1. William Foster, left-handed pitcher in baseball’s Negro leagues in the 1920s and 1930s from Calvert, Texas and a graduate of Alcorn State College. In his 15 seasons, He, the brother of Negro National League founder and hall of famer, Rube Foster, compiled a near .700 win percentage, mostly with the Chicago American Giants. The pitcher’s repertoire included a blazing fastball, which he mixed well with a variety of breaking and off-speed pitches. Though Foster played briefly with a variety of other teams, he spent 10 years in the service of his brother’s American Giants in the 1920s and 1930s, and had a career record of 143-69. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996.
3. Lyn Collins (Gloria Lavern Collins), Singer (Rock Me Again and Again and Again), Best known for working with James Brown in the 1970s.
4. George E. Johnson, Sr., Entrepreneur and the founder of Johnson Products Company, an international cosmetics empire headquartered in Chicago, Illinois
In 1954, at the encouragement of co-worker, Johnson left the Fuller company and founded Johnson Products with his wife Joan, focusing on the African American male hair care market. Johnson borrowed $250 from a bank and another $250 from a friend to finance the venture. The company’s first product was Ultra Wave, a hair relaxer for men. In 1957, Ultra Sheen, a revolutionary hair straightener that could easily be used in the home, was introduced for women.
During the next quarter century, more product lines were introduced like Afro Sheen. Afro-Sheen, one of Johnson’s best-known products, was released in the late 1960s, at a time when the “Afro” became a popular hairstyle for African Americans.
Over the next few decades, Johnson Products continued to grow, focusing its efforts on not only its products line but on training cosmetologists on the proper usage as well. In 1964, Johnson founded Independence Bank, and during the 1970s he became the exclusive sponsor behind the nationally syndicated dance show Soul Train.
In 1971, Johnson Products became the first African American-owned company to be listed on the American Stock Exchange. That same year, Johnson became the first African American to serve on the board of directors of Commonwealth Edison.