1. Robert Brown, known professionally as Washboard Sam, was an American blues singer and musician. Brother of Big Bill Broonzy, Brown moved to Memphis, Tennessee in the 1920s, performing as a street musician with Sleepy John Estes and Hammie Nixon. He then moved to Chicago in 1932, performing regularly with Broonzy, and appearing with him and other musicians including Memphis Slim and Tampa Red on innumerable recording sessions for Lester Melrose of Bluebird Records.
2. Joseph Rudolph (Philly Joe) Jones, jazz drummer, known as the drummer for the Miles Davis Quintet.
3. Francis Bebey, Guitarist and author, Artist, musician, and writer. moved to France and started work in the arts, establishing himself as a musician, sculptor, and writer. His most popular novel was Agatha Moudio’s Son. He also worked as a consultant for UNESCO. Released his first album in 1969. His music was primarily guitar-based, although he integrated traditional African instruments as well. His style was groundbreaking, merging Cameroonian makossa with classical guitar, jazz, and pop, in a mix that could be intellectual, humorous, or serious. He sang in Duala, English, and French. Helped launch the career of Manu Dibango. Released more than 20 albums over his career.
4. Willie Cobbs, blues singer and harmonica player. He is best known for his song, “You Don’t Love Me”. Served in the American armed forces and then returned to Chicago, recording a number of singles on such labels as Ruler, a subsidiary of JOB. He went on to release the albums “Hey Little Girl” for the Wilco label in 1986 and “Down to Earth” on the Rooster Blues label in 1994. Performed at the King Biscuit Blues Festival and the Chicago Blues Festival. Appeared in the 1991 film Mississippi Masala; he performed the songs “Angel from Heaven” and “Sad Feelin'” for the film.
5. Maggie Lena Walker, teacher, businesswoman, and first African American woman bank president. She was the first woman to charter a bank in the United States, As a leader, she achieved successes with the vision to make tangible improvements in the way of life for African Americans and women. Disabled by paralysis and limited to a wheelchair later in life, Walker also became an example for people with disabilities.
6. Ernest Eugene “Ernie” Barnes Jr., Neo-Mannerist artist and former professional football player. He was named Official Artist of the 1984 Summer Olympics and received the 1984 and 2004 Sport Artist of the Year Award presented annually by the American Sport Art Museum and Archives.
7. Mildred “Millie” Jackson R&B/soul singer-songwriter. Three of her albums have been certified goldby the RIAA for over 500,000 copies. Her vocal performances are often distinguished by long, humorous, and explicit spoken sections in her music, which she started doing on stage to get the attention of the audience. She has also recorded songs in a disco or dance music style and even some countrystyled songs. She is the mother of contemporary R&B singer, Keisha Jackson.
8. Forest Steven Whitaker, actor, producer, and director. He has earned a reputation for intensive character study work for films such as Bird and Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai. However, for his recurring role as ex-LAPD Lieutenant Jon Kavanaugh on the gritty, award-winning television series, The Shield, Whitaker merely had to draw on his childhood years growing up in South Central Los Angeles, California.
9. Shari Headley, actress, made her acting debut in The Cosby Show in 1985. Since then her career has mostly focused on television acting; she is perhaps best known for portraying police officer Mimi Reed Frye Williams on the popular soap opera All My Children from May 1991 to April 1994, briefly returned in February 1995 and again from June 2005 until her final appearance on October 14, 2005. She has also acted occasionally on the big-screen, and is well-known in this capacity for her role of Lisa McDowell, Eddie Murphy’s love interest in the comedy Coming to America.
10. Kristoff St. John, actor, best known for his role as Neil Winters on the daytime US drama The Young and the Restless.
11. Edward James “Eddie” Griffin, Jr., actor and comedian. He is best known for his sitcom, Malcolm & Eddie, along with co-star, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, and his role in the 2002 comedy film, Undercover Brother as the film’s title character.
12. Rain Pryor, Actress and comedienne, Daughter of comedian Richard Pryor
11. Reggie Hayes, Featured in films such as Charlie’s Angels and Being John Malkovich. However, his most popular role was as attorney William Dent on the long-running UPN/CW show, Girlfriends. The role earned him three NAACP Image Awards for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. He also guest starred on Will and Grace as a doctor. Hayes has also appeared in the remake of The Twilight Zone (hosted by Forest Whitaker), in the episode “The Eye of the Beholder”, as a doctor.
12. Frank McComb, soul singer and keyboardist. Often compared to Donny Hathaway and Stevie Wonder, McComb has collaborated with many renowned recording artists including Prince, Chaka Khan, Teddy Pendergrass, Gerald Levert, and Teena Marie.