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

1. Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield, dubbed “The Black Swan”, a singer considered the best-known black concert artist of her time. She was noted by James M. Trotter for her “remarkably sweet tones and wide vocal compass”.

2. William T. Shorey, Late 19th Century whaling ship captain known to his crew as the Black Ahab. He spent his life at sea. He became the only Black captain operating on the west coast of the United States in the late-1880s and 1890s. He obtained his certification in 1885. His whaling voyages were based out of San Francisco on the whaling bark John and Winthrop. He retired from whaling in 1908 and lived in Oakland.

3. Akinwande Oluwole “Wole” Soyinka, writer, poet and playwright. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1986. In 1994, he was designated United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Goodwill Ambassador for the promotion of African culture, human rights, freedom of expression, media and communication.

4. Albert Ayler (July 13, 1936 – November 25, 1970) was an American avant-garde jazz saxophonist, singer and composer.

5. Daphne Maxwell Reid, an actress. She is best known for her role as Vivian Banks on the NBC sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air from 1993 until 1996.

6. David O’Neil Thompson, a former professional basketball star with the Denver Nuggets of both the National Basketball Association (NBA) and American Basketball Association (ABA), as well as the Seattle SuperSonics. He was previously a star in college for North Carolina State, leading the Wolfpack to its first NCAA championship in 1974.

7. Anthony Jerome Webb, better known as Spud Webb, is a retired American NBA professional basketball point guard. He is currently the President of Basketball Operations for the Texas Legends, a new D-League basketball franchise in Frisco, Texas.

8. Gerald Levert, R&B singer. Gerald Levert sang with his brother, Sean Levert, and friend Marc Gordon in the R&B trio LeVert. He was also a part of LSG, an R&B supergroup comprising Keith Sweat, Johnny Gill, and Levert. His father, Eddie Levert, is the lead singer of the 1970s soul group The O’Jays.

9. Deborah Cox, R&B singer-songwriter and actress. Her 1998 song “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here” held the record for longest-running number one single on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart (14 weeks), a record held for nearly eight years. She has achieved ten number-one hits on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play chart.

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