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

1.   Doxey Alphonso Wilkerson, educator at Howard University in Washington, DC and Yeshiva University in New York City. In 1944, he   published an essay in the anthology, “What The Negro Wants,” which will illustrate comparisons between the Allied struggle in Europe during World War II and the civil rights struggle of African Americans in the United States.

2.  Marion Motley, football player, who helped desegregate professional football in the 1940s.

3.  Ruby Doris Smith Robinson, worked with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) from its earliest days in 1960 until her death in October 1967. She served the organization as an activist in the field and as an administrator in the Atlanta central office. She eventually succeeded James Forman as SNCC’s executive secretary and was the only woman ever to serve in this capacity. She was well respected by her SNCC colleagues and others within the movement for her work ethic and dedication to those around her. SNCC freedom singer Matthew Jones recalled, “You could feel her power in SNCC on a daily basis” (Jones 1989). Jack Minnis, director of SNCC’sopposition research unit, insisted that people could not fool her. Minnis was convinced that she had a “100 percent effective shit detector”

4.  Ronnie Dyson, R&B Singer,  an iconic voice of the 1960s with the lead vocal in the show’s anthem of the hippie era “Aquarius”. It is Dyson’s voice leading off the song and opening the show with the famous lyric “When the Moon is in the seventh house, and Jupiter aligns with Mars”.  Dyson also appeared in the 1969 film, Putney Swope.

After Hair, Dyson pursued his stage career with a role in Salvation in 1970. His recording of a song from the Salvation score “(If You Let Me Make Love To You Then) Why Can’t I Touch You?”, successfully launched his record career, breaking into the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at #8 in 1970. The follow-up, “I Don’t Wanna Cry” was a strong R&B seller, climbing to #9.

In 1971, “When You Get Right Down To It” (a cover version of the 1970 hit for The Delfonics), made the US charts, but was a major soul hit in the UK where it also went into the pop Top 40.

His record company, Columbia Records then sent him to Philadelphia in 1973 to be produced by Thom Bell, one of the premier producers of the day, for several tracks. Bell’s highly orchestrated style suited Dyson with hits including “One Man Band”, which reached #28 on the Hot 100 and #15 on the R&B chart, and “Just Don’t Want To Be Lonely” (#60 pop, #29 R&B).

5.  Ray Lankford, former center fielder in Major League Baseball who played for the St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres from 1990 to 2004. He was known for his combination of power, speed, and defensive prowess. He posted one of the longest and most distinguished careers in the history of Cardinals baseball.

6.  Floyd Butler, R&B Artist (Friends Of Distinction) best known for their late 1960s hits, “Grazing in the Grass”, “Love or Let Me Be Lonely”, and “Going in Circles”. Founded by Harry Elston and Floyd Butler, The Friends of Distinction also included Jessica Cleaves and Barbara Jean Love (plus Charlene Gibson, who replaced Love during her pregnancy).

7.  Fred Stone, R&B Artist (Sly And The Family Stone), Brothers Sly Stone and singer/guitarist Freddie Stone combined their bands (Sly & the Stoners and Freddie & the Stone Souls) in 1967. Sly and Freddie Stone, trumpeter Cynthia Robinson, drummer Gregg Errico,  saxophonist Jerry Martini, and bassist Larry Graham completed the original lineup; Sly and Freddie’s sister, singer/keyboardist Rose Stone, joined within a year. This collective recorded five Billboard Hot 100 hits which reached the top 10, and four ground-breaking albums, which greatly influenced the sound of American pop music, soul, R&B, funk, and hip hop music. In the preface of his 1998 book For the Record: Sly and the Family Stone: An Oral History, Joel Selvin sums up the importance of Sly and the Family Stone’s influence on African American music by stating “there are two types of black music: black music before Sly Stone, and black music after Sly Stone”.  The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.

8.  Michael Winans, Gospel Vocalist, Michael Winans has performed and released several recordings with wife Regina, including the independent album Be Yourself. The album featured background vocals provided by their children Mike (Michael Jr) and LaShay. Their third CD was released in January 2008

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