2. Walter Francis White, Journalist, novelist, and essayist, joined the staff of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in New York at the invitation of James Weldon Johnson, acting as Johnson’s assistant national secretary. White later succeeded Johnson as the head of the NAACP, serving from 1931 to 1955.
3. Thomas Andrew Dorsey, He is known as “The Father of Gospel Music” and was at one time so closely associated with the field that songs written in the new style were sometimes known as “Dorseys.” Earlier in his life he was a leading blues pianist known as Georgia Tom.
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4. William James “Willie” Dixon, blues musician, vocalist, songwriter, arranger and record producer. A Grammy Award winner who was proficient on both the Upright bass and the guitar, as well as his own singing voice, Dixon is arguably best known as an acclaimed, prolific songwriter, and one of the founders of the Chicago blues sound.
5. Bobby Day (Robert James Byrd), As a member of the R&B group, the Hollywood Flames, he used the stage name Bobby Day to perform and record. He went several years with minor musical success limited to the West Coast, including being the original “Bob” in the duo Bob & Earl. In 1957, Day formed his own band called the “Satellites” following which he authored three songs that are seen today as rock and roll classics “Over and Over”, “Little Bitty Pretty One” and “Rockin’ Robin”.
6. James Cotton, blues harmonica player, singer, and songwriter who is the bandleader for the James Cotton Blues Band. He also writes songs alone, and his solo career continues to this day. His work includes the following genres: blues, delta blues, harmonica blues, and electric harmonica blues.
7. Syl Johnson, blues and soul singer and music producer. Born Sylvester Thompson in Holly Springs, Mississippi, Johnson sang and played with blues artists Magic Sam, Billy Boy Arnold, Junior Wells and Howlin’ Wolf in the 1950s, before recording with Jimmy Reed for Vee-Jay in 1959. He made his solo debut that same year withFederal, a subsidiary of King Records of Cincinnati, backed by Freddie King on guitar.
He then began recording for Twinight Records of Chicago in the mid 1960s. Beginning with his first hit, Come On Sock It to Me in 1967, Johnson dominated the label as both a hitmaker and producer. His song Different Strokes, also from 1967, featured recently on the Ultimate Breaks and Beats breakbeat compilation.
8. Wallace “Wally” Amos, Jr., actor and writer from Tallahassee, Florida. He is the founder of the “Famous Amos” chocolate chip cookie brand.
9. Andraé Edward Crouch, is a seven-time Grammy Award-winning gospel singer, songwriter, arranger, recording artist,record producer, and pastor.
10. Evelyn (Champagne) King, R&B, disco and post-disco singer. Some of her best-known songs are “Shame”, “Love Come Down”, and “I’m in Love”.
11. Frederick Carlton “Carl” Lewis, retired track and field athlete who won 10 Olympic medals including 9 gold, and 10 World Championships medals, of which 8 were gold. His career spanned from 1979 when he first achieved a world ranking to 1996 when he last won an Olympic title and subsequently retired. Lewis is now an actor and has appeared in a number of films.
12. Andre Braugher, a two-time Emmy Award-winning actor. He is perhaps best known for his roles as Thomas Searles in the film Glory, as the fiery detective Frank Pembleton on Homicide: Life on the Street from 1993 to 1998, and again in the 2000 made-for-TV movie and for his role as Owen Thoreau Jr. on the TNT show Men of a Certain Age.
13. Patrick Malone, sometimes credited as Patrick Y. Malone, actor. Mr. Malone has been acting since 1983, mostly playing minor roles. He got his big break as a recurring character in the final season of A Different World in 1993 as Terrell Walker, close friend to Dorian Heywood (played by Bumper Robinson). He is a 1986 graduate of Snyder High school and attended Western Texas College for 3 semesters before going to L.A. to pursue an acting career.
14. Melissa Arnette Elliott, Better known by her stage name Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott, is a Hip Hop recording artist, producer, actress and former member of the R&B band Sista as well as the Swing Mob collective.