1. Willie Dean McGee, is a retired professional baseball player who won two batting titles and was named Major League Baseball’s 1985 National League MVP. McGee primarily played center and right field, winning three Gold Glove Awards for defensive excellence. McGee spent the majority of his 18-year career playing for the St. Louis Cardinals, helping the Cardinals win the 1982 World Series with his outstanding performance in Game 3 of that series. A four-time All-Star, McGee accumulated 2,254 hits during his career.
2. Orlando Luis Merced Villanueva, is a former Major League Baseball first Baseman and outfielder. He played all or part of thirteen seasons in the majors for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1990–1996), Toronto Blue Jays (1997),Minnesota Twins (1998), Boston Red Sox (1998), Chicago Cubs (1998), Montreal Expos(1999), and Houston Astros (2001–2003). He also played one season for the Orix BlueWave(2000) in Japan.
3. Cornell Iral Haynes, Jr., better known by his stage name Nelly, is a Grammy Award winning Rapp Artist, actor and entrepreneur. He has performed with the rap group St. Lunatics since 1993 and signed to Universal Records in 1999. Under Universal, Nelly began his solo career in 2000 with his debut album Country Grammar, the title track of which was a top ten hit. The album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 and went on to peak at number one. Country Grammar is Nelly’s best-selling album to date, selling over 8.4 million copies in the United States.His following album, Nellyville, produced the number-one hits “Hot in Herre” and “Dilemma” featuring Kelly Rowland. Other singles included “Work It” featuring Justin Timberlake, “Air Force Ones” featuring Murphy Lee and the St. Lunatics, “Pimp Juice” and “#1”.
1. Mahalia Jackson, gospel singer. Possessing a powerful contralto voice,she was referred to as “The Queen of Gospel”. Jackson became one of the most influential gospel singers in the world, and was heralded internationally as a singer and civil rights activist; entertainer Harry Belafonte called her “the single most powerful black woman in the United States”. She recorded about 30 albums (mostly for Columbia Records) during her career, and her 45 rpm records included a dozen “golds”—million-sellers
2. Edward Brooke, U.S. Senator 1967–1979, Republican from Massachusetts. Politician and was the first African American to be elected by popular vote to the United States Senate when he was elected as a Republican from Massachusetts in 1966, defeating his Democratic opponent,Endicott Peabody, 60.7%–38.7%. He was also the first African American elected to the Senate since the 19th century, when selection came from state legislatures, and would remain the only person of African heritage sent to the Senate in the 20th century until Democrat Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois in 1993, and was the last Republican Senator elected from Massachusetts until the 2010 election of Scott Brown. He is also the only African American reelected to the Senate.
3. William (Bootsy) Collins, Musician (Bootsy’s Rubber Band/Parliament), funk bassist, singer, and songwriter. Rising to prominence with James Brown in the late 1960s, and with Parliament-Funkadelic in the ’70s, Collins’s driving bass guitar and humorous vocals established him as one of the leading names in funk.Collins is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted in 1997 with fifteen other members of Parliament-Funkadelic.
4. Vice Admiral Regina Marcia Benjamin, USPHS, physician who serves as the 18th Surgeon General of the United States. Dr. Benjamin previously directed a nonprofit primary care medical clinic in Bayou La Batre,Alabama.
1. Edith Spurlock Sampson, was a Lawyer and judge, and the first Black Woman Delegate appointed to the United Nations. She studied law while working as a social worker in Chicago, taking night courses at John Marshall Law School,
2. Arnaud Wendell Bontemps, Was a Writer (100 years of Negro Freedom), Poet and a noted member of the Harlem Renaissance.
3. Art Tatum, jazz pianist and virtuoso who played with phenomenal facility despite being nearly blind. Tatum is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time. He came from a musical family and when younger had some formal training at the Toledo School of Music, however he was largely self-taught. His teacher there recognized his talents and tried to steer him towards as a career as a classical concert pianist. Tatum was more interested in the music of Fats Waller, which would be a strong influence on his music. At 18 he was playing interludes at a local radio station and within a short period of time he had his own show. In 1932 he was heard by the singer Adelaide Hall who brought him to New York as her accompanist. One year later he made his first recordings, among which was “Tiger Rag”. This song which features breakneck tempo and rippling left- and right-hand cascades and crashing bass notes had every pianist in the country amazed by his astonishing dexterity. While in New York he established his reputation in “cutting contests” with other top pianists, which he never lost. He spent the next few years playing in Cleveland, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles and even England in 1938. During this time he established himself as a major figure in jazz circles. In the early 1940s Tatum formed an extremely popular trio with bassist Slam Stewart and guitarist Tiny Grimes. He spent much of the next decade touring North America. In 1953 Tatum signed by producer Norman Granz and recorded extensively both as a soloist and in small groups with Benny Carter, soloist and in small groups with Benny Carter, Buddy De Franco, Roy Eldridge, Lionel Hampton, Ben Webster and others. His incredible talent allowed him to be extremely productive during this time. Ray Spencer in his biography, noted that Tatum was constantly “refining and honing down after each performance until an ideal version remained needing no further adjustments”. This allowed him to achieve a remarkable work rate. For example, his solo sessions for Granz were mostly completed in two days. That is a total of 69 tracks and all but three of them needed only one take.
4. Jesse Leroy Brown, was the first African-American naval aviator in the United States Navy. Brown enlisted in the Naval Reserve in 1946 and was appointed a Midshipman, at the Ohio State University NROTC the following year. After attending Navy pre-flight school and flight training, he was designated a Naval Aviator in October 1948. Midshipman Brown was then assigned to Fighter Squadron 32. He received his commission as Ensign in April 1949.
5. Ray Brown, Jazz Bassist, had piano lessons from the age of eight. After noticing how many pianists attended his high school, he thought of taking up the trombone, but was unable to afford one. With a vacancy in the high school jazz orchestra, he took up the upright bass.
6. Shirley Caesar, Evangelist, Gospel Singer, songwriter and recording artist whose career has spanned six decades. A multi-award winning artist, with eleven Grammy Awards and seven Dove Awards to her credit, she is known as “First Lady of gospel”.
7. Pharaoh Sanders, is a Grammy Award–winning American jazz saxophonist. Emerging from John Coltrane’s groups of the mid-60s Sanders is known for his overblowing, harmonic, and multi phonic techniques on the saxophone, as well as his use of “sheets of sound.”
8. Demond Wilson, is an actor, author, and pastor. He is best known for his role opposite Redd Foxx as Fred Sanford’s son, Lamont Sanford, in the 1970s NBC-TV sitcom Sanford and Son.
9. Reggie Theus, is an assistant coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves. He is also a retired basketball player and the former head coach for the NBA’s Sacramento Kings.
10. Jerry Rice, is a retired football wide receiver. He is generally regarded as the greatest wide receiver of all time and one of the greatest players in National Football League history. On November 4, 2010, Rice was chosen by NFL Network’s NFL Films production The Top 100: NFL’s Greatest Players as the greatest player in NFL history.
The all-time leader in most major statistical categories for wide receivers and the all-time NFL leader in touchdowns scored with 208, Rice was selected to the Pro Bowl 13 times (1986–1996, 1998, 2002) and named All-Pro 11 times in his 20 NFL seasons. He won three Super Bowl rings playing for the San Francisco 49ers and an AFC Championship with the Oakland Raiders.
11. Tisha Michelle Campbell-Martin, is an actress and singer, known for her starring roles in television series Martin and My Wife and Kids and now is starring in the new television series “The Protector”. Apart from her achievements in television, she also has notable accomplishments in film (including the House Party franchise), theater, and music.
12. Ashanti, Ashanti Shequoiya Douglas, Rapp and R&B recording artist, record producer and actress who rose to fame in the early 2000s and then largely faded from view. Ashanti is most famous for her eponymous debut album, which featured the hit song “Foolish”, and sold over 503,000 copies in its first week of release throughout the U.S. in April 2002. The album set a Soundscan record as the biggest opening week sales for a new female artist. In the same week, she became the first female performer to simultaneously hold the top two places on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart with “Foolish”, and “What’s Luv?” (with Fat Joe). Ashanti broke records again by having three top ten songs, “Foolish,” “What’s Luv?” and “Always on Time”, on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in the same week, being the first woman to accomplish this feat. In 2003, the self-titled debut album won Ashanti her first Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B album. As of 2011, she has sold more than 30 million albums.
2. Robert (Kool) Bell, Rhythm & Blues Singer, songwriter, and bassist, who is the founding member of the jazz/R&B/soul/funk/disco band, Kool & the Gang.
3. Cece Winans, Grammy Award winning Gospel and Rhythem & Blues Artist, She has won five Grammy Awards, 18 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards and several gold and platinum-selling albums. CeCe’s collection of Top Ten R&B radio hits include “Count on Me,” her powerhouse duet with Whitney Houston, from the multi-platinum Waiting to Exhale soundtrack. The multi-format smash single sold 2 million copies and hit the Top Ten on pop, R&B and adult contemporary charts. Her successful music career has also landed her in the national media spotlight with television appearances on “Oprah,” “The Tonight Show,” “The Rosie O’Donnell Show,” “Live with Regis & Kathie Lee”, the White House and many more.
4. Nick Cannon, actor, comedian, rapper, entrepreneur, record producer, radio, and television personality. On television, Cannon began as a teenage sketch comedian on All That before going on to host The Nick Cannon Show, Wild ‘N Out, and America’s Got Talent. He acted in the films Drumline, Love Don’t Cost a Thing, and Roll Bounce.
1. William Sill, Chronicler of The Underground Railroad Records, abolitionist, conductor on the Underground Railroad, writer, historian and civil rights activist.
2. Sargent Claude Johnson, Harlem Renaissance Sculptor, was one of the first Californian African-American artists to achieve a national reputation. He was known for Abstract Figurative and Early Modern styles. He was a painter, potter, ceramist, printmaker, graphic artist, sculptor, and carver. He worked with a variety of media, including ceramic, clay, oil, stone, terra-cotta, watercolor, and wood.
3. Clarence Muse, an actor, screenwriter, director, composer, and lawyer. He was inducted in the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame in 1973. Muse was the first African American to “star” in a film. He acted for more than sixty years, and appeared in more than 218 movies.
4. Elijah Muhammad (born Elijah Robert Poole), was a religious leader, and led the Nation of Islam from 1934 until his death in 1975. Muhammad was a mentor to Malcolm X, Louis Farrakhan, Muhammad Ali; and his son Warith Deen Mohammed.
5. Desmond Tutu, is a South African activist and retired Anglican bishop who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid. He was the first black South African Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa and primate of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa (now the Anglican Church of Southern Africa).
6. Toni Braxton, R&B singer, songwriter and actress. Braxton has won six Grammy Awards, seven American Music Awards, and five Billboard Music Awards and has sold over 60 million records worldwide.
7. Omar Benson Miller, actor. He has played minor roles in various television shows and movies, including Sex, Love & Secrets, American Pie Presents: Band Camp, Get Rich Or Die Tryin’, The Express, Transformers and 8 Mile.
Miller has signed on as a CSI: Miami regular. Starting October 5, 2009, Miller is appearing on the crime drama as Walter Simmons, a Louisiana native and art theft specialist who joins the team led by Horatio (David Caruso).
1. Oscar Pettiford, was a jazz double bassist, cellist and composer known particularly for his pioneering work in bebop.
In 1942 he joined the Charlie Barnet band and in 1943 gained wider public attention after recording with Coleman Hawkins on his “The Man I Love.” He also recorded with Earl Hines and Ben Webster around this time. He and Dizzy Gillespie led a bop group in 1943. In 1945 Pettiford went with Hawkins to California, where he appeared in The Crimson Canary, a mystery movie known for its jazz soundtrack, which also featured Josh White. He then worked with Duke Ellington from 1945 to 1948 and for Woody Herman in 1949 before working mainly as a leader in the 1950s.
As a leader he inadvertently discovered Cannonball Adderley. After one of his musicians had tricked him into letting Adderley, an unknown music teacher, onto the stand, he had Adderley solo on a demanding piece, on which Adderley performed impressively.
2. Cissy Houston, a Grammy Award–winning American soul and gospel singer. She led a very successful career as a backup singer for such artists as, Mahalia Jackson, Wishbone Ash and Aretha Franklin, and is now primarily a solo artist. She is the mother of singer and actress Whitney Houston and aunt of Dionne Warwick and the late Dee Dee Warwick.
In 1963, then about to give birth to daughter Whitney Houston, she formed the Sweet Inspirations which yielded the hits “Sweet Inspiration”, “I’m Blue”, “Why Am I Treated So Bad”. Additional founding members were Doris Troy and niece Dee Dee Warwick. Later members (and the ones she recorded with on the Atlantic label) were Sylvia Shemwell, Estelle Brown and Myrna Smith. Throughout the mid-1960s, the group provided backup vocals for several artists, including Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Lou Rawls, Otis Redding, The Drifters, Dusty Springfield, Jimi Hendrix, and Van Morrison (for “Brown Eyed Girl”). Houston is the operatic soprano in the background on Franklin’s hit, “Ain’t No Way”. The group also sang backup for Elvis Presley in Las Vegas on his return to live performances during July and August 1969, and for Cissy’s niece Dionne Warwick. Houston left the Sweet Inspirations in 1969 to pursue a solo career
3. Johnny Mathis, Pop music singer. Starting his career with singles of standards, he became highly popular as an album artist, with several dozen of his albums achieving gold or platinum status, and 73 making the Billboard charts. Johnny Mathis has sold 350 million records worldwide.
4. Z. Z. Hill (Arzell Hill), blues singer, in the soul blues tradition, known for his 1970s and 1980s recordings for Malaco. His 1982 album, Down Home, stayed on the Billboard soul album chart for nearly two years. The track “Down Home Blues” has been called the best-known blues song of the 1980s. This track plus the songs “Someone Else Is Steppin’ In”, and “Open House” have become R&B/Southern soul standards.
5. Elombe Brath, political activist,talk show host and co-founder of the Patrice Lumumba Coalition and cofounder of the first Naturally Natural (hair)beauty contest is born.
6. Frankie Lymon, R&B/Doo-Wop Musician. A native of the Harlem district of New York City, New York, Frank J. ‘Frankie’ Lymon was considered one of the first African-American teenage pop stars. The multi-talented Lymon formed the music group, ‘Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers,’ in 1956, at the age of 13, and installed himself as there lead singer. The other members of the group included Herman Santiago, Jimmy Merchant, and the late Joe Negroni and Sherman Garnes. The group soon released there debut single, ‘Why Do Falls In Love,’ which landed on the music charts and became a Top 40 hit.
7. Marilyn McCoo, Songstress (5th Dimensions) and later teamed with her husband Billy Davis Jr. they both were former members of the fifth Dimentions
8. Patrice Rushen, a Grammy Award-winning R&B and jazz vocalist, composer and pianist.
1. Abriea “Abbie” Mitchell, also billed as Abbey Mitchell, was an American soprano opera singer who sang the role of “Clara” in the premier production of George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess in 1935.
2. Roosevelt “Booba” Barnes, was a Delta blues musician.
3. Scottie Pippen, a retired American professional basketball player who played in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is most remembered for his time with the Chicago Bulls, with whom he was instrumental in six NBA Championships and their record 1995–96 season of 72 wins. Pippen, along with Michael Jordan, played an important role in transforming the Bulls team into a vehicle for popularizing the NBA around the world during the 1990s.
4.Willard Christopher “Will” Smith, Jr., is a Grammy award winning actor, producer, and Rapp Artist. He has enjoyed success in music, television (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) and film (Independence Day, Men In Black I & II, I Robot)
5. T.I., Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr., Grammy Award-winning rapper, producer, actor and co-CEO/founder of Grand Hustle Records.
1. Gus Cannon, blues musician who helped to popularize jug bands (such as his own Cannon’s Jug Stompers) in the 1920s and 1930s.
2. Alger “Texas” Alexander, blues singer from Jewett, Texas. In November 1928, Alexander recorded what has been believed by some to be the earliest version of “The House of the Rising Sun.” However it is actually a completely different song called The Rising Sun. Other songs he recorded include “Mama’s Bad Luck Child,” “Sittin’ on a Log,” “Texas Special,” “Broken Yo Yo” and “Don’t You Wish Your Baby was Built Up Like Mine?”. He was the cousin and uncle of Texas country blues guitarists Lightnin’ Hopkins and Frankie Lee Sims respectively.
3. Jesse Owens, Track and field athlete who specialized in the sprints and the long jump. He participated in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany, where he achieved international fame by winning four gold medals: one each in the 100 meters, the 200 meters, the long jump, and as part of the 4×100 meter relay team. He was the most successful athlete at the 1936 Summer Olympics, a victory more poignant and often noted because Adolf Hitler had intended the 1936 games to showcase his Aryan ideals and prowess.
He has the Jesse Owens Award accolade named after him in honor of his significant career.
4. Jewel Akens, singer and record producer. He first recorded with Eddie Daniels as Jewel and Eddie on the Silver Records label in 1960. A number of his recordings featured Eddie Cochran on guitar.
He later went solo and recorded “The Birds And The Bees” in 1965, on the Era Records label. The single went to Number 3 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart that year, and Number 2 on the Cash Box chart.
5. Barry White, Composer, record producer and singer-songwriter. A five-time Grammy Award-winner known for his rich bass voice and romantic image, White’s greatest success came in the 1970s as a solo singer and with his Love Unlimited Orchestra, crafting many enduring hit soul, funk, and disco songs. Worldwide, White had many gold and platinum albums and singles, with combined sales of over 100 million.
6. Vernon Maxwell, retired professional basketball player who played in the NBA from 1988-2001, with his longest tenure being with the Houston Rockets. The nickname “Mad Max” was bestowed upon Maxwell by color commentators for his clutch three-point shooting, which reached its pinnacle in the deciding game of the 1994 NBA Finals between Houston and New York.
7. Jesse Powell, Grammy-nominated American R&B/soul songwriter-singer. His sisters, Trina & Tamara Powell are also singers as well.
8. Christopher Theodore Ruben Studdard , best known as Ruben Studdard, is an American R&B, pop, and gospel singer. He rose to fame as winner of the second season of American Idol. He received a Grammy Award nomination in December 2003 for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for “Superstar.”
9. Jennifer Kate Hudson, recording artist, actress and spokesperson. She came to prominence in 2004 as one of the finalists on the third season of American Idol coming in seventh place. She made her film debut in the 2006 film Dreamgirls, which won her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA Award, an NAACP Image Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award.
She won a Grammy Award for her eponymous debut album, Jennifer Hudson, which was released in 2008 on Arista Records and was certified gold by the RIAA for selling over 800,000 copies in the US; sales exceeded 1 million copies worldwide. Additionally, it spawned the hit single Spotlight. Her second album I Remember Me was released in March 2011, and has reached number two on the Billboard 200, selling 165,000 copies in its first week of release.
In late 2008, after Hudson’s mother, brother and nephew were killed in a shooting, Hudson stepped out of the limelight for three months. Hudson resumed her public appearances in 2009, and has since performed at the Super Bowl XLIII, the Grammy Awards, American Idol, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. Hudson has been described as a friend of President Barack Obama, who invited her to appear with him at a fundraiser in Beverly Hills in May 2009. She also performed at the White House at the “Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement” event. Her vocal range is mezzo-soprano
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.
3. Jesse Lamont Martin (Jesse Lamont Watkins), theatre, film, and television actor. He is best known for originating the role of Tom Collins in the Broadway theatrical production of Rent, and for his portrayal of NYPD Detective Ed Green on the NBC drama television series Law & Order.
5. Estelle Fanta Swaray, commonly known as Estelle, and formerly as Est’elle, is an English R&B singer-songwriter, rapper and record producer. In 2009, she won a Grammy Award for American Boy featuring Kanye West in the category for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration as well receiving the MOBO for ‘Best Newcomer’ and received three consecutive ‘Best Female Artist’ trophies from the UK Hip-Hop Awards.
6. Elijah Eugene Cummings, U.S. Representative for Maryland’s 7th congressional district, serving since 1996. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district includes just over half of Baltimore City, as well as most of Howard County. He previously served in the Maryland House of Delegates.
7. Benjamin Todd Jealous, is the current president and chief executive officer of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He is the youngest ever national leader of the organization.