2. Robert R. Taylor, Architect, First African American to graduate from MIT. Taylor enrolled at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1888, the first African American student at MIT, and was associated with Tuskegee University once called Tuskegee Institute, designing most of the buildings on campus completed prior to 1932, and even serving as second-in-command to Tuskegee’s founder and first President, Dr. Booker T. Washington.
3. George Kirby, was an American comedian, singer, and actor from Chicago, Illinois. Kirby broke into show business in the 1940s at the Club DeLisa, a South Side establishment that employed a variety-show format and preferred to hire local singers, dancers, and comedians. His first recording was as a stand-up blues singer, performing “Ice Man Blues” on a Tom Archia session done in 1947 for Aristocrat Records.
He was one of the first African-American comedians to begin to appeal to white as well as black audiences during the height of the Civil Rights era, appearing between 1966 and 1972 onThe Ed Sullivan Show, The Dean Martin Show, The Jackie Gleason Show, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. He was an excellentimpressionist — targeting, somewhat scandalously for the time, many white actors such as John Wayne and Walter Brennan rather than solely black stars such as Bill Cosby and Pearl Bailey — and, for a man of his ample girth, an unexpectedly agile dancer. He also did vocal impressions of such singers as Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.
4. Edward Joseph Perkins, The first African American ambassador to South Africa (1986-1989). A former American diplomat. He served as U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, South Africa, and the United Nations 1992-1993. He was later Director of the US State Department’s Diplomatic Corps.
5. Bernie Casey, former intercollegiate and professional football player who is now an actor. Casey was also a track and field athlete at Bowling Green State University; winning three consecutive Mid American Conference titles in the 120-yard high hurdles (1958-60).
6. Willie Davenport, A star in track and field, whose career will span five Olympic Games from 1964 to 1980, during which he won a gold and bronze medal. He will be one of only eight U.S. Olympic athletes to have competed in both the summer and winter games.
7. Kennan Ivory Wayans, actor, comedian, director and writer known as the host and creator of the FOX sketch comedy series In Living Color, which also starred Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx, brothers Damon Wayans, Shawn Wayans and Marlon Wayans, sister Kim Wayans, David Alan Grier, Tommy Davidson and featured Rosie Perez. Wayans is the director/creator of Scary Movie, the highest grossing movie ever directed by an African-American.
8. Kayne West, Rapp Artist, Singer, and record producer. West first rose to fame as a producer for Roc-A-Fella Records.