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Archive for the ‘Black Athletes’ Category

Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For November 09


1. Benjamin Banneker, self-educated scientist, astronomer, inventor, writer, and antislavery publicist. He built a striking clock entirely from wood, published a Farmers’ Almanac for 10 years,  completed the design and layout of Washington, D.C., and actively campaigned against slavery. He was one of the first African Americans to gain distinction in science.

2. Dorothy Dandridge, actress and popular singer, and was the first African-American to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.   She performed as a vocalist in venues such as the Nathan Featherston and the Apollo Theater.

After several minor bit parts in films, Dandridge landed her first noted film role in Tarzan’s Peril (starring Lex Barker), in 1951. Dandridge won her first starring role in 1953, playing a teacher in a low-budget film with a nearly all-black cast, Bright Road, released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

She was nominated in 1954  for an Academy Award for Best Actress and a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Carmen Jones, and in 1959 she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for Porgy and Bess. In 1999, she was the subject of the HBO biopic Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, starring Halle Berry as Dandridge. She has been recognized on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

3. Dion James, Major League Baseball Player, played as left and center fielder for an eleven-year career from 1983–1985, 1987–1990, 1992–1993, 1995-1996. James starred at C.K. McClatchy High School in Sacramento, California before being selected by the Milwaukee Brewers in the first round (25th overall) in the 1980 Amateur Entry Draft. He played for the Brewers, Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees all of the American League and the Atlanta Braves of the National League.   James was the Brewers’ Rookie of the Year in 1984

4. Sandra Denton, known as Pepa, Is a Rapp and hip hop artist, actress, and a member of the female rap trio Salt-N-Pepa.

5. Mark Durrell Andrews known by his stage name Sisqó, is an  R&B singer and actor. He is best known as the lead singer of R&B group Dru Hill, and also for “Thong Song”, a song from his first solo LP, Unleash the Dragon, that became an international hit.

Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For November 02


Willie Dean McGee

1. Willie Dean McGee, is a retired professional baseball player who won two batting titles and was named Major League Baseball’s 1985 National League MVP. McGee primarily played center and right field, winning three Gold Glove Awards for defensive excellence. McGee spent the majority of his 18-year career playing for the St. Louis Cardinals, helping the Cardinals win the 1982 World Series with his outstanding performance in Game 3 of that series. A four-time All-Star, McGee accumulated 2,254 hits during his career.

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2. Orlando Luis Merced Villanueva, is a former Major League Baseball first Baseman and outfielder. He played all or part of thirteen seasons in the majors for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1990–1996), Toronto Blue Jays (1997),Minnesota Twins (1998), Boston Red Sox (1998), Chicago Cubs (1998), Montreal Expos(1999), and Houston Astros (2001–2003). He also played one season for the Orix BlueWave(2000) in Japan.

 Nelly

3. Cornell Iral Haynes, Jr., better known by his stage name Nelly, is a Grammy Award winning Rapp Artist, actor and entrepreneur. He has performed with the rap group St. Lunatics since 1993 and signed to Universal Records in 1999. Under Universal, Nelly began his solo career in 2000 with his debut album Country Grammar, the title track of which was a top ten hit. The album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 and went on to peak at number one. Country Grammar is Nelly’s best-selling album to date, selling over 8.4 million copies in the United States.  His following album, Nellyville, produced the number-one hits “Hot in Herre” and “Dilemma” featuring Kelly Rowland. Other singles included “Work It” featuring Justin Timberlake, “Air Force Ones” featuring Murphy Lee and the St. Lunatics, “Pimp Juice” and “#1”.

Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For November 01


1. Margaret Taylor-Burroughs,   Was a prominent  artist and writer and a co-founder of the DuSable Museum of African American History. She also helped to establish the South Side Community Art Center, whose opening on May 1, 1941  was dedicated by the First Lady of the United States Eleanor Roosevelt  . There at the age of 23 she served as the youngest member of its board of directors. Dr. Burroughs was a prolific writer, with her efforts directed toward the exploration of the Black experience and to children, especially to their appreciation of their cultural identity and to their introduction and growing awareness of art.

Dr. Burroughs is also credited as the founder of Chicago’s Lake Meadows Art Fair in the early 1950’s. At its inception, during the 1950’s, there were very limited venues and galleries for African American Artists to exhibit and sell their artwork, Dr. Burroughs, launched the Lake Meadows Art Fair which rapidly grew in popularity and The Lake Meadows Art Fair became one of the most anticipated exhibitions for artists, collectors and others throughout the greater Chicago area. After a brief hiatus beginning in the early 1980’s, the Art Fair was resurrected by Helen Y. West in 2005, and another Margaret Burroughs’ legacy lives on.

2. Gary Eugene Redus,  a former professional baseball player who played in the Major Leagues primarily as an outfielder from 1982-1994. He was a career .252 batter with 90 home runs, 886 hits, 352 RBIs and 322 stolen bases over 1159 games.

Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For October 29


Melba Moore

1. Melba Moore, disco, R&B singer and actress.

Jesse Barfield

2. Jesse Barfield, is a former Major League Baseball right fielder who played for the Toronto Blue Jays (1981–89) and New York Yankees (1989–92). He batted and threw right-handed. He lived in Tenafly, a suburb of New York City.

 Randy Jackson

3. Randy Jackson, singer and musician, a member of The Jacksons. Nicknamed “Little Randy”, he is the youngest of the Jackson brothers, and the second youngest of the nine Jackson whole siblings, after sister Janet.

Randy was only three when the Jackson 5 was formed and therefore was not an original member. While his brothers toured, he honed his skills as a musician, mastering piano.

 Oscar Jackson, Jr

4. Oscar Jackson, Jr., better known by his stage name Paris is an American Rapp artist from San Francisco, California, known for his highly charged political and socially conscious lyrics.

Gabrielle Union

5. Gabrielle Union, actress and former model. Among her notable roles is as the cheerleader  in the film Bring it On, opposite Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in the blockbuster film Bad Boys II and played a  doctor in the CBS drama series City of Angels. She starred with LL Cool J in Deliver Us from Eva in 2003, and opposite Cedric the Entertainer in The Honey Mooners. 

 Tracee Ellis Ross

6. Tracee Ellis Ross, Actress (Daughter of Famed Motown R&B artist Diana Ross), best known for her lead role as Joan Clayton on the UPN/CW series, Girlfriends. She is currently starring as Dr. Carla Reed on the new BET sitcom Reed Between the Lines.

Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For October 23


1. Pele, Famous Soccer Player, He is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.

2.Martin Luther King III,  is an American human rights advocate and community activist. He is the eldest son and oldest living child of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King. His siblings are Dexter Scott King, Rev. Bernice Albertine King, and the late Yolanda Denise King. King attended The Galloway School and went on to Morehouse College, which was the same school his father, his grandfather and his great-grandfather attended. He received his B.A. in Political Science from Morehouse in 1979.

 

Events In African American History For October 19


 

1. In 1870,  Joseph H. Rainey became the first Black member of Congress. A portrait in his honor was finally placed in the U.S. Capitol Building in 2006.

2. In 1894,  Henry Ossawa Tanner wins the Medal of Honor at the Paris Exposition for his paintings. He was the first African-American painter to gain international acclaim for his work. Tanner was born in Pittsburgh. In fact, he eventually moved to Paris because of opposition to black artists in the United States. His most famous painting is “The Banjo Player.”

3. In 1944,  US Navy opened to Black women.

4. In 1998,  Ken Griffey Jr. (Seattle Mariners) Wins his ninth (9th) consecutive gold glove award.

Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For October 13


Edith Spurlock Sampson

1. Edith Spurlock Sampson, was a Lawyer and judge, and the first Black Woman Delegate appointed to the United Nations.  She studied law while working as a social worker in Chicago, taking night courses at John Marshall Law School,

Arna Wendell Bontemps

2. Arnaud Wendell Bontemps, Was a Writer (100 years of Negro Freedom), Poet   and a noted member of the Harlem Renaissance.

Art Tatum

3. Art Tatum, jazz pianist and virtuoso who played with phenomenal facility despite being nearly blind.  Tatum is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time.  He came from a musical family and when younger had some formal training at the Toledo School of Music, however he was largely self-taught.  His teacher there recognized his talents and tried to steer him towards as a career as a classical concert pianist.  Tatum was more interested in the music of Fats Waller, which would be a strong influence on his music.  At 18 he was playing interludes at a local radio station and within a short period of time he had his own show.  In 1932 he was heard by the singer Adelaide Hall who brought him to New York as her accompanist.  One year later he made his first recordings, among which was “Tiger Rag”. This song which features breakneck tempo and rippling left- and right-hand cascades and crashing bass notes had every pianist in the country amazed by his astonishing dexterity.  While in New York he established his reputation in “cutting contests” with other top pianists, which he never lost.  He spent the next few years playing in Cleveland, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles and even England in 1938.  During this time he established himself as a major figure in jazz circles.  In the early 1940s Tatum formed an extremely popular trio with bassist Slam Stewart and guitarist Tiny Grimes.  He spent much of the next decade touring North America.  In 1953 Tatum signed by producer Norman Granz and recorded extensively both as a soloist and in small groups with Benny Carter, soloist and in small groups with Benny Carter, Buddy De Franco, Roy Eldridge, Lionel Hampton, Ben Webster and others.  His incredible talent allowed him to be extremely productive during this time.  Ray Spencer in his biography, noted that Tatum was constantly “refining and honing down after each performance until an ideal version remained needing no further adjustments”.  This allowed him to achieve a remarkable work rate.  For example, his solo sessions for Granz were mostly completed in two days.  That is a total of 69 tracks and all but three of them needed only one take.

Jesse Leroy Brown

4. Jesse Leroy Brown, was the first African-American naval aviator in the United States Navy. Brown enlisted in the Naval Reserve in 1946 and was appointed a Midshipman, at the Ohio State University NROTC the following year. After attending Navy pre-flight school and flight training, he was designated a Naval Aviator in October 1948. Midshipman Brown was then assigned to Fighter Squadron 32. He received his commission as Ensign in April 1949.

Ray Brown Musician

5. Ray Brown, Jazz Bassist, had piano lessons from the age of eight. After noticing how many pianists attended his high school, he thought of taking up the trombone, but was unable to afford one. With a vacancy in the high school jazz orchestra, he took up the upright bass. 

Shirley Caesar

6. Shirley Caesar, Evangelist, Gospel Singer, songwriter and recording artist whose career has spanned six decades. A multi-award winning artist, with eleven Grammy Awards and seven Dove Awards to her credit, she is known as “First Lady of gospel”.

Pharoah Sanders

7. Pharaoh Sanders, is a Grammy Award–winning American jazz saxophonist.  Emerging from John Coltrane’s groups of the mid-60s Sanders is known for his overblowing, harmonic, and multi phonic techniques on the saxophone, as well as his use of “sheets of sound.”

Demond Wilson

8. Demond Wilson,  is an actor, author, and pastor. He is best known for his role opposite Redd Foxx as Fred Sanford’s son, Lamont Sanford, in the 1970s NBC-TV sitcom Sanford and Son.

Reggie Theus

9. Reggie Theus, is an assistant coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves. He is also a retired basketball player and the former head coach for the NBA’s Sacramento Kings.

Jerry Rice

10. Jerry Rice, is a retired football wide receiver. He is generally regarded as the greatest wide receiver of all time and one of the greatest players in National Football League history.  On November 4, 2010, Rice was chosen by NFL Network’s NFL Films production The Top 100: NFL’s Greatest Players as the greatest player in NFL history.

The all-time leader in most major statistical categories for wide receivers and the all-time NFL leader in touchdowns scored with 208, Rice was selected to the Pro Bowl 13 times (1986–1996, 1998, 2002) and named All-Pro 11 times in his 20 NFL seasons. He won three Super Bowl rings playing for the San Francisco 49ers and an AFC Championship with the Oakland Raiders.

Tisha Campbell

11. Tisha Michelle Campbell-Martin, is an actress and singer, known for her starring roles in television series Martin and My Wife and Kids and now is starring in the new television series “The Protector”. Apart from her achievements in television, she also has notable accomplishments in film (including the House Party franchise), theater, and music.

Ashanti

12. Ashanti, Ashanti Shequoiya Douglas, Rapp and R&B recording artist, record producer and actress who rose to fame in the early 2000s and then largely faded from view. Ashanti is most famous for her eponymous debut album, which featured the hit song “Foolish”, and sold over 503,000 copies in its first week of release throughout the U.S. in April 2002. The album set a Soundscan record as the biggest opening week sales for a new female artist.  In the same week, she became the first female performer to simultaneously hold the top two places on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart with “Foolish”, and “What’s Luv?” (with Fat Joe). Ashanti broke records again by having three top ten songs, “Foolish,” “What’s Luv?” and “Always on Time”, on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in the same week, being the first woman to accomplish this feat. In 2003, the self-titled debut album won Ashanti her first Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B album. As of 2011, she has sold more than 30 million albums.

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