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Archive for the ‘Black Authors’ 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 October 30


Gerald Perry

1. Gerald Perry, is a former first baseman in Major League Baseball who played from 1983 to 1995 for the Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals. Perry was selected to the 1988 National League All-Star team. In 1993 he tied a St. Louis Cardinal single-season club record with 24 pinch hits, and in 1995 he became the Cardinals’ all-time pinch-hit leader with 70th Cardinal pinch hit.

Perry was hitting coach for the Seattle Mariners from 2000-2002, the Pittsburgh Pirates from 2003-2005, the Oakland Athletics in 2006, and the Chicago Cubs from 2007 until he was fired on June 13, 2009.

Danny Tartabull

3. Danny Tartabull, is a former right fielder in Major League Baseball.  He is the son of José Tartabull, who played in the major leagues from 1962 to 1970.

 Charnele Brown

4. Charnele Brown, actress, producer, and singer. She is perhaps best known for her role as college student Kimberly Reese on the NBC sitcom A Different World.  45  Years ago

 Nia Long

5. Nia Long, actress and occasional music video director. She is best known for her roles in the television series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Third Watch, and the films Boiler Room, Soul Food, Love Jones, The Best Man, Big Momma’s House, Big Momma’s House 2, Are We There Yet?, and Are We Done Yet?

Birthdays Of Famous African Americans for October 18


1.  Chuck Berry (Charles Edward Anderson Berry),  guitarist, singer, and songwriter, and considered one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. With songs such as “Maybellene” (1955), “Roll Over Beethoven” (1956), “Rock and Roll Music” (1957) and “Johnny B. Goode” (1958), Chuck Berry refined and developed rhythm and blues into the major elements that made rock and roll distinctive, with lyrics focusing on teen life and consumerism and utilizing guitar solos and showmanship that would be a major influence on subsequent rock music.

2. Ntozake Shange( Paulette Williams),  playwright, and poet.   As a self proclaimed black feminist, much of the content of her work addresses issues relating to race and feminism.  Shange is best-known for the Obie Award-winning play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf.  She also wrote Betsey Brown, a novel about an African American girl who runs away from home. Among her honors and awards are fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund, and a Pushcart Prize.

3.  Terry McMillan, Novelist, editor, and educator, author. Her interest in books comes from working at alibrary when she was sixteen. She received her BA in journalism in 1986 at University of California, Berkeley. Her work is characterized by strong female protagonists.  Her first book, Mama, was self-published.   She achieved national attention in 1992 with her third novel, Waiting to Exhale, which remained on The New York Times bestseller list for many months. In 1995, Forest Whitaker turned it into a film starring Whitney Houston. In 1998, another of McMillan’s novels, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, was made into a movie. McMillan’s novel Disappearing Acts was subsequently produced as a direct-to-cable feature, starring Wesley Snipes and Sanaa Lathan. She also wrote the best seller A Day Late and a Dollar ShortThe Interruption of Everything was published on July 19, 2005. Getting to Happy, the long-awaited sequel toWaiting to Exhale, was published on September 7, 2010.

4.   Tommy Hearns,  retired  boxer. He won 8 world titles in six different weight divisions.  Hearns became the first boxer in history to win world titles in four divisions. He would also become the first fighter in history to conquer 5 world titles in 5 different divisions.  He has scored many memorable knockouts in his career and is widely considered to be one of the greatest knockout artists of all time.  Hearns was voted the greatest Super Welterweight of all time and received the “Fighter of the Year” award in 1980 and 1984.

He fought 21 current, past or future world champions.  Blessed with exceptional height for a welterweight (6’1″), a broad back, and unusually long arms, Hearns had a unique build combined with destructive punching power. He is known best for his devastating right hand, his powerful left hook and for carrying his left hand low—a stance he used to lure foes into an exchange, as well as to maximize the speed and change the angle of his jab, a technique called the “flicker jab”.

As a fighter, his aggression set him apart, controlling fights with his incredible reach, power and great boxing skills. He lost only one decision in his entire career, at the age of 33, to Iran “The Blade” Barkley.

5.   Wynton Learson Marsalis,   Trumpeter, composer, bandleader, music educator, and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center. Marsalis has promoted the appreciation of classical and jazz music often to young audiences. Marsalis has been awarded nine Grammys in both genres, and was awarded the first Pulitzer Prize for Music for a jazz recording.  Marsalis is the son of jazz musician Ellis Marsalis, Jr. (pianist), grandson to Ellis Marsalis, Sr., and brother to Branford (saxophonist),Delfeayo (trombonist), Mboya, and Jason (drummer).

6. Cheryl “Pepsii” Riley-Grace (born October 18, 1968) is an American R&B/gospel singer and actress, best known for her 1988 ballad, “Thanks for My Child.”

Cheryl Riley, who worked as a nurse for handicapped children for ten years before beginning her singing career, topped the US R&B chartand hit the Top 40 on the pop chart at #32 with the 1988 ballad, “Thanks for My Child,” a song written by Full Force. It peaked at #75 in theUK Singles Chart in January 1989.[1] The genesis of “Thanks for My Child” began with Full Force member Bowlegged Lou’s experience with the complications of his wife’s first pregnancy.

As pivotal as “Thanks for My Child” was for Riley’s career, it was not the first song Lou offered to her. She refused his offer to record “I Wonder If I Take You Home” because she did not want to spread herself too thin, but after it became a million-selling hit for Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam in 1985, she thought she had missed her big break. Lou then offered her “Thanks for My Child”. Riley still had her nurse’s job when the song went to number one on the R&B chart.

The title track single to her debut LP Me Myself and I made it to number 18 on the R&B charts in early 1989. Another single, “Every Little Thing About You,” peaked at number 55 on the R&B charts later that year. Her second LP, Chapters, was issued and yielded the singles “How Can You Hurt the One You Love” and a cover of Aretha Franklin’s 1968 hit “Ain’t No Way”. Her third album All That! was released by Reprise, and featured the singles “Gimme” and “Guess I’m in Love.”

After a hiatus from the entertainment industry, Riley re-emerged in the early 2000s as a star in a number of gospel plays for best-selling playwright Tyler Perry, including Madea’s Class ReunionMadea Goes to JailWhy Did I Get Married? and the film version of Diary of a Mad Black Woman and Madea’s Big Happy Family.

7. Vickie Winans,  Gospel recording artist.

Events In African American History For October 13


1. In 1896, Granville T. Woods Received Patent for System of electrical distribution

2. In 1914, Garrett A. Morgan invented and patented the gas mask.

3. In 1980, Rayford W. Logan, historian and author, awarded The Spingarn Medal,  “in tribute to his lifetime of service as an educator and historian.”

Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For Sept 28


David walker's appeal

1. David Walker, He  published  “David Walker’s Appeal”  on his 44th Birthday. Walker is not recognized in school textbooks for his contribution to ending chattel slavery in the United States, yet many historians and liberation theologians cite Walker’s Appeal as an influential political and social document of the 19th century.  They credit Walker for exerting a radicalizing influence on the abolitionist movements of his day and beyond.

“They think because they hold us in their infernal chains of slavery, that we wish to be white, or of their color – but they are dreadfully deceived – we wish to be just as it please our Creator to have made us, and no avaricious and unmerciful wretches, have any business to make slaves of, or hold us in slavery.”

                                                               — The Appeal, Article 1, p. 14

Houston Stackhouse

2. Houston Stackhouse (Houston Goff), a pivotal figure on the Southern blues scene from the 1930s through the 1960s, having worked with numerous significant blues musicians during that period, mentoring more than a few. He was a familiar figure in the small country juke joints, mainly in Arkansas and Memphis, Tennessee, and was highly respected among his fellow musicians.

Koko Taylor

4. Koko Taylor (Cora Walton), Chicago Based Blues Songstress (Wang Dang Doodle), She was known primarily for her rough, powerful vocals and traditional blues stylings.  She is known for her top 10 R&B hit “Wang Dang Doodle,” written by Willie Dixon.

Kenny Kirkland

5. Kenny Kirkland, Jazz Pianist and Keyboardist. He is most often associated with Sting, Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, and Kenny Garrett.

Too $hort

6. Todd Anthony Shaw, better known by his stage name Too $hort, is a rapp artist who started his career at the age of fourteen in Oakland, California. Too $hort has sold about 11 million albums in the US alone with 17 albums released and an average of 600,000 copies per album.

Sean Levert

7. Sean Levert, (Levert) Rhythm and Blues Artist.  Levert was born in Cleveland, Ohio  and is the son of Eddie Levert, the lead singer of The O’Jays.  He formed the trio LeVert with older brother Gerald Levert and childhood friend Marc Gordon; together they scored several hits on the R&B charts in the 1980s and early 1990s. In 1995, Sean launched a solo career with the album The Other Side on Atlantic Records.  The album yielded the charting singles “Put Your Body Where Your Mouth Is” and “Same One”  that same year. Sean and Gerald Levert appeared in the film New Jack City (1991) Sean also played a part in the direct-to-video Dope Case Pending (2000).

Ray Emery

8. Raymond “Razor” Emery,  Professional ice hockey goaltender.  Emery has played with the Anaheim Ducks during the 2010-2011 season, Philadelphia Flyers and the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey League (NHL) and Atlant Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).  He has been awarded multiple honors. Emery led the Ottawa Senators to the Stanley Cup finals in 2007, making it the  Senators first trip to the finals since 1927.

Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For August 10


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.


Birthdays Of Famous Famous African Americans for July 18


1. Lemuel Haynes, first Black to serve as minister to a White congregation.

2. Fannie Norton Smith Washington, She was an educator and activist. married Booker T. Washington in 1880 and joined the faculty of Tuskegee Institute immediately, broadening the curriculum for Tuskegee girls and developing a home economics program.

3. Stephen Gill Spottswood, He was a religious leader, and a civil and human rights activist. As head of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, he became the center of a political storm in 1971 when he publicly chastised the Nixon administration for its treatment of blacks. Although under extreme pressure from the administration, he refused to retract his statement.


4. Nelson Mandela, He is a South African activist, spent 27 years in prison for opposing apartheid.  The Main Figure and leader who helped end apartheid, the first black president of South Africa, and a winner of the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize.


5. Jalacy Hawkins best known as Screamin’ Jay Hawkins was a musician, singer, and actor. Famed chiefly for his powerful, operatic vocal delivery and wildly theatrical performances of songs such as “I Put a Spell on You” and “Constipation Blues”, Hawkins sometimes used macabre props onstage, making him the one of few original shock rockers.


6. Martha Reeves, R&B and soul singer and former politician, and was the lead singer of the Motown girl group Martha and the Vandellas. During her tenure with The Vandellas, they scored over a dozen hit singles, including “Jimmy Mack”, “Dancing in the Street” and “Nowhere to Run”. From 2005 until 2009, Reeves served as an elected councilwoman for the city of Detroit, Michigan.


7. Calvin Peete, golfer. He was the most successful African-American on the PGA Tour, with 12 wins, before the emergence of Tiger Woods.

8. Anne-Marie Johnson, Actress, Impressionist, (what’s happening/In Living Color), starred in film and television. She is perhaps best known for her role as high school educator Althea Tibbs on the NBC/CBS television drama In the Heat of the Night. Anne-Marie is the current First Vice-President of the Screen Actor’s Guild.

9. Vin Diesel, actor, writer, director and producer. He became known in the early 2000s, appearing in several successful Hollywood films, including The Fast and the Furious and XXX. He founded the production companies One Race Films, Tigon Studios and Racetrack Records.

10. Anfernee Hardaway, former American professional basketball player in the National Basketball Association (NBA), specializing as a small forward, shooting guard, and point guard. His most productive years came in his days as a member of the Orlando Magic as well as the early portion of his stint with the Phoenix Suns. Hardaway was an all-NBA player early in his career, but was plagued by constant injuries which gradually reduced his effectiveness. He last played for the Miami Heat, who released him December 12, 2007.

11. Jason Weaver, also known by his stage name J-Weav, is an American actor and singer. He is perhaps best known for his television roles as a pre-teenage Michael Jackson in the Emmy Award-winning 1992 miniseries The Jacksons: An American Dream, and as high school student Marcus Henderson on the WB sitcom Smart Guy.

12. Wendy Joan Williams , Media personality and New York Times bestselling author. She calls herself the “Queen Of All Media” and hosts her own syndicated talk show, The Wendy Williams Show.[1] Williams has gained notoriety for her on-air spats with celebrities. Williams was a contestant on the twelfth season of Dancing with the Stars. She was eliminated on April 5, 2011.

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