Nothing will motivate a man to move forward faster than knowing what's behind Him.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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