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

John Wesley Cromwell

1. John Wesley Cromwell, journalist and educator, was born into slavery in Portsmouth, Virginia on September 5, 1846. After receiving freedom, Cromwell and his family moved to Philadelphia. In 1865, Cromwell returned to Portsmouth at the age of eighteen and opened a private school for freedmen in Portsmouth, , which failed due to racial harassment and replaced by programs held by the American Missionary Association.. Cromwell entered Howard University in Washington, D. C. in 1871. He received a law degree and was admitted to the bar in 1874. Cromwell was the first African American to practice law for the Interstate Commerce Commission.

Cromwell founded the weekly paper The People’s Advocate in 1876. In 1881, Cromwell was elected President of Bethel Library and Historical Association in Washington, D. C. Cromwell used this position to generate interest in African American history. He inspired the foundation of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in 1915.

Sunnyland Slim

2. Sunnyland Slim (Albert Luandrew), blues pianist, who was born in the Mississippi Delta and later moved to Chicago, to contribute to that city’s post-war scene as a center for blues music. He performed with many of the popular blues musicians of the day. His stage name came from a song he composed about the Sunnyland train that ran between Memphis and St. Louis, Missouri.   In 1942 he followed the great migration of southern workers to the industrial north in Chicago.  Through the years Sunnyland Slim played with such musicians as Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf Robert Lockwood, Jr., and Little Walter.

Buddy Miles

3. George Allen Miles, Jr., known as Buddy Miles, was an American rock and funk drummer, most known as a founding member of The Electric Flag in 1967, then as a member of Jimi Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys from 1969 through to January 1970.

Terry Ellis

4. Terry Lynn Ellis, R&B singer best known for her work with the all female quartet En Vogue.

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