1. James Forten, abolitionist and wealthy businessman. He worked at many jobs, including dentist, carpenter, pastor and minuteman. Little known today but during that period he was one of the most prominent black men in America. Born free in Philadelphia, he became a fierce anti-slavery activist, an inventor and successful businessman. In fact, the sail-making company he founded made him one of the wealthiest black men in the nation. Forten and AME Church founder Richard Allen organized the First Convention of Color in 1817. He went back and forth on the issue of “re-Africanization” which called for the return of blacks to Africa. He financially supported Paul Cuffee’s venture in the West African nation of Sierra Leone but he later turned against the American Colonization Society and its efforts to return free American blacks to the West African nation of Liberia.
2. Horace Silver, Jazz pianist and composer, Silver is known for his distinctive humorous and funky playing style and for his pioneering compositional contributions to hard bop. He was influenced by a wide range of musical styles, notably gospel music, African music, and Latin American music and sometimes ventured into the soul jazz genre.
3. Joe Simon, chart-topping, soul and R&B artist, Grammy Award in 1970 for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.
4. Nathaniel “Tiny” Archibald, retired American professional basketball player. He spent 14 years playing in the NBA, most notably with the Kansas City Kings and Boston Celtics. Archibald was a willing passer and an adequate shooter from midrange. However, it was his blinding quickness and incredible speed and shiftiness that made him extremely difficult to guard in the open court, as he would regularly drive right past helpless defenders on his way to the hoop. Once in the paint, Archibald was a veritable triple threat to either pass, lay the ball in or shoot for two points.
5. William Everett “Billy” Preston, Musician who gained notoriety and fame, first as a session musician for the likes of Sam Cooke, Ray Charles and The Beatles, and later finding fame as a solo artist with hits such as “Outta Space”, “Space Race”, “Will It Go Round in Circles” and “Nothing from Nothing”.
Alongside Tony Sheridan, Billy Preston was the only other musician to be credited on a Beatles recording after he was credited on the group’s number-one hit, “Get Back”, with the record title listed as The Beatles with Billy Preston.
6. John R. Thompson, Jr., is an American former basketball coach for the Georgetown University Hoyas. He is now a professional radio and TV sports commentator. In 1984, he became the first African American head coach to win a major collegiate championship, capturing the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship when Georgetown defeated the University of Houston 84–75.