1. Rolland Hayes, a lyric tenor, is considered the first African American male concert artist to receive wide international acclaim as well as at home. Masterful interpreter of both classical songs and black spirituals.
2. Memphis Minnie, blues guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter. She was the only female blues artist who matched her male contemporaries as both a singer and an instrumentalist. (Me and my Chauffeur)
3. Dr. Charles Richard Drew, physician, surgeon and medical researcher. He researched in the field of blood transfusions, developing improved techniques for blood storage, and applied his expert knowledge to developing large-scale blood banks early in World War II. This allowed medics to save thousands of lives of the Allied forces. Drew protested against the practice of racial segregation in the donation of blood, as it lacked scientific foundation, an action which cost him his job.
4. Josephine Baker, Dancer/Singer/Entertainer/Humanitarian (La Revue Negre/Shuffle along). Nicknamed the “Bronze Venus,” the “Black Pearl,” and even the “Créole Goddess” in anglophone nations.
Baker was the first African American female to star in a major motion picture and to integrate an American concert hall, and to become a world-famous entertainer. She is also noted for her contributions to the Civil Rights Movement in the United States (she was offered the unofficial leadership of the movement by Coretta Scott King in 1968 following Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, but turned it down),for assisting the French Resistance during World War IIand for being the first American-born woman to receive the French militaryhonor, the Croix de guerre.
5. Curtis Mayfield, soul, rhythm and blues, and funk singer, songwriter, and record producer best known for his anthemic music with The Impressions and composing the soundtrack to the film Super Fly.
6. Eddie Holman, singer and recording artist. He is best known for his 1970 hit song “Hey There Lonely Girl”.
7. Deniece Williams, singer, songwriter and record producer who achieved success in the 1970s and 1980s. Williams, whose music has been influenced by Soul and Funk, is known for her hits such as “Let’s Hear It for the Boy”, “It’s Gonna Take a Miracle”, and for her many vocal duets with Johnny Mathis.
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8. Ibrahim Hussein, retired long-distance runner from Kenya, who was a three time winner of the Boston Marathon in 1988, 1991, and 1992. He was also the winner of the New York City Marathon in 1987.