Here's the Perfect List of Successful and Famous African-Americans

List of Famous African-Americans
Many African-Americans from diverse fields have contributed greatly to the history of America. We have an African-American occupying the highest office of the country; indeed, Barack Obama's inauguration as the President of USA was a proud moment not only for African-Americans, but for everyone who believes in equality of races.
Historyplex Staff
The Achievements of African-Americans
We must not forget the centuries of struggle of African-Americans, who, like every one of us, dreamed of being judged by the content of their character rather than by their physical appearance. There have been (and are) numerous African-Americans who "had a dream" and worked tirelessly to make themselves and their country proud of their accomplishments. These achievers range from diverse fields, from entertainment and politics, to athletes and literature.
The Field of Entertainment
Michael Jackson (1958 - 2009)
Michael Jackson (1958 - 2009)
Singer | dancer | actor | entrepreneur
Michael Jackson is considered the greatest entertainer of all-time. He was one of those African-American celebrities whose fame transcended borders and religion. His album "Thriller" is the best-selling album of all-time. 'MJ' - as he was popularly known, was the winner of 13 Grammy Records, the Grammy Legend Award, Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and an Artist of the Century Award.
Michael Jackson's personal life generated controversy over allegations of sexual abuse of children. After a hiatus from music, Michael Jackson was preparing for a comeback with a series of concerts titled, "This Is It". However he died on June 25, 2009 due to intoxication caused due to prescription drugs.
Aaliyah (1979 - 2001)
Aaliyah (1979 - 2001)
Recording artist | dancer | actress | model
Aaliyah became a teen singing sensation at the age of 15. Her debut album, "Age Ain't Nothing But a Number", sold a million copies and earned platinum status. She continued to mesmerize her audience with her songs until she died in a plane crash in Bahamas, where she had gone to shoot a music video. Aaliyah is survived by her parents and an older brother.
Akon (Aliaune Damala Badara Akon Thiam (born 1973))
Akon (Aliaune Damala Badara Akon Thiam
Recording artist | songwriter | producer | businessman
Akon is the son of Mor Thiam - the great percussionist and Jazz musician. Akon traces his roots to Senegal, where he lived with his family until the age of 7, after which his family decided to move to USA. They settled in New Jersey, where Akon and his elder brother went to school. It is reported that Akon had a difficult time adjusting to the new country, and after a series of unlawful activities, he was sent to jail.
During his time in jail, Akon began to write his own songs. After being released, he started recording his songs at home, and one of his tapes got the attention of SRC/Universal - a music company - which released his first album "Trouble". After "Trouble", there has been no looking back for Akon, and he has become one of the most popular R&B artists of all-time.
Louis Armstrong (1901 - 1971)
Jazz trumpeter | singer
Louis Armstrong had a difficult childhood, as his father abandoned the family after his birth, and his mother often turned to prostitution to support the family. Due to his economic condition, he had to quit school and work odd-jobs, such as selling newspapers and supplying coal to the red-light district. Louis had a passion for music, and a Jewish family, the Karnofskys, encouraged him to pursue his passion.
It was in the year 1918 that Louis was able to focus completely on his music career as he joined one of the most popular bands in New Orleans - Kid Ory. In the following years, Louis became one of the most distinguished trumpeters of his time, and gave jazz music a new definition. He died in 1971, but the impact he left on the jazz scene continues to this day.
Baker, Josephine (Freda Josephine McDonald) (1906 - 1975)
Dancer | singer | actress
Josephine was born in St. Louis, Missouri. She faced extreme poverty in her childhood, and had to work odd-jobs to support her family. When she was growing up, she realized her interest in dancing and honed her skills.
Josephine gained success in Broadway, and soon found herself on the way to Paris, where she achieved enormous success. She gained international recognition with her performance in "La Folie du Jour", where she danced wearing a skirt made of sixteen bananas. She died of cerebral hemorrhage in April, 1975.
Tyra Banks (born 1973)
Tyra Banks (born 1973)
Model | author | actress | television personality
Tyra Banks made a mark for herself in fashion modeling and became a supermodel. She entered swimwear and lingerie modeling, and became a household name with young women. She has since dabbled in acting in films, but the reason for her popularity around the world is her television shows "America's Next Top Model" and "The Tyra Show".
Count Basie (William 'Count' Basie (1904 - 1984))
Jazz pianist | organist | bandleader | composer
William Basie was the leader of the Kansas city style swing band. He used to do operate lights for vaudeville acts. He had interests in drums and piano, but decided to opt for the latter. He formed his own jazz orchestra in 1935 and remained its leader for a period of fifty years. A radio announcer called him 'Count', and the name stayed on.
Angela Bassett (born 1958)
Angela Bassett (born 1958)
Actress
Angela Bassett is a critically-acclaimed American actress, having worked in films including "What's Love Got to Do with It, Malcolm X, Waiting to Exhale, Strange Days," and "The Score". Angela got public recognition with her role of "Betty Shabazz" in the 1992 blockbuster "Malcolm X". Apart from films, she has worked in numerous television serials, most notable among them being "Ruby's Bucket of Blood," and "ER".
Harry Belafonte (Harold George "Harry" Belafonte, Jr.) (born 1927)
Harry Belafonte
Singer, songwriter | actor | social activist
Harry Belafonte was born in New York City on March 1, 1927. After a difficult childhood, Harry joined the U.S. Navy. After a brief stint, Harry returned to New York City and did odd-jobs to support himself.
The turning point in his life came after watching a performance at the American Negro Theater. He was so inspired by the performance that he decided that he wanted to be an actor, but it was his singing that brought him fame and recognition. Harry has been actively taking part in many social and political causes.
Halle Berry (born 1966)
Halle Berry (1966)
Fashion model | actress
Halle Berry is the first African-American woman to have won an Academy Award for Best Actress. Before she embarked on her film career, she was a pageant queen, and also worked in TV series, "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge". "Monster's Ball", a romantic drama film, catapulted her to international fame and recognition.
Halle Berry has, since worked in blockbusters including "Die Another Day, Frankie and Alice," and "Cloud Atlas". Berry has been a constant fixture in fashion magazines and has made it to the list of "People" magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People in the World," and "FHM's" "100 Sexiest Women in the World." Berry's upcoming movie, "The Call", is expected to release in March this year.
Beyoncé Knowles (born 1981)
Beyonce
Singer | songwriter | dancer | actress
Beyoncé tasted success early in her life as the lead singer of "Destiny's Child", a girl group band. She went solo in the year 2003 with her album, "Dangerously in Love". The album was a huge success and won her five Grammy Awards. She continued the gold run with her 2008 album "I Am...Sasha Fierce", which won her six Grammy Awards.
Beyoncé has sold over 75 million records worldwide and has been the recipient of Grammy Awards on seventeen occasions. Apart from singing, Beyoncé has also worked in eight films, out of which "Dreamgirls" was critically acclaimed.
Mary Jane Blige ( born 1971)
Mary Jane Blige
Singer | songwriter | record producer | actress
Mary Jane's growing years were marred by drugs, sex, and alcohol. Her life was going nowhere until the CEO of Uptown Records', Andre Harrell, signed a record contract with her. Mary never looked back and her debut album, "What's the 411", became a bestseller. She has been achieving constant success through her albums, and has been acknowledged as a successful African-American woman.
LeVar Burton (Levardis Robert Martyn Burton, Jr.) (born 1957)
LeVar Burton
Actor | presenter | director | producer | author
Coming into prominence after playing the role of Kunta Kinte in the ABC miniseries "Roots", LeVar is a well-known celebrity in the US. He garnered critical acclaim for hosting the show, "Reading Rainbows". The series went on to win five Emmy awards. His next big break came in the year 1987, when he was seen in the role of Lieutenant Commander Geordi LeForge. Currently, Burton directs film and television projects.
Benny Carter (1907 - 2003)
Saxophonist | clarinetist | trumpeter | composer |bandleader
Benny Carter was a respectable figure in the jazz scene, and was sometimes referred to as the "King". He has a Grammy Lifetime Achievement to his name, and was conferred with the NEA Jazz Masters Award in 1986. Carter could play the saxophone, trumpet, clarinet, piano, and the trombone.
Ray Charles (1930 - 2004)
Musician
Ray Charles was the pioneer of the genre of soul music. He had the ability to combine genres such as blues, gospel, and jazz to create soulful melodies. The song "Georgia on My Mind" and "Hit the Road, Jack," still mesmerizes his fans. He died in 2002 of a liver disease.
Don Cheadle (Donald Frank "Don" Cheadle, Jr.) (born November 29, 1964)
Don Cheadle
Actor | producer
Don Cheadle is an American actor best known for his role in movies including "Out of Sight, Traffic, Ocean's Eleven, Crash," and "Reign Over Me". Cheadle is actively involved with the cause of genocide in Darfur, Sudan, and has co-authored a book on this issue.
He was named the U.N. Environment Program Goodwill Ambassador. He has worked on the sitcom "House of Lies", for which he received a "Golden Globe Award" in 2013. He has also appeared in the promo ad for the Champions for Earth tournament in "Angry Birds Friends".
Ciara (Ciara Princess Harris) (born 1985)
Ciara
Singer | songwriter | dancer | actress | fashion model
Ciara started her singing career on a sensational note with the triple platinum album "Goodies". She followed it with albums "Ciara: The Evolution" and "Fantasy Ride". Her fourth album "Basic Instinct" met with moderate success. She is the recipient of BET Award, MTV Video Music Awards, MOBO Awards, and the highly reputed Grammy Award.
George Clinton (born 1941)
Songwriter | bandleader | music producer
Starting a doo-wop group called 'The Parliaments' in a barber shop during his teen years, George Clinton came a long way to become one of the innovators of funk music. His first solo album "Computer Games" gave the world hits like "Loopzilla" and "Atomic Dog".
Clinton's popularity began waning with time, but saw a resurgence in 1990s as young rappers including Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur began sampling his work. He was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.
Nat King Cole (Nathaniel Adams Coles) (1919 - 1965)
Jazz pianist | TV personality
Nat King Cole was the first African-American to host a variety TV show, "The Nat King Cole Show". Although the show didn't last too long, it was a symbolic event in racially segregated America of that time.
Cole went on to appear on TV shows "The Ed Sullivan Show" and "The Gary Moore Show". He tried his luck in movies, but did not achieve the desired success. He is remembered today as a legendary jazz pianist, whose soothing baritone mesmerized the audience.
John Coltrane (1926 - 1967)
Jazz saxophonist | composer
John Coltrane is remembered as a legendary and revolutionary saxophonist in the history of jazz music. He performed under bandleaders Joe Webb, King Kolax, Jimmy Heath, Howard McGhee, and Dizzy Gillespie. He garnered the attention of jazz fans in the Miles Davis' quintet.
His debut album "A Love Supreme" was a tribute to his victory over drug addiction. Coltrane started his own group and gained international recognition through his radical musical style, which he adopted in the mid-1960s. He died at the age of 40 from liver cancer.
Sean Combs (born 1969)
Sean Combs
Rapper | record producer | actor | entrepreneur
Sean Combs is one of the wealthiest names in hip-hop, with "Forbes" putting his net worth at $550 million. He achieved commercial success in 1993, when he started his own production company, Bad Boy Entertainment. His debut album "No Way Out" reached platinum status, and his second album "Forever" was also a huge success.
Besides music, Combs has investments in apparel, restaurants, liquor, and plans to open a business school in New York. He is also involved in charity and has helped Hurricane Katrina victims. Due to his charity work, he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He is the recipient of three Grammy Awards.
Dorothy Dandridge (1922 - 1965)
Actress | singer
Dorothy Dandridge was the first African-American woman to be nominated for an Academy Award for best actress. She started her career as a singer with the Harlem's Cotton Club and Apollo Theater. She, along with her two sisters, performed at various clubs in Los Angeles, and later Dorothy began to appear in small roles in films. After a tumultuous marriage, she began singing at nightclubs again and got her first lead role in the 1953 film, "Bright Road".
Dorothy's second movie "Carmen Jones" made her a household name in the US, and got her nominated to the Academy Awards. Although she acted in more than thirty films, many believe she didn't get good roles because of racial discrimination. She died on September 8, 1965, allegedly due to an overdose of prescription pills. HBO paid a tribute to this beautiful African-American actress with their production "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge", starring Halle Berry.
Denzel Washington (born 1954)
Denzel Washington (born 1954)
Actor | director | producer
Denzel Washington became one of the television's known faces with the role of "Dr. Chandler" in the medical series "St. Elsewhere". He worked simultaneously in films and got an Academy Award for the Best Supporting Actor in the movie "Glory". He received critical acclaim for playing "Malcolm X" in the movie of same name.
Washington 's other important works include "Power, Cry Freedom, Crimson Tide, Courage Under Fire, The Hurricane, Remember the Titans, Training Day, Antwone Fisher, American Gangster," and the recent blockbuster "Flight".
Morgan Freeman (born 1937)
Morgan Freeman (born 1937)
Actor | director
Morgan Freeman is one of the respected figures in American film industry. He has acted in more than seventy movies and is the recipient of a Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Starting with TV shows "Another World" and "The Electric Company", he began to get offers from big production houses.
Freeman is best known for his performance in movies including "Street Smart, Driving Miss Daisy, The Shawshank Redemption, Million Dollar Baby," and "Invictus". He is involved in charitable causes, and is a part of the organization PLANIT NOW, which helps people living in hurricane-prone areas.
Will Smith (Willard Christopher "Will" Smith Jr.) (born 1968)
Will Smith
Actor | producer | rapper
Will Smith started his career as a rapper under the name "The Fresh Prince". He moved on to TV and starred in the hit series "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air". He got movie offers and debuted with the film "Where the Day Takes You". The movie that catapulted him to international stardom was "Independence Day".
He went on to do blockbuster films including " Men in Black (series), Ali, Hitch, The Pursuit of Happyness," and " I am Legend". His films have grossed $5.7 billion in box office sales. He has been nominated 83 times, and has a total of 42 awards to his name, including four Grammy Awards.
Oprah Winfrey (born 1954)
Oprah Winfrey (born 1954)
Entrepreneur | TV host | actress
Oprah Winfrey entered national consciousness with her popular show "The Oprah Winfrey Show", considered the highest-rated show in American TV history. She is one of America's most influential woman and is known for her philanthropy.
Besides TV, she has done numerous films, notable among them being "The Color Purple", which won her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. According to a survey in 2012, Winfrey had given more than $400 million to educational causes. Currently, she hosts her talk show "Oprah's Next Chapter" on Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).
Sidney Poitier (born 1927)
Sidney Poitier (born 1927)
Actor | director | author | diplomat
An American born, Bahamian actor, Sidney Poitier is a distinguished film personality and has the honor of being the first African-American to win the Academy Award for the Best Actor. Time magazine included him in the list of Greatest Male Stars of All Time. Apart from acting, he has directed nine movies, out of which only "Stir Crazy" achieved major commercial success.
Poitier has proved his acting prowess through a number of movies including "Edge of the City, The Defiant Ones, A Raising in the Sun, Lilies of the Field, A Patch of Blue", and "In the Heat of the Night". He has the distinction of being conferred with an Honorary award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. President Barack Obama awarded him America's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom on August 12, 2009.
Forest Whitaker (born 1961)
Forest Whitaker
Actor | producer | director
Forest Whitaker debuted with the 1982 film "Fast Times at Ridgemont High." He achieved success with the films "Bird, Panic Room" and "Phone Booth". He has directed four films, and actively works for the betterment of children who have been affected by the civil war in Uganda.
The film that made Whitaker a truly international star was "The Last King of Scotland", for which he won an Academy Award for Best Actor, BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Golden Globe Award for Best Actor, National Board of Review Award for Best Actor, and BET Award for Best Actor.
Samuel Leroy Jackson (born 1948)
Samuel Leroy Jackson
Actor | producer
Samuel Jackson has acted in more than 100 films, most popular among them being "Goodfellas, Jungle Fever, Pulp Fiction, A Time to Kill, Eve's Bayou, Jackie Brown, Coach Carter, Iron Man (series)," and "Django Unchained". According to "The Guinness World Records", Jackson is the world's highest grossing actor, for his movies have earned more than $7.42 billion so far.
Jamie Foxx (Eric Marlon Bishop) (born 1967)
Jamie Foxx (Eric Marlon Bishop)
Actor | stand-up comedian | singer | musician | radio host
Jamie Foxx is considered one of the most versatile actors in the business. He is best known for playing R&B singer Ray Charles in the movie, "Ray", which earned him an Oscar, Golden Globe, and a BAFTA Award in the best actor category. He has left his mark in every field he has worked in. His other notable films include "Any Given Sunday, Ali, Collateral, Dreamgirls, Law Abiding Citizen," and "Django Unchained".
Billie Holiday (Eleanora Harris) (1915 - 1959)
Jazz singer | songwriter
Billie Holiday is considered one of the best jazz singers of all-time. She had a turbulent childhood and served time in jail for being involved in prostitution activities. After her release, she began singing at clubs in and around Harlem. It was during one of those gigs that she caught the attention of producer John Hammond.
Post her meeting with Hammond, Holiday began recording alongside other prominent jazz artists, and created a name for herself among jazz lovers. She died on July 17, 1959, of heart failure, brought on by cirrhosis of liver from which she had been suffering for a long time. She was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987, and in 2000, she was inducted into the "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame."
Aretha Franklin (born 1942)
Aretha Franklin
Musician | singer | pianist
Aretha Franklin is one of the biggest musicians America has ever produced. She was a child prodigy and used to perform with her father, who was a Baptist preacher. Her debut album came out when she was just fourteen years old. She continued producing albums and several of her numbers achieved international success.
Aretha is the recipient of 18 performance Grammy Awards. She has also received The Presidential Medal of Freedom and has been inducted in the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame. She hasn't given up on singing and continues to perform at various events.
Curtis Mayfield (1942 - 1999)
Singer | songwriter | record producer
Curtis Mayfield is one of those distinguished African-American singers who injected social commentary and messages in their work. He started his career formally in the year 1956 when he joined the band Roosters, later renamed as The Impressions. The band achieved considerable success in the 1960s with hits like "Keep on Pushing, People Get Ready, Woman's Got Soul," and "This is My Country", topping the charts.
Mayfield went solo in the year 1970, and achieved popularity with his album "Super Fly". Apart from music, Mayfield was an active social commentator, who spoke for the rights of African-American people. He was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995. He died in the year 1999 of diabetes.
James Brown (1933 - 2006)
James Brown (1933 - 2006)
Singer | songwriter | musician | recording artist
Well-known the world-over as the inventor of funk music, James Brown holds an important place in the history of African-American singers. Besides music, he also actively championed the cause of education among African-American children. He spent his childhood polishing shoes and washing cars, but as he later noted, he always had the determination of becoming successful one day.
Incarcerated for stealing a car, Brown met Bobby Byrd - who would later induct Brown in his band, "The Gospel Starlighters." The band was renamed "The Famous Flames", and their song "Please, Please, Please" became one of the biggest hits of that time. He went on to produce numerous albums over the course of time and cemented his position as one of the leading singers of that era. Brown died on Christmas day in 2006, after being ill for some time.
Smokey Robinson (born 1940)
Smokey Robinson
Singer | Record producer
Smokey Robinson was the founder of the group "The Miracles." The band achieved considerable success, producing several hit numbers. In the early 1970s, Robinson decided to go solo and produced several albums, a majority of which were panned by critics and fans alike. It was only when he himself wrote the lyrics for his songs that he tasted success as a solo artist.
Robinson continued to produce chart-topping numbers with the 1987 single "Just to See Her" winning him his first Grammy Award. Besides focusing on his music, Robinson served as the Vice President of the record company Motown for a long time.
Ella Fitzgerald (1917 - 1996)
Jazz singer
Winner of 13 Grammy Awards and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Ella Fitzgerald was one of the most celebrated jazz singers of the twentieth century. She began singing in theaters and it was her rendition of "A-Tisket, A-Tasket" that gave her fame and recognition. She worked with bandleader Chick Webb for a time, but achieved major success when she decided to go solo.
With her powerful scat singing, Ella made a name for herself in the American jazz circle. Her powerful hit numbers including "Goodnight My Love, If You Ever Should Leave, I Found My Yellow Basket, I'm Making Believe, Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall," and "That's My Desire" topped the charts in America. She died in 1976 of natural causes.
Tina Turner (Anna Mae Bullock) (born 1939)
Tina Turner
Singer
Tina Turner, as Anna was popularly known, started her career with "The King's of Rhythm". She tasted success with the song "A Fool in Love", and soon became an important member of the band. She married the leader of the band Ike Turner, and together they gave legendary hits like "River Deep Mountain High" and "Proud Mary".
When Tina's marriage with Turner fell apart, she found herself in enormous debt. It wasn't until that she met Roger Davies that she became her former self and started recording again. The album "Private Dancer" was a massive hit and since then, Tina has never looked back. She has worked in numerous films and documentaries, and is the recipient of eight Grammy Awards.
Diana Ross (Diana Ernestine Earle Ross) (born 1944)
Diana Ross
Singer | actress
Diana Ross is the first African-American woman to have won a Golden Globe Award for a lead role. She has an illustrious singing and acting career that has spanned around forty years. She has sold over 100 million records worldwide and was declared the most successful artist in history by the "Guinness Book Of World Records ". In 1996, BillBoard magazine named her the Female Entertainer of the Century.
Athletes
Hank Aaron (Henry Louis "Hank" Aaron) (born 1934)
Hank Aaron
Baseball player
Hank Aaron is one of the greatest men ever to have played baseball. He was ranked fifth on "The Sporting News" list of "100 Greatest Baseball Players." Baseball fans remember Aaron for being the man who broke Babe Ruth's home run record in 1974. He was given America's highest civilian order, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002.
Frank Thomas (born 1968)
Baseball player
Frank Thomas became a star in the 1990s while playing for Chicago White Sox. He has the distinction of having more than 500 home runs to his name, while maintaining an average of .300. Thomas was honored by the Chicago White Sox with a life size bronze statue at the concourse at U.S. Cellular Field.
Roy Campanella (1921 - 1993)
Baseball player
Roy Campanella was a Negro Leagues and a Major League Baseball (MLB) player. He is often credited for being a sporting icon who attempted to break the racial segregation in baseball. His career was cut short due to an automobile accident that left him paralyzed for life. His book "It's Good to Be Alive", which gives an account of his state of mind and the physical efforts taken by him in cooperation with his therapist, is one of the most inspirational books of all-time.
Billy Williams (born 1938)
Baseball player
Billy Williams played for the Chicago Cubs in the Major League Baseball, and has been called one of the best outfielders of all-time. He was inducted in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987.
Barry Bonds (born 1964)
Barry Bonds
Baseball player
Barry Bonds played for Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants during his career. He has numerous records to his name including seven Most Valuable Player Awards, eight Gold Gloves, and 14 All-Stars. He was convicted on charges of perjury in 2011, but was not sentenced to prison. Bonds has been the subject of the 2006 book "Game of Shadows" which alleged him of used performance-enhancing drugs.
Jackie Robinson (Jack Roosevelt "Jackie" Robinson) (1919 - 1972)
Baseball
Jackie Robinson became the first African-American to play Major League Baseball since 1880. Robinson had a great career record with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He had a role outside the field as well and contributed to the Civil Rights Movement. Every year on 15th April, also known as 'Jackie Robinson Day' in baseball, players from all teams wear #42 - Robinson's uniform number.
Michael Jordan (born 1963)
Basketball player | entrepreneur
A majority of basketball fans consider Michael Jordan to be the greatest basketball players of all time. He was given the Most Valuable Player award thrice. He also received the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. Till date, he remains one of the wealthiest and most glamorous basket players.
Kobe Bryant (born 1978)
Kobe Bryant
Basketball player
Kobe Bryant plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, and is considered next only to Michael Jordan when it comes to the greatest basketball players of all time. He is estimated to be worth $200 million dollars.
LeBron James (born 1984)
Basketball player
LeBron James is a star player of the Miami Heat club and has the distinction of being the youngest player in NBA history to reach 20,000 career points. He won the NBA Rookie of the year award in 2004. He is one of the eight players in the history of NBA to have won Most Valuable Player Award three times.
Shaquille O'Neal (born 1972)
Shaquille O'Neal
Basketball player | rapper | TV analyst
Shaquille O'Neal will be remembered by basketball fans for his enormity and his agility. In 1996, he was named in the list of 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. Off court, he was the center of media attention during his playing days, and even later, as he hosted a reality TV show "Shaq's Big Challenge". He has also dabbled in rap music and films, but has only achieved moderate success in these ventures.
Wilt Chamberlain (Wilton Norman "Wilt" Chamberlain) (1936 - 1999)
Basketball Player
Chamberlain played for a number of NBA clubs, and achieved numerous milestones in his illustrious career. In 1962, he set a world record by scoring 100 points in a single game while playing for the Philadelphia Warriors. He has earned numerous awards including the NBA Most Valuable Player award. In 1996, he was included in the list of 50 Greatest Players in NBA history.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor, Jr.) (born 1947)
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Basketball player | actor | coach | author
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the all-time leading scorer in NBA history with 38,387 points. During his career, he became the recipient of six regular season Most Valuable Awards. After his retirement, he has taken up the role of coaching although he has only been offered modest positions. He has made numerous appearances in TV serials and films.
Kareem's books "Giant Steps, On the Shoulders of Giants: My Journey Through the Harlem Renaissance ," and "Black Profiles in Courage: A Legacy of African-American Achievement" have been well-received by readers. He was made the cultural ambassador of the United States in 2012.
Magic Johnson (Earvin "Magic" Johnson Jr.) (born 1959)
Magic Johnson
Basketball player | entrepreneur | author
Magic Johnson is an NBA star and one of the best players for Los Angeles Lakers. He remained a central figure with the club until he retired in 1991 after announcing that he had the HIV. He decided to dedicate the rest of his life on raising awareness about the disease. He is an accomplished public speaker and author, and also runs a business empire.
Joe Louis (1914 - 1981)
Boxer
Joe Louis was an African-American boxer and remained the World Heavyweight Champion for 12 years. Along with Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis is considered one of the greatest boxers of all time. The Boxing Research Organization named him the greatest heavyweight of all-time.
Joe's later years were marred by financial issues, as he accumulated tax debts from the Internal Revenue System (IRS). To pay off his debts, he became a professional wrestler and it was only due to his own perseverance and financial assistance from his close friends that he was able to pay off the debts.
Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) (born 1942)
Muhammad Ali
Boxer
Muhammad Ali has been called the greatest athlete of all-time. He became an international boxing sensation in the 1960s when he won a majority of his matches by knockout. He became the World Heavyweight Champion after defeating Sunny Liston in 1964. He joined the Muslim group, The Nation of Islam, in 1964 and renamed himself Muhammad Ali.
Muhammad Ali was drafted in the Vietnam War, but refused to join, claiming that his religious beliefs prevented him from doing so. Due to his refusal to serve in the war, he was arrested and his boxing license was suspended. After a period of around four years post his arrest, the Supreme Court reversed the decision of convicting Ali. When Ali's suspension was overturned, he returned to the ring with a stronger determination and went on to become a heavyweight champion for a second time.
Muhammad Ali has also graced the covers of the magazine "Sports Illustrated" on 37 occasions. He has also appeared in a number of films, and has been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Jack Johnson (1878 - 1946)
Boxer
Jack Johnson became the heavyweight champion at a time when racial lines were clearly drawn in America, and because of his antics, he became a man whom white Americans loved to hate. He is remembered throughout the history of for winning the "Fight of the Century" against James J. Jeffries in 1910.
After Johnson won the "Fight of the Century" match, race riots erupted in several states of America, leaving a total of thirteen people dead and several hundred injured. He died in a car crash on June 10, 1946, allegedly after facing racial discrimination in a diner.
Sugar Ray Robinson (Walker Smith Jr.) (1921 - 1989)
Boxer
Sugar Ray Robinson was a welterweight and middleweight boxer, and a boxing legend of the twentieth century. He started his boxing career with an amateur record of 85-0. Associated Press named him the greatest fighter of the 20th century. He was held in high esteem by legendary boxers Muhammad Ali and Joe Louis. He faced financial difficulties after his retirement and died at the age of 67.
Arthur Ashe (Arthur Robert Ashe, Jr.) (1943 - 1993)
Tennis player | AIDS activist
Arthur Ashe was a tennis player who became the first African-American to win the singles title at the Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. Besides, he was also the first African-American to be selected for the U.S. Davis Cup team.
In 1992, Arthur Ashe publicly announced that he had contracted HIV in the course of a blood transfusion, and worked towards raising awareness about the disease and helping those afflicted by it. He died on February 6, 1993 and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the same year.
Althea Gibson (1927 - 2003)
Tennis player
Althea Gibson was an African-American tennis player who was the first colored person to win a Grand Slam. In total she won 11 Grand Slam titles including six double titles. Apart from tennis, she was skilled in golf and became the first African-American woman to join the Ladies Professional Gold Association Tour. She was a part of the 1959 film "The Horse Soldiers".
Venus Williams (born 1980)
Venus Williams
Tennis player | entrepreneur
Venus Williams is the winner of seven Grand Slam titles, which include five Wimbledon titles. She has a total of forty-four career single titles including four Olympic gold medals. She launched her interior design firm "V Starr Interiors" and has her own fashion line "EleVen". She, along with her sister Serena, hold a stake in football team Miami Dolphins.
Serena Williams (born 1981)
Serena Williams
Tennis player | entrepreneur
Arguably the best tennis player of all-time, Serena Williams is the younger sister of Venus Williams. She is the winner of 30 Grand Slam titles and has brought America four Olympic Gold medals. She has numerous awards to her name, including the recognition from the French publication, L'Équipe, which named her the Champion of Champions.
Serena has also won the BET Award for Female Athlete of the Year seven times. She is considered a fashion idol and has posed for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue twice.
Jesse Owens (James Cleveland "Jesse" Owens) (1913 - 1980)
Track and field athlete
Jesse Owens became a symbol of perseverance and triumph around the world when he won four gold medals at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. Adolf Hitler wanted to use the games to show the world that Aryans were superior to other races, but Jesse Owens, an African-American, held his own and went on to beat German athletes.
Owens was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the year 1976 by President Gerald Ford. He was the subject of the TV film "The Jesse Owens Story". The film went on to win an Emmy award. Owens died in 1980 of lung cancer.
Bob Beamon (born 1946)
Track and field athlete
Bob Beamon set the world record for the long jump in the 1968 Olympics, making a leap of 8.90 meters. The record remained unbreakable until 1991, when Mike Powell jumped 8.95 meters. Beamon has been inducted in the National Track and Field Hall of Fame and the United States Olympic Hall of Fame.
Bob Hayes (Robert Lee Hayes) (1942 - 2002)
Track and field athlete | American football player
Bob Hayes was an American sprinter, best remembered for being the only athlete to win both an Olympic gold medal and a Super Bowl ring. He made a mark for himself when he started playing football for Dallas Cowboys. Bob Hayes died in 2002 and was posthumously inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009.
Tiger Woods (Eldrick Tont "Tiger" Woods) (born 1975)
Tiger Woods
Golfer
Tiger Woods is one of the most successful golfers in the world. He became a professional golfer in the year 1996, and went on to win the "Masters" in the year 1997. After that, there was no looking back. He went on to win numerous tournaments and broke several records. He has 75 PGA Tour wins and 38 European Tour wins to his name.
Tiger Woods' image as a champion athlete was marred when reports emerged that he was involved in several extra-marital affairs. After dodging the issue at first, he finally admitted to infidelity and apologized for his actions. He took a hiatus from professional golf and resumed playing in April, 2010. Despite several international companies ending their advertising contracts with him, he is still believed to be one of the richest athletes in the world.
Politicians & Activists
Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 - 1968)
Clergyman | Civil Rights leader
Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American Civil Rights leader and is widely considered one of the global icons of African-American struggle for equal rights. He was a Baptist minister and entered the fight for equal rights by taking part in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. He was the founder of Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Martin Luther King played an active role in the Civil Rights Movement.
King's "I Have a Dream" speech" in front of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 motivated millions of African-Americans to realize their dream of equal rights. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. He is also the recipient of American Liberties Medallion and the Spingarn Medal. He was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis by a former convict James Earl Ray. Nine years after his assassination, King was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Barack Obama (born 1961)
Barack Obama
Senator | President
Barack Obama's Presidential win in 2009 was one of the proudest moments for African-Americans. Born in Hawaii, he started his political career as a senator from Illinois. He became a U.S. Senator in 2005; 3 years later, embarked on his Presidential campaign. On November 4, 2008, he won the Presidential election, becoming the first African-American President of USA. He was reelected in 2012 and is serving his second term. He is the winner of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.
Malcolm X (El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz) (1925 - 1965)
Minister | Civil Rights activist
Malcolm X was an African-American Muslim minister and one of the icons of Civil Rights Movement. He had a turbulent childhood, as it is believed that his father was killed by white supremacists, and one of his uncles was lynched. After getting a jail term on charges of breaking and entering, Malcolm X became a member of the Nation of Islam. He was the founder of groups Muslim Mosque, Inc. and the Organization of Afro-American Unity.
After leaving the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X was assassinated by the members of the group. For many African-Americans, he is a cult figure who had the courage to call a spade a spade, and who didn't succumb to outside pressures. His autobiography "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" remains, to this day, one of the most important non-fiction books of all-time. A movie based on this book was made and the lead role was played by Denzel Washington.
Frederick Douglass (Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey) (1818 - 1895)
Social reformer | orator | writer | statesman
Frederick Douglass was an escaped slave who became one of the most influential writers and orators of the 19th century. Through his powerful writing and speeches, he raised the pertinent issue of racial discrimination in the United States. One of his most famous works is his autobiography "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave".
Douglass went on to write more books including "Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, The Heroic Slave, My Bondage and My Freedom," and "Life and Times of Frederick Douglass". He was the founder and editor of the newspaper "The North Star". He died of a heart attack in 1895.
Harriet Tubman (Araminta Harriet Ross) (1820 - 1913)
Anti-slavery activist
The story of Harriet Tubman has inspired millions of African-Americans to believe in themselves and follow their heart. After escaping from the chains of slavery, Tubman worked for freeing other slaves and has been credited with rescuing more than 70 slaves through Underground Railroad. She took part in the American Civil War, serving as a nurse and cook for the Union forces.
The moment that made Harriet Tubman a legend, not only among African-Americans, but also among people all round the world, is her role in the Combahee River Raid. She led from the front and when the raid ended, 700 slaves had been rescued. In the later years of her life, Tubman worked for the women suffrage and also with the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. She died in 1913, of pneumonia.
Rosa Parks (Rosa Louise McCauley Parks) (1913 - 2005)
Civil Rights activist
Rosa Parks was an African-American Civil Rights activist, known as "the mother of the freedom movement." After she refused to leave her seat for a white passenger in a bus, she was arrested as she was in violation of the racially-biased, transportation rules of Alabama.
Rosa Parks actively participated in the Montgomery Bus Boycott and worked with important activists including Martin Luther King, Jr. for the rights of African-Americans. She has been the subject of a 2001 documentary "Mighty Times: The Legacy of Rosa Parks". She died of natural causes in 2005.
Booker T. Washington (1856 - 1915)
Educator | author | leader
Born in slavery, Booker T educated himself and later started a University which focused primarily on the education of African-Americans. He rose to prominence when President Roosevelt and President William Howard Taft took his advice in improving race relations in America.
Although Booker T had many supporters, he also had to face criticism from various quarters, as other activists, notably Du Bois, thought that by siding with the White government, he was being treacherous to the cause of African-Americans. He died at the age of 59 in Tuskegee.
W. E. B. Du Bois (William Edward Burghardt "W. E. B." Du Bois) (1868 - 1963)
Sociologist | historian | Civil Rights activist
Du Bois was an important Civil Rights activist and the co-founder of the National Association of Colored People (NAACP). After earning his doctorate from Harvard, he began his teaching career at the Atlanta University. He put his thoughts on paper in his book "The Souls of Black Folk", which was well-received in the African-American community and among white intellectuals.
Du Bois was an anti-war activist and voiced his opinion about it in the Cold War era. Du Bois received an invitation by the government of Ghana to celebrate the creation of their nation. A confrontation with the U.S. Government officials over his passport forced him to become a citizen of Ghana. He died there in 1963 due to ill-health.
A. Philip Randolph (1889 - 1979)
Civil Rights activist
Born in 1889 in Crescent City, Florida, Randolph became involved in the struggle against racial discrimination. He was the organizer and President of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. He, along with Bayard Rustin and Martin Luther King, Jr., was one of the most important leaders of the Civil Rights Movement.
Fannie Lou Hamer (1917 - 1977)
Civil Rights Activist
Fannie Lou Hamer was a Civil Rights activist and took an active role in the voter registration of African-Americans in 1960s. She was a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and began to fight racial discrimination. She founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, and even ran for Congress. She died of cancer in 1977.
Jesse Jackson (born 1941)
Jesse Jackson
Civil Rights activist | Baptist minister
Jesse Jackson is a leading African-American political figure. He is the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. During the movement, he was a member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He played a key role in Operation Breadbasket and at one point of time, was being touted as the successor to Martin Luther King, Jr.
Jackson has been known in the political circles as a master negotiator and an able diplomat. He announced his campaign for the Presidency in 1984, but didn't get the required votes in the primaries. In a 2006 poll by AP-AOL, he was included in the list of 100 Greatest African-Americans.
Mary McLeod Bethune (1875 - 1955)
Civil Rights activist | educator
Mary McLeod Bethune is remembered for her contribution in educating African-American students. She started a school for minority students, and offered them quality education. She campaigned for Franklin D. Roosevelt and worked as a mediator, raising issues concerning African-Americans.
As a public leader, Mary was known for being the President of the National Association of Colored Women (NACW) in Florida. She was the founder of National Council of Negro Women. She was awarded the Spingarn Medal in 1935 and the Medal of Honor and Merit at Haiti Exposition. In 1973, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame. She died in 1955 of a heart attack.
Ralph Abernathy (1926 - 1990)
Civil Rights activist
Ralph Abernathy was a close associate of Martin Luther King, Jr. and an important Civil Rights leader. He is credited for giving direction to the Civil Rights Movement after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. He was instrumental in organizing the Poor People's Campaign in Washington.
Abernathy addressed the United Nations in 1971 and founded the nonprofit organization - Foundation for Economic Enterprises Development. He is the recipient of more than 300 awards and citations. He died in 1990 of natural causes.
Condoleezza Rice (born 1937)
Condoleezza Rice
Diplomat
One of the famous African-American diplomats of 21st century, Condoleezza Rice was an important member in the George W. Bush admnistration, serving as National Security Advisor in his first-term. Before working with the government, she was a professor at Stanford. She was named the most powerful woman in the world by "Forbes" magazine on three occasions.
Ella Baker (1903 - 1986)
Civil Rights activist
Ella Baker was a Civil Rights activist and a close associate of Du Bois, Thurgood Marshall, and Martin Luther King, Jr. She joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). She worked with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. During her lifetime, she played an active role in uplifting African-American community.
Julian Bond (born 1940)
Civil Rights activist | politician
Julian Bond is an important African-American leader and played an important role in the Civil Rights Movement. He established the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and was the first President of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Julian won a seat in the 1965 state legislature, but was unconstitutionally refused entry by the legislature. He was the chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for twelve years. He has written a great deal about the Civil Rights Movement.
Willie Brown (born 1934)
Willie Brown
Politician
Willie Brown has a long association with the California State Assembly. He became the speaker of the Assembly in 1980, and remained so for the next fifteen years. He has the distinction of being the first African-American to become the Mayor of San Francisco. Besides politics, Brown is known for his flamboyance and has been criticized on numerous occasions for his comments. He has played himself in numerous cameo roles, notably in the 2003 blockbuster "Hulk".
Blanche Bruce (1841 - 1898)
Politician
Blanche Bruce was an African-American senator from Mississippi and served in the senate from 1875 to 1881. Bruce has the distinction of being the first African-American to preside over the U.S. Senate.
Literature & Artists
Maya Angelou (born 1928)
Maya Angelou
Author | poet
Maya Angelou is an accomplished writer and poet, and her works have garnered international acclaim. Her autobiography "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" was well-received by the readers. Her other famous works include "Gather Together in My Name, The Heart of a Woman" and "A Song Flung Up to Heaven".
Angelou's work is seen as a major contribution to African-American culture. Her collection of poems "Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'fore I Diiie" got her nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.
James Baldwin (1924 - 1987)
Novelist | poet
James Baldwin was an African-American novelist and one of the first openly gay authors of his time. His works not only focused on racial discrimination, but also on the ill-treatment meted out to homosexuals. His first novel, "Go Tell It on the Mountain", is considered one of the greatest works of all-time, and explores the issue of racial segregation in the United States and the role of the Church in it.
Baldwin's collection of essays "Notes of a Native Son" were well-received and focused on race issues in US and Europe. Major publications around the world have named Baldwin as one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century.
Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) (born 1934)
Poet | writer
Amiri Baraka is the recipient of PEN Open Book Award, and many consider him to be one of the best African-American writers along with James Baldwin. He started his career in the US Air Force, but was given a dishonorable discharge for alleged violation of rules. He shifted to Greenwich village and was deeply impressed with jazz music, prompting him to write "Blues People (Negro Music in White America)", which explored the theme of evolution of African-American music.
After the assassination of Malcolm X, Bakara became a Black radical, and through his poems, urged African-Americans to retaliate violently if attacked. In 1974, Baraka became a Marxist and a couple of years later, started lecturing in the Stony Brook University. Currently, he devotes most of his time lecturing at the University.
Romare Bearden (1911 - 1988)
Artist | writer
Romare Bearden was an important artist and writer of the twentieth century. He grew up in New York City and graduated from Peabody High School. One of his earlier works "The Visitation" depicts the sense of intimacy between two black women.
Bearden's collages, "The Blues" and "The Calabash", and paintings "Falling Star, The Lantern, Piano Lesson, Showtime" are some of his important works. He is the recipient of the National Medal of Arts. He died in 1988 of complications caused due to bone cancer.
Gwendolyn Brooks (1917 - 2000)
Poet
One of America's most prolific poets, Gwendolyn Brooks had an illustrious career and won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1950. She started writing poems since the age of seventeen and contributed to the newspaper, "Chicago Defender". Brooks came into public limelight in 1945, when her first book of poetry "A Street in Bronzeville" was published.
Brooks taught creative writing at a number of Universities, and was considered one of the best teachers of that time. Her poem "In The Mecca" was nominated for the National Book Award for poetry. She was given the National Medal of Arts in 1995. She died of cancer at the age of 83.
Octavia E. Butler (1947 - 2006)
Writer
Octavia Butler was a science fiction writer of the popular "Patternist, Kindred, Lilith's Brood" series. She received Hugo and Bebula award for her work. Her collection of short stories "Bloodchild and Other Stories" was well-received by readers. After her death in 2006, The Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship was established to encourage budding colored writers.
Langston Hughes (James Mercer Langston Hughes) (1902 - 1967)
Poet | activist | writer
Langston Hughes gained prominence during the Harlem Renaissance as a poet and writer par excellence. His debut novel, "Not Without Laughter" was published in 1930 and it went on to win the Harlem Gold Medal for literature. His other works include "The Ways of White Folks, Fine Clothes to the Jew, Let America be America Again, The Big Sea", and "Black Nativity".
In 1954, Langston was awarded the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. Three years prior to his death, Western Reserve University awarded him a honorary literature degree. He died in 1965 of complications caused due to prostate cancer.
Richard Wright (1908 - 1960)
Writer | poet
Richard Wright was an American poet and novelist and his works bordered on the themes of racial discrimination. One of his most important and controversial works is "Native Son". He has published numerous fiction and non-fiction books including "Uncle Tom's Children, The Man Who Was Almost a Man, The Outsider, Black Boy," and "I Choose Exile". He was the winner of the Spingarn medal and Story magazine award. He died in 1960 of a heart attack.
Toni Morrison (Chloe Ardelia Wofford) (born 1931)
Toni Morrison
Writer | editor | professor
Toni Morrison is an American novelist, and the winner of the Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize. She won these awards for her novel "Beloved". The novel was made into a movie in 1998 starring Oprah Winfrey. In 2012, she won the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work. Her other important works include works such as "Sula, Song of Solomon, Paradise, Home, The Black Book," and "Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination".
Alice Walker (born 1944)
Writer
Alice Walker is one of America's most prolific writers and is the recipient of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. She was influenced by Martin Luther King Jr. and worked as a Civil Rights activist. She is a staunch opponent of America's war policy and has criticized the policies openly through her letters and columns in newspapers.
Walker's important works include "The Third Life of Grange Copeland, Meridian, Possessing the Secret of Joy, The Complete Stories", and "Warrior Marks".
Other Important Personalities
Bill Cosby (1937) - TV personality
Bill Cosby (1937) - TV personality
~ George Washington Carver (1864 - 1943) - Scientist
~ Benjamin Banneker (1731 - 1806) - Astronomer, Publisher
~ Phillis Wheatley (1745-1813) - Poet
~ Nat Turner (1800-1831) - Slave rebellion leader
~ Martin Delany (1812-1885) - Abolitionist
~ Frances Harper (1754-1832) - Poet, novelist, activist
~ Harriet Wilson (1825-1900) - Novelist
~ Bill Cosby (1937) - TV personality
Stevie Wonder (1950) - Musician
Stevie Wonder (1950) - Musician
~ Paul L. Dunbar (1872-1906) - Poet
~ George Herriman (1880-1944) - Cartoonist
~ Marcus Garvey (1887-1940) - Publisher, entrepreneur
~ Ralph Bunche (1904-1971) - Diplomat
~ Muddy Waters (1915-1983) - Musician
~ Edward Brooke III (1919) - Politician
~ Shirley Chisholm (1924-2005) - Politician
~ Stevie Wonder (1950) - Musician
~ Bo Diddley (1928) - Musician
Louis Farrakhan (1933) - Leader
Louis Farrakhan (1933) - Leader
~ Willie Mays (1931) - Baseball player
~ Louis Farrakhan (1933) - Leader
~ Bill Russell (1934) - Basketball player
~ Frank Robinson (1935) - Baseball
~ Madame C.J. Walker (1867-1919) - Entrepreneur
~ Ron Brown (1941-1996) - Politician
~ Angela Davis (1944) - Political activist
~ Althea Gibson (1927-2003) - Athlete
~ Walter Payton (1954-1999) - Football
~ Jerry Rice (1962) - Football
Sugar Ray Leonard (1956) - Boxer
Sugar Ray Leonard (1956) - Boxer
~ Charles Barkley (1963) - Basketball
~ Reggie Jackson (1946) - Baseball player
~ Sugar Ray Leonard (1956) - Boxer
~ Ralph Ellison (1913 - 1994) - Novelist
~ Alex Haley (1921 - 1992) - Writer
~ Lorraine Hansberry (1930 - 1965) - Author
~ Walter Mosley (1952) - Author
Michelle Obama (1964) - First Lady of US
Michelle Obama (1964) - First Lady of US
~ Medgar Evers (1925 - 1963) - Civil Rights activist
~ James Meredith (1933) - Civil Rights activist
~ Bobby Seale(1936) - Activist
~ Roy Wilkins (1901 - 1981) - Civil Rights activist
~ Michelle Obama (1964) - First Lady of US
~ Ursula M. Burns (1958) - Businesswoman