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Archive for the ‘Negro League’ Category

Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For October 14

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.

Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For Sept 17

Andrew (Rube) Foster

1. Andrew “Rube” Foster, baseball player, manager, and pioneer executive in the Negro leagues. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981.

Jack McDuff

2. Brother Jack McDuff, jazz organist and organ trio bandleader who was most prominent during the hard bop and soul jazz era of the 1960s, often performing with an organ trio.

LaMonte McLemore

3. LaMonte McLemore, R&B Singer (Fifth Demensions), Entertainer Lamonte  McLemore graduated from  High School in1952 and enlisted in the United States Navy, where he worked as an aerial photographer.

Athletically gifted, McLemore was the first African American athlete to try out for the St. Louis Cardinals. He moved to Los Angeles and landed a short lived minor league contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers as a strong-arm pitcher.
In 1958, McLemore began his career as a photographer with Halmont Graphics, a company he co-partnered. He became the first African American photographer hired by Harper’s Bazaar magazine and the photographer chosen to shoot Stevie Wonder’s first album cover. McLemore has been a photographer for Jet and Ebony magazines for over forty years.

BeBe Winans

4. BeBe Winans, a gospel and R&B singer. He is a member of the noted Winans family, most members of which are also gospel artists.

Doug E. Fresh

5. Douglas E. Davis, better known by the stage name Doug E. Fresh, is an Rapp Artist, record producer, and beat boxer, also known as “the Human Beat Box”. One of the early pioneers of beat boxing, Fresh is able to accurately imitate drum machines and various special effects using only his mouth, throat and a microphone.

Malik Yoba

6. Abdul-Malik Kashie Yoba, better known by his stage name Malik Yoba, is an  actor and occasional singer. He is perhaps best known for his starring role as NYPD Detective J.C. Williams on the FOX police drama series New York Undercover. Currently, he appears as former FBI Special Agent Bill Harken on the Syfy drama series Alphas.

Hi Five

7. Marcus Sanders, R&B Singer, Member of Hi-Five formed in 1990 in Waco, Texas. Members also included Tony Thompson, Roderick Clark, Russell Neal, and Toriano Easley. They were signed to Jive Records who helped them release their first album, the self-titled Hi-Five, in 1990.  Hi-Five broke up in 1994.

Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For August 10

1. Anna Julia Haywood Cooper, Author, educator, and one of the most prominent African American scholars in United States history. Upon receiving her Ph.D in history from the University of Paris-Sorbonne in 1924, Cooper became the fourth African American woman to earn a doctorate degree. She was also a prominent member of Washington, D.C.’s African American community.

2. Era Bell Thompson, graduate of the University of North Dakota (UND) and an editor of Ebony magazine. She was also a recipient of the governor of North Dakota’s Roughrider Award. A multicultural center at UND is named after her.

3. Willie James Wells, shortstop who played from 1924-48 for various teams in the Negro Leagues.

4. George William Crockett Jr., Attorney, jurist, and politician from the U.S. state of Michigan. He also served as a national vice-president of the National Lawyers Guild and co-founded what is believed to be the first racially-integrated law firm in the United States. He was associated with the history of the infamous murder of civil rights activists James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner.

5. Arnett Cleophus Cobb, jazz tenor saxophonist. He worked with trumpeter Chester Boone for two years and left to play with Milton Larkin in 1936. Cobb played with Larkin’s band for six years while it toured the country; its clubs included the Apollo Theatre in Harlem and the Rhumboogie Club in Chicago owned by boxer Joe Louis.

6. Veronica (Ronnie) Bennett-Spector, Lead singer for the Ronettes

7. Patti Austin, Grammy-winning R&B and jazz music singer. She made her debut at the Apollo Theater at age four and had a contract with RCA Records when she was only five. Quincy Jones and Dinah Washington have proclaimed themselves as her godparents.

8. Clarence Cameron White, neoromantic composer and concert violinist. Dramatic works by the composer were his best-known, such as the incidental music for the play Tambour and the opera Ouanga. During the first decades of the twentieth century, White was considered the foremost violinist of his race. He was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African Americans.

9. John Starks, a retired American professional basketball player who gained fame while playing at shooting guard for the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association in the 1990s. Starks was listed at 6’5″ (1.96 m) and 190 pounds (86 kg) during his NBA playing career.

10. Michael Bivens, founder and member of the R&B group New Edition and the hip hop group Bell Biv DeVoe.

11. Riddick Lamont Bowe, retired American boxer and former undisputed heavyweight champion. He is best remembered for his trilogy of fights with Evander Holyfield and two brutal bouts with Andrew Golota. Bowe’s only professional defeat came by a majority decision loss to Holyfield.

Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For February 08

1. Lonnie Johnson  (Alonzo Johnson), Blues Artist  “Another Night To Cry

2. Floyd Dixon, Vocalist and pianist  “Hey Bartender

3. Otis Leaville, Singer and songwriter and producer  “Love Uprising

4. Gary Coleman,  actor, known for his childhood role as Arnold Jackson in the American sitcom Diff’rent Strokes (1978–1986) and for his small stature as an adult. He was described in the 1980s as “one of television’s most promising stars”. After a successful childhood acting career.

5.  Joseph Black, was a right-handed pitcher in Negro League and Major League Baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Cincinnati Redlegs, and Washington Senators who became the first black pitcher to win a World Series game, in 1952.

A native of Plainfield, New Jersey, he starred at Plainfield High School.  Black attended on a baseball scholarship and graduated from Morgan State University in 1950 and later received an honorary doctorate from Shaw University. He was a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity. He appears prominently in Roger Kahn’s classic book, The Boys of Summer.

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