1. Napoleon Whiting, was an American character actor. He played many bit parts, often un-credited, as a menial worker such as the butler, a stereotypical role.
Whiting was best known to television audiences for his work as Silas on The Big Valley, a typecast but highly visible role.
2. Leroy Eliot “Slam” Stewart, was a jazz bass player whose trademark style was his ability to bow the bass (arco) and simultaneously hum or sing an octave higher. He was originally a violin player before switching to bass at the age of 20.
3. Alfonso Lincoln Ribeiro, actor, director, dancer, game show host, and comedian. While he received attention for his performance in the title role of the Broadway musical The Tap Dance Kid and his appearance as a dancer in a Pepsi commercial featuring Michael Jackson, Ribeiro is best known for his role as Carlton Banks on the NBC sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
5. Nicole Camille Richie, fashion designer, author, actress, Singer and television personality. Richie is the adopted daughter of R&B and soul singer Lionel Richie and his then-wife Brenda Harvey. Richie is perhaps best known for her role in the Fox reality television series The Simple Life. In recent years Richie has focused on charity work and environmental issues. In November 2007 Richie and husband Joel Madden created “The Richie Madden Children’s Foundation”.
6. David Jude Jolicoeur, also known under the stage name Trugoy and more recently Dave, is an American rapper, producer, and one third of groundbreaking hip hop trio De La Soul.
7. Cecil Grant Fielder, is a former professional baseball player who was a noted power hitter in the 1980s and 1990s. He attended college at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). He played with the Toronto Blue Jays (1985–88), Detroit Tigers (1990–96), New York Yankees (1996–97), Anaheim Angels and Cleveland Indians (both in 1998). In 1990, he became the first player to reach the 50-home run mark since George Foster hit 52 for the Cincinnati Reds in 1977. He is the father of Milwaukee Brewers power hitting first baseman Prince Fielder, who in 2007 reached the 50-home run mark as his father had done.
1. Rose McClendon born Rose Virginia Scott McClendon, wa a leading Broadway actress of the 1920s. Rose McClendon, the “Negro first lady of the dramatic stage” was born in Greenville, SC under the name of Rosalie Virginia Scott. Rose was born circa in 1885 in South Carolina and as a child relocated to New York City. She started acting in church plays as a child, but did not become a professional actress until she won a scholarship to the American Academy of Dramatic Art, when she was in her thirties.
Her first claim to fame came in Deep River, a “native opera with jazz”, in 1926. In addition to acting, she also directed several plays at the Harlem Experimental Theatre.
She was a contemporary of Paul Robeson, Ethel Barrymore, Lynne Fontanne and Langston Hughes. Hughes wrote a character for her in his 1935 play, Mulatto. Her talent extended to directing as well as acting. She co-founded the Negro People’s Theatre in Harlem (1935). A year later McClendon died of pneumonia. Her co-founder and his wife, Dick Campbell and Murial Rahn, founded the Rose McClendon players.
2. Lester Willis Young, nicknamed “Prez”, was an American jazz tenor saxophonist and clarinetist. He also played trumpet, violin, and drums. Coming to prominence while a member of Count Basie’s orchestra, Young was one of the most influential players on his instrument, playing with a cool tone and using sophisticated harmonies. He invented or popularized much of the hipster ethos which came to be associated with the music.
3. Yolanda Adams, (born Yolanda Yvette Adams) is an American Grammy- and Dove-award winning Gospel music singerand radio show host. As of September 2009, she had sold 4.5 million albums since 1991 in the United States, according to SoundScan. On December 11, 2009 Billboard Magazine named her the 1st Gospel Artist of the last decade. In the same chart, her album “Mountain High…Valley Low” was acknowledged as the best gospel album.
4. Eric Bobo (born Eric Correa), son of Latin jazz musician Willie Bobo, is a percussionist and is a member of the bandsCypress Hill, and has also performed and recorded with the Beastie Boys throughout the 90s. He released his debut album Meeting Of The Minds on November 18, 2008 on Nacional Records.
5. Chandra Danette Wilson, actress and director, best known for her role as Dr. Miranda Bailey on the ABC television drama, Grey’s Anatomy. Born in Houston, Texas. She started her theater career at the age of five with the Houston-based Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS). Wilson attended Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and went on to the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, where she earned a BFA in drama.
6. Mase, Mason Durell Betha, Better known by stage name Mase (often type set as Ma$e) who was previously known asMurda Ma$e, is an American rapper, songwriter, actor and inspirational speaker. He was an artist on Sean “Diddy” Combs’s hip hop label Bad Boy Records during the late 1990s
7. Julie Dorne Brown, also known as Downtown Julie Brown (born 27 August 1959), is an English actress and former MTV VJ. Her father was in the Royal Air Force and she grew up on Air Force bases all around the world including England, Singapore, India and Cyprus and finally settled in Bridgend, Wales. After winning the UK Disco Dancing Championships she went on to win the World Disco Dancing Championship in 1979, soon after Brown began a career on British television as presenter and guest on a number of children’s programs, including the long-running entertainment show Crackerjack.
Brown became a presenter on pan-European music channel Music Box and eventually became an MTV VJ and went on to host the Club MTV show in the late 1980s. The show had a similar format to American Bandstand, but featured an exclusive lineup of dance music. From this came her famous catchphrase, “Wubba Wubba Wubba.”
1. Jack Teagarden, known as “Big T” and “The Swingin’ Gate”, was an influential jazz trombonist, bandleader, composer, and vocalist, regarded as the “Father of Jazz Trombone”.
2. William H. Gray, served as president and chief executive officer of the United Negro College Fund (1991–2004). He was an influential member of the United States House of Representatives in the 1980s serving as the Majority Whip until his resignation. As an African-American, he was the fourth highest ranking member of the House at the time of his resignation and a minister in Philadelphia. He is currently co-founder of the government lobbying and advisory firm, Gray Loeffler LLC, headquartered in Washington D.C.
3. Isaac Hayes, an American songwriter, musician, singer, and occasionally an actor. Hayes was one of the creative influences behind the southern soul music label Stax Records, where he served both as an in-house songwriter and as a record producer, teaming with his partner David Porter during the mid-1960s. Hayes, Porter, Bill Withers, the Sherman Brothers, Steve Cropper, and John Fogerty were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005 in recognition of writing scores of notable songs for themselves, the duo “Sam & Dave”, Carla Thomas, and others.
The hit song “Soul Man”, written by Hayes and Porter and first performed by “Sam & Dave”, has been recognized as one of the most influential songs of the past 50 years by the Grammy Hall of Fame. It was also honored by The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, by Rolling Stone magazine, and by the RIAA as one of the Songs of the Century.
During the late 1960s, Isaac Hayes also began recording music and he had several successful soul albums such as Hot Buttered Soul (1969) and Black Moses (1971). In addition to his work in popular music, he worked as a composer of musical scores for motion pictures.
He is well known for his musical score for the film Shaft (1971). For the “Theme from Shaft”, he was awarded the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1972. He became the third African-American, after Sidney Poitier and Hattie McDaniel, to win an Academy Award in any competitive field covered by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He also won two Grammy Awards for that same year. Later, he was given his third Grammy for his music album Black Moses.
In 1992, in recognition of humanitarian work there, he was crowned the honorary king of the Ada, Ghana region. He also acted in motion pictures and television, such as in the movie, I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, and as Gandolf “Gandy” Fitch in the TV series The Rockford Files (1974–1980). From 1997 to 2005, he lent his distinctive, deep voice to the character “Chef” on the animated TV series South Park.
His influences are Percy Mayfield, Big Joe Turner, James Brown, Jerry Butler, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, and psychedelic soul groups like The Chambers Brothers and Sly and the Family Stone. Allmusic.com says that Isaac Hayes is responsible for the evolution of disco and rap.
On August 5, 2003, Isaac Hayes was honored as a BMI Icon at the 2003 BMI Urban Awards for his enduring influence on generations of music makers. Throughout his songwriting career, Hayes received five BMI R&B Awards, two BMI Pop Awards, two BMI Urban Awards and six Million-Air citations. As of 2008, his songs generated more than 12 million performances.
4. Al Roker, an American television meteorologist as well as an actor and book author. He is best known as being the weather anchor on NBC’s Today. On Monday, July 20, 2009, he began co-hosting his new morning show, Wake Up with Al, on The Weather Channel, which airs weekdays from 6am to 7am ET, one hour earlier than Today. He holds an expired American Meteorological Society Television Seal, #238. He is the author of a murder mystery, entitled “The Morning Show Murders”, about a celebrity chef and morning television show host drawn into international intrigue and mayhem.
1. Gabriel Prosser, was a literate enslaved blacksmith who planned to lead a large slave rebellion in the Richmond area in the summer of 1800. However, information regarding the revolt was leaked prior to its execution, thus Gabriel’s plans were foiled. Gabriel, along with twenty-six members of the revolt, were hanged. In reaction, the Virginia and other legislatures passed restrictions on free blacks, as well as the education, movement and hiring out of the enslaved.
2. George Augustus Bridgetower, virtuoso violinist
3. George Washington Carver, scientist, botanist, educator, and inventor
4. Edgar Daniel(E. D.) Nixon, civil rights leader and union organizer who played a crucial role in organizing the famous Montgomery Bus Boycott in Montgomery, Alabama. Nixon also led the Montgomery branch of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters union, known as the Pullman Porters Union. Nixon also served as president of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Montgomery Welfare League, and the Montgomery Voters League.
5. Roy Butler, Jazz musician, learned how to play the tenor saxophone and began playing music in carnivals, minstrel shows, and small bands during his early years in Columbus, Ohio. He joined Sammy Stewart’s Orchestra and went to Chicago in 1922, playing local clubs. It was with this band that he made his first recordings and began clarinet and oboe lessons. Among his influences were Barney Bigard and Fletcher Henderson.
6. Beah Richards, actress of stage, screen and television. She was a poet, playwright and author.
She made numerous guest television appearances including recurrent roles on The Bill Cosby Show, Sanford and Son, Designing Women, The Practice, and ER (as Dr. Peter Benton’s mother.) She was the winner of two Emmy Awards, one in 1988 for her appearance on the series Frank’s Place, and another in 2000 for her appearance on The Practice.
7. William Henry “Bill” Cosby, Jr., comedian, actor, author, television producer, educator, musician and activist. A veteran stand-up performer, he got his start at various clubs, then landed a starring role in the 1960s action show, I Spy. He later starred in his own series, the situation comedy The Bill Cosby Show, in 1969. He was one of the major characters on the children’s television series The Electric Company for its first two seasons, and created the humorous educational cartoon series Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, about a group of young friends growing up in the city. Cosby has also acted in a number of films. During the 1980s, Cosby produced and starred in what is considered to be one of the decade’s defining sitcoms, The Cosby Show, which aired eight seasons from 1984 to 1992.
8. Denise Nicholas, actress and social activist who was involved in the American Civil Rights Movement. She is known primarily for her role as high school guidance counselor Liz McIntyre on the ABC comedy-drama series Room 222, and for her role as Councilwoman Harriet DeLong on the NBC/CBS drama series In the Heat of the Night.
9. Ruth-Miriam Garnett, poet, writer, and workshop coordinator. Garnett’s parents took her and her siblings to picket lines to protest segregated facilities in the St. Louis area when she was a child. After the protests, their friends and colleagues would gather in their family living room, sing freedom songs, and converse about contemporary politics. Garnett holds a BA in Social Anthropology and English and American Literature and Language from Harvard University. She has done further work in Anthropology at Columbia University and Dance Studies at Washington University in St. Louis.
10. Tonya Lee Williams, actress, best known for her role as Dr. Olivia Barber Winters on the American soap opera The Young and the Restless, from 1990 to 2005, and for a brief time in 2007. She returned to the series in the fall of 2008.
11. Rolonda Watts, actress and former television talk show host. She was the host of the Rolonda, a syndicated talk show which aired from 1994 to 1997. She is currently the announcer of the courtroom show Judge Joe Brown.
12. Lisa Nicole Carson, actress. She is best known for her work on U.S. television, including supporting roles in NBC’s ER and Fox’s Ally McBeal. Carson appeared in the roles simultaneously, but has since appeared in no other roles.
13. Phoebe Snow (Phoebe Ann Laub) singer, songwriter, and guitarist, best known for her 1975 hit “Poetry Man.”
1. Georgia Gordon Taylor, vocalist. became a fisk Jubilee Singer in 1872.
2. Benjamin Griffith Brawley, prominent author and educator. He studied at Atlanta Baptist College, the University of Chicago, and Harvard, and he taught at Atlanta Baptist College, Howard University, and Shaw University, serving as the Dean of Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA. He wrote a good deal of poetry, but is best known for his prose work including: History of Morehouse College (1917); The Negro Literature and Art (1918); A Short History of the American Negro (1919); A Short History of the English Drama (1921); A Social History of the American Negro (1921); A New Survey of English Literature (1925).
3. Charles Mingus, jazz musician, composer, bandleader, and human rights activist. Having released numerous records of high regard, Mingus is considered one of the most important composers and performers of jazz as well as a pioneer in bass technique. Dozens of musicians passed through his bands and later went on to impressive careers. Mingus was also influential and creative as a band leader, recruiting talented and sometimes little-known artists whom he assembled into unconventional and revealing configurations.
4. Norman Hill, Administrator, activist and labor leader. in the early 1960’s, Hill joined the the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), first as East Coast Field Secretary, then as National Program Director from 1961 to 1964. During those years he coordinated the Route 40 (from Baltimore to Washington, D.C) restaurant desegregation campaign, the Waldorf Astoria, A&P Stores, the Trailways Bus Company campaigns and he planned and directed the civil rights demonstration at the 1964 RNC.
5. Cathy Hughes (Catherine Elizabeth Woods), Entrepreneur, radio and television personality and business executive. Ms. Hughes founded the media company Radio One and later expanded into TV One, the company went public in 1998, making Catherine L. Hughes the first and only African-American female to head a publicly traded corporation. In the 1980’s, Cathy Hughes created the very successful urban radio format called The Quiet Storm.
6. Sherri Evonne Shepherd, comedienne, actress, and television personality. She is one of five co-hosts on the ABC daytime talk show, The View. As an actress, she is perhaps best known for her role on the sitcom Less Than Perfect and supporting film roles, most notably as Cornrows in the 2009 Oscar-nominated film Precious.
7. Helene Cooper, journalist who is a White House correspondent for the New York Times. Before that, she was the paper’s diplomatic correspondent in Washington, D.C.. She joined the Times in 2004 as assistant editorial page editor.
At The Wall Street Journal, Cooper wrote about trade, politics, race and foreign policy at the Washington and Atlanta bureaus from 1992 to 1997. From 1997 to 1999, she reported on the European Monetary Union from the London bureau. From 1999 to 2002, she was a reporter focusing on international economics; then assistant Washington bureau chief from 2002 to 2004.
In 2008, she published a memoir titled The House at Sugar Beach (Simon & Shuster). The memoir largely concerns the Liberian coup of 1980 and its effect on Cooper’s family, socially and politically-elite descendants of American freed slaves who colonized the country in the 19th century. The book received critical acclaimand was a National Books Critics Circle Award finalist for autobiography.
8. DJ Drama (born Tyree Cinque Simmons) is the DJ wtih wide experience in the mixtape game, perhaps best known for the “Gangsta Grillz” series. He has worked with a wide range of acts including T.I., Jime Jones, Saigon, Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy, Webbie, Little Brother, and the Pimp Squad Click (P$C). He’s also one third of the highly productive Aphilliates Music Group with DJ Don Cannon and DJ Sense. On January 16, 2007, DJ Drama, along with DJ Cannon, were arrested on RICO charges for selling CDs that did not have a publisher’s address.