Achievers of Color

INSIDE
 
     
     


Want the rest of this month or a completed account of all members born in any particular month? Get it free! Send a note to the author at JGri481915@aol.com



GriffinDesigns


April Achievers of Color

Famous and Historical Profiles Past and Present

(Discover the Potential in You)

By

Janet Griffin

BeJanuary is a great month, for people of color. Some of our most notable achievers were born in this month, and some great accomplishments emerged. The 44th President of the United States and first recognized African American to serve the United States as President took the oath office in January 2008. President Barack Obama then served a second term in 2012. We observe Imani, the 7th day of Kwanzaa on January 1. Jean Jacques Dassaline proclaims Haiti’s independence on January 1, 1804, and Lincoln University, the oldest historically Black university in the United States, incorporates as Ashmun Institute, January 1, 1854, in Oxford, Pennsylvania. Most notably, January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared that rebelling slaves could forever be free. These and many other such accomplishments took place in January.

However, before we recognize some of the achievers born in this month, we’d like to recognize and send our condolences to the family and friends of achievers of color we said goodbye to in December 2016, and they are:

Zekarias Yohannes, born May 13, 1925, in Adigenu, died December 1, 2016, became an Eritrean Roman Catholic bishop ordained as a Priest of Asmara on June 2, 1949, and was appointed both Auxiliary Bishop of Asmara and Titular Bishop of Barca on January 29, 1981. He received appointment as Bishop of Asmara July 17, 1984, a position he held until his retirement on June 25, 2001. Through much of his career he would have been considered an Ethiopian clergyman. Ousmane Sow, born October 10, 1935, in Dakar, Senegal, died December 1, 2016. He became a Senegalese sculptor of larger than life statues of people and groups of people. After the death of his father in 1956, he left Dakar to study in France, where he obtained a diploma in physiotherapy. He returned to Senegal after it became independent in 1960 and started a practice in physiotherapy. He later went back to France and practiced there, but returned to Senegal in 1978. In the 2008 Prince Claus Awards, on the theme of Culture and the human body, Sow became one of the eleven laureates. On 11 April 2012 Sow was elected a Membre Associé Etranger ("foreign associate member") of the Academie des Beaux-Arts of the Institut des France. He became the first black person to have been elected to membership. Joseph Nathan "Joe" McKnight, born April 16, 1988, in Kenner, Louisiana, died December 1, 2016. He became an American football player, position of running back and return specialist, who played in the National Football League (NFL) and Canadian Football League (CFL). He attended the University of Southern California (USC), where he played college football for the USC Trojans. McKnight was selected in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the New York Jets. After playing in the NFL for the Jets and Kansas City Chiefs, he played in the CFL for the Edmonton Eskimos and the Saskatchewan Roughriders. On December 1, 2016, McKnight was killed in an apparent road rage incident. Former IICC Shooting Stars and Red Devils (now Super Eagles) striker Dejo Fayemi, died Friday morning, December 2, 2016, at his residence situated at Odo-Ona Elewe, Ibadan. He was 83. Fayemi first played for the Nigerian national team then known as the Red Devils in 1959 when they defeated Ghana’s Black Stars 3-1 in an Olympic qualifier. He had seven goals to show after his last international cap against Morocco in 1964 where Nigeria lost 2-1. Pa Feyemi inspired the Ibadan Lions to win the then Challenge Cup in 1959 and 1961 after losing in the 1960 final. Pa Feyemi also played professional football during his stay in the United Kingdom for further studies before he retired from active football in the early 1970s. He once worked as a member of Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) technical crew in the 1996/97 season. (From: http://www.nairaland.com/3502871/dejo-fayemi-dead-photos) Odeefuo Boa Amponsem III, born November 11, 1922, died December 2, 2016. He became a Ghanaian traditional ruler. He studied Public Administration in Pennsylvania. In 1955 he became Odeefuo Boa Amponsem III, King of Denkyira in the Central Region of Ghana. In 1999 he was elected President of the National House of Chiefs. In Dunkwa-on-Offin and in Jukwa, he marked his Golden Jubilee in 2005. Bola Kuforiji Olubi, born September 28, 1936, died December 3, 2016, became a Nigerian noblewoman, banker and federal minister of commerce. She graduated from the University of London in 1963 with B. Sc honors in Economics. She became a fellow of Institute of Charted Accountants, England and Wales 1977, ICAN Nigeria, 1976, British Chartered institutes of company Secretaries (ACIS 1964), Nigerian Institute of management (FMIN) 1985 and British Institute of Directors. She was a recipient of many honors. Her highness, the Otunba Ayora Bola kuforiji Olubi served in various capacities locally and internationally. She was the 25th president Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria, the first female to become president of the Institute; while she was in the office she launched Accounting Technicians Course 1989–1990. First Nigerian woman to be CEO of a multinational company (VYB Industries Limited, with British affiliates (Inchape plc) and first female Chairman of a public quoted company (Bewac Plc). Herbert Hardesty, born March 3, 1925, in New Orleans, Louisiana, died December 3, 2016. He became an American musician who played tenor saxophone and trumpet. He is best known for his association with the New Orleans pianist Fats Domino and the producer Dave Bartholomew, beginning in 1948. He released six 45-rpm records as Herb Hardesty between 1959 and 1962. His first CD of these recordings and others were made but not issued in 1958. They were released worldwide in July 2012 by Ace Records (United Kingdom), entitled The Domino Effect. All hail Herb Hardesty, who became one of the few remaining alums of the J&M Studio Band whose talents, helped create so many hits and classic songs for Fats Domino, Little Richard, Shirley and Lee, and so many others. His presence and fine soloing in Dr. John's sets this Jazz Fest added to the New Orleans feel in Dr. John's new songs." Hardesty continued to perform in Las Vegas. He died there on December 3, 2016 at the age of 91. Kamarou Fassassi, born October 10, 1948, in Porto, Novo, capital of Benin, died December 4, 2016. He became a Beninese politician, Director of the Cabinet of the President of the National Assembly of Benin, Adrien Houngbedji, from 1992 to 1995, and he was elected to the National Assembly in the March 1995 parliamentary election. Chicago welterweight Ed Brown, born October 10, 1991, died December 4, 2016. He became a fast-rising 25-year-old prospect, died on Sunday, one day after being shot in the head, manager Cameron Dunkin confirmed to ESPN. "He lost his life at 25 years old for nothing." Dunkin said. "Those people in Chicago shoot you for no reason. It'd be different if he was out there gang banging or running around or dealing drugs. He wasn't doing any of those things. He was such a quiet kid. He was so bashful. You'd never know how tough he was in the ring talking to him outside the ring." Brown and a 19-year-old woman, whom Dunkin said was Brown's cousin, were sitting in a parked car at about 1 a.m. in Chicago's East Garfield Park neighborhood when another car pulled up, and someone inside the car shot at them, Chicago police said, according to ABC News 7 in Chicago. Brown was shot multiple times and the woman, who is in good condition, was shot in the leg. Brown (20-0, 16 KOs), who was a standout amateur, turned pro in December 2012 but was exceptionally busy after signing with Dunkin in 2015, when he fought 13 times. Brown most recently fought Nov. 11, 2016, in Philadelphia, where he notched a lopsided eight-round decision victory. Rashaan Iman Salaam, born October 8, 1974, in San Diego, California, died December 5, 2016. He became an American college and professional football player who was a running back in the National Football League (NFL) for four seasons during the 1990s. Salaam played college football for the University of Colorado and won the 1994 Heisman Trophy and the youngest player in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards. He was picked by the Chicago Bears in the first round of the 1995 NFL Draft, and played professionally for the Bears and Cleveland Browns of the NFL. He was the son of former Cincinnati Bengals running back Teddy Washington (later Sulton Salaam, after converting to Islam). He was a practicing Muslim. He attended La Jolla Country Day School in suburban San Diego, and played eight-man football. He ran for over 100 yards in every game except one, and was recognized as a high school All-American. He was later inducted into the school's athletic hall of fame. Salaam was signed by the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League (CFL) on February 20, 2004. . Salaam was found dead on December 5, 2016, in a park in Boulder, Colorado. Authorities said an autopsy is pending, but that no foul play was suspected. It is being investigated as a suicide. Larry Roberts, born June 2, 1963, in Dothan, Alabama, died December 5, 2016. He became an American football defensive end of the National Football League (NFL). He starred as a defensive end at the University of Alabama. In Round 2 of the 1986 NFL Draft, at 6’3" and 264 lbs, Roberts was drafted as the #39 pick. Roberts played eight consecutive seasons for the San Francisco 49ers, from 1986 to 1993. As a defensive lineman, Roberts was a part of the starting lineup in Super Bowl XXIII against the Cincinnati Bengals in 1989 and in Super bowl XXIV against the Denver Broncos in 1990. Roberts also participated in 12 playoff games during his tenure with the 49ers.  Tyruss Himes, born March 31, 1968, in Inglewood, California, died December 5, 2016. He became better known by his stage name Big Syke, an American rapper. His stage name is a revision of his childhood nickname, "Little Psycho”. On December 5, 2016, Syke was found dead at his home in Hawthorne, and reports indicate natural causes. In 1990, Big Syke started a rap group called Evil Mind Gangstas with rappers Domino and Mental illness. He met 2Pac in 1992, and joined 2Pac's group Thug Life, after Evil Mind Gangstas only album, All Hell Breakin' Loose, was released.  Luke Owens, born October 9, 1933, in Stuttgart, Arkansas, died December 9, 2016. He became an American football defensive lineman in the NFL for the Baltimore Colts and the Chicago Cardinals/St. Louis Cardinals. Owens played college football at Kent State University. Joe Ligon, born October 11, 1936, in Troy, Alabama, died December 11, 2016. He became a gospel singer the Mighty Clouds of Joy. His raspy, throbbing vocals and preaching style helped make the Mighty Clouds of Joy one of the most successful gospel quartets of all time, died on Sunday. He was 80. Ligon, a full-throttle singer with a powerful voice reminiscent of Wilson Pickett’s, founded the Mighty Clouds of Joy in the 1950s with several classmates at Thomas Jefferson High School in Los Angeles. In a break with tradition, the group added bass, drums and keyboards to the standard guitar backup and developed a funky sound that split the difference between gospel and rhythm and blues. Unlike other gospel groups, its members dressed stylishly — they used the same tailor as the Temptations — and worked slick choreography into their act. “We didn’t want to just sit up there like other groups like we were playing at a funeral,” Mr. Ligon (pronounced le-GAHN) told The Washington Post in 2003. “We used to come out in red, purple, all the loud colors you could think of.” At one performance in Philadelphia, he added, “we were so sharp, people clapped for 10 minutes before we even started singing.” (From: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/14/arts/music/joe-ligon-gospel-singer-mighty-clouds-of-joy-dead.html) Charles Mwando Simba, born October 18, in Moba, Tanganika District, died December 13, 2016. He became a Congolese politician and member of UNADEF. From February 6, 2007 to October 2008, he served in the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo as Minister of Rural Development. Eustace Edward Ricardo Braithwaite, born June 27, 1912, in Georgetown, Guyana, died December 12, 2016. He became a Guyanese-born British-American novelist, writer, teacher, and diplomat, best known for his stories of social conditions and racial discrimination against black people. He authored the 1959 novel “To Sir with Love,” which was made into a 1967 British drama film of the same title. It starred actors Sidney Poitier and Lulu. He had a privileged beginning in life; both of his parents went to Oxford University and he describes growing up with education, achievement, and parental pride surrounding him. He turned 100 years old in 2012 and on a visit to Guyana in his capacity as the patron of the Inter-Guiana Cultural festival he was conferred on August 23 that year with a national award, the Cacique Crown of Honor, by then-President Donald Ramotar. Braithwaite lived in Washington, D.C. He died at the Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center in Rockville, Maryland, on December 12, 2016, at the age of 104. Howard Bingham, born May 29, 1939, in Jackson, Mississippi, died December 15, 2016. He became a biographer of Muhammad Ali and a professional photographer. He was the son of a minister and Pullman porter. After initially failing a photography course, he was hired by a local newspaper. While working there, he met the young Cassius Clay (later to become Muhammad Ali). The two had an instant rapport, one that led to a lifelong friendship. Bingham went on to create arguably the definitive book of photographs of Ali, Muhammad Ali: A Thirty-Year Journey. Bingham was one of the first black photographers to work on a Hollywood International Cinematographers Guild camera crew. Bingham was noted for interviewing James Earl Ray, the man who assassinated Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as photographing the Black Panthers for LIFE, at various points in his career. Robert Eddins, born October 11, 1988, in Detroit, Michigan, died December 20, 2016. He became a professional football player signed by the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent in 2011. He played college football at Ball State University. While making a rise up the depth chart in that summer's training camp on August 21 in the Rochester, New York Democrat and Chronicle, Eddins was quoted as saying "Being inconsistent makes you non-existent". In total Eddins played in one regular season game during the 2011 season and four preseason games. He played in four preseason games in 2012. After his NFL career Eddins went to Canada and joined the Saskatchewan Roughriders during the 2014 CFL preseason. His untimely death is being investigated. Miruts Yifter, born May 15, 1944, in Adigrat, in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia, died December 22, 2016. He became an Ethiopian athlete and winner of two gold medals at the 1980 Summer Olympics. There is some uncertainty about his date of birth and his name is also sometimes spelled as Muruse Yefter. Yifter was called to the Ethiopian national team for the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, but he made his Olympic debut four years later in Munich Olympics where he won a bronze medal in 10,000 metres. However, he arrived too late for the 5000 metres final. In the 1973 All-Africa Games he won one gold medal (10,000 m) and silver medal (5000 m). At the 1st African Championships in 1979 he won two gold medals (5000 and 10,000 metres). Yifter was unable to participate in the 1976 Summer Olympics because his nation boycotted the event. Four years later in Moscow, Yifter made up for his disappointments. In the final of the 10,000 m., he sprinted into the lead 300 m from the finish and won by ten metres. At Coamo, Puerto Rico February 6, 1977, Yifter ran a World Best for the half-marathon of 1:02:57. At the Moscow Olympics, part of the mystery surrounding Yifter was the question of his age, which was reported to be between 33 and 42. Yifter refused to give a definitive answer, telling reporters: "Men may steal my chickens; men may steal my sheep. But no man can steal my age." The most common versions of his date of birth are January 1, 1938 or May 15, 1944. Miruts Yifter died at age of 72 on December 22, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario where he had lived since 2000. According to family members, he had been suffering from respiratory problems. Pape Badiane, born February 10, 1980, in Boulogne, Billancourt, France, died December 23 or 24, 2016. He became a French professional basketball player who played 23 times for the men's French national basketball team between 2007 and 2008. He died December 23, 2016 from a traffic accident. Ricky Harris, born January 26, 1962, in Long Beach, California, died December 26, 2016. He became an American producer, actor and comedian. Harris played his first movie roles in “Poetic Justice,” in 1993 and “Murder Was the Case,” in 1994. He also had minor roles in Michael Mann's 1995 crime film “Heat” and Mikael Salmon's 1998 action movie “Hard Rain.” Harris was the voice of DJ EZ Dicc, TaaDow, and Saul-T-Nutz from various skits featured on albums from Snoop Dogg to Tha Dogg Pound. From 2006 to 2008 he played a recurring character, Malvo, in the situation comedy “Everybody Hates Chris.” Harris died of a heart attack on December 26, 2016, at the age of 54. Robert "Balozi" Alexander Harvey, born January 26, 1940, died December 28, 2016. He became an American community organizer and activist, based in New Jersey. Balozi worked both domestically and internationally toward the growth and betterment of African American communities and Caribbean and African Nations. Harvey was given his name in Tanzania in 1964 by President Julius K. “Mwalimu”. "Balozi" means "ambassador" or "statesman" in Swahili. Harvey was responsible for the founding and functioning of several organizations including the Black Community Development Organization, a grassroots community organization helping to instill Afrocentric values in African-American youth in various communities within Essex County, and Harvey & Associates (B & A), an international trade and investment consulting firm focused on exploring business opportunities in emerging African and Caribbean market economies. He also established and served as CEO of "His Majesty Traders", a business entity, as well as started and became Chairman of Human Bridges, Inc., a nonprofit charity. Between 1970 and 1973, Harvey operated as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Representative to the United Nations for the Congress of Afrikan People. Harvey continued his international work through the mayor's office as a Special Aide in the Office of Hon. Kenneth A. Gibson, Mayor of Newark, for whom he handed international relations and protocol. He was then assigned as Mayoral Liaison to the UN where he worked to expand and strengthen trade between developing nations and Newark, New Jersey. Harvey worked as Mayoral Liaison to the Newark-Rutgers University Small Business Development Center in 1978-1979, and, in 1978, Harvey served as the President of the Newark United Nations Association. Cyril deGrasse Tyson, born Oct. 19, 1927, in Manhattan, New York, died December 29, 2016. He became an activist who led antipoverty programs from inside and outside government in New York City and Newark in the 1960s in a tense racial atmosphere punctuated by violence.  In 1963, Cyril Tyson was a former college track star who had worked on the staffs of the New York City Commission on Intergroup Relations and its successor, the Commission on Human Rights, when he joined Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited, a new, government-financed antipoverty organization that became widely known as Haryou. He played a major role in designing the group’s programs, which were aimed at improving the area’s public schools and its residents’ job skills and opportunities. It included after-school remedial study centers and on-the-job training projects. Urban affairs specialists at the time were urging such programs to remedy shortcomings that, they argued, fueled racial unrest — of the kind that erupted within months. In July 1964, the fatal shooting of a black teenager by a white police lieutenant led to rioting and looting in Harlem that left one person dead, many injured and extensive property damage. Mr. Tyson said at an education conference that year that many black students were simply not learning. “Teachers are just not teaching,” he said. “They have low expectations and say the children can’t learn because they are black.” He also defended welfare recipients, saying they had been unjustly stigmatized. “The implication was there, in public attitudes and administrative regulations, that people in need were somehow innately inferior to other human beings,” he wrote in The Boston Globe. “In fact, the majority of those on welfare who are not children, aged or disabled are people who want the opportunity to be productive.” Keion Eric Carpenter, born October 31, 1977, in Baltimore, Maryland, died December 29, 2016. He became an American football defensive back who played for the Buffalo Bills and the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League. He played for the Bills during the 1999, 2000, and 2001 seasons. He was traded to the Atlanta Falcons in 2002. He was injured at the end of the 2003 season, tearing his ACL. Carpenter is also known as one of the few players to have had successful spinal fusion surgery and then returned to football, having played for three years after the surgery. He became the founder of The Carpenter House, Inc., a non-profit organization which specialized in consulting under-privileged families with home ownership. On December 28, 2016, while on vacation in Miami with his family, Carpenter fell and struck his head. He slipped into a coma and died one day later without regaining consciousness. Laurie Carlos Smith; born January 25, 1949, on New York City's Lower East Side, died December 29, 2016. She became an award-winning American actress and avante-garde performance artist, playwright and theater director. She was also known for her work mentoring emerging artists in the theater.  At the age of 14 Carlos saw Gloria Foster perform in the documentary play “In White America” by Martin Duberman. As a result, Carlos said "for the very first time I realized how much power the stage had politically, and I wanted that." Her plays and performance pieces have been called "poetic, abstract, associative"; a "blending of history, poetry, mysticism and personal testimony" of "impressionistic language" and "haunting ancestral voices that balance images of brutality and agonizing struggle with those of endurance and continuity.” Hickman Matthew Snorton, born February 26, 1942, in Crofton, Kentucky, died December 30, 2016. He became an American football player who played for the Michigan State University Spartans football team from 1961 to 1963. He was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the second round of the 1964 NFL Draft, but opted instead to play professional football in the AFL for the Denver Broncos, appearing in five games during the 1964 season.

>The list of Achievers of Color who passed away in December 2016 may not be complete in this article and most of them may not be well known to most, however exploits of their life and contributions have been recorded in various news articles and web sites. Here, we salute them and thank them for their notable contributions.

These are just a few of the achievers of color we’ve lost in December 2016. You may know of some we’ve not recognized in this article. We appreciate and applaud the life work of these achievers and others who made contributions to not only our culture, but the circle of influence in their particular occupation in life. Thank you and rest in peace.

This article attempts to bring focus on individuals of color born in the month of January, who have defied theodds either by national or international recognition of becoming one of the many heroes or/and giants of our past.

Aunt" Clara Brown, born a slave in Virginia, January 1, 1800, is reportedly the first black woman to cross the plains during the Gold Rush. At nine years of age, she and her mother were sent to Kentucky. By the age of eighteen she married and subsequently gave birth to four children. At 35 years of age, she was sold by her owner at auction and separated from her husband and children. Freed by her third owner in 1859, she traveled to Denver by working as a cook on a wagon train in exchange for her transportation. Once in Colorado, she lived in Central City and established the first laundry. By 1866, she had accumulated $10,000 and began to actively search for her family; and, in the process helped newly freed slaves to relocate to Colorado. As "Aunt" Clara Brown's profits in mines and real estate grew, she became more charitable, never turning away anyone in need. With the death of two of her four children, and having lost track of her son, Brown returned to Kentucky in an attempt to locate her surviving daughter, Liza Jane. When Brown returned to Colorado, she brought with her sixteen freed women and men but she was unable to locate her lost daughter at that time. Sometime between 1866 and 1885, when Brown died, she was reunited with Liza Jane and a granddaughter, Cindy. Clara Brown was honored by the Denver community and made a member of the Society of Colorado Pioneers. In her honor, a memorial chair was placed in Central City's Opera House and a stained glass window can be found in the rotunda of the Colorado State Capitol.
Source: http://www.cogreatwomen.org/brown-clara.htm

Philip Alexander Bell, born January 1, 1808, in New York City, (died April 24, 1889), becomes a Black journalist and abolitionist who attended Colored Citizens Conventions as early as 1830 and established his first newspaper, the Weekly Advocate, in 1837 after working for William Lloyd Garrison’s Liberator.  After moving to San Francisco, California in 1860, Bell maintained his connections with important abolition leaders such as Garrison and Frederick Douglass by reporting on Black political and economic opportunities in the West. In 1862, Bell joined forces with Peter Anderson to edit the Pacific Appeal, one of the first major Black newspapers in California, but he and Anderson soon clashed. By 1865, Bell established his own weekly newspaper, “The Elevator,” under the slogan, “Equality Before the Law.”  The Elevator demanded California legislators approve the proposed Reconstruction-era constitutional amendments acknowledging black citizenship and suffrage rights.  Bell also regularly editorialized on behalf of expanding black children’s educational opportunities.  California state legislators repeatedly rejected efforts to grant blacks greater civil rights, but the ratification of the 14th and 15th Amendments allowed black male Californians voting rights in 1870. Initially a strong supporter of the Republican Party, Bell organized the independent Equal Rights League in 1876 to lobby politicians across party lines to support African American opportunities.  Although Peter Anderson charged Bell with seeking patronage perks, and most Blacks continued to support the Republican Party, Bell remained a powerful figure within Black California until his death.  (From: https://books.google.com/books?id=TMZMAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA423&lpg=PA423&dq=Philip+Alexander+Bell&source=bl&ots=ghYWIdsJQp&sig=gOVtC6qSakeO_BP5-7Er3QKrgro&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiZv9DY3fPOAhUG2SYKHbFUAiUQ6AEIUDAP#v=onepage&q=Philip%20Alexander%20Bell&f=false

W. Q. Atwood, born January 1, 1839- (year of death not found,) on the Shell Creek Plantation in Prairie Bluff, along the Alabama River, in Wilcox County, Alabama, becomes a lumber merchant, capitalist and orator. After being born in slavery, some say, he never felt the curse of slavery only until he wanted education. After the death of his father, also his master, young Atwood traveled north. His lumbering made him a wealthy businessperson for his time. He held stocks, notes and mortgages. He owned property in Saginaw, Michigan worth $25,000. (From: Men of Mark, page 450).

Samuel Ferguson, born January 1, 1842, in Charleston, South Carolina, (died August 2, 1916), becomes a priest and first Black member of the House of Bishops, until his death. He founded Cuttington College in Cape Palmas, Liberia.

Oscar “Papa” Celestin, born January 1, 1884, in Napoleonville, New Orleans, Louisiana, (died December 15, 1954), becomes a Louisiana jazz bandleader, trumpeter, and singer.

J. Edgar Hoover, born January 1, 1895, in Washington, D.C., died May 2, 1972, becomes a government official, an FBI director. Hitler’s Jewish ancestry isn’t the strangest twist in racial history. FBI director J. Edgar Hoover — the man who plagued the black liberation movement from Marcus Garvey to the Black Panther Party — was known by his peers as a passing black man. His childhood neighbor writer Gore Vidal famously quoted, “It was always said in my family and around the city that Hoover was mulatto. And that he came from a family that passed.” And apparently that was a closely-guarded secret. Millie McGhee, author of Secrets Uncovered: J. Edgar Hoover Passing For White, said, “In the late 1950’s, I was a young girl growing up in rural McComb, Mississippi. A story had been passed down through several generations that the land we lived on was owned by the Hoover family. My grandfather told me that this powerful man, Edgar, was his second cousin, and was passing for white. If we talked about this, he was so powerful he could have us all killed. I grew up terrified about all this.” - See more at: http://madamenoire.com/481003/historical-figures-you-didnt-know-were-black/2/#sthash.8ZXdjMMZ.dpuf  and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yV6R0CbWzq8

Jesse Jackson, born January 1, 1908, in Columbus, Ohio, (died April 14, 1983, in Boone, North Carolina), becomes an author, primarily writing for young adults reading audiences. In 1974, he published a book on the biography of achiever of color Mahalia Jackson, called "Make a Joyful Noise unto the Lord," for which he received the Carter G. Woodson Book Award. (From: The Essential Black Literature Guide, page 190).

Alberta Cooper Gaye, born January 1, 1913, in Rocky Mountain, North Carolina, died May 9, 1987, became a domestic worker and mother of famed R&B soul singer, Marvin Gay, She had a troubled childhood while growing up in North Carolina. Her father once shot at her mother during an argument. He'd later die in a psychiatric hospital. Alberta told David Ritz (an American author who has written more than 50 books) that she felt she really didn't have a father. Her family didn't put her in a school until she was eight years old. At twenty years of age, she had a son, Michael, out of wedlock. As a result, her mother sent her to live with a relative in Washington, D.C> In D.C., Alberta met Minister Marvin Gay, in 1934. After a year of courtship, the couple married on July 2, 1935. The young couple first settled at an apartment located at 1617 First Street SW, only a few blocks from the Anacostia River. The First Street neighborhood was nicknamed "Simple City" owing to its being "half city, half country". Due to his belief he couldn't raise another man's child, Marvin Gay eventually sent Alberta's son Michael to live with Alberta's sister Pearl. Michael Cooper later learned Alberta was his mother as a teen, according to Alberta's daughter, Jeanne. Allegedly, when Michael began living with his half-siblings, he had told young Marvin to stand up against his father's abuse, when he did, Marvin Gay, Sr. responded by sending Michael to live with his aunt, Zeola, another one of Alberta's sisters, in Detroit. However, Jeanne Gay said Michael Cooper was moved to Detroit without the alleged confrontation between father and son. (go to www.wikipedia.org for more on this story)

Dr. Muriel Marjorie Petioni, born January 1, 1914, in Port of Spain, Trinidad, (died December 14, 2011), becomes a physician, pioneering in the treatment of drug addiction. She founded the Friends of Harlem Hospital Center in New York City, in 1987.

John H. Clark, born January 1, 1915, in Union Springs, Alabama, (died July 16, 1998), becomes a noted historian and educator; the first licensed teacher of African and Afro-American history in New York State, and later an associate professor of Black and Puerto Rican studies at Hunter College in New York City. Clarke became a founding member of the Black Academy of Arts and Letters. (From: Encyclopedia of Black America, page 273).

Milton Jackson, born January 1, 1923, in Detroit, Michigan, (died October 9, 1999), becomes the first most influential vibes player of the modern jazz era. He began playing the vibraphones professionally at the age of 16. (From: Timelines of African American History, page 164).

Matthew Beard, born January 1, 1925, in Los Angeles, CA. (died January 8, 1981), becomes a child actor most remembered for his role as “Stymie,” in the “Our Gang” TV series. The son of a minister, at the age of three, young Beard won out 350 entrees for the replacement of child actor Allen “Farina” Hoskins (born August 9, 1920, died July 26, 1980), in the “Our Gang” comedy program.  (From: http://www.answers.com/topic/matthew-stymie-beard).

Christopher Edley, born January 1, 1928, Charleston, West Virginia, (died in May 2003), becomes an attorney, advocate for education and a fund-raiser. He once served as president and CEO of the United Negro College Fund. He once said in an article for Jet Magazine, “All of my life has been heavily laden with the things and the kind of work that would advance Black Life.”(From: Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 48, page 58 and http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/07/us/c-f-edley-75-college-fund-leader-dies.html ).

Raymond Hood, born January 1, 1936, in Detroit, Michigan, (died March 29, 2002, in Port Charlotte, Florida), becomes a politician and lawmaker, serving in the United States House of Representatives, representing the 7th District of Detroit, from 1964 to 1982 (From: www.detnews.com/2002/obituaries/0204/01/c02-450643.htm and  http://politicalgraveyard.com/bio/holten-hook.html#820.24.39).

Matthew Thomas "Matt" Robinson, Jr., born January 1, 1937, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (died August 5, 2002, in Los Angeles, California), becomes an American actor; the first actor to portray the character of Gordon Robinson on the long-running PBS children's TV program Sesame Street.

Lou Stoval, born January 1, 1937 in Athens, Georgia, becomes an artist and printmaker, who through his “Workshop, Inc.,” founded in 1968, made a unique effort to build a community of artists in Washington, D.C. and to encourage, by his own example, service in the community. Among his special commissions, he designed the Independence Day invitation for the White House in 1982 at the request of Mrs. Ronald Reagan. In 1986, at the request of Mayor Marion Barry, he made the print American Beauty Rose for the Washington, D.C. Area Host Committee 1988 Democratic National Convention. In 1996, he designed and made the print Breathing Hope to Honor, Howard University's incoming president H. Patrick Swygert.

Willye B. White, born January 1, 1939, in Money, Mississippi, (died February 6, 2007), becomes the first Black female to compete in five Olympian Games. She confronted both racist and sexist stereotypes, to ensure that all female athletes get the opportunity and inspiration to compete successfully and to develop and prepare for leadership roles. White becomes the first Black inducted into the Mississippi Hall of Fame, in 1982. (From: Black Firsts, Second Edition, page 703).

Dennis Wayne Archer, born January 1, 1942, in Detroit, Michigan, becomes mayor of the city of Detroit in 1993 (some sources say 1994). Archer serves two terms as mayor, from 1994 to 2001. Ebony Magazine name Archer as one of their 100 Most Influential Black Americans. (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 7).

Robert Lee Minor or Bob Lee Minor, born January 1, 1944, in Birmingham, Alabama, becomes an African-American stunt performer, television and film actor, best known for doubling many celebrities such as: Jim Brown, Fred Williamson, Bernie Mac, Danny Glover, Carl Weathers and John Amos.

Diahnne Abbott, born January 1, 1945, in New York City, N.Y. becomes an actress once married to actor Robert DeNiro, from 1976 to 1988. R&B singer Gregory Abbott (born April 2, 1964) is her cousin.

Max Julien, born January 1, 1945, in Washington, D.C., becomes an actor, best known for his role as Goldie in the 1973 blaxploitation film, The Mack. He also appeared in Def Jam's How to Be a Player and has guest starred on TV shows such as The Mod Squad and One on One.

Donyale Luna, born Peggy Ann Freeman, January 1, 1945, in Detroit, Michigan (died May 17, 1979), becomes a model and actress, who in 1966, becomes the first African American model to appear on the cover of British Vogue. She also appeared in several underground films by Andy Warhol. Despite the parentage stated on her birth certificate, she insisted that her biological father was a man with the surname Luna and that her mother was Indigenous Mexican and of Afro-Egyptian lineage. According to Luna, one of her grandmothers was reportedly a former Irish actress who married a black interior decorator. Whether any of this background is true is uncertain. Luna's sister later described her as being "a very weird child, even from birth, living in a wonderland, a dream." She would routinely create fantasies about her background and herself.

Claude Mason Steele, (twin brother of Shelby Steele) born January 1, 1946, in Phoenix, Illinois, becomes a social psychologist and worked at the I. James Quillen Dean for the School of Education at Stanford University, as well as Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychology at Stanford. Best known for his work on stereotype threat and its application to minority student academic performance, his earlier work dealt with research on the self (e.g.), self-image, self-affirmation, as well as the role of self-regulation in addictive behaviors. In 2010, he released his book, Whistling Vivaldi and Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us, summarizing years of research on stereotype threat and the under performance of minority students in higher education.

Shelby Steele (twin brother of Claude Steele), born January 1, 1946, in Chicago, Illinois, becomes an author, columnist, documentary film maker, and a Robert J. and Marion E. Oster Senior Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, specializing in the study of race, multiculturalism and affirmative action.

Leon Isaac Kennedy,born January 1, 1949, in Cleveland, Ohio, becomes an actor and producer, one of the foremost purveyors of two-fisted action flicks. Kennedy is best known for his performance as "Too Sweet" in 1979's Penitentiary and its sequels and” Lone Wolf McQuade.” 1983. Television work includes a supporting role in the 1980 TV movie “Off the Cherokee Strip.” While in production he generally wears a multitude of hats, producing and writing as well as acting. Leon Isaac Kennedy was married to actress/TV personality Jayne Kennedy, with whom he co-starred in “Body and Soul” (1982). Some information taken from https://www.rottentomatoes.com/celebrity/leon_isaac_kennedy

Phyllis Dillon, born January 1, 1948, in Linstead, St. Catherine, Jamaica, died April 15, 2004. She becomes a reggae and rock-steady songstress, who began singing in school and church. Influenced by American singers Connie Francis, Patti Page and Dionne Warwick, she began singing in talent contests. During a performance at the Glass Bucket Club in Kingston, Jamaica with the group “The Vulcans,” that Duke Reid's session guitarist, Lynn Taitt discovered her.  Though, just 19 and still living at home, Phyllis signed with Reid in 1965 and never recorded for another Jamaican producer. The exciting soprano recorded in a light rock steady style with soul and pop mixed in to form the complete package. She wrote her first single, the beautiful ballad, "Don't Stay Away," which came out in 1966 and became an instant local success. A succession of engaging singles further enhanced her legend and she became the uncrowned queen of rock steady. She recorded duets with Alton Ellis, who she cites as one who encouraged her professionally and Hopeton Lewis. The most popular ones are "Right Track," with Ellis,  "Walk Through This World With Me" and "Love Was All We Had" with Hopeton Lewis, and many others, with both singers that weren't as successful. Her solo hits include "Perfidia," the self-written "Rock Steady," "One Life to Live," "Tomato," "Nice Time," "We Belong Together," and many others. She worked steadily in Jamaica, hung out at Kingston clubs, dances, and the beaches, necessary activities for promoting records and networking. Despite her perceived success, with all the hits and accolades, she still lived in Linstead with her parents. Fed up and wanting something besides music, Dillon left Jamaica in December of 1967 for New York City. Trading the country environment of Linton for the urban Big Apple, she found employment in temporary and odd jobs before landing a stable position at a bank where she worked for decades. Early on she would go to Jamaica twice a year to record for Reid and play the Jamaican clubs, using her vacation time for the excursions. She occasionally flew to London to do shows, but her time was largely spent raising her family. In the 1990s she made a successful comeback, but sadly, Phyllis was diagnosed with cancer in the early 2000s. She passed away in April of 2004. See the comments for audio of her songs, "Rock Steady" and "Don't Stay Away." You can go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvCCQxypdaQ to hear some of her music.

Jennie R. Patrick, born January 1, 1949, in Gadsden, Alabama, becomes a chemical engineer, educator, and lecturer; the first African American female to earn a Ph.D. in chemical engineering, in the United States. (From: Notable Black American Women, Book 2).

Harry Radcliffe, II, born January 1, 1949, in Indianapolis, (died December 1, 2015) becomes an award-winning producer for 60 Minutes on CBS and first African-American bureau chief. Radcliffe began his news career as a reporter at KGW-TV Portland, OR, in 1971 before moving to the CBS News’ Washington bureau to work as an assistant editor. In 1974 he moved to ABC News as an associate producer before returning to CBS in 1979 to work in New York as a producer on CBS EveningNews with Walter Cronkite. Radcliffe would stay with CBS for the rest of his career.  

“Grandmaster Flash,” born Joseph Saddler, January 1, 1958, in Bridgetown, Barbados, becomes one of the pioneers of hip-hop. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced they would induct Grandmaster Flash along with his group the Furious Five into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on January 8, 2007. (From: www.allmusic.com).

Renn Woods, born January 1, 1958, in Portland, Oregon, becomes an African-American film and television actress/singer, best known for her role as Fanta in Roots, and also as the girl with flowers in her hair who sang "Aquarius" in the film version of Hair. Woods began her singing career as a child and released two solo albums before returning her focus to acting in the 1980s. Woods began her singing career as a child and released two solo albums before returning her focus to acting in the 1980s. She became a child singing prodigy, appearing on NBC's “Soul Special “at the age of 10. She starred in the first National Tour of “The Wiz” as Dorothy at the Ahmanson Theatre. She returned to that same theatre in 2006 in the Tony Kushner/Jeanine Tesori musical, “Caroline or Change.” In 1979, she released a solo album, “Out of the Woods,” which was supposed to be produced by Maurice White, however, due to the label being in transition, it was produced by Earth, Wind & Fire member Al McKay. A second album, “Azz Izz, “was released in 1982.” Azz Izz “was well received. The second album featured a new composition by Prince titled "I Don't Wanna Stop".

Terrycina Andrea “Terri“ Sewell, born January 1, 1965, in Huntsville, Alabama, becomes a politician, elected in 2010 as the U.S. Representative for Alabama's 7th congressional district. Huntsville, Alabama. Sewell is a member of the Democratic Party and the first black woman elected to Congress from Alabama. Sewell is the only Democrat in Alabama's seven-member congressional delegation. Sewell and Republican Martha Roby, also elected in 2010, are the first women elected to Congress from Alabama, in regular elections. Sewell was the first black valedictorian of Selma High School. Her mother's family was politically active, offering its homestead to activists who came for the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches to gain voting rights. Sewell spent her childhood summers in Lowndes County, Alabama with her maternal grandparents. Her grandfather, a Primitive Baptist minister and a farmer, instilled in her a love for the land, an appreciation of hard work, and the importance of her faith. Her grandfather and the members of Beulah Primitive Baptist Church gave her a deep understanding of the Black Belt Region and its people.

Richard Colón, better known by his stage name “Crazy Legs,” born January 1, 1966, in The Bronx, New York City, New York, becomes a dancer, featured in the earliest stories on hip-hop dancing. He appeared in mainstream press, and as president of the Rock Steady Crew, brought the form to London and Paris in 1983. He became involved in community outreach, dance instruction, and dance theater productions. His pioneering status reflects in his appearances in fiction films and documentaries, old and new. Crazy Legs is the most popular & commercially successful of the few original members remaining of the Rock Steady Crew, and serves as the organization’s president.

Derrick Vincent Thomas, born January 1, 1967, in Miami, Florida, died February 8, 2000, becomes a professional football player, nicknamed D.T., in the position of linebacker and defensive end for the Kansas City, in Miami, Florida. He received induction onto the Hall of Fame Linebacker, Kansas City Chiefs. Thomas, a member of the class of 2009 Pro Football Hall of Fame, was a premier football player throughout the 1990s and is considered one of the best pass rushers of all time.[1] In 1990 against the Seattle Seahawks, he set an NFL record with seven sacks in a single game. On February 8, 2000, Thomas died from a massive blood clot that developed in his paralyzed lower extremities and traveled to his lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism. His paralysis was the result of severe injuries sustained in a car accident weeks earlier.

Morris L. Chestnut, born January 1, 1969, in Cerritos, California, becomes a film and television actor. His best-known television role is as the Visitor Ryan in the 2009 reboot TV series “V (2009 TV series.) Chestnut's first professional acting role was as "Jadon" in “Freddy’s Nightmares: A Nightmare on Elm Street” The Series” in the episode "A Family Affair" (season 2, episode 19) which aired on February 18, 1990. His first feature film role was as "Ricky Baker" in “Boyz in the Hood” (1991). He followed that up with roles in various TV movies. Chestnut also played a role on Patti LaBelle's short-lived sitcom “Out All Night.” His career continued to rise steadily with co-starring roles in standard big-budget studio films like “Under Siege 2” (1995) and “G. I. Jane” (1997). In 1998, Chestnut won the annual Madden Bowl videogame competition. He is an avid poker player and has a sponsorship arrangement with online poker room Full Tilt Poker.  (From: www.blackflix.com and www.imdb.com , both Internet sources).

Tameka Foster, born January 1, 1971, in Oakland, California, becomes a .hair stylist and wardrobe stylist for celebrities, and the ex-wife of singer Usher. Foster has worked as a personal stylist for Lauryn Hill, Jay-Z, Usher, Toni Braxton, Ciara, Patti Labelle, Nas and more. Tameka attended the Fashion Institute of Design and merchandising in 1994, followed by a Merchandising Marketing major in Los Angeles. Her professional career started with her employment as a salesperson; she has also worked in management. During her attendance at the Fashion Institute, Tameka worked for Armani in the retail store and since then, has styled numerous international celebrities including Jay-Z, Ciara, Nas and Mary J. Blige. She worked as a stylist and gained the attention of network cables MTV, E!, and Access Hollywood. She has also been featured in “In Style,” “People Weekly,” “Glamour,” “Vibe,” “Essence” and the covers of Essence, “Sister 2 Sister” and “Upscale Magazine.” Foster is credited as the founder of charity organization The Lost Ones Foundation, founded in 2009. The organization is a non-profit and serves as a motivational group for teenage girls. She also runs Kile's World, a non-profit centered on honoring the legacy of her son, Kile.

Kevin Mitchell, born January 1, 1971, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, becomes a professional football player for the Washington Redskins. (From: www.si.com, an Internet sports source).

Bridget Pettis, born January 1, 1971, in East Chicago, Indiana, becomes a WNBA professional basketball player for the Indiana Fever and coach for the Phoenix Mercury. (From: www.wnba.com).

Carmen Ejogo, born January 1, 1973, in London, England, becomes a British actress and singer who began her career as a teenager in London, hosting the Saturday Disney morning show from 1993 to 1995. Her film credits include “What’s the Worst That Could Happen?”, “Away We Go,” “Sparkle,” “Alex Cross,” The Purge: Anarchy,” and “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” Ejogo has appeared as civil rights activist Coretta Scott King in two films:” Boycott (2001)” and “Selma (2014).” While preparing for the role in Boycott, she met with King and was given King's blessing for her portrayal

Mikki Taylor, born January 1, 1973, in Houston, Texas, becomes an actress. “She has been quoted saying: Many women live like it’s a dress rehearsal. Ladies, the curtain is up and you’re on.” For over 30 years, Mikki Taylor served as ESSENCE Magazine’s groundbreaking Beauty & Cover Director and is now Editor-at-Large. Taylor is also President of Mikki Taylor Enterprises, LLC, a strategic consulting, communications and branding company. A highly sought-after speaker and media expert, Taylor offers beauty, style and empowerment strategies that shape lives. She is the author of the critically acclaimed "Self-Seduction: Your Ultimate Path to Inner" and "Outer Beauty and Commander-in-Chic: Every Woman’s Guide to Managing Her Style Like a First Lady," both available at http://amzn.to/1QXvfXU. and some information taken from http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0852921/bio

Durrell Babbs, better known as “Tank,” born January 1, 1976, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, becomes an American R&B singer, songwriter and producer.

Judith Glory Hill born January 1 1984, in Los Angeles, California, becomes a singer and songwriter whose voice is "distinctive, soulful and has an earthy quality that makes it unique." She has provided backing vocals for such artists as Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, and Josh Groban. In 2009, Hill was chosen as Jackson's duet partner for the song "I Just Can’t Stop Loving You" during his “This Is It” concert tour. After Jackson's death in 2009, she, along with the rest of the “This Is It” cast members, performed at Jackson’s memorial service and attracted global attention when she sang the lead on the song "Heal the World". Hill's rise to fame is briefly recounted in “20 Feet from Stardom,” a documentary film that tells the untold true story of the backup singers behind some of the "greatest musical legends of the 21st century". She is also a featured artist on the film's soundtrack. Hill became a contestant during the fourth season of “The Voice.” Her elimination during the Top 8 show was considered one of the most shocking of the season. A number of Hill's original ballads, including "Desperation" were featured in the 2012 Spike Lee film “Red Hook Summer.” Hill opened for Josh Groban during the third leg of his “All That Echoes World Tour” (North America) in fall 2013. She also performed two duets with him in his set for "The Prayer" and "Remember When It Rained", the latter of which was released as a single. She has signed with Sony Music and her debut album will be available in 2014. (http://hollywoodlife.com/celeb/judith-hill records birthday as January 1, 1973) however www.wikipedia.org records birthday as May 6, 1984). Most sources give January 1, 1984 as her birth date.

Abdoulaye Doucouré, born January 1, 1993, in Meulan-en-Yvelines is a French footballer from Malian descent who currently plays as a centre midfielder for Ligue 1 side Stade Rennais F.C made his debut in the Ligue 1 during the 2012/2013 season. He is a youth exponent from the club.

Oscar Devereaux Micheaux, born January 2, 1884, in Metropolis, Illinois (died March 25, 1951, in Charlotte, North Carolina), becomes an American author, film direct novelist, businessperson and pioneer in filmmaking. He produced his first film entitled "The Homesteader," in 1919, based on his autobiography. As an independent film producer, he produces more than 44 films.  (From: Timelines of African American History, page 157 and Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 7).

Sadie Tanner M. Alexander, born January 2, 1898, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, (died November 1, 1989). She becomes a lawyer and a civil rights activist; the first African American to receive a PhD in economics, in the United States, and the first woman to receive a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She served as the first national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated. Tanner practiced as an attorney from 1927 to 1982 and became the first African-American woman appointed as Assistant City Solicitor for the City of Philadelphia. She and her husband were both active in civil rights and in 1952, she received an appointment to the city's Commission on Human Relations, serving through 1968. Tanner became the first woman to serve as president of the Philadelphia Bar Foundation. She practiced law until she the age of eighty-five. Alexander is the granddaughter of famous achiever of color, Benjamin Tucker Tanner, a noted bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Her uncle, achiever of color, Henry Ossawa Tanner, became a noted artist and painter. Sadie and her husband, judge Raymond Pace Alexander were among the founders of the National Bar Association, the professional organization for African American lawyers, in 1925.

Elmer Simms Campbell, born January 2, 1906-1971, in St. Louis, Missouri, (died January 27, 1971) becomes the first Black cartoonist to work for national publications. Campbell created "Esky," who appeared on the cover of Esquire magazine. During the years of 1933 and 1958, his work appeared in Cosmopolitan, Redbook, the New Yorker, Opportunity, and syndicated in 145 newspapers. (From: Black Firsts, Second Edition, pages 4 and 5).

St. Clair Drake, born January 2, 1911, in Suffolk, Virginia, (died June 15, 1990) becomes a sociologist, anthropologist and educator; one of the first Black faculty members of Roosevelt University, where he taught twenty-three years. Upon graduation from Hampton Institute in 1931, he became involved with The Society of Friends in the south. Most of his writings provide accounts of strife and advances in race relations. His collaboration with Horace R. Cayton, Jr. (born April 12, 1903 – January 1970) led to the publishing of Black Metropolis, in 1945, a landmark study of race and urban life in Chicago. Another of Drake's works, which demonstrates his devotion to race relations, was "Black Folk Here and There" (1987). St. Clair Drake was a member of the American Society of African Culture between 1957 and 1969. He also served as advisor to the first prime minister of Ghana; Kwame Nkrumah (born September 21, 1909-April 27, 1972) Roosevelt University dedicated a center for research on African and African American communities, "The St. Clair Drake Center for African and African American Studies," to his memory.

Juanita Jackson Mitchell, born January 2, 1913, in Hot Springs, Arkansas, (died July 7, 1992), becomes a lawyer, administrator, and activist who traveled extensively throughout the United States for the Bureau of Negro Work and the Methodist Church. She also served as special assistant to Walter White, an achiever of color, who served as NAACP Executive Secretary. Mitchell became the first Black woman to practice law in the state of Maryland, in 1950.

John Hope Franklin, born January 2, 1915, in Rentiesville, Oklahoma, (died March 25, 2009), becomes a United States historian and past president of Phi Beta Kappa, the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association and the Southern Historical Association. He is considered one of the foremost authorities on American and Black American History. Dr. Franklin compiled an impressive list of achievements during his distinguished career. For seven years he served as Professor of Legal History in the School Of Law at Duke University. He also taught at Historically Black (HBCU) North Carolina Central University (Durham, NC), St. Augustine's University (Raleigh, NC) Fisk University (Nashville, TN) and Howard University (Washington, DC). Dr. Franklin, a native of Oklahoma and a graduate of Fisk University (1935), received his A.M. and Ph.D. degrees in history from Harvard University (1941). In the early 1950's, he served on the NAACP's Legal Defense Team, led by Thurgood Marshall, This group helped develop the case (Brown v. Board Of Education), that led to the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision ending segregated schools. He wrote numerous publications, but his best known is the book, “From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans.” This is considered by many scholars, the definitive work on Black History.

Lillian Roberts, born January 2, 1928, in Chicago, Illinois, becomes a labor leader who at the age of eighteen, became the first Black nurse hired as a nurses aide in Chicago’s Lying-In-Hospital, in 1946 and later becomes the New York’s first Black Commissioner of Labor. Roberts’s skills as a masterful union organizer and determined negotiator gained her the honor of heading the largest municipal employee union in the United States. A newspaper article once called her the “Lady of Steel.” (From: Notable Black American Women, Book 3, page 510).

Arthur Prysock, born January 2, 1929, in Spartanburg, South Carolina, (died June 7, 1997), becomes an R&B singer from the 1950s through the 1970s. Prysock received a Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation, in 1995.

Robert Lewis Teague, born January 2, 1929, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (died March 28, 2013), becomes an All-American halfback from the University of Wisconsin when he became the first black reporter at the Milwaukee Journal. He would go on to work at The New York Times and WNBC-TV in New York, where he spent more than three decades as a reporter, anchorman and producer.

Wayman E. Hancock, Jr., born January 2, 1937, in Chicago, Illinois, becomes a marketing representative for a major computer software company. Musician and bandleader, Herbie Hancock and Wayman Hancock, are brothers.

Aaron Dixon, born January 2, 1949, in Chicago, Illinois, becomes a political activist, once captain of the Seattle, Washington Chapter of the Black Panther Party. As an adolescent, Dixon marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to end Housing discrimination in Seattle and as a member of the Black Panther Party, he started the Free Breakfast for Children Program that fed thousands of hungry African American children and helped to open a free community medical and legal clinic.  

BillMad Dog” Madlock, Jr., born January 2, 1951, in Memphis, Tennessee, becomes a Major League Baseball player, playing from 1973 to 1987; a right-handed hitter who won four National League batting titles. His record of four batting titles as a third baseman would be eclipsed in 1988 by Wade Boggs. Since 1970, only Tony Gwynn (born May 9, 1960 – died June 16, 2014, nicknamed "Mr. Padre,") has won more National League batting titles (eight). Madlock is also one of only three right-handed hitters to have won multiple National League batting titles since 1960, Roberto Clemente (born August 18, 1934 – died December 31, 1972) having also won four and Tommy Davis (born March 21, 1939) having won back-to-back titles in 1962 and 1963. (From www.wikipedia.org)

Glenn Lamont Goins, born January 2 1954, in Plainfield, New Jersey, died July 29, 1978, becomes a singer and guitarist for Parliament-Funkadelics in the mid-1970s. Goins, along with fifteen other members of Parliament-Funkadelics, received induction the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.

Barbara A. McKinzie, born  January 2, 1954, in Ada, Oklahoma, becomes  the twenty-seventh International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha, the first Greek-lettered sorority established and incorporated by African-American college women; serving from 2006 to 2010.

Dawn Silva, born January 2, 1954, in Sacramento, California, becomes a funk vocalist who started her career as a background vocalist for Sly and The Family Stone. She joined P-Funk in 1977; - The Brides of Funkenstein.

Pernell Whitaker, born January 2, 1964, in Norfolk, Virginia, becomes a professional boxer and a 1984 Summer Olympics gold medalist, in the lightweight boxing competition. (From: Black Olympian Medalists, page 121).

Chris Spencer, born January 2, 1968, in Los Angeles, California, becomes an American actor, comedian, writer, producer and the first host of the syndicated late night talk show Vibe, based on the magazine of the same name.

Cuba Gooding, Jr., born January 2, 1968, in South Bronx, New York, becomes an accomplished actor, receiving an Oscar for one of his acting performances, in "Jerry McGuire," in 1996. His mother and father both became professional singers; his mother served as a member of the back up group for achiever of color, Jackie Wilson, called "The Sweethearts," and his father, Cuba Gooding, Sr., served as the lead singer in the R&B group called "The Main Ingredient." His brother, Omar Epps (born July 20, 1973), becomes an actor also.

Horace Copeland, born January 2, 1971, in Orlando, Florida, becomes a professional football player for the Oakland Raiders. (From: www.BUCPOWER.com , an Internet sports source).

Taye Diggs, born Scott Leo "Taye" Diggs, .January 2, 1971, in Newark, New Jersey, but grew up in Rochester, New York. the son of Marcia (née Berry), a teacher and actress, and Jeffries Diggs., becomes an accomplished theatre, film and television actor who is perhaps best known for his roles in the Broadway musical “Rent,” the motion picture “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” and the television series “Private Practice.” In 1996, he originated the role of the nasty landlord Benny in Jonathan Larson's Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning “Rent”, which also starred his future wife, Idina Menzel. Some sources claim his birth year as 1972.

Renee Elise Goldsberry, born January 2, 1971, in San Jose, California, becomes an American actress, singer and songwriter.

Chandra Davis, born January 2, 1978, in Detroit, Michigan, aka London Charles and Deelishis, becomes a model, and a reality show contestant. She is best known as the winner of VH1's hit reality TV show Flavor of Love 2.

Erica Hubbard, born January 2, 1979, in Chicago, Illinois, becomes an American film and television actress and model; one of the lead characters in the series “Lincoln Heights on ABC Family. Hubbard is the voice of Abbey for the TV series “The Replacements.” She played the role of Kita on the BET sitcom “Let’s Stay Together.”

Bianca Knight, born January 2, 1989, in Ridgeland, Mississippi, becomes an Olympic gold medalist; a track and field athlete, who competes in the 100 and 200 meters. At the 2012 London Olympic Games Knight won a gold medal as part of the American 4x100 meters relay team.

Craig Mikel Wayans, born January 2, 1991, in New York City, becomes an American writer, television producer, director and actor. He is the nephew of Keenen Ivory Wayans, Damon Wayans, Kim Wayans, Shawn Wayans and Marlon Wayans. He's the son of Diedre Wayans and brother of Gregg Wayans.

Everett Demone Golson, born January 2 1993, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, becomes a college football quarterback who played for Notre Dame from 2011 to the fall of 2014.

William Tucker, born January 3, 1624, in Jamestown, Virginia (death is unknown at present), becomes the first African American child recorded born in America. His parents, Anthony and Isabella, arrived in Jamestown in 1619, married and gave birth.

Abram Hannibal, a prince of Lagano Ethiopia, born January 3, 1697 (died in 1762), becomes a major general and military engineer, in Russia. Captured at the age of eight as a slave, and taken to Turkey, and then kidnapped and taken to Moscow, he became the property of the Czar, Peter the Great, who became fond of him because of his intelligence. For ten years, he went everywhere with Peter the Great, completing his education in 1716. Mathematics and engineering came natural to Hannibal. The Czar sent him to Paris to study engineering. Hannibal's skills and intelligence added many contributions to Russia. He married a German woman who gave him eleven children. Get more information from African American Registry.

Alonso Jacob Ransier, born January 3, 1834, in Charleston, South Carolina, (died August 17, 1882) becomes a politician most noted for his honesty, serving in 1868, as presidential elector for President Ulysses S. Grant, and two years after, nominated as lieutenant governor, serving from 1873 to 1875. Ransier defended the record of Black soldiers who fought for the Union during the Civil War, recalling their support for the reelection of President Grant in 1872.

Mary Magdalena L. Tate, born January 3, 1871, in Dickson, Tennessee, (died in 1930), becomes a minister and administrator. In 1903, she along with her two sons, Curtis and Feliz Early Lewis, established "The Church of the Living God, the Pillar and the Ground of Truth without Controversy," (House of God). She preached her first sermon in Brooklyn, Illinois. In Alabama, she converted over 900 persons through her ministry. In 1914, Mother Tate organized the first Church of God, in Ocala, Florida. By 1916, under her leadership, the Church of God became chartered members in more than twenty states and Washington, D.C.

Lovie Yancey, born January 3, 1912, in Bastrop, Texas, who died January 26, 2008, an African American, founded of the Fatburger restaurant chain. She originally owned a small restaurant in South Central. In 1947 she founded Fatburger under its original name Mr. Fatburger. In 1952, Yancey shed both her business partners and the "Mr." from the name of the hamburger stand, and Fatburger was officially born. From the beginning, Yancey was a fixture at the original Fatburger, where customers, who included entertainers such as Redd Foxx and Ray Charles, could custom-order their burgers. Yancey always claimed "I don't worry about McDonald’s, Burger King or Wendy’s. They may be more popular, but a good hamburger sells itself, and I don't think anybody makes as good a hamburger as we do. Fatburger Inc. is an American fast casual restaurant chain. Its tagline is The Last Great Hamburger Stand. While it is a fast food restaurant, the food is cooked and made to order. Some Fatburger restaurants have a liquor license, as well as Fat Bars. Its franchise headquarters are in Beverly Hills, California. In addition to the United Ststes, the chain operates in over 19 other countries. Fatburger was founded by Lovie Yancey in the neighborhood of Exposition Park in Los Angeles, California in 1947. It was originally named "Mr. Fatburger" (on behalf of Lovie’s boyfriend), until the “Mr.” was removed by Yancey in 1952. At that time, she bought out her start-up partners and retained sole ownership of the Fatburger brand until 1990, keeping and operating the original store on Western Avenue along with the La Cienega Boulevard store (La Cienega/San Vicente).

Matel Dawson, Jr., born on January 3, 1921, in Shreveport, Louisiana the fifth of seven children (died November 2, 2002), becomes a forklift operator with a ninth-grade education who gave more than $1 million to universities for scholarships and to charities. Mr. Dawson amassed his nest egg by never taking vacations from work at the Ford's Rouge complex in Dearborn, Mich., by building up overtime through routinely working 12-hour shifts, by living frugally and by investing in his employee stock plan. He used the money to become a philanthropist in the last 10 years of his life, and appeared on ''Oprah'' and other television shows. He received numerous awards, including at least two honorary doctorates. Mr. Dawson gave $680,000 to Wayne State University and $300,000 to Louisiana State University at Shreveport, officials at the universities said. He contributed $240,000 to the United Negro College Fund, the journal Black Issues in Higher Education reported. He also gave thousands of dollars to his church, the People's Community Church in Detroit; other churches; community colleges; and civil rights organizations. He never made more than $26 an hour and drove a 1995 red Escort. When President Bill Clinton invited him to the White House, Mr. Dawson's first response was to ask whether the White House would make up for his lost wages. The answer was no. But he went anyway. ''I need money to make me happy,'' he said in an interview in 1998 with Jet magazine. ''It makes me happy to give money away. It gives me a good feeling.'' He dropped out of school to help support his family. In 1939, at age 19, he left for Detroit, partly to escape racial segregation. He had two uncles who worked at Ford and he landed a job there. He began buying Ford stock in 1956 and it returned 13.7 percent a year on average, Time magazine reported in 1999. In 1996, Ebony magazine said Mr. Dawson attributed his financial success to ''the grace of Almighty God and the Ford Motor Company.''

Dr. Frederick K.C. Price, born January 3, 1932, in Santa Monica, California, becomes the founder and pastor of Crenshaw Christian Center, California. He gained international renown through his Ever Increasing Faith ministries broadcast that is aired weekly on both television and radio.

Marpessa Dawn, born January 3, 1934, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, (died August 25, 2008), becomes an American-born French actress, singer, dancer, and model featured on Black Orpheus posters. (From: www.csac.buffalo.edu/blackorpheusho.rt f, an Internet source).

Charles F. Harris, born on January 3, 1934 in Portsmouth, Virginia, becomes a pioneering book-publishing executive. (From: History Makers web site).

Percy Anthony Pierre, born January 3, 1939, in St. James Parish, Louisiana, becomes Vice President Emeritus and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Michigan State University. He created and directs the Sloan Engineering Program which recruits, helps fund, and mentors domestic engineering doctoral students, with an emphasis on underrepresented groups. Since 1998, he has personally mentored 45 engineering doctoral graduates, including 36 underrepresented minority doctoral graduates. His parents were Rosa Villavaso Pierre and Percy.

Mohammed M. Aman, born January 3, 1940, in Cairo, Egypt, becomes an educator and an author. Some sources say his birthplace is Alexandria, Egypt. He established the African American Academic Staff Council. He chairs the Black Faculty Council at UWM. He also co-found the Milwaukee Arab-Jewish Dialogue. Dean Aman is an active member of many other international committees and organizations. His contributions to the community and to the field of education are countless, and his modest admission of those contributions offers insight into the inspiring nature of this remarkable man. (From: http://www.uwm.edu/People/aman , an Internet source).

Peggy Ann Quince, born January 3, 1948, in Norfolk, Virginia, becomes a Justice of the Supreme Court of Florida, having previously served as Chief Justice from July 1, 2008, until June 30, 2010. Quince became the second African American and third woman to serve as Chief Justice.

Katie Cannon, born January 3, 1950, in Kannapolis, North Carolina, became the first Black woman ordained as a Presbyterian minister.

Ken Smikle born, January 3, 1952, in Harlem, New York, becomes publisher and founder of Target Market News, considered the leading authority o From: History Makers web site n marketing, advertising and media directed to the African American market. (From: History Makers web site).

William "Willy" Theodore Ribbs, Jr., born January 3, 1955, in San Jose, California, becomes a racecar driver; a pioneer in auto racing; the first African American to compete in the Indianapolis 500. He competed in many forms of auto racing. After retiring, he became a sport shooter in the National Sporting Clays Association. (From: the www.historymaker.com, an Internet source).

Marc Morial, born January 3, 1958, in New Orleans, Louisiana, becomes a political and civic leader who served as a former mayor of New Orleans, Louisiana from 1994 to 2002.

Jerome Young, born January 3, 1963, in Greensboro, North Carolina, known for his willingness to take dangerous bumps and his stiff hardcore wrestling style,, becomes a professional wrestler who often took high risks and "shooting" on opponents, though he is only known to shoot one opponents who are deemed disrespectful in the ring. He is also known for having his theme song ("Natural Born Killaz" by Ice Cube and Dr. Dre) play throughout his matches in ECW. The inspiration for his ring name came from the movieNew Jack City.”

Cheryl Miller, born January 3, 1964, in Riverside, California, becomes a professional player and basketball Hall of Fame inductee. Cheryl Miller and basketballs' Reggie Miller (born August 24, 1965) are siblings. Miller's father, a military man, encouraged his children to be the best they could be in everything they did, mainly in school and athletic pursuits. (From: Notable Black American Women, Book 3, page 436 and 439 and NBA Hall of Fame, an Internet source).

Aileen Nicole Coleman-Mullen, born January 3, 1967, in Cincinnati, Ohio, known professionally as Nicole C. Mullen, becomes award-winning singer, songwriter, and choreographer.

James Larry Carter, born January 3, 1969, in Detroit, Michigan, becomes a jazz musician, playing the clarinetist, saxophonist, and flute. As a young man, he attended Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp and was a member of the group Bird-Trane-Sco-Now. On his album ''Chasin' the Gypsy'' (2000), he recorded with his cousin Regina Carter, a jazz violinist. Carter has won the critics' choice award for baritone saxophone three years in a row from ''Down Beat'' magazine. He has played on albums with Cyrus Chestnut, Wynton Marsalis and the Mingus Big Band.

Dartanyan Edmonds, born January 3, 1972, in Washington, District of Columbia, becomes a comedian and actor whose had acting roles in the TV movie “ Deliver Us from Eva,” which also starred L.L Cool J and Gabrielle Union.

Kimberley Dawn Locke, born January 3, 1978,in Hartsville, Tennessee, becomes a singer-songwriter and model who became a finalist on the 2003 season of American Idol and participated in the Celebrity Fit Club. She has recorded in the dance and pop genres, and has targeted the adult contemporary radio format.

Karnail Paul Pitts, also known as Mc Bugz, born January 3, 1978, in possibly Detroit, Michigan (died May 21, 1999) became a rapper of the rap group d12, formed by Eminem and late member Proof. Karnail, well known for his rap skills and amazing freestyles is, credited in the source magazine unsigned hype section. Eminen signed Bugz, along with Swift, bizarre, proof, kuniva and kon artis to his Shady records label. But unfortunately, the dream didn’t last long. On May 21, 1999, during a fist fight, Karnail was shot and killed at a Belle Isle, a park in Detroit. He was 21 years old. To this day, the surviving D12 members keep his legacy alive. (From: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=15690232).

Bryan Ezra Tsumoru Clay, born January 3, 1980, in Austin, Texas, becomes an American decathlete, the 2008 Summer Olympic champion for the decathlon and also World champion in 2005. He is Afro-Asian; his mother, Michele Ishimoto, a Japanese immigrant to America and his father, Greg Clay, African American. Clay has a younger brother, Nikolas, who was also a standout athlete on the Azusa Pacific University track team. On March 23, 2013 Clay received induction into the Azusa Pacific Hall of Fame in Track and Field. His parents divorced when he was in elementary school and he was raised primarily by his mother.

Caleb Pinkett, born January 3, 1980, in Orange County, California, becomes an American actor and writer. He is the younger brother of actress Jada Pinkett Smith, and the brother-in-law of actor/recording artist Will Smith, and uncle of Jaden Smith and Willow Smith.

Nicole Beharie, born January 3, 1985, in West Palm Beach, Florida, becomes an actress who’s appeared in the hit movie, "42," and co-star in Fox's series, "Sleepy Hollow."  

Lloyd Polite, Jr., born January 3, 1986, in New Orleans, Louisiana, simply known as Lloyd, becomes an R&B recording artist from Atlanta, Georgia. Lloyd entered the music industry as a member of the preteen-boy band N-Toon.

Selena Sloan Butler, born January 4, 1872, in Thomasville, Georgia, (died October 7, 1964), becomes an avid community leader and welfare activist. Not much information exists about her early life, only that she owes her life to an African mother and white father. She graduated from school at the age of sixteen, and taught in the schools of Atlanta, Georgia and Florida.

Mordecai Wyatt Johnson, born the son of former slaves Reverend Wyatt J. Johnson and Carolyn Freeman, January 4, 1890, (some sources give January 12, 1890 as his birth date) in Paris, Tennessee (died September 10, 1976), becomes an educator, who became the first black president of Howard University, from 1926 until 1960. On June 26, 1926, at the age of 36, Johnson became the eleventh President of Howard University, becoming the first permanent African American to head that institution. He traveled 25,000 miles a year throughout the country speaking principally on topics such as racism, segregation, and discrimination.

C.L.R. James, born January 4, 1901, on the Caribbean Island of Trinidad, in Port of Spain, (died May 19, 1989, London, England), becomes a historian, critic, Marxist and Pan Africanist. His works helped to shape the independence movements in Africa and the West Indies. Some people remember James as a leading thinker on the relationship between socialism and race. In his most famous work, The Black Jacobins, he studied the Haitian revolution led by Toussaint L'Ouverture (an achiever of color who worked with Napoleon Bonaparte). The Haitian revolution took place in 1791, but received much less attention than the American and French revolutions of that period. James called the Haitian revolution "the only successful slave revolt," and his analysis suggested that revolution would not have to begin in Europe, and that a specially trained group of vanguard leaders might not be necessary. (From: http://democratic-socialists.uchicago.edu/sotm , an Internet source).

Blanche General Ely, born January 4, 1904, in Reddick, Florida (died in 1993), becomes an educator, principal and advocate for education. The Blanche Ely High School in Pompano Beach, Florida received its name honoring Blanche General Ely’s accomplishments.

William Waldron Schiefflin Claytor, born January 4, 1908, in Norfolk, Virginia, (died in 1967), becomes a mathematician and educator who earned his A.B. and M.A. from Howard University. He went on to earn his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1933. While at Penn, he won a Harrison Scholarship in Mathematics in his second year, and took the most prestigious award offered at Penn at that time, a Harrison Fellowship in Mathematics, in his third and final year of graduate studies. Claytor's dissertation delighted the Penn faculty, for it provided a significant advance in the theory of Peano continua-—a branch of point-set topology. He was the third African American to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics, following Elbert Cox (Ph.D., Cornell, 1925) and Dudley Woodard, Sr. (Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 1928). In 1980, the National Association of Mathematicians instituted the Claytor Lecture, a lecture series in honor of William W. Schieffelin Claytor.

Slim Gaillard, born January 4, 1911 or 1916, in Detroit, Michigan, (died February 26, 1991, London, England), becomes a singer, composer and musician; playing the vibraphone, guitar, piano, and tenor saxophone. He became one-half of the famous team of "Slim and Slam" tap dancing and variety act, from 1938 to 1943. He did some acting, appearing in the films, "Hellzapoppin and Star Spangled Rhythm," both in 1942.

Floyd Patterson born, January 4, 1935, in Waco, North Carolina, (died May 11, 2006), becomes a professional boxer. In 1952, he became an Olympic middleweight boxing champion. From 1956 to 1959, and again from 1960 to 1962, he held the world heavyweight boxing championship belt.  (From: www.infoplease.com , an Internet source).

Grace Bumbry, born January 4, 1937, in St. Louis, Missouri, becomes an opera singer. In 1961, she became the first Black woman to sing the role of Venus, in Richard Wagner's Tannahauser, at the Wagner Bayreuth Festival. Bumbry won critical acclaim for her lieder and other art songs. (From: Black First, Second Edition, page 48).

William Mickey Stevenson, born January 4, 1940, (place of birth not given in source), becomes one of the unsung heroes behind the extraordinary success of the Motown sound; songwriter and record producer for the Motown Records group of labels from the early days of Berry Gordy's company until 1967, when he and his then-wife, singer Kim Weston, left for MGM. The 1966's classic "It Takes Two," sung by Marvin Gaye and Stevenson’s wife (at that time) Kim Weston, became his last major hit for Motown.

Marshall Rock Jones, born January 4, 1941, in Natchitoches, Louisiana, died May 27, 2016. He became a musician, bass player for the Ohio Players. In addition to playing with the Players, he was also an original member of the Ohio Untouchables. That group broke up in 1964, following a fist fight between him and guitarist Robert Ward. As a result, Jones along with Clarence “Satch” Satchell (saxophone/guitar), Cornelius Johnson (drums) and Ralph “Pee Wee” Middlebrooks (trumpet/trombone) reformed as the Ohio Players, a new group rounded out by the addition of Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner (guitar), Gregory Webster (drums) and Bobby Lee Fears (vocals) and Dutch Robinson (vocals). Jones was called “Rock,” because of his rock-solid bass playing and was known for wearing a turban on stage. Over the course of his career, he also shared his talents as a composer with acclaimed artists like D’Angelo, Mavis Staples, Jay-Z, Elvis Presley, Billy Joel, Ted Nugent and Paula Clark.

Arthur Lee Conley, born January 4, 1946,in Atlanta, Georgia, (died November 17, 2003), becomes an R&B singer, best known for the 1967 hit "Sweet Soul Music."

Michelle Wallace, born January 4, 1952, in New York City, New York, becomes a black feminist author, cultural critic, and daughter of artist Faith Ringgold. She is best known for her 1979 book "Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman."  

Celestine Ann Tin Beyincé, born January 4, 1954, in Galveston, Texas, becomes a businesswoman and fashion designer known for her “House of Deréon” and “Miss Tina by Tina Knowles” fashion brands. She is the mother of singers Beyoncé and Solange Knowles.

Denise Katrina Matthews, born January 4, 1959, better known as “Vanity,” but sometimes credited as Denise Matthews-Smith or D.D. Winters, in Canada, becomes a singer, songwriter, dancer, actress, and model from the 1980s until the early mid-90s. She was the lead singer for the female trio Vanity 6, which recorded the 1982 R&B hit "Nasty Girl." Her mother was of German descent and her father was African Canadian. Her sister is the sister of Canadian model Patricia Matthews. With Diana Ross as an idol, Matthews wanted to become a Hollywood star. In 1982, she met Prince at the American Music Awards, where she was working as a model for the night. Prince re-named her Vanity, stating he saw his female reflection when he looked at her. That same year, Prince having learned that she could sing asked her to become the lead singer of the group Vanity 6. She went on to appear in 52 Pick-Up and 1988's Action Jackson, her highest profile role, in which she starred opposite Carl Weathers, Craig T. Nelson, and Sharon Stone. Vanity gave up her stage name and became a born-again Christian in 1994, the year she almost died from the effects of smoking crack cocaine. She claims that after being rushed to the hospital, doctors said she had three days left to live while on life support. She said that Jesus came to her at this time and spoke to her, saying if she promised to give up her Vanity persona, he would save her. In 1995, she was quoted as saying "When I came to the Lord Jesus Christ, I threw out about 1,000 tapes of mine—every interview, every tape, every video, everything." She has stated that she has chosen not to receive any more revenues from her work as Vanity, and has cut off all ties with Hollywood and her former life in the music business. She has expressed embarrassment and shame about what she characterizes as her sinful life as Vanity, including her drug addiction and other lifestyle choices. After a kidney transplant in 1997, she decided to devote her life to evangelism. She now speaks at churches across the United States and overseas.

Christopher Tricky Stewart, born January 4, 1974, in Markham, Illinois, becomes a songwriter, music producer, music publisher, executive producer, recording industry executive and recording studio owner.

Jill Marie Jones born January 4, 1975, in Dallas, Texas, becomes an actress best known for her role as Toni Childs on the TV sitcom “Girlfriends,” and had a recurring role in “Sleepy Hollow.” Jones worked as a Dallas Cowboy’s cheerleader for two years and with the Dallas Mavericks as a dancer for one year. She toured with the United Service Organization (USO) and the United States Department of Defense to Korea, Japan, Israel and Egypt. She also performed on:” Monday Night Football” and “The Miss Texas Pageant.” Her first acting credits were the Saturday morning series “City Guys” and the made for TV trilogy “American Dream” which starred Danny Glover and Wesley Snipes.

Courtney "Coco" Jones born January 4, 1998, in Columbia, South Carolina, but raised in Lebanon, Tennessee., becomes a singer, songwriter, musician, dancer and actress who rose to prominence starring in the Disney Channel film, “Let It Shine.”

Sissieretta "Black Patti" Jones born Matilda Sissieretta Joyner (Joiner), January 5, 1869, in Portsmouth, Virginia, (died June 24, 1933, Providence, Rhode, Island), became a noted concert and opera singer who sang at the Chicago World Fair in 1893, as well as Madison Square Garden and for several Presidents of the United States. She retired in 1916 and began taking in homeless children and selling mementos from her days of glory to pay her living expenses. Classical music is full of issues of race and gender. Every now and then through a standard music history textbook, where the usual names revealed are those such as Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Joseph Haydn, Henry Purcell, Richard Wagner, and Franz Schubert (all white men), often, those who were not white or male were largely ignored. However, Sissieretta Jones became one exception. African American Registry gives her birth date as February 26, 1869, and the Encyclopedia Britannica and Timelines of African American History, page 96, list her date of birth as January 5, 1869.

Bishop Mary Magdalena Lewis Tate, born January 5, 1871, in Vanleer, Tennessee, died December 28, 1930, becomes an evangelist, pioneering minister and church founder, Tate married her first husband, David Lewis, at age nineteen; they had two sons. As that marriage broke up, she began preaching close to home. Soon she traveled several hundred miles as she crossed state lines into Kentucky and Illinois. Along the way, she gathered converts into “Do Rights” bands, so named because people responded to her message by wanting to “do right.” These associations in Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee purchased property to house a meeting place for their worship services of song, testimony, Bible study, and preaching. In 1903, she gathered these groups into the Church of the Living God, the Pillar and Ground of the Truth. As the number of churches multiplied, she held a General Assembly in 1908 in Greenville, Alabama. During the ten days, she ordained ministers, officially incorporated the denomination, and presided as bishop. The denomination grew rapidly and spread into twenty states; prompting her to appoint state Bishops to oversee churches within state boundaries. Her sons worked alongside her. To solidify further the denomination, she assembled its doctrines, rules, rituals, and governing structures into a Decree Book and distributed it to the churches. At the core of Tate’s teaching stood the concept of cleanness. Cleanness, she taught, must direct one’s entire life: from eating and drinking, to marriage and family, even to the way one participates in social and community affairs. Over time, she divorced three husbands to avoid association with their uncleanness. Bishop Tate chose Nashville for her denominational headquarters, and in 1923, with her approval, the denomination purchased eleven 50 x 140 city lots for $5,000, including a large brick building with five rooms. The publishing house opened in the building after it was renovated and equipped with printing presses, paper cutters, print type and typesetting equipment. Part-time workers hired from several African American schools in the area staffed the publishing house. For two decades from this location, the New and Living Way Publishing Company printed Sunday school literature, music, and several periodicals. Tate provided open and visible access for women’s leadership. She purposefully used generic language when referring to church positions in order to make them available for both genders, and she mentored women to take their place in leadership. In response, women answered her call. During the denomination’s first century, several hundred women served as evangelists, ministers, and bishops in the Church of the Living God. While in Philadelphia on church business, Bishop Mary Lena Lewis Tate died in December 1930. A branch of the original church survives under her grandson, Bishop Meharry H. Lewis, and unequivocally supports women ministers, thus keeping alive Bishop Tate’s vision.
Elizabeth Cotten, born January 5, 1893 or 1895, in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, North Carolina, (died June 29, 1987, Syracuse, New York), becomes an author, musician and folk legend who performed throughout the United States and Canada. In 1984, she received a Grammy Award for "Elizabeth Cotten Live." Some sources claim her birth year to be 1892.

Fred "Snowflake" Toones, born January 5, 1906, in North Carolina (died February 13, 1962), becomes an African American film actor and comedian of the early sound era. Because of the sheer number of movies he appeared in, Toones became one of the most prolific character faces in B-Western and cliffhangers. He appeared in over 200 films between 1928 and 1951; and between 1936 and 1947, Toones worked under contract for Republic Pictures, appearing in about 40 of its films. His standard characterization became that of a middle-aged "colored" man with a high-pitched voice and childlike demeanor. Like “Curly Howard and Tommy “Tiny” Lister, who followed the tradition of using an antonymous as both their professional name and character name." Toones used the name Snowflake and he used this name as his credit as early as his third film, 1931’s Shanghaied Love. Likewise, in Shanghaied Love and over 35 other films, “Snowflake” served as Toones’ character name. Toones first appeared as a porter in 1932 in The Hurricane Express, and usually typecast as a porter – appearing in over 50 films in such a role. He also played a variety of other service-oriented or domestic worker roles such as stable grooms, janitors, elevator operators, valets, cooks, bellhops, doormen, butlers, and bartenders. Like Robert Dudley, Anna May Wong, Franklin Pangborn, Ramon Novaro, Nat Pendleton and others, Toones is a prime example of racial and social stereotyping in the Hollywood film industry.

William Lloyd "Little Willie" Adams, born January 5, 1914, in Zebulon, North Carolina (died in 2011), becomes a community entrepreneur and businessman who went from being a numbers runner on the streets of Baltimore to the city's first prominent African-American venture capitalist, bankrolling numerous black-owned businesses such as Parks Sausage and Super Pride supermarkets, died Monday from pneumonia at Roland Park Place.

John W. Moutoussamy, born January 5, 1922, in possibly Chicago, Illinois, (died May 6, 1995), becomes an architect who worked on such projects as the Richard J. Daley City College, Johnson Publishing Co. building and the Chicago Urban League building. Mr. Moutoussamy, father-in-law of the late tennis star Arthur Ashe, became an award-winning fellow of the American Institute of Architects, of which he served as a member for nearly 20 years. Studying under Mies van der Rohe, Mr. Moutoussamy earned a degree in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1948 and went on to become managing partner of Dubin, Dubin and Moutoussamy.

Beatrice Winde born Beatrice Lucille Williams, January 5 1924, in Chicago, Illinois (died January 3, 2004), becomes an actress known for the movie “Dangerous Minds,” 1995, “The Hurricane,” (1999) and “Simon Birch,” 1998. (1998).

Hosea Lorenzo Williams, born January 5, 1926, in Attapulgus, Georgia (died November 16, 2000) becomes a civil rights leader, ordained minister, businessman, philanthropist, scientist, and politician. He may be best known as a trusted member of fellow famed civil rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Martin Luther King, Jr.' s inner circle. Under the banner of their flagship organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, King depended on Williams to organize and stir masses of people into nonviolent direct action in myriad protest campaigns they waged against racial, political, economic, and social justice. King alternately referred to Williams, his chief field lieutenant, as his "bull in a china closet" and his "Castro."

Wilbert Harrison, born January 5, 1929, in Charlotte, North Carolina (died October 26, 1994), becomes a rhythm and blues singer, pianist, guitarist and harmonica player, best remembered for his hit single “I’m Goin to Kansas City, Kansas City Here I Come.”

Frederick C. Tillis, born January 5, 1930, in Galveston, Texas, becomes a composer, jazz saxophonist, poet, and music educator at the collegiate level; professor of Afro-American music.

Alvin Ailey, Jr., born January 5, 1931, in Rogers, Texas (died December 1, 1989) (some sources say his birth took place in the year 1936 or 1938), becomes an African-American choreographer and activist who founded the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, in New York City. Credited for popularizing modern dance and revolutionizing African-American participation in 20th century concert dance, the company gained the nickname "Cultural Ambassador to the World" because of its extensive international touring. Ailey's choreographic masterpiece “Revelation” became the best-known and most often seen modern dance performance. In 1977, Ailey received the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP.  He received the Kennedy Center Honors, in 1988, just one year before his death. (From: www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/alvinailey/html/artists.htm l, an Internet source and Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 8).  

Earl Jesse Battey, Jr., born January 5, 1935, in Los Angeles, California, (died November 15, 2003), becomes a professional baseball player who played Major League Baseball as a catcher for the Chicago White Sox, the Washington Senators and the Minnesota Twins.

Ngugi wa Thiong'o, born January 5, 1938, in Kenya, Africa, becomes a novelist, dramatist and critic. Some people regard him as one of the most significant writers in East Africa. Kenyan teacher, novelist, essayist, and playwright, whose works function as an important link between the pioneers of African writing and the younger generation of postcolonial writers, after imprisonment, in 1978, Ngugi abandoned using English as the primary language of his work in favor of Gikuyu, his native tongue. The transition from colonialism to post-colonialist and the crisis of modernity has been a central issue in a great deal of Ngugi's writings.  (From: http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/ngugiw.htm , an Internet source).

Erika Huggins, born January 5, 1948, in Washington, D.C., becomes a school founder and the first Black person to serve on the School Board of Education in Oakland, California.

Grady Thomas, born January 5, 1941, in Newark, New Jersey, becomes a funk master; former member of the bands Parliament and Funkadelic. In 1997, he, with fifteen other members of Parliament-Funkadelic was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Theodore William "Ted" Lange, born January 5, 1948, in Oakland, California, becomes an actor, director, and screenwriter best known for his role as the bartender, Isaac Washington, in the 1970s TV series “The Love Boat.” Lange, born the son of Geraldine L., a television show host, and Ted Lange, attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, and became a cast member of the musical “Hair.” Lange’s first screen appearance was in the documentary film “Wattstax,” in 1973. After appearing in the film Black Belt Jones, in 1974, he portrayed Junior on the series “That’s My Mama,” before landing the role of the ship's bartender, Isaac on The Love Boat in 1977, opposite favorite idol Gavin MacLeod. After the series ended in 1986, Lange appeared in various films and guest roles on 227, "The Cleveland Show", Glitch, Evening Shade, Scrubs, Drake & Josh, The King of Queens, and Psych. In addition to his film and television work, Lange has also done extensive theater work. He made his Broadway debut in 1968 in the musical Hair He also performed in a one-man show, Behind the Mask: An Evening with Paul Laurence Dunbar. In 1999, Lange directed two episodes of The Love Boat: the Next Wave,” the UPN series based on The Love Boat. He also directed episodes of Moesha, Dharma & Greg and Eve. In 2008, he directed the drama For Love of Amy. For his work theater directing, Lange received the NAACP's Renaissance Man Theatre Award, the Heroes and Legends HAL Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Dramalogue Award. Lange has also been the recipient of the James Cagney Directing Fellow Scholarship Award from the American Film Institute along with the Paul Robeson Award from Oakland's Ensemble Theatre. (From: www.wikipedia.org).

George Funky Brown, born January 5, 1949, in Jersey City, New Jersey, becomes a musician, percussionist and member of the band Kool and the Gang.

Walter Joseph Herndon, born January 5 1949,in Washington, D.C., known as Joe Herndon, becomes an R&B and soul singer, former bass singer of a version of doo-wop group “The Spaniels” and also a bass singer for “The Temptations.”

Alexander English, born January 5, 1954, in Columbia, South Carolina, becomes a professional basketball player for the Denver Nuggets. (From: NBA Hall of Fame, an Internet source).

Janis Gaye, born Janis Elizabeth Hunter, January 5, 1956, in Los Angeles, California, becomes best known for being the romantic partner and later wife of legendary soul singer Marvin Gaye and the mother of singer and actress Nona Gaye.

Vincent Calloway, born January 5, 1957, in Cincinnati, Ohio, becomes a singer/songwriter for “Midnight Star” along with his brother, Reginald, as the R&B duo Calloway. They had a major hit in 1990 with "I Wanna Be Rich." After the duo's recording career dried up, they became successful record producers.

Earl Gilbert "Butch" Graves, Jr., born January 5, 1962, in Brooklyn, New York, becomes an executive and retired professional basketball player. His father, Earl Graves, Sr. (born January 9, 1935), is founder of Black Enterprise magazine. Graves Jr. attended Yale University and earned an MBA from Harvard University. While at Yale he became a member of Skull and Bones and captained the college basketball team. He currently (2012) is the all-time leading scorer in Yale men's basketball history and third all-time in Ivy League. Drafted into the NBA by the Philadelphia 76ers, he later plays briefly for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1984 and 1985.

Tananarive Priscilla Due, born January 5, 1966, in Tallahassee, Florida, becomes an author who while working as a journalist and columnist for the Miami Herald, wrote her first novel, “The Between,” in 1995. She wrote “The Black Rose,” a historical fiction about Madam C. J. Walker (based in part on research conducted by Alex Haley before his death) and “Freedom in the Family,” a non-fiction work about the civil rights struggle. She, along with other authors, contributed chapters to the humor novel “Naked Came the Manatee,” a mystery/thriller parody. She married author Steven Barnes, (born March 1, 1952.)

Ray Crockett, born January 5, 1967, in Dallas, Texas, becomes a professional football player for the Denver Broncos. (From: www.nfl.com , an Internet source).

Sophia A. Nelson, born January 5, 1967, in Munich, Germany, becomes an author, motivational speaker and attorney; is an American author, political strategist, opinion writer, and attorney.
A seasoned writer and political strategist, Sophia is the author of "The Woman Code: 20 Powerful Keys to Unlock Your Life" and "Black Woman Redefined: Dispelling Myths and Discovering Fulfillment in the Age of Michelle Obama."

Felton Spencer, born January 5, 1968, in Louisville, Kentucky, becomes a professional basketball player for the Orlando Magic and the New York Knicks. (From: Basketball Almanac, 1996-97, page 261 and www.espn.com , an Internet source)

Guy Torry, born January 5, 1969, in St. Louis, Missouri, becomes a comedian whose comic genius became evident to fellow students during his college years. Guy often held impromptu comedy "slams" in dorm breakrooms, leaving fellow students in stitches. Like his brother Joe, he left Missouri for Hollywood to find success in comedy and film. He actively supports his brother's "Give Back the Love" Foundation, a St Louis charity dedicated to helping disadvantaged children with basic needs such as clothes and school supplies.

Hillary Butler, born January 5, 1971, in San Francisco, California, becomes a professional football player for the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks. (From: http://www.databasefootball.com/players/playerpage.htm?ilkid=BUTLEHIL01).

Calvin Collins, born January 5, 1974, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, becomes a professional football player for the Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, and Pittsburgh Steelers. (From: www.si.com , an Internet source).

Warrick DeMon Dunn, born January 5, 1975, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, becomes a professional football player, the position of running back, and a minority owner of the Atlanta Falcons. He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 12th overall in the 1997 NFL Draft, after playing college football at Florida State. Dunn was named AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1997 and earned three Pro Bowl selections in his career. After his career, Dunn took a stake in the Falcons' ownership group led by Arthur Blank.

Brooklyn Sudano, born January 5, 1981, in Los Angeles, California, becomes an actress, singer and dancer, best known for playing the role of Vanessa Scott on the ABC sitcom “My Wife and Kids,” and Felicia on the TV series “Cuts.” Sudano is the daughter of Grammy Award winning singer Donna Summer and songwriter Bruce Sudano. She is also the older sister of Amanda Sudano of the music duo “Johnnyswim.”

 

Charles Sumner, born January 6, 1811, in Boston, Massachusetts, (died March 11, 1874), becomes an abolitionist and politician. In 1851, the Democratic Party elected him to Congress. He became the leading opponent of slavery. In 1860-1861, he became the congressional leader of the Radical Republicans.

Harry Herbert Pace, born January 6, 1884, Covington, Georgia, (died in 1943), becomes a music publisher and an insurance executive.

Mary Oglesby, born January 6, 1915, in Portsmouth, Virginia, (died June 5, 2005), becomes a swimming, track, volleyball, and basketball coach, (and most notably) an airplane pilot. She and her husband founded a training school in Plainfield, Indiana. For more than 40 years, she flew a Cessna 150, on search and rescue missions. She taught flight classes for more than 48 years.

Jerome Holland, born January 6, 1916, in Auburn, New York, (died in 1985), becomes an educator, a diplomat, and the first Black man to play college football player at Cornell University. He served as president of Delaware State College.

Leah Chase, born January 6, 1923, in New Orleans, Louisiana, becomes a master chef. Some sources claim her birthplace to be Madisonville, Louisiana. (From: History Makers, an Internet source).

Arnold R. Pinkney, born January 6, 1931, in Youngstown, Ohio, becomes a business executive who served as president and owner of Arnold R. Pinkney Consulting Services. In 1970, Cleveland's mayor Carl B. Stokes appointed him his executive assistant.

Ellenae L. Henry-Fairhurst, born January 6, 1943, in Dayton, Ohio, becomes an entrepreneur, who in 1999 became the first Black to own a Nissan Infinity car dealership in North America. Until then there were about thirteen of approximately 1070 Nissan dealerships in North Americas were Black owned. (From: Notable Black American Women, Book 3, page 280 and 281).

C. Jack Ellis, born January 6, 1946, in Macon, Georgia, becomes a politician, the first African American to serve as mayor of Macon, Georgia, from 1999 and re-elected in 2003 to 2007.  Ellis served 20 years in the United States Army as a paratrooper, and then served 2 years in Vietnam as a combat soldier.

Paula D. Alexander Burnett, born January 6, 1951, in Las Vegas, California, becomes a writer and an Assistant Director of Education, in Washington, D.C.

Wayne K. Curry, born January 6, 1951, in Brooklyn, New York, becomes a politician and community leader, serving as 5th Prince George County, Maryland Executive from 1994 to 2002.

Armelia Odgery McQueen, born January 6, 1952, Montgomery County, North Carolina, becomes an actress who has played roles in both film and television, known for Ghost (1990), Life (1999) and Bulworth (1998).

George Cushingberry, Jr., born January 6, 1953, in Royal Oak, becomes a politician, serving as a member of the Michigan House of Representatives from the 8th District, elected first in 1975, becoming the youngest person to serve in the Michigan State House, where he served until 1982. He ran and won again in 2004 and re-elected again in 2006.

Jacqueline DeLois Moore, born January 6, 1964 becomes a semi-retired American professional wrestler, known for her stint in World Wrestling from 1998 to 2004 as well as working for World Championship Wrestling in 1997/98 and later Total Nonstop Action Wrestling as a wrestler, manager and road agent.

Tiffany "New York" Pollard, born January 6, 1982, in Utica, New York, becomes an American reality television personality and actress, best known for her participation in VH1's Flavor of Love and I Love New York television series.

Michaela DePrince, born as Mabinty Bangura, an orphan, January 6, 1995 in Sierra Leone, becomes a ballet dancer who grew up during the Sierra Leone civil war. Her adoptive parents were told that her father was shot by rebels when she was three years old, and that her mother starved to death soon after. Frequently malnourished, mistreated and derided as a "devil's child" because of a disfiguring skin condition, vitiligo, she had to flee to a refugee camp after her orphanage was bombed. In 1999, at the age of four, she received adoption. Performing at the Youth America Grand Prix, among other competitions, she pursued a professional career, despite encountering instances of racial discrimination. At age eight, she was told that she could not perform as Marie in “The Nutcracker,” because "America's not ready for a black girl ballerina", and a year later, a teacher told her mother that black dancers were not worth investing money into. DePrince was one of the stars of the 2011 documentary film First Position, which follows six young dancers vying for a place in an elite ballet company or school, and performed on the TV show “Dancing with the Stars. In 2012, she graduated from the American Ballet Theatre, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School in New York, and joined the Dance Theatre of Harlem as a dancer. Her professional debut performance was in the role of Gulnare in the South African premiere of Le Corsaire on 19 July 2012.

Mary Eleanor Delaney Brownlow McCoy, born January 7, 1846, in an Underground Railroad Station in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, (died in 1923), becomes a philanthropist and leader in founding many clubs, and so remembered as "Mother of Clubs." In 1895, Mary was one of the founders of the "In as Much Circle of King's Daughters and Sons Club," said to be the first black women's club in Michigan. She was also the only black woman to be a charter member of the prestigious Twentieth Century Club, started in 1894. In 1898, Mary was one of the cofounders of the Michigan State Association of Colored Women and eventually became its vice president.  She married inventor Elijah McCoy.

Emma J. Ray, born a slave, January 7, 1859 in Springfield, Missouri, (died November 25, 1930), becomes an evangelist and autobiographer. As an evangelist, she worked in equal partnership with her husband in an urban ministry in Seattle, Washington. Emma Ray wrote a biography that threw light on Black life from slavery through the early 20th century. At the time of her mothers’ death in 1868, Ray had nine brothers and sisters. Emma Ray’s story can be found in Notable Black American Women, Book 3, page 491 to 493.

Zora Neale Hurston, born the fifth of eight children, January 7, 1891, in Notasulga, Alabama, and raised in Eatonville, Florida,  (died January 28, 1960), becomes a folklorist, anthropologist, and author during the time of the Harlem Renaissance. Of Hurston's four novels and more than 50 published short stories, plays, and essays, and best known for her 1937 novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God.” Hurston's house in Fort Pierce is a National Historic Landmark. Fort Pierce celebrates Hurston annually through various events such as Hattitudes, birthday parties, and a several-day festival at the end of April known as Zora Fest. Every Year, the city of Eatonville (the town that inspired her) celebrates her life and legacy, at the Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities. Hurston opposed the Supreme Court ruling in the Brown v. Board of Education case of 1954. She felt that if separate schools were truly equal (and she believed that they were rapidly becoming so) educating black students in physical proximity to white students would not result in better education. In addition, she worried about the demise of black schools and black teachers as a way to pass on cultural tradition to future generations of African-Americans. She voiced this opposition in a letter, "Court Order Can't Make the Races Mix", that was published in the Orlando Sentinel in August 1955. Hurston had not reversed her long-time opposition to segregation. Rather, she feared that the Court's ruling could become a precedent for an all-powerful federal government to undermine individual liberty on a broad range of issues in the future. Hurston also opposed preferential treatment for African-Americans, saying, “If I say a whole system must be upset for me to win, I am saying that I cannot sit in the game, and that safer rules must be made to give me a chance. I repudiate that. If others are in there, deal me a hand and let me see what I can make of it, even though I know some in there are dealing from the bottom and cheating like hell in other ways.”

Rayford Whittingham Logan, born January 7, 1897, in Washington, D.C. (died November 4, 1982), becomes an African-American historian and Pan-African activist. While in high school, Carter G. Woodson taught Logan.  Being a bright student, Logan received honors and a scholarship to Williams College where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1917.  Immediately, he joined the U.S. Army in World War II, and like many black veterans of that era, witnessed the racism perpetrated against black troops by white officers.  Known for his study of post-Reconstruction America, a period he termed "the nadir of American race relations," in 1932, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appoints Logan to his Black Cabinet. Logan drafted Roosevelt's Executive Order prohibiting the exclusion of blacks from then military in World War II. Logan became the 15th General President of Alpja Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek letter fraternity established for African Americans. In 1980, he received the NAACP Spingarn Medal.

Thelma "Butterfly" McQueen, born January 7, 1911, Tampa, Florida (died December 22, 1995, in Augusta, Georgia)), becomes an American actress and dancer, who first appeared as Prissy, Scarlett O'Hara's maid in the 1939 film “Gone with the Wind.,” for which she received an award. Dorothy Brown, born January 7, 1919, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, (died June 13, 2004), but placed in an orphanage in Troy, New York at five months old by her mother.  She lived there until the age of 12. Brown becomes a humanitarian and a surgeon; the first Black female to become a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the first female surgeon of African-American ancestry from the Southeastern United States, and the first African American to serve in the Tennessee General Assembly, having been elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives. While at the orphanage, she underwent a tonsillectomy operation, an experience that led to her interest in the field of medicine Although her mother tried to persuade the young Dorothy to live with her, Brown kept running away from home, only to return to the Troy orphanage. Upon reaching the age of fifteen, Brown ran away to enroll at the Troy High School. She worked as a mother's helper in the house of Mrs. W. F. Jarrett. Assisted by a principal of the school who introduced her to Samuel Wesley and Lola Redmon, the couple who became her foster.

Frederick Drew Gregory, born January 7, 1941, in Washington, D.C., becomes a NASA research test pilot and an astronaut who piloted the Challenger on Space-lab 3 mission. He is the nephew of Charles R. Drew, the achiever of color who became famous as a surgeon who pioneered the area of blood plasma.

Steven Williams, born January 7, 1949, in Memphis, Tennessee, becomes an actor of films and television; best known for his role as Captain Adam Fuller on the Fox Network's hit TV series “21 Jump Street,” from 1987 to 1991. He played Lt. Burnett on the CBS drama series “The Equalizer,” in 1989. He later played Det. August Brooks on the short-lived TNT’s “L A Heat,” in 1996. Steven also had a recurring role as Mr. X on the Fox hit science fiction series “The X-Files.” He later played Russell "Linc" Lincoln in “Lincs.”

Melvin Hart, born, January 7, 1952, in Saint Matthews, South Carolina, becomes a manager and director of marketing for the Black Media Group, publisher of Columbia, South Carolina's African American newspaper, "Black News." When he reached the eighth grade, Hart became one of a small group of African American students to integrate Saint Matthews High School. In 1970, Hart, one of five African Americans, out of a class of approximately seventy-five students, graduated from St. Matthews.  (From: History Makers web site).

Lester Speight, born January 7, 1963, in Baltimore, Maryland, becomes a professional football player and a film and television actor best known for his portrayal of Terry Tate: Office Linebacker in a series of Reebok commercials that first aired during Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003. The spots feature Speight, a former All-American Football player himself, as a linebacker charged with the no-holds barred enforcement of office policies. The commercials were by The Hollywood Reporter says the series of commercials played during Super Bowl XXXVII, featuring Speights, achieved much critical acclaim and ranked the most watched of the Super Bowl. The popular character recently made a return appearance in a series of ads campaign in support of voting. Amongst the Office Linebacker's new tackles included former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Todd F. Day, born January 7, 1970, in Decatur, Illinois, becomes a professional basketball player for the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks. Day played college basketball at the University of Arkansas for Coach Nolan Richardson, and was a four-year letterman. Day broke Sidney Moncrief’s career mark for scoring with 2,395 points during his four-year career. In his final college season, Day powered the Razorbacks to the Southeastern Conference title in the school's first season in the league. During his NBA career, Day also played for the Miami Heat, the Phoenix Suns and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Over the course of his time in the NBA, Day averaged 12.3 points per game. December 2007, the Arkansas Impact, a member of the Premier Basketball League, hired Day as head coach. The Impact began their season in January 2008 and played their home games in Little Rock’s Barton Coliseum, but are no longer in operation. Day became a member of the 2008 class of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame. (From: Basketball Almanac, 1996-97, page 68)

Doug E. Doug, born Douglas Bourne, January 7, 1970, in Brooklyn, N.Y., becomes an actor, comedian, screenwriter, producer and film director, best known for his portrayal of Griffin Vesey on the CBS sitcom “Cosby,” and the voice of Bernie in the animated film “Shark Tale.” Robert Ri'chard, born on January 7, 1983 in Los Angeles, California, becomes an actor and producer, known for “One on One,” (2001), “Coach Carter,” (2005) and “House of Wax” (2005).

Timothy Drew, also known as Noble Drew Ali, born January 8, 1886 in rural North Carolina, (died July 20, 1929), becomes the founder of Moorish Science and established his first temple in Newark, New Jersey, in 1913. The organization he founded became the forerunner for the organization the Nation of Islam.

Sembene Ousmane, born January 8, 1923 in Senegal, Africa, (died June 9, 2007), becomes a novelist and screenwriter, whose novels and films address social wrongs in post-colonial Africa.

Clarence B. Jones, born January 8, 1931, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, becomes a publishing executive who served as editor and publisher of the New York Amsterdam News, once the nation's largest black weekly newspaper in New York City.

Dame Shirley Veronica Bassey, born January 8, 1937, in Tiger Bay, Cardiff, Wales, becomes a singer most noted for recording the theme songs for the James Bond movie series. The songs include “Gold finger,” 1964; “Diamonds Are Forever,” 1971 and “Moonraker,” in 1979. She is also a UNESCO Artist for Peace.

Camille Yarbrough, born January 8, 1938, in Chicago, Illinois, becomes an American musician, actress, poet, activist, television producer, and author, perhaps best known for "Take Yo' Praise", which Fatboy Slim sampled from in his track "Praise You" in 1998. "

Little Anthony" Gourdine, born January 8, 1940, in Brooklyn, New York, becomes the lead singer of a popular singing group of the fifties and sixties known as Little Anthony and the Imperials. One of their famous recordings was entitled, "Tears on My Pillow."

Henry E. Hampton, born January 8, 1940, in St. Louis, Missouri, becomes a documentary filmmaker who serves as executive producer and founder of “Blackside, Inc.,” (a film and TV production company).

Helen Baylor, born January 8, 1953, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, becomes a Gospel singer who first performed as a secular nightclub act, opening for Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and B.B. King while still in her teens, and performed in the musical Hair. In the 1970s, she continued working in musicals and also sang with Captain  & Tennille and Chaka Khan, but struggled with drug abuse in the 1980s as her career soured. Baylor became sober late in the decade, strengthening her Christian faith and deciding to launch a career in gospel music. She released her first gospel effort on Word Records in 1990. Her first five albums all hit the Top Ten of the U.S. Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart, with the most successful being 1994's The Live Experience, which reached #1 on that chart. The track "Oasis" became huge in the UK, via Expansion Records and stayed on the Music Week Dance Chart for 14 weeks. The song "Sold Out" (from the album Start All Over) won a Dove Award for Contemporary Gospel Recorded Song of the Year at the 24th GMA Dove Awards in 1993. In July 2011, Baylor announced that she will co-produce a feature film about her life story. The film, A PRAYING GRANDMOTHER: THE HELEN BAYLOR STORY will feature accounts that she first shared in the song, "Helen's Testimony" (Word, 1995)

Willie Anderson, born January 8, 1967, in Greenville, South Carolina, becomes a professional basketball player for the San Antonio Spurs from 1988 to 1995 and New York Knicks in 1996 (From: Basketball Almanac, 1996-1997, page 13).

R Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, January 8, 1967, in Chicago, Illinois, becomes an R&B singer/songwriter whose net worth comes directly from his music career and it has an estimate of 150 million dollars. R Kelly won a Grammy award for his single “I Believe I Can Fly”, which topped charts not only in the United States, but also in elsewhere in the world. Since 2000, R Kelly has been producing and releasing albums that were certified multi-platinum. Moreover, it is worth mentioning that R Kelly quitted attending school and started his career as a subway musician that set a path for his future career. On the television show, which scouts new talents “Big Break” R Kelly became the winner and his award was a prize of 100 thousand dollars. In 1995, the singer released his album called “R Kelly” which was sold four million copies and hit charts in the United States. Moreover, R Kelly released and produced hip-hop opera called “Trapped in a Closet” which was a multi-series. The opera was released to different radio shows by small amounts. The subsequent amount of the series of this opera came in 2010 spring. R Kelly once married teenage pop star Aaliyah whom he helped to produce her albums. However, the marriage between them later annulled.

Tucky McKey, born January 8, 1969, in South Central, California, becomes a cartoonist and artist.

Khalek Kirkland, born January 8, 1972, in Brooklyn, New York, becomes an educator who with high expectations for himself and the 7th grade students he teaches in Brooklyn, New York. He said in an interview for “Face Forward,” “I live my life believing to whom much is given, much is required.”

Windell D. Middlebrooks, born January 8, 1979, in Fort Worth, Texas, becomes an American film and television actor, and alumnus of Sterling College in Sterling, Kansas. He earned an MFA in acting at the University of California, Irvine in 2004. He is an actor and producer, known for “Body of Proof” (2011), “Miss March” (2009) and “Aces in the Hole” (2009).

Stephanie Jean Umoh, born January 8, 1986, in Lewisville, Texas, becomes a stage actress who played the role of Sarah in the 2009 Broadway theatre revival of the musical Ragtime which performed from Nov 15, 2009 to Jan 10, 2010. (Some sources claim her birth date as January 9).

Ann Nixon Cooper, born January 9, 1902 in Shelbyville, Tennessee, (died December 21, 2009), becomes one of the oldest African Americans to vote for President Barack Obama. In a speech in November 2008, Obama referenced Ms. Cooper name when identifying the changes she and others in her age where seeing which at one time they would have never fathomed the things which have taken place.

Isabell Masters, born January 9, 1913, in Topeka, Kansas, (died September 11, 2011), becomes a politician, one of very few women who have run for President of the United States. She ran under the Looking Back Party ticket in 1984; in 1992, receiving 339 votes; 1996, receiving 752 votes and the year 2000 and the year 2004. Her daughter Cora Masters is ex-wife of Washington D.C.’s controversial mayor Marion Berry.

Sekou Toure, born January 9, 1922 in the village of Faranah, Guinea, (died March 26, 1984), becomes the head of the State of Guinea and elected president of Guinea in October of 1958. He served as their president until March 1984.

Earl G. Graves, Sr., born January 9, 1935, in Brooklyn, New York, becomes an entrepreneur, publisher, businessman, and philanthropist. A graduate of Morgan State University, he is the founder of Black Enterprise magazine and chairman of the media company Earl G. Graves, Ltd. He undertook his first job at the age of seven selling boxed Christmas cards for his uncle. His territory was severely limited due to his father's rule that he could only sell to people living on their side of the block.

Martin C. Jones, born January 9, 1964, in Columbus, Ohio, becomes a veteran producer of movies, commercials, and music videos. His feature films include “ASUNDER,” “NOTHIN’ 2 LOSE,” “FOR REAL,” and his latest production is Fred Hammond’s “CHRISTMAS WHO NEEDS IT.” Jones has produced spots for major brands including TBS, Tyler Perry, Jeep, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Kmart, and Grolsch Beer. Music video work includes; LL Cool J, Run DMC, MC Hammer, NWA, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, and Tupac. Jones is an experienced entertainment executive. He was the managing partner of New Millennium Studios, Executive VP at United Image Entertainment running the slates for BET Pictures and BET Films, Production Exec at LIVE Entertainment, and Creative Director with Electric Pictures. Early assignments were with Walt Disney Studios, and Vestron Pictures. Based in Los Angeles, Jones is a graduate of Denison University with a B.A. in Cinema. Jones is a 1986 graduate of Denison University with a BA in Cinema. He launched a home entertainment company and DVD label called Day for Night LLC. From 1997 until early 2004, Jones was the managing partner and General Manager with New Millennium Studios. He has produced several feature films including his next release Why Men Cheat, For Real, Nothin' 2 Lose, and Asunder.

Tyrone "Muggsy" Bogues, born January 9, 1965, in Baltimore, Maryland, becomes a professional basketball player for the Charlotte Hornets. (From: Basketball Almanac, 1996-97, page 29)

George Washington Carver, born a slave, January 10, 1864 or July 12, 1864, near Diamond Grove, Missouri, (died January 5, 1943), becomes known as one of the great men of history, becoming one of the greatest agricultural scientists of all time. In 1948, President Harry S. Truman authorized a U.S. Postage stamp to be dedicated in his honor and in 1973 he received recognition by being elected to the Hall of Fame of Great Americans.

Dean Charles Dixon, born January 10, 1915 in New York City, (died November 3, 1976), becomes the first Black to conduct the New York Philharmonic Orchestra at the age of 26, and the first Black recognized as a symphonic conductor to international stature. Max Roach, born January 10, 1925 in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, (died August 16, 2007), becomes a musician, playing the drums and known as the first Black percussionist inducted into the Percussion Art Society. He became founding member of Bebop. He pioneered in exploiting the drums melodic as well as rhythmic instruments.

George Foreman, born January 10, 1949, in Marshall, Texas, becomes a professional boxer and heavy weight champion of the world, January 20, 1973.

Chandra Cheeseborough, born January 10, 1959, in Jacksonville, Florida, becomes a three times Olympic champion athlete.

Janet Griffin can be contacted via Facebook

Go to GriffinDesigns Website

The opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of GriffinDesigns or TheBlackMarket.com.