1. Benjamin Banneker, self-educated scientist, astronomer, inventor, writer, and antislavery publicist. He built a striking clock entirely from wood, published a Farmers’ Almanac for 10 years, completed the design and layout of Washington, D.C., and actively campaigned against slavery. He was one of the first African Americans to gain distinction in science.
2. Dorothy Dandridge, actress and popular singer, and was the first African-American to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. She performed as a vocalist in venues such as the Nathan Featherston and the Apollo Theater.
After several minor bit parts in films, Dandridge landed her first noted film role in Tarzan’s Peril (starring Lex Barker), in 1951. Dandridge won her first starring role in 1953, playing a teacher in a low-budget film with a nearly all-black cast, Bright Road, released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
She was nominated in 1954 for an Academy Award for Best Actress and a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Carmen Jones, and in 1959 she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for Porgy and Bess. In 1999, she was the subject of the HBO biopic Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, starring Halle Berry as Dandridge. She has been recognized on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
3. Dion James, Major League Baseball Player, played as left and center fielder for an eleven-year career from 1983–1985, 1987–1990, 1992–1993, 1995-1996. James starred at C.K. McClatchy High School in Sacramento, California before being selected by the Milwaukee Brewers in the first round (25th overall) in the 1980 Amateur Entry Draft. He played for the Brewers, Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees all of the American League and the Atlanta Braves of the National League. James was the Brewers’ Rookie of the Year in 1984
4. Sandra Denton, known as Pepa, Is a Rapp and hip hop artist, actress, and a member of the female rap trio Salt-N-Pepa.
5. Mark Durrell Andrews, known by his stage name Sisqó, is an R&B singer and actor. He is best known as the lead singer of R&B group Dru Hill, and also for “Thong Song”, a song from his first solo LP, Unleash the Dragon, that became an international hit.