1. Timothy (“T.”) Thomas Fortune, orator, civil rights leader, journalist, writer, editor and publisher.
Fortune started his education at Marianna’s first school for African Americans after the Civil War. He worked both as a page in the state senate and apprenticed as printer at a Jacksonville newspaper during the time that his father, Emanuel, was a Reconstruction politician in Florida. At one time he also worked at the Marianna Courier and later the Jacksonville Daily-Times Union. These experiences would be the start of a career wherein he would go on to have his work published in over twenty books and articles and in more than three hundred editorials.
Fortune went to work as an editor at the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League’s house organ, the Negro World, in 1923. At its height the Negro World had circulation of over 200,000. With distribution throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, and in Central America it may have been the most widely distributed newspaper in the world at that time. During his tenure at the Negro World, Fortune rubbed shoulders with such literary luminaries as Zora Neale Hurston, W.A. Domingo, Hubert Harrison, and John E. Bruce, among others.
Fortune moved to Red Bank, New Jersey in 1901, where he built his home, Maple Hill. The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 8, 1976 and the New Jersey Register of Historic Places on August 16, 1979.
2. Josephine “Mama Jo” Riley Matthews, Delivered over 1,300 babies as a licensed midwife.
3. Albert Collins, electric blues guitarist and singer (and occasional harmonica player) whose recording career began in the 1960s in Houston and whose fame eventually took him to stages across the US, Europe, Japan and Australia. He had many nicknames, such as “The Ice Man”, “The Master of the Telecaster” and “The Razor Blade”.
4. Chubby Checker, Rock-n-Roll Singer (The Twist).singer-songwriter. He also popularized the dance style Twist, with his 1960 hit cover of Hank Ballard’s R&B hit “The Twist”. In September 2008, “The Twist” topped Billboard’s list of the most popular singles to have appeared in the Hot 100 since its debut in 1958.
5. Ronnie Laws, jazz, blues and funk saxophonist. He is the younger brother of jazz flautist Hubert Laws.
6. Billy Branch, blues harp player and singer of Chicago blues and harmonica blues. blues harp player and singer of Chicago blues and harmonica blues
7. Dave Winfield, former Major League Baseball outfielder. He is currently Executive Vice President/Senior Advisor of the San Diego Padres and an analyst for the ESPN program Baseball Tonight. Over his 22-year career, he played for six teams: the San Diego Padres, New York Yankees, California Angels, Toronto Blue Jays, Minnesota Twins, and Cleveland Indians. In 2004, ESPN named him the third-best all-around athlete of all time in any sport. He is a member of both the Baseball Hall of Fame and the College Baseball Hall of Fame.
8. India Arie, is a Grammy Award-winning soul, R&B, and neo soul musician, songwriter, and producer. She has sold over 3.3 million records in the U.S. and 10 million worldwide. She has won four Grammy Awards, including Best R&B Album.