1. Gus Cannon, blues musician who helped to popularize jug bands (such as his own Cannon’s Jug Stompers) in the 1920s and 1930s.
2. Alger “Texas” Alexander, blues singer from Jewett, Texas. In November 1928, Alexander recorded what has been believed by some to be the earliest version of “The House of the Rising Sun.” However it is actually a completely different song called The Rising Sun. Other songs he recorded include “Mama’s Bad Luck Child,” “Sittin’ on a Log,” “Texas Special,” “Broken Yo Yo” and “Don’t You Wish Your Baby was Built Up Like Mine?”. He was the cousin and uncle of Texas country blues guitarists Lightnin’ Hopkins and Frankie Lee Sims respectively.
3. Jesse Owens, Track and field athlete who specialized in the sprints and the long jump. He participated in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany, where he achieved international fame by winning four gold medals: one each in the 100 meters, the 200 meters, the long jump, and as part of the 4×100 meter relay team. He was the most successful athlete at the 1936 Summer Olympics, a victory more poignant and often noted because Adolf Hitler had intended the 1936 games to showcase his Aryan ideals and prowess.
He has the Jesse Owens Award accolade named after him in honor of his significant career.
4. Jewel Akens, singer and record producer. He first recorded with Eddie Daniels as Jewel and Eddie on the Silver Records label in 1960. A number of his recordings featured Eddie Cochran on guitar.
He later went solo and recorded “The Birds And The Bees” in 1965, on the Era Records label. The single went to Number 3 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart that year, and Number 2 on the Cash Box chart.
5. Barry White, Composer, record producer and singer-songwriter. A five-time Grammy Award-winner known for his rich bass voice and romantic image, White’s greatest success came in the 1970s as a solo singer and with his Love Unlimited Orchestra, crafting many enduring hit soul, funk, and disco songs. Worldwide, White had many gold and platinum albums and singles, with combined sales of over 100 million.
6. Vernon Maxwell, retired professional basketball player who played in the NBA from 1988-2001, with his longest tenure being with the Houston Rockets. The nickname “Mad Max” was bestowed upon Maxwell by color commentators for his clutch three-point shooting, which reached its pinnacle in the deciding game of the 1994 NBA Finals between Houston and New York.
7. Jesse Powell, Grammy-nominated American R&B/soul songwriter-singer. His sisters, Trina & Tamara Powell are also singers as well.
8. Christopher Theodore Ruben Studdard , best known as Ruben Studdard, is an American R&B, pop, and gospel singer. He rose to fame as winner of the second season of American Idol. He received a Grammy Award nomination in December 2003 for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for “Superstar.”
9. Jennifer Kate Hudson, recording artist, actress and spokesperson. She came to prominence in 2004 as one of the finalists on the third season of American Idol coming in seventh place. She made her film debut in the 2006 film Dreamgirls, which won her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA Award, an NAACP Image Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award.
She won a Grammy Award for her eponymous debut album, Jennifer Hudson, which was released in 2008 on Arista Records and was certified gold by the RIAA for selling over 800,000 copies in the US; sales exceeded 1 million copies worldwide. Additionally, it spawned the hit single Spotlight. Her second album I Remember Me was released in March 2011, and has reached number two on the Billboard 200, selling 165,000 copies in its first week of release.
In late 2008, after Hudson’s mother, brother and nephew were killed in a shooting, Hudson stepped out of the limelight for three months. Hudson resumed her public appearances in 2009, and has since performed at the Super Bowl XLIII, the Grammy Awards, American Idol, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. Hudson has been described as a friend of President Barack Obama, who invited her to appear with him at a fundraiser in Beverly Hills in May 2009. She also performed at the White House at the “Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement” event. Her vocal range is mezzo-soprano