Green is best known for his work within the hip hop duo Gnarls Barkley and their worldwide hit “Crazy” (2006), which reached number one in various singles charts worldwide including the United Kingdom. In the United States, “Crazy” reached number two on theBillboard Hot 100. The parenting album, St. Elsewhere was also a hit, reaching number one on the UK Album Charts and charting at number four on the US Billboard 200 album charts. The duo’s second album, internationally less successful, The Odd Couple (2008) missed the top ten in both the UK and US, where it charted at number twelve in the US, and eighteen in the UK.

Green, taking a break from recording with Gnarls Barkley, released the single, “Fuck You!” on August 19, 2010 as a solo recording artist, and was an instant hit, reaching the top spot in the UK and the Netherlands and charted at number two on the US Billboard Hot 100. The parent album, The Lady Killer (2010) saw similar success, peaking within the top five of the UK Album Charts and debuting within the top ten on the Billboard 200 album charts, and received a Gold certification from the BPI in the UK shortly after its release. The second single, “It’s OK” was a hit in Europe, and the third single, “Bright Lights, Bigger City” has also seen similar charting success.

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