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

Silas Joseph Si Simmons

1. Silas Joseph “Si” Simmons, semi-professional and professional baseball player for African-American teams in the pre-Negro League era, and became the longest-lived professional baseball player in history. 

James Son Thomas

2. James “Son” Thomas, Delta blues musician, gravedigger and sculptor from Leland, Mississippi

Jimmy Liggins

3. Jimmy Liggins,  R&B Vocalist, guitarist and bandleader.  Liggins started out as a professional boxer at age 18 under the name of Kid Zulu, then he quit boxing and took up driving his brother Joe’s outfit around on tour.   Following the success of his brother, Jimmy Liggins started his own recording career as a singer, guitarist, and leader of the ‘Drops of Joy’, on Art Rupe’s Specialty label in 1947.   One of his early releases, “Cadillac Boogie” was a direct forerunner of “Rocket 88”, itself often called the first rock and roll record.

Recordings such as “Tear Drop Blues” (1948) and, later, “I Ain’t Drunk” (1953), featuring leading saxophone players such as Maxwell Davis, made him one of the most successful bandleaders in the jump blues period of the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Liggins left Specialty in 1954, recording “I Ain’t Drunk” (1954), later covered by Albert Collins, at Aladdin, before fading from the scene.  His wild stage presence and manic delivery also had a direct and lasting impact on Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Bill Haley.

Karyn White

4. Karyn White, Pop and R&B singer who became popular during the late 1980s.


5. Usher Terry Raymond IV, who performs under the mononym Usher, is a singer-songwriter, dancer, entrepreneur, and actor. He is considered around the world to be the reigning King of R&B.   Usher rose to fame in the late 1990s with the release of his second album My Way, which spawned his first Billboard Hot 100 number-one hit, “Nice and Slow”. His follow-up album, 8701, produced the Billboard Hot 100 number one hits “U Remind Me” and “U Got It Bad”. Both albums sold over 8 million copies worldwide, establishing Usher as one of the best-selling R&B artists of the 1990s.

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