This month we focus on achievers of color born in April who gained success in a variety of fields, such as the arts, business, civil, human and social rights, entertainers, singers, actors, literature, politics, music, dancing, and government, to name a few. Every year we search out people of color, their accomplishments and birth dates to add to this article. We continue to thank the website host “The Black Market” for allowing us to post this article on their website since 1998. Thanks to Tyrone Griffin and his staff.
The lives of the achievers of color mentioned here transport us to various parts of the United States and other parts of the world, such as Africa, Spain, Netherlands, France, South America, Russia, and the North and South Pole to name a few. If you were born in April, you may share some characteristics with one or more of the achievers born on your birth date.
We, at Achievers of Color appreciate all the support from those of you who use the article to learn and teach the children, or just to become informed regarding the many contributions people of color have made and are continuing to make within our country and abroad. Some additions have been made from the previous year. Enjoy your learning and thank you. We begin with:
Jeremiah Haralson, born April 1, 1846, in Columbus, Georgia, (died possibly in 1916), becomes a slave and kept in bondage until 1865. He will go on to become a politician, who served in the House of Representatives. In 1870, Haralson ran for congress as an independent and defeated the republican candidate. The 21st District elected Haralson to the state senate and two years later he urged Black voters to turn away from the republican movement and remain loyal to the reelection of President Grant. In 1874, Haralson elected to Congress and took his seat Mar. 4, 1875, served on the Committee on Public Expenditures. Though he made no speeches on the House floor, he introduced several pieces of legislation, including a bill to use proceeds from public land sales for educational purposes and a bill for the relief of the Medical College of Alabama. After leaving Congress, Haralson worked as a clerk at Baltimore’s federal custom house and a clerk in the Department of the Interior. By 1912, Haralson returned to Alabama and settled in Selma, but he soon began years as a wanderer, drifting to Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado. Historians have determined wild animals killed him in 1916, but no official records exist to confirm his death has appeared so far.
John H. Riddick, born April 1, 1848, in Sunbury, Gates County, North Carolina, (His death records have not been found in any of the resource material available) becomes a minister, councilman and deputy marshal. In 1857, he moved to Norfolk, Virginia, a slave owned by Rev. Isaac Hunter of Virginia. During the war he served in both armies as a body servant. In 1864, he served in the custom-house of Norfolk, Virginia, under Major J.H. Hudson, special collector appointed by President Lincoln. Riddick later moved to northeast Pennsylvania, where he converted and began the study of theology under Dr. Samuel G. Ortor. He then spent four years in Boston, Massachusetts, where he worked days for support and studied theology and medicine at night, with plans of going into missionary work in some foreign country. He returned to Virginia in 1869. He became an ordained minister in 1871, and elected to the city council of Norfolk, Virginia, and appointed United States deputy marshal in 1872, at the Grant and Greeley election. He has served as an educator among the freedmen in the South and served at the Methodist Conference as a minister of the gospel. Riddick has always been noted for his loyalty to his race and courage for the right and honesty of purpose. When a number of Black people were murdered in the Danville riot, Riddick became the first to lift his voice among all colored men in the state, in a strong address against the murderers at Staunton, Virginia, and their sympathizers. Five thousand copies of the address were published and distributed by request of the people.
Augustus Tolton, born April 1, 1854, in Ralls County, Missouri, (died in 1897), becomes the first universally-recognized Catholic priest in the United States. Augustine Tolton becomes the second Black in America to be ordained a priest in the Roman Catholic Church, born into slavery, the son of Martha Jane Crisley and Peter Paul Tolton. His father left home in 1861 to join the Union Army, and died during the war. His mother escaped with the family into Illinois and freedom, and eventually all the children, went to work in a tobacco factory in Quincy, Illinois. The mother, who had been baptized a Catholic many years before, took the family to the local church and the priest allowed Tolton into the parish school. As he grew up, he aspired to the priesthood and took some training, especially in languages, from a group of German Franciscans. Unable to attend a nearby seminary, the bishop found a way for him to attend the college of the Propagation of the Faith in Rome. He moved to Rome in 1880 and studied there for five years. In 1886 he became ordained and served his first mass on the high altar of St. Peter’s Cathedral in the Vatican, a place usually reserved for the Pope to say mass. There followed some discussion at the time of his ordination over whether Tolton should be sent to the mission field or back to the United States. In the end Cardinal Simeoni sent him back home. Tolton returned to America in 1886 as the only black priest in the United States (the first black priest, James Augustine Healy, at this time served as a bishop).
Reuben S. Smith born April 1, 1854, in Jackson County, Florida, (died in possibly 1904), becomes an attorney who taught school before entering politics and going to Washington, D.C. to serve as alternate delegate-at-large from Florida at the National Republican Convention, in 1876, held in Cincinnati, Ohio. Smith worked as a clerk in the United States Treasury department. He also worked as a Washington correspondent for several newspapers. He graduated from the law department of Howard University in 1883.
Alberta Hunter, born April 1, 1895, in Memphis, Tennessee, (died October 17, 1984), becomes a blues singer. In 1936, she also appeared in the film “Radio Parade.” Hunter, semi-retired from 1954 to 1977, became a nurse during these years. In 1961, she would record with Lovie Austin, and in 1962, record with Jimmy Archey. Besides being a blues singer, she became a composer. She wrote at least on classic composition entitled “Downhearted Blues,” a tune which would become famous for blues singer Bessie Smith, in 1923. Hunter recorded under various labels and used at least two other pseudonyms, Mary Alix and Josephine Beatty. (From: Black Women in America, Powerful Black Women)
Lucille Bogan, born April 1, 1897, in Amory, Mississippi (died August 10,1948), becomes a blues singer. She is best remembered by blues collectors and historians for writing and singing “Shave Em’ Dry,” one of the bawdiest blues songs ever recorded. In her music, Bogan explored explicit sexual themes and tales of prostitution. Her reputation for risqué’ lyrics and her blatant dealings with controversial topics such as lesbianism and adultery often overshadowed any of her contributions to blues. In 1923, she made her first recording for the Okeh label in New York City. She also recorded for Paramount and Brunswick labels. Sometimes she would record under the pseudonym of Bessie Jackson. In the 1930s she managed a group called Bogan’s Birmingham Busters. She died in 1948, in Los Angeles, California. She became one of the first blues singers to be recorded.
Juliette Aline Derricotte, born April 1, 1897, in Athens, Georgia, the fifth of nine children of Isaac and Laura Hardwick Derricotte, (died in 1931), becomes the first woman trustee of Talladega College, appointed in 1918. Derricotte served as a delegate at the World’s Student Christian Federation convention in the years 1924 and 1928, where she represented all American students. She served as the YWCA’s National Student Secretary. She resigned this position in 1929 to become Dean of Women at Fisk University. In November of 1931, she decided to return home for a visit with her mother. Making the trip with her were three Fisk students from Georgia. The group stopped in Chattanooga, Tennessee, for lunch, with Derricotte driving. About a mile outside Dalton, Georgia, the car collided with that of a white couple. The details of the accident have never been known. Derricotte and one other student were seriously injured. The other two students were treated and released from the hospital. The local tax-supported hospital did not admit Black patients, so Derricotte and the other student were taken to the home of a local Black woman who had beds available for the care of Black patients. The student dies during the night, and they took Derricotte to Chattanooga’s Walden Hospital, where she died the next day. Many in the Black community attributed her death to the policies of segregation which kept her from getting immediate medical care. Memorial services were held all over the country. Her friend, Howard Thurman delivered the eulogy in her home town. He recanted the words she spoke at Mysore conferences in China and Japan, “My head whirls, but now and again I remember that there is so much more to know than I am accustomed to knowing, and so much more love, than I am accustomed to loving,” (December 1929). The Juliette Derricotte Day Care Program has been formed in Mobile, Alabama in her honor, and there is also a building on the campus of Talladega College dedicated to the memory of Juliette Derricotte, built in 1940-1941, as a gift from the Harkness Foundation. It formerly served as a staff residence and guesthouse, but in 1988, it became converted into a women’s honors dormitory.
Clara “Mother” McBride Hale, born April 1, 1905, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, (died December 18, 1992), becomes the founder of a home for children. She spent her life caring for children, beginning with a foster home for children out of her own home, and in 1969, she began caring for drug babies. This happened when a young woman appeared at her door with a note from Clara’s daughter, Lorraine, and left the baby on the floor. A few days later the mother appeared with two more children. After that, the word soon spread, and other mothers began bringing their babies. In 1970, at the age of 65, Hale founded Hale House, a home for drug-addicted babies. With a small staff, she would care for 800 or more babies born to drugs and children with AIDS. She received funds from private and public sources. In his 1985 State of the Union Address, former President Ronald Reagan hailed Mother Hale as an American hero. Hale received two awards from the Salvation Army’s, their highest awards, in 1987. She died in 1992. Her daughter, Dr. Lorraine Hale, PhD. took over as director of Hale House. (From: Black Women in America, Book 1, I Dream a World, and www.halehouse.org/biography.html)
John Glover Jackson, born April 1, 1907, in Aiken, South Carolina (died October 13, 1993), becomes an American Pan-Africanist historian, lecturer, teacher and writer. He promoted ideas of Afrocentrism, and Jesus Christ in comparative mythology. (From: www.wikipedia.com and Jackson, John G. (1985). Christianity Before Christ American Atheist Press p. xiii)
Harry Carney, born April 1, 1910, in Boston, Massachusetts, (died Oct. 8, 1974), becomes a jazz musician, who began his musical career playing the clarinet. At the age of seventeen, he ran off to join Duke Ellington’s (born April 29, 1899-May 24, 1974) band. After being noticed by Ellington in 1927 during a working trip to New York City, the famed bandleader talked Carney’s parents into allowing their son to join his band. He began on alto sax, and then shifted almost exclusively to baritone, occasionally playing bass clarinet and clarinet over the years. Carney, who for years also acted as Ellington’s chief driver, became very closely linked with Duke and his orchestra. After Ellington’s 1974 death, Carney said: “This is the worst day of my life. Without Duke I have nothing to live for.” And four months later, Carney also died. (From: www.answers.com/topic/harry-carney)
Augusta Braxton Baker, born April 1, 1911, in Baltimore, Maryland, (died Feb. 23, 1998), becomes a distinguished children’s storyteller, librarian, educator, administrator, writer, and anthologist. Her parents were both teachers. She spent 30 years employed at the New York Public Library. She began this journey in 1937. The library located on 135th Street Branch, later became changed to the Countee Cullen Regional Branch. Baker retired as the coordinator of children’s services in 1974. In 1953, Baker became the first Black librarian to be appointed to an administrative position at the New York Public Library, one of the largest public library systems in the world during that period of history. She talked to editors, authors, and publishers about the need for better books about Black life, enlisting the help of interracial organizations in the cause. Baker helped to advance the idea that books could help children of different cultures and traditions understand and respect one another while instilling pride in their own traditions. During the 1950s, Bake received national recognition for her efforts. She became the first recipient of the E. P. Dutton-John MaCrae Award from the American Library Association (ASA). She has also served as a consultant for the TV show “Sesame Street.” Throughout her career, Baker has received many awards and honors. (More information can be found about the life of Augusta Baker in Black Women in America, Book 1).
Herbert Mills, born April 1, 1912, in Piqua, Ohio (died 1989), became a blues singer, member of the famed Mills Brothers. As the boys grew older, they began singing in the choir of the Cyrene African Methodist Episcopal Church and in the Park Avenue Baptist Church in Piqua. After their lessons at the Spring Street Grammar School, they would gather in front of their father’s barbershop on Public Square or at the corner of Greene and Main to sing and play the kazoo to passers-by. At one show, Harry Mills forgot his kazoo – the group’s usual accompaniment – and ended up trying to emulate the instrument by cupping his hand over his mouth. The brothers were surprised to hear the sound of a trumpet proceeding from Harry’s mouth and they began to work the novelty into their act. The innovation would help define their style of music – with John, who also accompanied the group on ukulele and guitar, mimicking tuba and bass trumpet, Donald the trombone and saxophone, and Herbert (the subject of this biographical entry) makes the second trumpet and saxophone. Broadcasting executive William S. Paley, at CBS radio in New York, turned on his office speaker one day in September of 1930 at the urging of Ralph Wonders to listen to a broadcast of these four young men that had been performing under different names in Cincinnati on WLW. When Paley heard their performance, he immediately set about arranging for them to broadcast on network CBS radio. The Mills Brothers signed a three-year contract and became the first African- Americans to have a network show on radio. (From: http://www.rockabillyeurope.com/references/messages/mills_brothers.htm)
Amos Milburn Houston, born April 1, 1927, in Houston, Texas, (died Jan. 3, 1980), became one of the great post-war rockers who paved the way for music artists such as Little Richard and James Brown. He became known as a Boogie piano master. While both Richard and Brown at one point relied on religious zeal, Milburn relied on the devil’s firewater for inspiration. He graduated from high school in 1942, and after lying about his age, enlisted in the Navy. While in the Navy, he developed a boogie-woogie style of playing piano in the officer’s messes across the world. When he returned to Houston, he signed with Aladdin label and played the club circuit. From 1956 to 1957, he had a string of R&B hits. After the collapse of Aladdin Records, he briefly recorded for King and Motown labels. He continued playing live until 1970, when he had a second stroke. He gave up drinking and smoking and became a Christian. (From: Soul Music A to Z)
Rudolph Isley, born April 1, 1939, in Cincinnati, Ohio, became an R&B singer, member of the famed group, The Isley Brothers. During the early 1950s, he and three brothers performed in churches. A brother, Vernon, lost his life in a road accident. At this time, the group stopped singing, but within a year, their parents requested they return to singing. In 1959, a member of the RCA recording team spotted the group. Rudolph, known as Rudy, to family members, heavily contributed to the Isleys’ sound co-writing the self-penned anthems, “Shout!”, “It’s Your Thing”and also wrote a rough draft of the brothers’ 1975 classic ballad, “For the Love of You, Pt. 1 & 2”. Rudolph remained a dedicated member to the group from its 1954 inception into the late-1980s and left the group officially in 1989 before the release of the “Spend the Night” album to follow a lifelong dream of ministry. More information can be found in Soul Music A to Z, Contemporary Musicians, Volume 8, and wwww.wikipedia.com indicates subject born May 21, 1941 (From: http://music.musictnt.com/biography/sdmc_Rudolph_Isley)
Wangari Maathai, born April 1, 1940, in Central Province, Kenya (died 25 September 2011), becomes the founder of the Green Belt Movement and the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. She became a Kenyan environmental and political activist educated in the United States at Mount St. Scholastica and the University of Pittsburgh, as well as the University of Nairobi in Kenya. She authored four books.
Samuel R. Delany, Jr., born April 1, 1942, in New York City, New York, becomes a prize-winning writer. His father, Delany Sr., owned a funeral business and his mother, a licensed funeral director, also worked as a clerk in the public library. Delany Jr. suffered from dyslexia, but its discovery did not come about until he entered high school. He has received many awards and honors for his writing, which include Nebula Awards, Hugo Award, Pilgrim Award and the Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement in Gay literature, in 1993. More information can be found on Samuel R. Delany Jr. in Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 9.
Arthur Conley, born April 1, 1946, in Atlanta, Georgia, becomes an R&B singer who began his musical career when discovered by soul singer Otis Redding, who became his mentor and producer. After the untimely death of Redding, Conley recorded “Take Me Just as I Am,” in the mid 1960s. Conley recorded two albums entitled “Sweet Soul Music,” and “Soul Directions.” Both were testaments to the moving spirits of his heroes, Otis Redding and Sam Cooke.
Jimmy Cliff, born James Chambers, April 1, 1948, in the Somerton District, St. James, Jamaica, becomes a reggae musician best known for songs like: Sittin in Limbo; You Can Get it if You Really Want it; and Many Rivers to Cross, the soundtrack from the movie “The Harder They Come,” for which he also had an acting part.
Gil Scott-Heron, born April 1, 1949, in Chicago, Illinois, (died May 27, 2011), becomes a music educator, poet, composer, lyricist, and vocalist. Heron, the son of a Jamaican soccer player and a librarian, did not meet his father until he became an adult. His early years were spent mostly with his grandmother in Jackson, Tennessee. He later joined his mother in New York. As a small child, he played piano and began writing detective stories by the time he entered the fifth grade. His early interest in crime fiction shows up again in his first novel entitled, “The Vulture,” in 1970. While attending the prestigious high school of Fieldston, in the Bronx, he began to take an interest in poetry by Black poets such as Langston Hughes. Heron is outspoken and direct in his musical monologues. He describes himself as an “interpreter of the Black experience.” His mid-1970s hit “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” became one of the boldest, direct political statements made in a popular song, prior to the gangster-rap of the 1990s.
Kevin Jerome Duckworth, nicknamed “The Duck” born April 1, 1964, in Harvey, Illinois (died August 25, 2008),becomes a professional basketball player who played for the San Antonio Spurs from 1986 to 1987; the Portland Trail Blazers, from 1987 to 1993; the Washington Bullets, from 1993 to 1995; the Milwaukee Bucks in 1995 and 1996; and Los Angeles Lakers, in 1996 and 1997.
Mark A. “Action” Jackson, born April 1, 1965, in Brooklyn, New York, becomes a professional basketball player for the Indiana Pacers. He attended St. Johns University in Jamaica, New York. During his professional playing career, he has played the position of guard for the New York Knicks from 1987 to 1992, and the Los Angeles Clippers in 1992. Jackson became NBA Rookie of the Year in 1988. Jackson married singer/actress Desiree Coleman on July 29, 1990.He is the older brother of “And 1,” street baller Troy Jackson, better known as “Escalade” Mark Jackson also adds his voice for some games of the NBA Conference semis on ESPN. As an analyst, he also does a weekly segment called “You’re better than that”, which focuses on the NBA’s best players in their not-so-great moments during the previous week.
Monique Edwards, born April 1, 1968, in Kittery, Maine, becomes multi-talented actress, singer, director, and humanitarian who steadily built a solid reputation in television, feature films, the stage, and commercials. Edwards traveled to Uganda to work with youth in war-torn areas, for the documentary film “Voices of Uganda” that chronicled their work. She also traveled to Washington D.C. with Resolve Uganda to lobby on behalf of peace in Northern Uganda.
Albert and Allen Hughes (twins), born April 1, 1972, in Detroit, Michigan, both becomes film directors, cinematic depicters of inner city Black America; directed of over 30 music videos in 1990. In 1993, the twins directed the movie “Menace II Society.” The twins were raised by their mother after the parents divorced. (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 5)
David Oyetokunbo Oyelowo, born April 1, 1976, in Oxford, United Kingdom is a British actor. He has played supporting roles in the films “Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011),” “Middle of Nowhere,” “Lincoln,” and garnered praise for portraying Louis Gaines in “The Butler (2013.”
Tangela Smith, born April 1, 1977, in Chicago, Illinois, becomes a professional basketball player for the Sacramento Monarchs, Charlotte Sting, and the Phoenix Mercury. She became one of 20 players selected as a preseason candidate for the 1997 Naismith College Player of the Year. (From: Hawkeyesports.Com)
Kelli White, born April 1, 1977, in Oakland, California, becomes a sprinter who won two gold medals in the World Championships in Paris in 2003, but stripped of her medals on June 18, 2004, because she tested positive on a drug test. White has since given lectures on drug abuse in sports. While banned from competition, she has taught at track clinics at James Logan High. She announced her retirement in May 2006.
Sean Michael Maurice Taylor, born April 1, 1983, in Miami, Florida, (died November 27, 2007) becomes a professional football player for the Washington Redskins. The Washington Redskins chose Taylor with the fifth overall pick of the 2004 NFL Draft. Due to his ferocious hits, several of his Redskins teammates nicknamed him “Meast,” a portmanteau word from the expression “half man, half beast. Taylor died at the age of 24 on November 27, 2007, from critical injuries from a gunshot by intruders at his Miami area home. His death led to an outpouring of national support and sympathy, especially in the Washington area, where Taylor had been a fan favorite as a Redskin and the Miami area, starring for the Miami Hurricanes. He led Gulliver Prep to a Florida state high school championship and set a state record for most touchdowns in a season. After Taylor’s murder, the Redskin’s defense line up with only 10 players against the Buffalo Bills, dedicated the first play of that game, first game after his murder.
James Albury born April 1 1986, in Brisbane, Australia, becomes an Australian pitcher for the Brisbane Bandits and the Oakland County Cruisers baseball teams. He signed as a 17-year-old player to the Boston Red Sox by Jon Deeble in 2003.
Thomas F. Blue, born April 2, 1870, in Farmville, Virginia, (died in 1935), becomes a minister, educator, administrator and librarian who in 1905 headed the Louisville Western Branch Library, the first public library in the nation to serve African American clientele with an exclusively African American staff. In 1914, Blue opened Louisville’s second Carnegie Branch Library for African Americans in Eastern Louisville. Blue served the Louisville Free Public Library from 1905 until his death 30 years later, achieving national recognition as a pioneer in the field of public service.
Thomas C. Allen, born April 2, 1907, in Quitman, Wood County, Texas, (died September 11, 1989), becomes a pioneer aviator who accompanied James Banning, completed the first transcontinental flight by black aviators.
Charles “Honi” Coles, born April 2, 1911, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, (died November 12, 1992), becomes a self-taught tap dancer who developed his high-speed rhythm tapping on the streets of his hometown. He first came to New York as one of the Three Millers, who danced on top of pedestals, executing difficult steps such as barrel turns, wings, and over-the-tops on tiny platforms. Coles’ second stint in New York occurred in 1934 when he opened at the Apollo Theater. He soon earned the reputation as having the “fastest feet in the business,” and hailed as being an extremely graceful dancer. Coles firmly placed tap in the world of concert art when he performed in the Joffrey Ballet’s production of Agnes DeMille’s Conversations about the Dance. He served as president of the Negro Actors Guild and continued his association with the Copasetics, a tapping fraternity named in honor of Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, which he had helped to found in 1949. In 1983 at age seventy-two, he received the Tony Award, Fred Astaire Award, and Drama Desk Award for best-featured actor and dancer in a musical for the Broadway hit, My One and Only, starring Tommy Tune. Jack Kroll in Newsweek called Coles “Brilliant!” in that musical, adding that his feet had “the delicacy and power of a master pianist’s hands.” (From: http://www.atdf.org/awards/honi.html)
Elaine B. Jenkins, born April 2, 1916, in Butte, Montana, (died September 16, 1999), becomes a businesswoman, entrepreneur, consultant firm founder, and educator. She broke down racial barriers to become the first black teacher in the Denver public school system, and having a successful career as an educator and educational administrator in Washington, D.C. She founded and became president of “One America, Inc.,” a national and later international business consultant firm. Her company became one of the nation’s top one hundred black businesses in 1973. (From: Notable Black American Women, Book II)
Charles White, born April 2, 1918, in Chicago, Illinois (died October 3, 1979), becomes a painter, graphic artist, and instructor that found he could draw at the age of seven. He studied violin for many years acquiring a permanent love for music. An avid reader, White once said [A book that fascinated me and opened up new vistas, was Dr. Alain Locke’s “The New Negro.” I had never realized that Negro people had done so much in the world of culture, that they had contributed so much to the development of America, it became a kind of secret life, a new world of facts and ideas.] White married sculptor Elizabeth Catlett while at Dillard University in New Orleans. In 1942, the two came to New York City and White developed an influential relationship with Viktor Lowenfeld, an Austrian psychologist. Some of Charles White’s vast artistic contributions include “Awaiting His Return,” 1943 (shown), “Goodnight Irene,” 1952, “Awaken from Unknowing,” 1961, “Two Brothers have I had on Earth,” 1965, “Wanted Poster no. 3,” 1969, “Homage to Langston Hughes,” 1971, and “Harriet,” 1972. One of the finest draftsmen in modern America elected a full member of the National Academy of Design in 1972. A spirited yet frail man, Charles White taught at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles from 1965 until his death in 1979.
Clifford S. Green, born April 2, 1923, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (died May 31, 2007), becomes a federal judge. Green became the eighteenth African American Article III judge appointed in the United States, and the second African American judge on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Regarded as one of the most popular judges in the district, during his 36 years on the federal bench, Judge Green presided over a number of notable cases.
Joe (Coleman) de Graft, born April 2, 1924, in Ghana, South Africa (died November 1, 1978), becomes a playwright, novelist and poet who employed African themes and incorporated pieces of myth in his work. He received an appointment as the first director of the Ghana Drama Studio in 1962.
Warren J. Halliburton, born April 2, 1924, in New York City, New York, becomes an author. From Contemporary Authors Online, Warren J. Halliburton has commented: “Writing is a sanctuary of self-realizations, affording me the opportunity for adventure and discovery of my relation with the world. This is a rare if not unique privilege in today’s pigeon-holing society.” (Some sources indicate his birth took place August 2)
Marvin Gaye, born April 2, 1939, in Washington D.C. (died April 1, 1984), becomes one of Motown record label’s greatest R&B singer. Gaye signed with Motown in 1962 and began a 22- year career that included hits with Mary Wells and Tammi Terrell. He sang in church as a child and grew up listening to Ray Charles, who became a major influence on his work. In 1958, he joined the vocal group the Moonglows. Three years later, he signed a recording contract with Tamla, one of the subsidiaries of Motown Record Company, serving as a drummer and later, as a singer. Further influenced by Frank Sinatra, and Nat “King” Cole, Gaye had hoped to sing as a crooner. But after his first album received little attention, Motown had him record a more up-tempo style of soul music. Some of his songs that became classics are “Stubborn Kind of Fellow” and “I Heard It through the Grapevine.” Some of Gaye’s other popular records from the Motown era include “Can I Get a Witness,” “How Sweet It Is,” “Ain’t That Peculiar,” and “I’ll Be Doggone.” Later in the decade, Marvin Gaye recorded a series of romantic duets with Tammi Terrell. Shortly after Terrell’s death in 1970, Gaye established a new style of music with the album “What’s Going On,” a deeply personal and spiritual reflection on family, social issues and the Vietnam War. This work marked one of the first times Motown had given an artist nearly complete creative control. By the end of the 1970s, Gaye’s career declined and his personal problems mounted. He retreated to Europe, where he recorded the hit song “Sexual Healing” which won two Grammy Awards. He then returned to the United States and moved in with his parents. In 1984, in the midst of a heated quarrel, his father shot him to death. Three years later, he received induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 2, Contemporary Musicians, Vol. 4, Soul Music A to Z andwww.djsportal.com/en/hall_of_fame/index.php?id=m)
Melba Joyce Boyd, born April 2, 1950, in Detroit, Michigan, becomes a poet. Boyd told Contemporary Authors in an interview, “I think like a poet who alters my view of the ordinary. I am inspired to write by whatever catches my eye or ear or heart. I am especially attracted to history, or what I feel is of historical interest. As a black person living in America, I am concerned about the conditions and circumstances of oppressed people in this country and elsewhere. I am interested in bringing attention to what is too often ignored or belittled in this fast-paced society driven by greed and materialism. I am also interested in the beauty of life, and in finding beauty that is distinct in its own being. Although I often write on difficult and painful subjects that reflect suffering and injustice, I still believe that humanity is capable of greatness that contradicts the severity of its most ugly moments.” (From: Contemporary Authors)
Gregory Abbott, born April 2, 1954, in New York City, New York, becomes an R&B soul singer and musician, playing the keyboard and drums. He also composed and produced music Abbott’s parents were from Venezuela and Antigua. During his early years, Abbott’s mother taught him how to play piano and encouraged him to develop vocally. His practice paid off when at the age of eight, he sang in the St. Patrick’s Cathedral Choir that recorded an album and performed on television. In 1986, Abbott released his first solo album, “Shake You Down.” The title track for the album became a success, going platinum and topping Billboard Hot 100. (From: The Address Book, by Michael Levin)
Linford Christie, born April 2, 1960, in St. Andrews, Jamaica, becomes a sprinter in the Olympics. Known as Europe’s greatest-ever 100m sprinter, Christie became an Olympic 100m champion after winning the Gold Medal in Barcelona, in 1992. In an international career spanning over seventeen years, Christie competed over 60 times for his country and won more major championship medals (23) than any other British male athlete. He retired from International Athletics in the year 1997. Christie became the first man to retain the World Cup 100m crown, and in 1994, won an amazing sixth European Cup title, and a third World Cup title. He held 11 titles until 1996. In 1993, he set the European record for sprinters below 10 seconds. Among his many awards are the prestigious 1993 BBC Sports Personality of the Year and European Athlete of the Year, 1994. Linford also held a tremendous indoor track record.
Rodney Glen King III born April 2 1965, in Sacramento, California (died June 17, 2012), becomes a construction worker who became nationally known after being beaten by Los Angeles, California officers following a high-speed car chase on March 3, 1991. A local witness, George Holliday, videotaped much of it from his balcony, and sent the footage to local news station KTLA. The footage shows four officers surrounding King, several of them striking him repeatedly, while other officers stood by. Part of the footage was aired around the world, inflaming outrage in cities where racial tensions were high, and raising public concern about police treatment of minorities. Four officers were charged with assault with a deadly weapon and use of excessive force. Three were acquitted of all charges. The jury acquitted the fourth of assault with a deadly weapon, but failed to reach a verdict on the use of excessive force. The jury deadlocked at 8–4 in favor of acquittal at the state level. The acquittals are generally considered to have triggered the 1992 Los Angeles riots, in which 53 people were killed and over 2,000 were injured, ending only when the military was called in. The acquittals also led to the federal government’s obtaining grand jury indictments for violations of King’s civil rights. The trial of the four in a federal district court ended on April 16, 1993, with two of the officers being found guilty and subsequently imprisoned. The other two were acquitted again.
Garnett Silk, born Garnet Damion Smith, April 2, 1966, in Greenvale, Hatfield, in the parish of Manchester, Jamaica, (died December 10, 1994), becomes a reggae musician with a powerful silky voice. He met with an untimely death attempting to save his mother when his house became consumed by fire. Silk and his mother were found in each others arms when the bodies were discovered.
Paul Edward Huston, born April 2, 1967, in Amityville, New York, known by his stage name, Prince Paul, becomes a disc jockey, record producer and recording artist. He began his career as a DJ for Stetsasonic. Since then he has worked on albums by Boogie Down Productions, MC Lyte, Big Daddy Kane and 3rd Bass, among others. Major recognition for Prince Paul came when he produced De La Soul’s debut album “3 Feet High and Rising (1989),” in which he pioneered new approaches to hip hop production, mixing and sampling, as well as by adding comedy sketches.
Harold Atkins Hunter, born April 2, 1974, in New York City, New York (died February 17, 2006), becomes a professional skateboarder and actor, best known on screen for his part in Larry Clark’s 1995 film “Kids,” playing the role of Harold. The Harold Hunter Foundation that supports city kids interested in skateboarding is organized in his memory.
Deon Richmond, born April 2, 1978, in New York City, New York, becomes an actor best known for his semi-regular childhood role as Rudy Huxtable‘s friend Kenny (nicknamed “Bud”) on the NBC sitcom The Cosby Show. An appearance in the music video for the 1985 Kool & the Gang song “Cherish” stands among Richmond’s earliest roles. In 1986, Richmond first appeared as Kenny on The Cosby Show, in the episode “Theo’s Flight”; he would go on to appear on the show in 33 episodes, until 1992. In 1987, Richmond played a young Eddie Murphy in the beginning scenes of the film Eddie Murphy Raw, and also appeared in the film Enemy Territory.
Edinaldo Batista Libânio, born April 2, 1979, in Campo Limpo Paulista, São Paulo), commonly known as Grafite, becomes a Brazilian footballer who plays for Qatari club Al Sadd. Libânio grew up in modest circumstances in the hinterland of the State of Sao Paulo. He made his first money with the door to door sales of rubbish bags. His talent as football player however earned him his first professional contract in 1999 with the Matao based club SE Matonense with which he played in the first division of the State Championship. In the beginning of 2000 he moved from there for a brief period to the fourth division club Ferroviaria in the neighboring town of Araraquara, a club that actually had seen some quite gifted players in its teams in better seasons. In 2005 he won the Copa Libertadores and the Club World Championship with Sao Paulo FC. With Wolfsburg he won the 2008-2009 Bundesliga, and was the league’s top scorer and German Player of the Year.
Tamar Slay, born April 2, 1980, in Beckley, West Virginia, becomes a professional basketball player for the New Jersey Nets from 2002 to 2004; the Charlotte Bobcats, in 2004 and 2005 plus other non NBA teams.
Shanti Misha Lowry, born April 2, 1982, in Boulder, Colorado, becomes an actress and dancer, perhaps best known for her role as the recurring image consultant Dionne, on the hit spinoff television series “The Game.”
“Yung Joc,” born Jasiel A. Robinson, April 2, 1983, in Atlanta, Georgia becomes a Grammy award-nominated rapper. Yung Joc is on 2006 “Forbes‘ magazine’s “Richest Rappers List”, ranking at #20, having grossed approximately $10 million in 2006. On March 23rd, 2008, Yung Joc appeared at the Exodus tour event. At the event Yung Joc gave his testimony about being a Christian. He went on to say, “I’m not trying to be a preacher, but God is real in my life.” He owns two automobile-related companies, as well as a sunglasses line which will be debuting soon called Claudio St. James. Joc and his father will work together to manage the sunglasses line.
Felix Alexander Borja Valencia, born April 2, 1983, in San Lorenzo, Ecuador, becomes a footballer, playing for the FSV Mainz 05, in the German 2nd Bundesliga. He has acquired the nickname “kangaroo,” because of the spring in his jump.
Tyler Nathan Blackett, born April 2, 1994, in Manchester, United Kingdom, becomes an English professional footballer who plays as a left-back or centre-back for Manchester United. He joined Manchester United’s academy in 2002, and has also played on loan for Blackpool and Birmingham City.
James Madison Bell, born April 3, 1826, in Gallipolis, Ohio (died in 1902), becomes Ohio’s first native African American poet. From 1842 to 1853, Bell worked as a plasterer in Cincinnati. Bell championed abolitionismand black educational and legal rights. In 1901, at the insistence of Bishop Benjamin Arnett, Bell published his life’s poetry in “Poetical Works.” Bell specialized in long verse-orations (each of 750 to 950 lines) that recounted the history of slavery, the Civil War, emancipation, and Reconstruction. Bell became one of the nineteenth century’s most dedicated propagandists for African American freedom and civil rights.
John Willis Menard, born April 3, 1838, in Kalkaska, Illinois (died October 8, 1893), becomes a politician, the first Black elected to the U.S. Congress, and denied his seat by that body. During the Civil War (1861-65) he served as a clerk in the U.S. Department of the Interior. In 1865 he moved to New Orleans, where he became active in the Republican Party, serving as inspector of customs and later as a commissioner of streets. He also published a newspaper, The Free South, later named The Radical Standard. Elected to Congress from Louisiana in 1868 to fill an unfinished term, Menard failed to overcome an election challenge by the loser and Congress refused to seat either man. In 1871 he moved to Florida, and again became active in the Republican Party and published the Island City News in Jacksonville. 1868 — John W. Menard became the first black Congressman in US history. He defeated a white man by a vote of 5,107 to 2,833 to represent Louisiana’s Second Congressional District in the 40th Congress.
John Lay Thompson, born April 3, 1869, in Decatur County, Iowa (died in 1930), becomes a businessman whose most noted accomplishment as a newspaper journalist who edited and/or published the Iowa Bystander from 1896 through 1922. The paper became one of the first Black newspapers in the state. During this time Thompson built a multiracial readership with a statewide network of correspondents. Through Thompson’s efforts, the Black citizens of Iowa gained a weekly communications network, which he, and later J.B. Morris, would maintain for more than 75 years.
Lucie Eddie Campbell-Williams, born the youngest of nine children, April 3, 1885, in Duck Hill, Mississippi (died January 3, 1963), becomes an educator, composer, and activist, who at age nineteen, organized a group of Beale Street musicians into the Music Club. Other members later were added to form a thousand-voice choir that performed at the National Baptist Convention. In 1919, Lucie E. Campbell published her first song, “Something Within,” followed by more than one hundred others, including “The Lord is My Shepherd,” “Heavenly Sunshine,” “The King’s Highway,” “Touch Me Lord Jesus,” and “He Understands, He’ll Say Well Done.” Campbell also introduced promising young musicians such as Marian Anderson and J. Robert Bradley to the world. “Miss Lucie” introduced Marian Anderson to the National Baptist Convention and served as her accompanist. As an activist for civil justice, Luciee defied the “Jim Crow” streetcar laws when she refused to relinquish her seat in the section reserved for whites, and as president of the Negro Education Association she struggled with governmental officials to redress the inequities in the pay scale and other benefits for Negro teachers.
Arthur “Dooley” Wilson, born April 3, 1886, in Tyler, Texas (died May 30, 1953), becomes an actor and singer who is best remembered as the piano-player and singer “Sam” who sings “As Time Goes By” at the request of Ilsa Lund in the 1942 film, Casablanca – the Sam in the famously misremembered line “Play it again, Sam” – a phrase which although never actually spoken in the film, broke into show business at the age of 12, playing in a vaudeville minstrel show. He sang and played the drums in black clubs in the Tyler area before he moved to Chicago. He received the nickname “Dooley” while working in the Pekin Theatre in Chicago, circa 1908, because of his then-signature Irish song “Mr. Dooley,” which he performed in whiteface. He worked in black theatre in Chicago and New York for most of the period from 1908 to the 1930s, although in the 1920s he toured Europe as a drummer and singer in his own band, the Red Devils.
William (Billy) Taylor, born April 3, 1906, in Washington, D.C. (died September 2, 1986), becomes a jazz bass player, a well-traveled musician with the McKinney Cotton Pickers, Charlie Johnson, Duke Ellington, and Red Allen. He also appeared with a number of different musicians in several recording sessions during his musical career. Richard Mayhew, born April 3, 1924, in Amityville, New York, becomes a landscape painter, whose landscaping works were shown at the Studio Museum, in Harlem, in 1978. He has painted such abstracts as The Gorge in 1966. He is also a jazz singer. (From: Timelines of African American History)
Jimmy Nolen, born April 3, 1934, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (died December18, 1983), becomes a funkateer extraordinaire who gave James Brown his slick grooves, their clipped syncopated rhythms. He began his music career playing with Johnny Otis and Chuck Higgins. In 1958, Nolen played guitar on Otis’s hit tune entitled “Willie and the Hand Jive.” In 1968, he made his debut with The Famous Flames, appearing on “Papa’s got a Brand New Bag.” Apart from a short break in 1972, Nolen remained with James Brown until his death December 1983. He left an incredible legacy, a virtual guide to funk guitar on tunes such as James Brown’s “I Got You (I Feel Good),” “It’s A Man’s World,” “Cold Sweat,” “I Got That Feelin,” “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud,” and many other James Browns tunes of that period. Furthermore, Nolen influenced the styles of Catfish Collins, Nile Rodgers, and the Artist, Prince.
Harold E. Vick, born April 3, 1936, in Rocky Mountain, North Carolina (died November13, 1987), becomes a composer who toured and performed as a freelancing musician, making several albums, and performing with other jazz artists. He graduated form Howard University in 1958. From 1960 to 1963, he worked with Phillie Joe Jones, Howard McGhee, Jack McDuff, and Ray Charles. He later performed with such great bands as the Donald Byrd Band. He also performed with Dizzy Gillespie, King Curtis, and Aretha Franklin. Vick also toured Europe with the Negro Ensemble Company in 1969, and in 1970, co-founded Black Enterprise Family Repertory Company. More information can be obtained in Biographical Dictionary of Black Musicians and Music Educators.
Jimmy McGriff, born April 3, 1936, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, (died May 24, 2008), becomes an R&B singer. One of his great contributions to R&B became version of Ray Charles’s “I’ve Got a Woman,” in 1962. This record did much to encourage the use of the Hammond organ within popular music. He began playing musical instruments with the bass and learned to play the organ. He backed visiting musicians on the club scene. Despite some recording success, he returned to playing a much purer form of jazz for labels such as Blue Note, Solid State and Groove Merchant. In 1972, he collaborated with other artists such as Junior Walker, and Hank Crawford. In 1986, he recorded “State of the Art,” for the Fantasy label.
Katie Beatrice Green Hall, born April 3, 1938, in Mound Bayou, Mississippi, becomes a representative from the state of Indiana who once commented, “Men and women on both sides of the isles, showed this as a human concern, not a political or racial issue,” when the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill she introduced designating the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., a federal holiday (Congressional Quarterly 1983). Signed into law by President Ronald Reagan, November 2, 1983, this legislation embodied the wishes of many Americans to honor the slain civil rights leader. Hall became involved in politics while working on the mayoral campaigns for Richard Hatcher. Eventually she entered electoral politics, serving as Indiana’s State Representative from 1974 to 1976, in the northwestern district. She served as a State Senator from 1976 to1982, and Chair of the Lake County Democratic Committee from 1978 to 1980. Hall is best remembered for her tireless efforts as floor manager in support of the King Holiday. She also served in other capacities of the political arena. (More information may be obtained on Hall from Black Women in America, Book 1.)
Jackie Dillard, born April 3, 1948, in Alexander, Arkansas, becomes an elected official serving as mayor of Alexander, Arkansas. (From: Who’s Who among Black Americans, 15th Edition)
Carl E. Officer, born April 3, 1952, in St. Louis, Missouri, becomes an elected official, serving the post of mayor of East St. Louis, in 1979 to 1991 and again served as mayor in 2003. (From: Who’s Who among Black Americans, 15thEdition)
Eddie Murphy, born April 3, 1961, in Brooklyn, New York, becomes a comedian and actor. Time magazine once said of Murphy, “He’s Hollywood’s uncontested box-office champs. He has a brother, Charles, and his father worked as a police officer. His mother worked as a telephone operator. At the age of three, his parents divorced and he and brother went to live with a woman Murphy described as “A kind of Black Nazi. Those were the baaaaad days.” He also said, “Staying with her was probably the reason I became a comedian.” Some of Murphy’s most notable roles are as a cop in the movie series “Beverly Hills Cop,” “48 Hours,” and “Another 48 Hours,” plus other memorable acting roles. He is the founder of a charitable organization called “Yeah.” Murphy is the recipient of a Golden Globe Awards and the NAACP Image Award in 1983. He received a Grammy Award in 1984, plus numerous awards and honors.
James R. Black, born April 3, 1963, in Lima, Ohio, becomes an actor who once played professional football for the Cleveland Browns. He has always had a passion for the arts and pursued his passion even while playing for the Browns for two years as a running back. He also played for the Canadian team, The Ottawa Rough Riders. Many recall James as the security specialist, Michael Hailey, from the UPN drama “The Burning Zone.” Some of James’ other television credits include, “Bones,” Navy: NCIS,” “CSI: Miami,” “All of Us,” “Charmed,” “Will and Grace,” “Jag,” “10-8,” “Summerland,” “Strong Medicine,” and the HBO movies “Don King: Only in America,” and “Criminal Intent,” to name a few. His voiceover talents include a series regular role in the critically acclaimed hit “The PJ’s,” which aired on the WB Network. James’ talents aren’t limited to the small screen. His notable parts in big screen include Godzilla, Out of Sight, with George Clooney and Soldier for Warner Brothers, where he played one of Kurt Russell’s fellow soldiers. James has also had strong supporting roles in Substitute III and the hit movie Universal Soldier II. James can be seen playing a crazed stalker on the ABC Family drama, “Lincoln Heights,” and on the TNT critically acclaimed show, “The Closer” as Lt. Xavier. In his spare time, James enjoys guitar, piano, martial arts, singing, snowboarding and the list goes on.
Aries Spears, born April 3, 1975, in Chicago, Illinois, becomes a stand-up comedian, actor, voice artist, and comedian, a regular on Fox’s sketch comedy series “MADtv,” appearing in 198 episodes, making him the second longest-serving cast member on the show falling behind Michael McDonald.
Lil Duval, born Roland Powell; April 3, 1977, in Jacksonville, Florida, becomes a stand-up comedian who, in 2005, became a semifinalist on BET’s comedy competition series. Duval became a series regular to the MTV2 shows “Guy Code” and “Hip Hop Squares.” Beginning in July 2013, he hosted the viral video show “Ain’t That America,” on MTV2.
DeShawn Stevenson, born April 3, 1981, in Fresno, California, becomes a professional basketball player for the Utah Jazz, the Orlando Magic and the Washington Wizards. At 19 years old, he became the youngest player to ever play and start for the Jazz during the 2000-01 Season. In 2001, Stevenson finished second in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest. After Stevenson, with a sore knee, scored a career-high 33 points, including a game winning three-pointer as time expired in a February 25, 2008 victory over the New Orleans Hornets, Wizards coach Eddie Jordan described Stevenson this way — “He’s a warrior, man, a true warrior. His confidence is growing — he’s making threes — he’s just a true pro. This is a man’s league and he is man. In the dictionary next to that word there is a picture of DeShawn Stevenson.”
Leona Louise Lewis, born April 3, 1985, in the London Borough of Islington, London, England, becomes a British singer, songwriter and animal welfare campaigner. Lewis achieved national recognition when she won the third series of “The X Factor,” in 2006, winning a $1 million recording contract with Simon Cowell’s record label, Syco Music. Lewis’s success continued with the release of her debut album, “Spirit,” in 2007; it went 10x platinum in the United Kingdom, while the lead single, “Bleeding Love”, spent seven weeks at number-one. She achieved international recognition with the album in 2008, when she became the first British female solo artist to top the US Billboard 200 album chart in more than 20 years. Spirit has sold more than eight million copies worldwide, and “Bleeding Love” peaked at number one in over 30 countries, becoming the best-selling single of 2008. As a result, she was proclaimed ‘Top New Artist’ by Billboard in 2008. Under the guidance of Cowell and Davis, Lewis released her second UK number-one album “Echo” and recorded the theme song for the film “Avatar” in 2009, while embarking on her first UK arena tour, The Labyrinth,” in 2010.
Aeriél Christine Miranda, born April 3 1992, in Dallas, Texas, becomes an actress best known for her recurring role as Shana Fring on the ABC Family series “Pretty Little Liars.” She is of West African, Portuguese, French, German and Cape Verdean ancestry. Prior to working as an actress, Miranda competed in the fifth season of the reality competition series “Endurane,” followed by competing in a family edition of “Fear Factor.”
Annie L. Burton, born April 4, 1858, in Clayton, Alabama – unknown) was born as an enslaved person around near Clayton, Alabama. Her date of death is uncertain. Her life’s story is captured in her 1909 published book, “Memories of Childhood’s Slavery Days” and a short biography of Abraham Lincoln. (From: http://spartacus-educational.com/USASburton.htm)
Isaac Scott Hathaway, born April 4, 1874, in Lexington, KY. (died March 12, 1967), becomes a sculptor, ceramicist, illustrator, and educator. At the age of two, his mother died. His father raised him and his two sisters. At the age of nine, while visiting a museum containing busts of famous white Americans he asked his father where he could find the bust of his hero, Frederick Douglass. His father replied that there were no trained Negro sculptors to mold prominent Negro people. Young Hathaway responded, “I am going to model busts of Negroes and put them where people can see them.” Soon his work gained notice, and many of his peers advised him to develop a company which could distribute “sculptural products on a national scale.” Hathaway’s company became known at first as the Afro Art Company, and later the Isaac Hathaway Art Company. He did produce busts of many famous and prominent African-Americans for distribution to schools and elsewhere. Among his works were: Booker T. Washington, Frederick Douglass, Richard Allen, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, George Washington Carver, and C.C. Spaulding and others. He molded plaques and masks which could be hung on walls of colleges, churches, and business’. Hathaway also sculptured in bronze metal upon request. Hathaway became the founding member of the Department of Ceramics at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama where he stayed from 1937-1947. On August 7, 1946 President Harry S. Truman authorized a commission by the U.S. Mint of a fifty cent piece “to commemorate the life and perpetuate the ideas and teachings of Booker T. Washington. Selected as the designer for the Booker T. Washington coin, Hathaway becomes the first African-American to design a U.S. coin. He also designed the George Washington Carver commemorative fifty cent piece in 1951.
Marvel Cooke, born April 4, 1903, in Mankato, Minnesota (died in December 2000), becomes a journalist, writer, and civil rights activist. She worked as an assistant for the NAACP’s Crisis magazine publication after graduating from the University of Minnesota, in 1925. Jackson then went to the Amsterdam News where she became secretary to the women’s editor and a general assignment reporter. While at the Amsterdam News, Jackson helped organize the first Newspaper Guild unit at a Black-owned newspaper. She broke her engagement to Roy Wilkins and soon Married Cecil Cooke, internationally famous athlete. Cooke became assistant managing editor at the People’s Voice, a Harlem-based weekly owned by Adam Clayton Powell. “I was part of the Bronx Slave Market long enough to experience all the viciousness and indignity of a system which forces women to the streets in search of work,”she once said. She felt that Black people in the arts contributed things that were lacking in the regular arts, because the stories and art and music of Black people reflected their life experience. Cooke served as national legal defense secretary of the Angela Davis Defense Committee in the late sixties and early seventies.
“Muddy Waters” McKinley Morganfield, born April 4, 1913, 1914 or 1915, in Rolling Fork, Mississippi, (died April 30, 1983), becomes a notable blues musician generally considered “the Father of Chicago blues“. Considered one of the greatest bluesmen of all time, Muddy Waters became a huge inspiration for the British beat explosion in the 1960s and considered by many to be one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Waters #17 in their magazine’s list. Muddy Waters is also the actual father of blues musicians Big Bill Morganfield (born June 19, 1956) and Larry “Mud Morganfield” Williams (born September 27, 1954).
Thelma R. Parks, born April 4, 1923, in Muskogee, Oklahoma, becomes an educator who became president of the Oklahoma City Board of Education in 1990. (From: Who’s Who among Black Americans, 15th Edition andhttp://uncrownedcommunitybuilders.com/person/thelma-reece-parks-2 )
Maya Angelou, born Marguerite Johnson, April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri, (died May 28, 2014), becomes a writer, poet, and actress. The life experiences of the richly talented Maya Angelou–author, poet, actress, singer, dancer, playwright, director, and producer are the cornerstone of her most acclaimed work, a multi-volume autobiography that traces the foundations of her identity as a twentieth-century American black woman. Beginning with the best-selling I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Angelou’s autobiographical books chart her beginnings in rural segregated Arkansas and urban St. Louis, her turbulent adolescence in California, and through her adult triumphs as a performing artist and writer, her work in the Civil Rights Movement, and her travels to Africa. “One of the geniuses of Afro- American serial autobiography,” according to Houston A. Baker in the New York Times Book Review, Angelou has been praised for the rich and insightful prose of her narratives and for offering what many observers feel is an indispensable record of black experience. Author James Baldwin wrote on the publication of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings: “This testimony from a Black sister marks the beginning of a new era in the minds and hearts and lives of all Black men and women.” (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 15)
William Leon Garrett, born April 4, 1929, in Shelbyville, Indiana, (died August 7, 1974), becomes the first African American basketball player in the Big Ten Athletic Conference.
John Dee Holman often misspelled “Holeman,” born April 4, 1929, becomes an American Piedmont blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter. His music includes elements of Texas blues, R&B and African American String Band music. In his younger days he was also known for his proficiency as a ‘buckdancer.’ Holeman was both singing and playing his guitar at local parties and other events by his mid-teens. By his mid-twenties, Holeman had bought his first electric guitar and relocated to Durham, where he played with the pianist, Fris Holloway. The duo became adept at the Juba dance, also known as the hambone or buckdance. In 1994, Holeman was presented with the North Carolina Folk Heritage Award. A song Holeman wrote, “Chapel Hill Boogie”, was featured on the 2007 Grammy Award nominated album, “10 Days Out: Blues from the Backroads,” recorded by Kenny Wayne Shepherd. In 2007, Music Maker also issued the John Dee Holeman & the Waifs Band album, where Holeman was backed by the Australian folk rock group, “The Waifs.”
Dorothy Patterson, born April 4, 1930, in Jackson, Georgia, becomes a humanitarian, social advocate, and philanthropist, who made notable contributions to the welfare of teenage parents and to the health and social well-being of the general population in this country and in such foreign locations as Nigeria and the South Pacific Island of Ponape. (From: Notable Black American Women, Book 2)
Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor, born April 4, 1938, in Fairfax, South Carolina. Grosvenor became a writer and culinary anthropologist. She has also been an actress, dancer and clothing designer. Accounts of Grosvenor’s life can be founding her autobiography entitled, “Vibration Cooking.” Grosvenor, born one of a set of twins prematurely, survived against the odds. Her fraternal twin did not live. Grosvenor used her infantile frailty to avoid picking cotton and spent the time observing meal preparations closely. More information can be obtained on Grosvenor in Notable Black Women.
Bill Bridges, born April 4, 1939 in Hobbs, New Mexico, becomes a professional basketball player who played for the (ABL) Kansas City Steers, from 1961 to 1963; the St. Louis/Atlanta Hawks, from 1962 to 1971; the Philadelphia 76ers in 1971 and 1972; the Los Angeles Lakers from 1972 to 1974 and the Golden State Warriors in 1975.
Hugh Masekela, born April 4, 1939, in Witbank, South Africa, a coal mining town near Johannesburg, South Africa. He became a singer, musician and band leader. At the age of six, he began singing songs of the streets, and at age nine, he began attending missionary school, where he learned to play the piano. But he first became interested in playing the trumpet after seeing the 1949 film entitled “Young Man with a Horn,” the story of Bix Beiderbecke. However, he became greatly influenced by performers of American swing, and later became interested in be-bop jazz and the music of Dizzie Gillespie and Charlie Parker, whom he credits the development of his talent. In 1958, he joined Alfred Herbert’s African Jazz Revue, and the following year, he formed his own band, The Jazz Epistles. As a Black man, South African music schools were closed to Masekela. Forced to go abroad to continue his musical training in 1968, Masekela became one of the first African artists to pierce America’s pop music world. His song, “Grazing in the Grass,” topped the billboards singles chart for two weeks. He founded Botswana International School of Music and also co-founded Chisa Records. He married singer Miriam Makeba, which ended in divorce. More information can be obtained on Hugh Masekela in Contemporary Musicians, Vol. 7, or Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 1.
Major Lance, born April 4, 1941, in Winterville, Mississippi, (died September 3, 1994), becomes an R&B singer during the late 1950s that fought as a professional boxer before his singing career took off. He sung in gospel groups such as The Five Gospel Harmonaires and The Floats. He recorded songs such as “Um Um Um Um Um Um Um Um,” “Hey Little Girl,” and “It’s Monkey Time.” He also recorded with Curtis Mayfield. In 1978, his career became damaged when incarcerated for cocaine. (From: Soul Music A to Z)
Richard Parsons, born April 4, 1942 or 1948, in New York, becomes the CEO of Dimes Savings Bank in 1990, making him the first African American to head a major non-black U.S. savings institution. Parsons became chairman of Citigroup on 23 February 2009. (From: From: Timelines of African American History)
Nelson Prudencio, born April 4, 1944, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, becomes a 1968 Olympic Silver medalist, and a1972 Olympic Bronze medalist both in the triple jump competition. (From: Black Olympian Medalists)
Edgar Nkosi B. White, born April 4, 1947, in Montserrat, West Indies, becomes a writer and dramatist. (From: Contemporary Dramatists, 6th Edition of St. James Press)
John Wesley “Johnny Lam” Jones, born April 4, 1958, in Lawton, Oklahoma, becomes a sprinter, a 1976 Olympic Gold medalist in the 4×100 meter-relay and a professional football player for the New York Jets from 1980 to 1985. (From: Black Olympian Medalists)
Lorraine Toussaint, born April 4, 1960, in Trinidad, becomes a Trinidadian-born American actress best known for her role as Rene Jackson in Lifetime drama series “Any Day Now,” also featured as a recurring guest-star in the first few seasons of the legal drama “Law & Order” as defense lawyer Shambala Green. She appeared on films such as “Breaking In,” ”Hudson Hawk,” “Dangerous Minds, “and “The Soloist.” She became a regular guest on the drama “Threat Matrix,” as Carina Wright/Agent Cassandra Hodges. In 1993, Toussaint appeared in “Point of No Return,” starring Bridget Fonda. From 2007 to 2010, Toussaint starred as Captain Kate Perry in “Saving Grace,” which aired on TNT. In 2013 she will recurs on season 3 of Dana Delany’s “Body of Proof,” as Angela Martin, new police chief. In 2012 she nominated on Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female for performance of “Middle of Nowhere.”
Vernon Campbell, born April 4, 1961, in Newark, New Jersey), becomes an actor whose thick set, stocky build and bald head has seen him play almost entirely police detectives or bodyguards. He appeared in the 1995 Academy Award nominated film “Twelve Monkeys” alongside Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt. In 1997 he appeared in the film Night Falls on Manhattan a film which starred Andy Garcia and James Gandolfini. Campbell is probably best recognized as Dave Chappelle‘s kind natured, ill-fated bodyguard in an episode of Chappelle’s Show: The Lost Episodes. In that particular episode, the bodyguard is shot by the I.R.S. and in his dying words; the guard tells Dave that “it was the man who shot him,” but Dave’s greediness is what killed him. Before his death, the guard tries to tell Dave the key to keeping the show’s material fresh but dies before he can say it. He stammers “You gotta…You gotta…I’m dead”
Ray Mercer, born April 4, 1961, in Jacksonville, Florida, becomes a 1988 Olympic Gold medal recipient in the heavy-weight boxing division and a professional boxer, former WBO World Heavyweight Champion, in 1991. (From: Black Olympian Medalists)
Jill Scott, born April 4, 1972, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, becomes a three-time Grammy winning R&B soul singer, jazz singer, songwriter, poet and actress who made her theatrical debut in 2007, in the films Hounddog (as Big Mama Thornton, born Dec. 11, 1926-July 25, 1984) and in Tyler Perry’s (born September 13, 1969) feature film, “Why Did I Get Married?” Prior to her breakthrough in the music industry, Scott worked at a variety of jobs, including a number of retail positions and stints at a construction site and an ice cream parlor. She remains close to her mother and grandmother, nicknamed “Blue Babe.”
Kisha Ford, born April 4, 1975, maybe in Baltimore, Maryland, becomes a professional basketball player who began her professional playing career with the New York Liberty, and has also played for the Orlando Miracles and the Miami Sol. (From: www.wnba.com)
Robert Smalls, born into slavery, April 5, 1839, in Beaufort, South Carolina, (died February23, 1915), becomes a Civil War hero and politician “Oh Lord, we entrust ourselves into thy hands. Like thou didst for the Israelites in Egypt, Please stand over us to our promised land of freedom.” Quoted in Crisis magazine, this prayer uttered Robert Smalls as he made a bold and heroic escape to freedom during the Civil War. Smalls, an enslaved man, took his dream of freedom and turned it into reality by commandeering the Confederate steamer, The Planter, and sailing the vessel to Union forces and freedom. He would go from slave to naval captain, state legislator, and U.S. Congressman. (From: Men of Mark and Notable Black American Men)
Booker T. Washington, born April 5, 1856, in Hale’s Ford, Franklin County, near Roanoke, Virginia, (died November14, 1915), becomes an educator, essayist, biographer, social activist, writer, and founder of Tuskegee Institute. In the annals of African American history, few names are as celebrated or as controversial as that of Booker Taliaferro Washington. Washington emerged in the last decades of the nineteenth century as the most important black leader since the post-Civil War Reconstruction–a period of transition during which the Southern states, then occupied by Northern troops, were reintegrated into the Union. Washington, an educator admired by blacks and trusted by both northern and southern whites as a thoughtful, honorable, and articulate, became a spokesperson for African Americans. The founder and for many years the president of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, Washington became an untiring promoter of the virtues of economic independence, thrift, hard work, and patience on the part of black Americans facing the seemingly insurmountable difficulties of survival in a white-ruled society. Washington’s own life served as an outstanding example of his philosophy of deference and self-help. The Honorable Robert Smalls, a slave, April 5, 1839, in Beaufort, South Carolina, becomes a, military leader and legislator who said “Oh Lord, we entrust ourselves into thy hands. Like thou didst for the Israelites in Egypt, Please stand over us to our promised land of freedom.” Quoted in Crisis magazine, this became the prayer uttered by Robert Smalls as he made a bold and heroic escape to freedom during the Civil War. Smalls, an enslaved man, took his dream of freedom and turned it into reality by commandeering the Confederate steamer, The Planter, and sailing the vessel to Union forces and freedom. He would go from slave to naval captain, state legislator, and U.S. Congressman.
Marion L. Smith, born April 5, 1901-?, in Atlanta, Georgia, becomes an elected official serving as mayor of Robbins, Illinois. (From: Who’s Who among Black Americans, 15th Edition)
James R. Dumpson, born April 5, 1909, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, (died November 5, 2012) becomes a university official. From 1953 to 1954, Dumpson served as a United Nations Advisor/Chief of Training in Social Welfare to the Government of Pakistan. In 1971, he worked as a consultant in Pakistan, and in 1977, received a fellowship to Pakistan through the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare to Pakistan. In 1959, Dumpson became Commissioner of Welfare for the City of New York, becoming the only African American welfare commissioner in the country. His appointment also marked the first time that a social worker had held the position. He then returned to New York seven years later to become administrator of the Human Resources Department. As an advisor to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, Dumpson served on various advisory commissions, including the Presidents Commission on Narcotics and Drug Abuse. In 1990, Dumpson received an appointment to serve as New York City’s Health Service Administrator and Chairman. (From: Ebony Success Library and Negro Almanac: A Biographical Dictionary)
Will Gaines, born April 5, 1928, in Baltimore, Maryland, becomes a professional dancer; the last in a long line of Jazz Hoofers. At the age of 20 he saw The Duke Ellington and Count Basie Orchestras, Dizzy Gillespie and Billie Holiday. From there Gaines worked with such greats as Lucky Thompson, Kenny Burrell, Tommy Flanagan and Sonny Stitt at the Apollo, NY 1954. In NY in 1957 he joined Cab Calloway’s Cotton Club Show and Martha Ray’s Night Club in Miami; and danced in Las Vegas and Washington, DC where he performed in front of President Eisenhower, and finally Central Park, Manhattan, NY. TV appearances range from Play School to Top of the Pops, and he is the first American Jazz Hoofer to perform at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. In 1997 Gaines celebrated 50 years in Be Bop and his 70th birthday the year after. Admired all over the world, Will Gaines is always spreading the word of jazz tap. (From: http://www.ukjtd.force9.co.uk/JazzTapUK/willg.htm)
Tony Williams, born April 5, 1928, in Elizabeth, New Jersey (died August 14, 1992), , becomes lead singer and member of one of the early doo-wop singing groups called The Platters from 1953 to 1960. His sister, R&B singer Linda Hayes, (born Bertha Williams, December 10, 1923) became instrumental in his becoming a member of The Platters.
Stanley William Turrentine, also known as “Mr. T” or “The Sugar Man”, born April 5, 1934, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (died September 12, 2000), becomes a jazz tenor saxophonist; member of a musical family. His father, Thomas Turrentine, Sr., played saxophone with Al Cooper’s Savoy Sultans, his mother played stride piano, and his older brother Tommy Turrentine also became a professional trumpet player.
Colin Powell born April 5, 1937, in Harlem, New York, becomes the first African American Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, D. C., in 1989. He received many honors for his military bravery. Highly regarded by political and military leaders in the White House, Congress, and the Pentagon, U.S. Army General Colin Powell first achieved national and international prominence in 1990 and 1991. Powell, as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, became one of the key leaders of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, the military campaigns to protect Saudi Arabia and liberate Kuwait from Iraqi control. During the Persian Gulf War, he skillfully balanced the political objectives of President George Bush and the strategy needs of General Norman Schwarzkopf and other military commanders in the field. After the war in the Gulf, Powell received consideration for the vice-presidency or even the presidency, but he resisted suggestions that he should run for America’s highest office. However, when George W. Bush became president in 2000, Powell accepted the position of Secretary of State, becoming the first African American Secretary of State in U.S. history, January 2001.
Walter Eugene Massey, born April 5, 1938, in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, becomes a psychiatrists, educator, researcher, and administrator, who in 1954 completed the tenth grade. Although he had yet to take a single course in chemistry or advanced algebra or trigonometry, his precocious skills in mathematics earned him an immediate scholarship to college at the age of 16. Two weeks after arriving on the campus of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, Massey called his mother and pleaded with her to take him home; she refused. On June 1, 1995, Massey became the ninth president of Morehouse College until the end of the 2006-2007 academic years. During his 10-year tenure, he spearheaded a $120 million fundraising campaign in support of his agenda to make Morehouse one of best liberal arts colleges in the nation. Massey held leadership positions in many professional scientific organizations and government administrative positions that included a seat on the U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and the directorship of the National Science Foundation, both under President George Bush. (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 5)
Ronnie White, born April 5, 1939, in Detroit, Michigan (died August 26, 1995), becomes a singer, member of the Motown group, “The Miracles.” In 1970, he wrote, along with Miracles lead singer, Smokey Robinson, the Number.1 single, “The Tears of a Clown.” Ronald White, along with Smokey Robinson, became one of the founding members of the Motown group. He co-wrote with Robinson the classics “My Girl,” “Don’t Look Back,” and “You Beat Me to the Punch.” He also played a key role in the career of Stevie Wonder. Robinson met White when both were preteens. White worked as the neighborhood paperboy. As adults, the two recorded as the duo Ron and Bill for Chess Records. White, Robinson, Bobby Rogers, Pete Moore, and Claudette Rogers founded the Matadors in 1955 while still in high school in Detroit, MI. They later became the Miracles.
Ellsworth A. Ausby, born April 5, 1942, in Portsmouth, Virginia, becomes a painter. Although painting is his principal concern, Ausby has produced some sculptures, portraits, and mono-prints, as well. There are two public metal sculptures to his credit. In the 1970s he produced elemental hangings of forceful strips reminiscent of woven structures. Ausby describes his travel to Nigeria for Festac ’77 as one of the most meaningful events in his life in that it gave him a chance to meet black people from all over the world and to evaluate all areas of the arts. Consequently he traveled to Egypt in 1989. The study visit resulted in a series of mono-prints and numerous acrylic paintings on canvas. More information can be obtained on Ausby in St. James Guide in Black Artist, 1997.
Nicholas Caldwell, born April 5, 1944, in Loma Linda, California, becomes the founding member of the group popularly known as “The Whispers.” One of R&B music’s most beloved and consistently popular vocal groups, they began their legendary and timeless career in 1963. Twin brothers Walter and Wallace Scott joined with friends Nicholas Caldwell, Marcus Hutson, and Gordy Harmon to form a local singing group. They perfected their tight harmonies on the street corners in the Watts section of Los Angeles and in nightclubs in the in the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Area. They began singing together as “the Eden trio” created by Nicholas Caldwell and Marcus Hutson. Later, they were renamed “The Whispers” by Lou Bedell of Dore Records. (From: http://thewhispers.com/bio/bio.html and http://www.discogs.com/artist/Nicholas+Caldwell)
James Buchanan Borders IV, born April 5, 1949, in New Orleans, Louisiana, becomes an actor and editor of the Black Collegian from 1979 to 1986. As managing director of the 1994 National Black Arts Festival (NBAF), a ten-day celebration and showcase of artists of African descent in more than 125 venues across Atlanta, Borders amply demonstrated his dream for the future of nonprofit arts in America. To explain his vision, Borders borrowed from the history of basketball, once segregated in separate black and white leagues. (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 9)
Greg Mathis, born April 5, 1960, in Detroit, Michigan, becomes a retired judge of the 36th District Court of the State of Michigan and syndicated television show judge. His show Judge Mathis is produced by Tele-pictures Productions, and distributed by Warner Brothers. It is seen five days a week in most television markets in North America. A spiritually inspired play, “Been there, Done that,” based on his life, toured twenty-two cities in the U.S. in 2002, and “Inner City Miracle,” a memoir published by Ballatine Books. Mathis’ real father estranged from him, he associated closely with the Errol Flynns, a past notorious Detroit street gang Mathis eventually joined as a teenager. In the 1970s, arrested numerous times, and while incarcerated in Wayne County Jail, as a seventeen-year-old juvenile, his mother visited him and broke the news of her diagnosis with colon cancer. Mathis received an offer of early probation because of his mother’s illness. Once out of jail, Mathis began working at McDonalds, a job he had to keep in order to maintain his release on probation. A close family friend helped Mathis get admitted to Eastern Michigan University, and he discovered a new interest in politics and public administration. He became a campus activist and worked for the Democratic Party, organizing several demonstrations against South African Apartheid policies.
Christopher “Kid” Reid, born April 5, 1964, in Bronx, New York, formerly known as Kid (shortened from his original MC name, Kid Coolout), becomes an actor, comedian, and former rapper, best known as one-half of late-1980s/early-1990s hip hop musical act Kid ‘n Play with fellow rapper/actor Christopher “Play” Martin (born July 10, 1962). Reid became particularly notable for his extreme hi-top fade hairstyle. Reid has appeared on a number of television programs, including Martin and Sister, Sister, and has also served as the host of amateur contest shows such as Your Big Break and It’s Showtime at the Apollo. Reid tours as a stand-up comedian. (From: http://www.musicorb.com/rap/rappers)
Pharrell Williams, born April 5, 1973, in Virginia Beach, Virginia, becomes a rapper, record producer, and fashion designer. Williams and Chad Hugo make up the record production duo The Neptunes, producing hip hop and R&B music. In 2005, Williams voted “Best Dressed Man in the World” by Esquire, as part of “The Neptunes,” produced numerous hit singles for various musicians. The two have earned three Grammy Awards amongst ten nominations. He is also the co-founder of the clothing brands Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream Clothing.
Robert Glasper, born April 5, 1978, in Houston, Texas, becomes a musician, who according to jazz expert and music critic, John Murphy of Jazz Times, The Root, WPFW radio station, even though jazz goes wanting for attention in major media, pianist Robert Glasper is representative of a small influential group of musicians who are deftly and uniquely melding modern music seamlessly into jazz. Glasper, in particular, says Murph, is attracting a lot of younger people who ordinarily would not be into jazz by creating new hip hop aesthetic that tosses out such expected cliché’s as rappers, turntables and electronic beats, but still at its core is an authentic fusion of the genres. (From: Ebony Magazine)
James Pierson Beckwourth (Beckwirth), born April 6, 1798, the third of thirteen children, in Fredericksburg, Virginia, (died October 29, 1866), becomes an American mountain man, fur trader, and explorer. An African American born into slavery in Virginia, he later moved to the American West. As a fur trapper, he lived with the Crow for years. He is credited with the discovery of Beckwourth Pass through the Sierra Nevada (U.S.) Mountains between present day Reno, Nevada and Portola, Californiaduring the California Gold Rush years, and improved the Beckwourth Trail, which thousands of settlers followed to central California. (From: Internet site, Stamp on Black History and Dictionary of American Negro Biography)
James Augustine Healy, born April 6, 1830 or 1831, in James County, Georgia on a plantation between Macon and Atlanta, the eldest of ten children of Michael Morris Healy and Mary Eliza Smith, a mulatto slave, (died August 5, 1900), becomes the first African American ordained Catholic Bishop. James and his oldest brother began at a Quaker school on Long Island. Racism from local residents caused their move to grammar, secondary and collegiate schools at the new Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts. Healy finished at the top of the first graduating class in 1849 and earned a masters degree two years later. He spent a brief period in a seminary in Montreal, Canada, but his parents’ deaths in 1850 forced him to return to Holy Cross. After settling the estate, Healy enrolled in the Sulpician Seminary in Paris, France. Ordained a priest there in 1854, he began his ministry with the diocese of Boston, his home for the next 21 years. When he died, More than 200 priests, seven bishops, many judges and state legislators attended his funeral. (From: Black Firsts, 1st Edition, Encyclopedia of Black America, and Dictionary of American Negro Biography)
William Warrick Cardozo, born April 6, 1905, in Washington, D. C. (died in 1962), becomes a physician and pioneer investigator of Sickle Cell Anemia. Cardozo concluded that sickle cell anemia found almost exclusively among people of African descent; is inherited following Mendel’s laws; that not all people having sickle cells were anemic; that not all patients died of sickle cell disease per se; and that no successful treatment had been found. Today his findings are still valid. Cardozo practiced medicine in Washington, D.C. and joined the staff of Howard University College of Medicine and Freedmen’s Hospital, where he became clinical associate professor of pediatrics. He also served for 24 years as school medical inspector for the D.C. Board of Health. In addition to his work on sickle cell anemia, Cardozo studied gastrointestinal disorders in children and published works on Hodgkin’s disease, and on early growth and development of black children. (From: Dictionary of American Negro Biography)
Lois Miller, born April 6, 1913, in Florida, becomes an author and children and community activist. During the Black History Month celebration in Ocala, Marion County, Florida, 2002, she received honor as one of the community’s local Black achievers.
Dorothy Donegan, born April 6, 1922, in Chicago, Illinois (died May 19, 1998), becomes a musician. In 1943, she made her concert debut at Orchestral Hall in Chicago. She presented a Grieg and Rachmaninoff composition in the first half of her program and jazz in the second half. She may have been the first Black musician to perform at Orchestral Hall. Donegan is noted as one of America’s great piano virtuoso’s. Donegan began studying classical piano at age six. In her early years, she studied at the Chicago Musical College and her potential became recognized by age eight. In the 1940s she became Art Tatum‘s protégée and in 1942 made her recordingdebut. She appeared in Sensations of 1945 with Cab Calloway (born December 25, 1907-Nov. 18, 1994), Gene Rodgers (born March 5, 1910-Oct. 23, 1987) and W. C. Fields and became known for her work in Chicago nightclubs.
Randy Weston, born April 6, 1926, in Brooklyn, New York, becomes a musician, an innovative mixer of jazz and African rhythms. Weston studied classical piano as a child but did not have to travel far to hear the jazz giants who were to influence him. After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, Weston ran a restaurant frequented by many of the leading bebop musicians. Among his piano heroes are numbered Count Basie (born March 24, 1904-April 26, 1984), Nat King Cole (born March 17, 1919-February 15, 1965), Art Tatum (born October 13, 1909-Nov. 5, 1956) and Duke Ellington (born April 29, 1899-May 24, 1974) (and Wynton Kelly, a cousin, born December 2, 1931-April 12, 1971), but Thelonious Monk (born October 10, 1917-February 17, 1982) would have the greatest impact on his career as a musician. (From: Contemporary Musicians, Volume 15)
Lonnie Bristow, born April 6, 1930, in New York City, New York, becomes president of the American Medical Association in 1985. His father became a Baptist minister and mother, a nurse. Dr. Lonnie Bristow has long been an advocate for patients and doctors alike, and, on June 21, 1995, he prepared to use his skills and energy to lead the largest society of physicians in the United States–the 300,000-member American Medical Association (AMA). On that day, Bristow made history by becoming the first African American to hold the top position in the association’s 148-year history. (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 12 and Black Firsts)
Ivan Nathaniel Dixon III, born April 6, 1931, in Harlem, New York, (died March 16, 2008), becomes an actor, director, and producer best known for his series role in the 1960s sitcom Hogan’s Heroes, for his Emmy Award-nominated role in the 1967 telefilm The Final War of Olly Winter, and for directing hundreds of episodes of television series. Active in the Civil Rights Movement, Dixon served as a president of Negro Actors for Action, an organization organizer who organized the Negro Actors for Action, which has since been disbanded. He once made this comment in an interview: “There should be an integrated curriculum that teaches about Frederick Douglass as well as George Washington. To identify only with whites makes Negro kids negate themselves. The time has come when my kids will not have even to think of their heritage.” In 1966, Dixon won Best Actor award, given by the First World Festival of Negro Arts, in Dakar, Africa. His Broadway acting debut took place in “Raisin in the Sun.” In 1967, he starred in CBS’s “The Final War of Olly Winter.” (From: Civil Rights: A Current Guide, Individuals and Organizations)
John Pepper Clark, born April 6, 1935, in Kinbodo, Nigeria, becomes a playwright and poet. As one of Africa’s pre-eminent and distinguished authors, he has, since his retirement, continued to play an active role in literary affairs, a role for which he is increasingly gaining international recognition. In 1991, for example, he received the Nigerian National Merit Award for literary excellence and saw publication, by Howard University, of his two definitive volumes, The Ozidi Saga and Collected Plays and Poems 1958-1988. (From: Modern Black Writers)
Billy Dee Williams, born William December Williams April 6, 1937, in New York City, New York, becomes became a well-known actor. He is also a painter. His most memorable acting roles include, “Lady Sings the Blues” and “Mahogany,” both of which Diana Ross of the popular 1960s singing trio called The Supremes, played the role of his leading lady. Williams is also known for his role as Lando Calrissian in the Star Wars movies. (From: Who’s Who among Black Americans, 15th Edition, IMDB.com and Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 8)
Evelyn Crawford Queen, born April 6, 1945, in Albany, New York, becomes a judge who served as a company attorney for Metropolitan Life Insurance Company from1975 to 1977. She also served as a United States attorney from 1979 to 1981.
Monroe Anderson III, born April 6, 1947, in Gary, Indiana, becomes a journalist for the Chicago Tribune. From 1972 to 1974, he worked for Ebony magazine. Anderson worked as a reporter at the National Observer, assistant editor of Ebony magazine, and a correspondent for Newsweek magazine prior to joining the Chicago Tribune. In the late 1980s, Anderson worked as the press secretary for democratic Mayor Eugene Sawyer. (From: Who’s Who among Black Americans, 15th Edition)
Ray Miller Jr., born April 6, 1949, in Hampton, Virginia, becomes a politician who during the administration of President Jimmy Carter, served as state representative of District 29, in the Ohio House of Representatives. Miller is highly regarded as an expert in the development of public policy on health, education, and human services issues. His accomplishments are numerous and he is the recipient of more than 400 community, state and national awards. (From: Who’s Who among Black Americans, 15th Edition)
Kenneth Royal Williams, born April 6, 1964, in Berkeley, California, becomes a former outfielder in Major League Baseball and the current general manager of the Chicago White Sox. In late 2011, a homeless man, Wayne L. Field III, broke into Kenny Williams Chicago home. The burglar obtained a set of keys and temporarily lived in Kenny’s house. Field confirmed Kenny’s well known obsession with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches because the cupboards were filled with peanut butter and jelly paraphernalia.
Brian Carson Williams, also known as Bison Dele, born April 6, 1969, in Fresno, California, (died July 7, 2002),becomes a professional basketball player for the Orlando Magic from 1991 to 1993; the Denver Nuggets from 1993 to 1995; the Los Angeles Clippers from 1995 to 1996; the Chicago Bulls from 1996 to 1997 and the Detroit Pistons, from 1997 to 1999. Dele, who became known for his eccentric behavior, suddenly retired from the NBA in an equally perplexing fashion. He retired before the start of the 1999-2000 Season at age 30, when still in the prime of his career. He’d been the Pistons’ highest-paid player, but had strained relationships with the organization and decided to walk away from the remaining five years and US$36.45 million on his contract rather than be traded. In July 2002, Dele and his girlfriend, Serena Karlan, sailed on the South Pacific Ocean along with skipper Bertrand Saldo on Dele’s catamaran, this trip marked the last time the three were seen. The FBI believed they may have been killed and thrown overboard in the deep part of the sea. His father, Eugene Williams, became member of the R&B singing group “The Platters.” (From: Jarrett Griffin’s Basketball Card Collection and Who’s Who among Black Americans, 15th Edition)
Oliver Miller, known as “The Big O,” born April 6, 1970, in Fort Worth, Texas, becomes a professional basketball player for the Phoenix Suns, from 1992 to 1994 and again from 1999 to 2000. From 1994 to 1995, he played for the Detroit Pistons. Miller also played for the Toronto Raptors from 1995 to 1996 and 1997 to 1998. He played for the Dallas Mavericks from 1996 to 1997. He played basketball internationally in Greece for the Iraklio BC from 1998 to 1999. In 1999, he played for the Sacramento Kings. Miller played for the Harlem Globetrotters from 2000 to 2001. He also played for the Polish team of Pruszkow from 2000 to 2001. In 2002, he will play for Italy’s Roseto Basket team. He played for the Gary Steelheads (CBA) from 2002 to 2003 and the Southern California Surf (ABA) in 2002. He also played for the Dodge City Legend in 2002. He played for the Dakota Wizards (CBA) from 2003 to 2004 and also the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2003 to 2004. In 2004, he played for the Puerto Rican team of Indios de Mayaguez. From 2004 to 2005, he played for the Texas Tycoons (ABA) and the Arkansas Rimrockers, also an ABA team, in 2005.
“Simply Jess,” born Jessica F Marquez April 6, 1985, in New York, becomes a model, promoter and entrepreneur who never thought she’d venture thousands of miles outside her comforts of Queens. That is, until a Spring Break visit in 2003 changed that very outlook. Ready for a change of scenery from the concrete jungle, the self-proclaimed “Simply Jess” moved to Miami in 2004. Leaving behind all the negative energy, Jess turned to a new city in search of something special what New York did not offer her. Not to mention the drastic change in weather, Jess considers herself to be much more of a tropical girl! Although Jess has built her new life here in Miami, she never forgets her roots and visits her hometown of Queens often. She started as a model scout but quit that job. She started working the door of Mansion and Prive but decide to venture off and start her own company with a few friends. The 400 clubstarted as an intimate dinner party at Harrison’s restaurant which turned into the most exclusive R&B Dinner party in Miami. It grew so big that they had to move it to the Fifth nightclub which happens every Friday. Jess’ is known throughout the country to invite and host only the most beautiful women to The 400 Club. Miami is known for the “look” and that is what she adds to her parties. My male friends refer to her parties as Fantasy Island. Jess also models on the side and was in last years BET Rip The Runway modeling Amaya Swimwear. Whenever you are in Miami check out her parties.
Kwesi Boakye, born April 6, 1999, in Los Angeles, California, becomes a child actor most notable for his role as Manny in the Tyler Perry film “I Can Do Bad All by Myself.” He is the youngest of three brothers who are also actors; Kwame Boateng (born January 29, 1983), and Kofi Siriboe, (born March 2, 1994). His family is originally from Ghana. Boakye voices the character Darwin on The Amazing World of Gumball and Gossamer on The Looney Tunes Show.
Allen Allensworth, born April 7, 1842, in Louisville, Kentucky, (died September 14, 1914, in Monrovia, California), becomes a businessman, Chaplin, educator, and founder of the town called Allentown, located between Los Angeles, and San Francisco, California. (From: Dictionary of American Negro Biography)
Jose Thomaz De Sousa Martins, born April 7, 1843, in Alhandra, Portugal, (died August 19, 1897) becomes a medical and sanitary expert of Portugal; one of Portugal’s most honored physicians, and one of their leading medical writers. Some sources indicate his birth took place March 7, 1843. (From: World’s Great Men of Color)
Sayyīd Muhammad `Abd Allāh al-Hasan, born April 7, 1856, (Some sources give birth year as 1864) in Buuhoodle northern Somalia (died December 21, 1920 in Imi, Ogaden), becomes a Somali religious and patriotic leader, referred to as the Mad Mullah by the British. He established the Dervish State in Somalia that fought an anti-imperial war for a period of over 20 years against British, Italian, and Ethiopian forces. Considered the founder of the modern independence and nationalistic movement in Somalia, Hassan composed highly alliterative poems whichquickly made their way into vernacular popularity, and were told and retold over the years. (From: African Authors, by D. Herdeck, page 214)
William Monroe Trotter, born April 7, 1872, in Chillicothe, Ohio, (died April 7, 1934) becomes a civil rights activist, who attacked racism and segregation wherever he saw it, no matter what the guise. (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 9, Pioneers in Protest, by Lerone Bennett, Jr. and Interesting Black People)
Charles Henry Emanuel, born April 7 1891, in St. Thomas, Danish West Indies, (died in 1979) becomes an educator and musician who devoted over forty-four years of service to the people of St. Croix as an educator. Being keenly interested in music, he identified students who showed musical potential and provided training in their special interest. The Diamond-Ruby School gained recognition for its choir which he established. Under his training, the group excelled in acappella style singing and often featured at community affairs. As a teacher, he was also one of the first to introduce Black history to his classes. Not only did he develop an awareness of the contributions of local heroes like David H. Jackson, but he taught about outstanding West Indians, Africans, and other Blacks. Prior to his years as educator, Charles Emanuel was employed as an apprentice in the printing firm of Leroy Nolte on St. Thomas which published two outstanding newspapers, The Bulletin and The St. Thomas Tidende, the official Danish publication. He stayed with this firm for many years, assuming greater responsibilities, and was subsequently named sub-editor. As a writer, he combined his mastery of English with his creativity. An essayist, poet, and feature writer, he used his compositions to laud or to correct when necessary. For example, in 1970, when the local Daily News observed its fortieth anniversary as a daily newspaper, Mr. Emanuel’s contribution was an interesting article entitled, “Freedom of the Press.” With a powerful message subtly presented he expounded on the blessings of freedom of the press as one of the greatest privileges enjoyed by Virgin Islanders as a result of American citizenship. (From: http://cruzansyndicate.tripod.com/page1.htm)
Isaiah Morgan, born April 7, 1897, in Bertrandville, Louisiana, (died May 11, 1966) becomes a trumpet and coronet player. (From: Biographical Dictionary of Black Musicians and Music Educators)
Raymond Howard Kemp, born April 7, 1907, in Cecil, Pennsylvania (died March 26, 2002), becomes a professional football player; the first African American player and a charter member of the Pittsburgh Pirates football team (now called the Pittsburgh Steelers). In fact in 1933, he was the only African-American on the team and only one of two black players in the entire National Football League, the other being Joe Lillard (born June 15, 1905 – died September 18, 1978) of the Chicago Cardinals. (From: www.wikipedia.org and Carroll Bob (1983) “Ray Kemp Blazed an Important Trail”
Billie Holiday, born Eleanora Fagan April 7, 1915, in Baltimore, Maryland, (some sources indicate her birth took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) (died July 17, 1959) becomes a legendary jazz singer, whose life story played out in the movie “Lady Sings the Blues,” starring Diana Ross (born March 26, 1944) as Billie Holiday, and Billy Dee Williams (born in this month, on April 6.) (From: Internet sites IMDB.com and Stamp on Black History, Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 1, Contemporary Musicians, Vol. 6, Interesting Black People and Black Musicians and Music Educators)
Frederick DeWayne Hubbard, born April 7, 1938, in Indianapolis, Indiana, becomes a trumpet musician and band leader. His film soundtracks include, “The Bus Is Coming,” in 1971, “Shaft’s Big Score,” in 1972, and in 1984, “A Little Night Music,” and “Sweet Return.” (From: Encyclopedia of Black America, Timelines, Black Musicians and Music Educators, and Who’s Who among Black Americans)
Rodney Maxwell Davis, born April 7, 1942, in Macon, Georgia (died September 6, 1967), becomes a Vietnam War hero; a decorated United States Marine soldier posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism during the Vietnam War. Ordered to the Republic of Vietnam in August 1967, he received assignment duty as a Platoon Guide with Company B’s, First Battalion, Fifth Marines, and First Marine Division. On September 6, 1967, operating with his unit in the Quang Nam Province on a search and clear mission during Operation Swift, when they were attacked by a large North Vietnamese force. Elements of the platoon were pinned down in a trench line by mortars, heavy automatic and small arms fire. He went from man to man encouraging them on and also returning fire at the same time. An enemy hand grenade fell in the trenches his men were fighting from and without hesitation he threw himself upon the grenade. He saved his fellow Marines in this selfless act and thus earned the nation’s highest military decoration: the Medal of Honor. Presentation of the Medal was made posthumously to his widow, Mrs. Judy P. Davis, by Vice President Spiro T. Agnew in his office. The Presentation is “in the name of the Congress of the United States. (From: The Crisis Jun-Jul 1969, page 245 and http://books.google.com/books?id=21sEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA231&dq=Crisis+Magazine+1923&source=gbs_toc&cad=2#v=onepage&q&f=false)
Delores Handy, born April 7, 1947, in Little Rock, Arkansas, becomes a TV anchor woman and reporter. She began her career in 1978, as anchor woman and host of WTTG-TV Channel 5 Ten O’clock News and Black Reflections. (From: Who’s Who among Black Americans, 15th Edition)
Clarke Peters, born April 7, 1952, in New York City, New York, becomes an American actor, singer, writer and director best known for his roles as detective Lester Freamon and Albert “Big Chief” Lambreaux, on the HBO dramas The Wire and Treme, respectively
Grace Hightower De Niro, born April 7, 1955,in Kilmichael, Mississippi, becomes a philanthropist, socialite, actress, and singer. She married to actor Robert De Niro in 1997. As a philanthropist, Hightower launched “Grace Hightower & Coffees of Rwanda” in 2013 with the mission of improving Rwandan livelihoods by marketing their products internationally. She is a board member of the New York Women’s Foundation and the New York Fund for Public Schools as well as a member of Ronald Perlman’s Women’s Heart Health Advisory Council and the International Women’s Coffee Alliance. Hightower has been honored for her work by numerous institutions including the American Cancer Society of New York City. In 2010, she presented the Pratt Institute’s Creative Spirit Award to director Lee Daniels. As an actress, Hightower has had minor roles in various movies including “Precious” (2009) and “The Paperboy” (2012). Additionally, she had a minor part in the ABC TV series, “NYPD Blue,” in the 1994 Season One episode entitled “Zeppo Marks Brothers.” As a singer, she performed the lead vocals for the track, “Somethin’s Comin’ My Way”, written by Dan Manjovi for the 2009 “Precious” movie soundtrack. Hightower is of African American and Blackfoot descent and grew up in Kilmichael, Mississippi in a poor family and worked various odd jobs to help support them. She became a flight attendant for Trans World Airlines, attracted by the possibility of traveling and expanding her horizons. Settling in Paris and later London, she worked variously as a mutual fund trader and restaurant worker. In 1987, while working at Mr. Chow, an upscale London Chinese restaurant and celebrity hangout, she met and began dating Robert De Niro.
Christopher Allen Darden, born April 7, 1956, in Martinez, California, becomes a lawyer, author, actor, lecturer and practicing attorney. He was a 15-year veteran of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, where he was assigned to the prosecution of O. J. Simpson.
Bill Bellamy, born April 7, 1965, in Newark, New Jersey, becomes a comedian and an actor. (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 12)
Ricardo “Ricky” Bones, born April 7, 1969, in Salinas, Puerto Rico, is a former Major League Baseball pitcher and the current bullpen coach for the New York Mets. Bones played from 1991 to 2001 for the New York Mets.
Tiki Barber, born (one of a twin) April 7, 1975, in Roanoke, Virginia, becomes a professional football player for the New York Giants. (From: www.SprtsIllustrated.com)
Ronde Barber, born (one of a twin) April 7, 1975, in Montgomery County, Virginia, becomes a professional football player for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His twin brother, Tiki, also a pro football player, plays for the New York Giants. (From: www.SprtsIllustrated.com)
Norman D Golden II AKA Enormus, born April 7, 1984, in Racine Wisconsin, becomes an actor. In 1992, Golden became a series regular on Fox’s “True Colors.” The sitcom, about an interracial family and their learning to co-exist, was canceled shortly after Golden’s arrival in the second season. In 1993, Golden starred in the motion picture “Cop and a Half” with Burt Reynolds. His last known acting job was a television remake of “Moby Dick,” in 1998. He performs as a rapper known as Enormus.
Ruth Gaines-Shelton, born April 8, 1872, in Glasgow, Missouri, (died in 1932) becomes a playwright, who wrote” The Church Flight, “published in the NAACP Crisis magazine in 1926. (From Black Women in America, Book 1)
Carmen McRae, born April 8, 1920 or 1922, in New York City, New York, (died November 10, 1994) becomes an entertainer who became greatly influenced by entertainer Billie Holiday (another achiever of color, born April 7, 1915).(From: Black Women in America, Book 2 and Contemporary Musicians, Vol. 9)
Robert L. Woodson, born April 8, 1937, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, becomes a sociologist, activist and business executive, who received numerous honors and awards for his community service activities. (From: Contemporary Black Biography)
Kofi Atta Annan, born April 8, 1938, in Kumasi, Ghana, becomes the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, and is the first to be elected from the ranks of UN staff. His first five-year term began on 1 January 1997 and, following his subsequent re-appointment by the UN Member States, he began a second five-year term January 1, 2002. He becomes the first Black African to hold the position of United Secretary General of the United Nations, on December 18, 1996. (From: Contemporary Black Biography and http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2001/annan-bio.html)
Joshua Isaac Smith, born April 8, 1941, in Gerrard County, Kentucky, becomes a businessman; Chief Executive Officer of the MAXIMA Corporation, one of the largest minority-owned businesses in the United States. (From: Black Contemporary Biography)
James “Jimmy” Walker, born April 8, 1944, in Amherst, Virginia (died July 2, 2007), becomes a professional basketball player, as a guard for nine seasons (1967–1976) in the NBA as a member of the Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, and Kansas City Kings. Walker became a two-time All-Star who scored 11,655 points in his career. He fathered NBA player Jalen Rose though he left Rose’s mother prior to his birth and took no part in the child’s upbringing.
Robert L. Johnson, born April 8, 1946, in Hickory, Mississippi, becomes a businessman and entrepreneur, founder and C.E.O. of a Black oriented cable television station known as B.E.T. The station premiered on January 25, 1980. (From: Black Firsts and Soul Vibrations)
Brenda Russell, born April 8, 1949, in Brooklyn, New York, becomes American-Canadian singer-songwriter and keyboardist. Known for her eclectic musical style, her recordings have encompassed several different genres, including pop, soul, and dance, jazz and adult contemporary.
Biz Markie, born Marcell Theo Hall, April 8, 1964, in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey (some sources give his birth place as Harlem, New York), known as The Crown Prince of Rap, becomes a rapper, beat-boxer, DJ, comedian, singer, reality television personality, and commercial spokesperson. (From: Contemporary Musicians, Vol. 10)
Randy Walker, born April 8, 1968, in Springfield Gardens, Queens, New York (died November 30, 1995), better known by his stage name “Stretch,” becomes a rapper and hip hop producer.
Nnedi Okorafor, born April 8, 1974, in Cincinnati, Ohio, becomes an International award-winning author,American-born daughter of Igbo Nigerian parents; she has been visiting Nigeria since she was very young. During her years attending high-school, Okorafor was known for being a star athlete tennis player, as well as dominant in science studies; regarding the academic material as an engaging hobby more-so than a task. Upon discovering her diagnosis of scoliosis and the consequent surgery to resolve it, Okorafor’s student athletic career was ultimately impeded along with her ability to walk. It was during this time that Okorafor redefined herself, as her condition prevented her from continuing her previous athletic career, let alone able to excel in it until after recovery. Thus during this phase of recuperation, she spent her time free-writing as a hobby. Her novels and stories reflect both her West African heritage and her American life. (From: www.wikipedia.org)
Skai Jackson, born April 8, 2002, in New York City, becomes a child actress. She co-starred as Zuri Ross in the Disney Channel sitcom “Jessie.” She began her career as a child model appearing in numerous national commercials, including for Band-Aid bandages.
Florence Price, (AKA-Sexy Mamma), born April 9, 1887 or 1888 (died June 3, 1953), in Little Rock, Arkansas, becomes a composer who is considered the first black woman in the United States to win recognition as a composer (some sources give her birth year as 1877 or 1887). Her parents, both artistic, carefully guided her early musical training, and at age fourteen, she enrolled in the New England Conservatory of Music with a major in piano and organ. She studied with George Chadwick and Frederick Converse, writing her first string trio and symphony in college, and graduating in 1907 with honors and an artist diploma and a teaching certificate. She taught in Arkansas from 1907-1927 and married Thomas J. Price, an attorney, in 1912. After a series of racial incidents in Little Rock, the family moved to Chicago where Price began a new and fulfilling period in her compositional career. (From: Biographical Dictionary of Black Musicians, Black Women in America, Book 2 and Music Educators)
Paul Robeson, born April 9, 1898, in Princeton, New Jersey, (died January 23, 1976) becomes a singer, dancer, civil rights activist, athlete, scholar, law school graduate, and perhaps the best-known, and most widely respected Black person during the 1930s and 1940s. His father, a runaway slave, became a minister and at the age of six, his mother died from a stove fire. Robeson, the last born of eight children, becomes the recipient of an NAACP Spingarn medal in 1945, plus many other awards and honors. (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 2, World’s Great Men of Color, Book 2, Interesting Black People, Biographical Dictionary of Black Musicians and Music Educators, Profiles of Black Success, and Contemporary Musicians, Volume 8)
Waters Edward Turpin, born April 9, 1910, in Oxford, Maryland, (died November 19, 1968) becomes a writer, labeled the “progenitor of the Afro American Saga,” by Burney Hollis in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, which paved the way for such authors as Alex Haley, born August (From: Contemporary Authors)
St. Julian Bennett Dash, born April 9, 1916, in Charleston, South Carolina, (died February 25, 1974) becomes a tenor saxophone player, and band leader. (From: Biographical Dictionary of Musicians and Music Educators)
Paule Marshall, born Valenza Pauline Burke, April 9, 1929, in Brooklyn, New York, becomes a novelist, essayist and educator, who in 1959, served as researcher and staff writer for Our World magazine. She lectured on Creative Writing, at Yale University in 1970. As a writer, feminist and scholar of Black culture, she became one of the first writers to explore the psychological trials and concerns of African American women. (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 5, The Essential Black Literature Guide, Living Black American Authors, and Black Women in America, Book 2)
Nathan Hare, born April 9, 1934, in Slick, Oklahoma, becomes a sociologist, psychologist, and writer; a controversial academic who argued that the mission of African American scholars is to replace Europeans thought with insight drawn from Black heritage. He along with E. Franklin Frazier became extremely critical of African American life styles, especially those of middle-class Afro Americans, in regards to their expenditures on cars, lavish entertainment, clothes, and alcohol (liquor). This has sometimes exposed them to severe criticism for establishing themselves artificial values in a world of make believe. The observation of both Hare and Frazier were severely criticized for exposing the behavior of Black middle-class to the public. Hare became the first coordinator hired for a Black studies program in the United States. Hare served as the founder and president of Black World Foundation, publisher of Black Scholars, and author of The Black Anglo-Saxon. (From: The Essential Black Literature Guide, Encyclopedia of Black America, and Ebony Success 1000 Library)
Jean Wheeler Smith Young, born April 9, 1942, in Washington, D.C., becomes a psychiatrist, writer, and former civil rights organizer in Mississippi and southwest Georgia. The movement informed and enhanced both her personal and professional life. She says in regards to SNCC: “My work with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was extremely fulfilling because it involved empowering groups of people and nurturing their ability as a community, to act in their own behalf. Professionally, these are the same goals I have as a psychiatrist, though I work on a more individual basis.” Richardson, 1992 (From: Black Women in America, Book 2)
Veronika Y. Shepherd, born April 9, 1947, in Cincinnati, Ohio, becomes a politician, serving as the role of mayor in Urbancrest, Ohio. (From: Who’s Who among Black Americans, 15th Edition)
Gregory Kevin “Bo” Kimble, born April 9, 1966, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, becomes an American college basketball player at Loyola Marymount University and professional National Basketball Association player with the Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks. During the 1990 West Coast Conference tournament, Hank Gathers (born February 11, 1967 – March 4, 1990) collapsed and died of a heart condition in LMU’s semifinal against Portland. During LMU’s subsequent run to the Elite Eight, Kimble (right-handed), Gathers’ best friend and teammate, shot his first free throw of each game left-handed in memory of Gathers (although right-handed, he struggled so much with free throws that he tried shooting them left-handed for a time), making all four attempts. On January 29, 2005, members of Gathers’ 1989-90 team, including Kimble, were inducted into the Loyola Marymount Hall of Fame during halftime of a 63-46 win over cross-town rival Pepperdine. He also starred in the 1991 movie “Heaven is a Playground” as fictional high schooler Matthew Lockhart.
Keisha Knight Pulliam, born April 9, 1979, in Newark, New Jersey, becomes an actress, most remembered for her role as a member of the Cosby Show, from 1984 to 1992. She first appeared in commercials for baby products at the age of 8 months. Pulliam appeared in the movie “Lost Dragon,” and has received several Emmy nominations for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series. (From: Who’s Who among Black Americans, 15th Edition)
William Paul Quinn, born April 10, 1788, in Calcutta, India, (died February 3, 1873) becomes a religious leader, and fourth bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, ordained a deacon in 1818. He served as pastor in Gouldtown, Springtown, and Salem churches in New Jersey and also served in churches in Pennsylvania and Illinois. He became an ordained a bishop May 19, 1844, and presided over the General Conference in 1848.
Duke William Anderson, born April 10, 1812, in Lawrenceville, Illinois, (died February 17, 1873) becomes an abolitionist, religious worker, educator, agriculturist and missionary. (From: http://books.google.com/books?id=eWQFAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA476&lpg=PA476&dq=%22Duke+William+Anderson%22+born+april+10&source=bl&ots=BOAaqSDbMJ&sig=lEBUWnVJom-F2nzTzOnh-qAZrD8&hl=en&sa=X&ei=1MBYUYDHHYmc9QTv2IGoBA&ved=0CDIQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=%22Duke%20William%20Anderson%22%20born%20april%2010&f=false)
James Monroe Whitfield, born April 10, 1822, in New Hampshire, (died in 1871) becomes a poet and militant abolitionist. (From: Encyclopedia of Black America and Timelines of African American History)
Jesse Binga, born the youngest in a family of eight girls and two boys, April 10, 1865, in Detroit, Michigan, (died in June 1950) becomes a banker, realtor and philanthropist who dropped out of high school in his third year and took on a job working in the office of Thomas Crispus, a young Black attorney, where he also studied law. Binga’s life is one of emerging from poverty and obscurity to prosperity and prominence. By 1910 as one of Chicago’s leading Black businessman, he led South Side Chicago to become the center of Black business development. Jesse Binga, once one of the richest men of his time, when the depression hit, he lost everything and died as a poor man in June 1950. (From: Notable Black American Men)
Edward Marion Augustus Chandler, born April 10, 1887 (death records not located at present?), in Ocala, Florida, becomes a chemist, who received his bachelor’s degree from Howard University in 1913, and his Master of Science degree from Clark University, in 1914. He also received his PhD from the University of Illinois, in 1917. His area of research deals with triphenylmethane dyes. (At present, his date of death is unknown)
Stanley “Fess” Williams, born April 10, 1894, in Danville, Kentucky, (died December 17, 1975) becomes a bandleader. (From: Biographical Dictionary of Black Musicians and Music Educators)
Sam Lacy, born April 10, 1903, ( information obtained from African American Registry suggests this date as his birth date and raised in Washington, D.C.), (died May 8, 2003) becomes a notable journalist, and advocate, who also played semi-pro baseball in his early years. (Information in Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 30, suggests Lacy’s birth took place October 23, 1903, in Mystic, Connecticut; other sources even suggest April 23, 1910) (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 30)
Cowan “Bubba” Hyde, born April 10, 1908, in Pontotoc, Mississippi (died November 20, 2003), becomes a professional baseball player for the Negro League. He debut as a player in 1924, and served as leadoff batter for the Memphis Red Sox for more than a decade. He joined the club at the age of 30. (From: Voices From the Negro League)
Carl Ruthven Offord, born April 10, 1910, in Trinidad, West Indies (died in 1990), becomes a novelist. (From: LINCC Web and Contemporary Authors, Online)
Noah Ryder, born April 10, 1914, in Nashville, Tennessee, (died in 1964) becomes a composer of religious spirituals, choral conductor and educator.
Marie E. Johnson Calloway, born April 10, 1920, in Pimlico, Baltimore, Maryland, becomes a mixed media expert, consultant and educator. (From: The History Makers, website)
Cecil A. Partee, born April 10, 1921, in Blytheville, Arkansas, becomes an attorney and city official, serving as City of Chicago treasurer who served in the state legislature from 1957 to 1977. (From: Who’s Who among Black Americans, 15th Edition)
John Brim, born April 10, 1922, in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, becomes a musician that taught himself to play the guitar by listening to Big Bill Broonzy and Tampa Red’s recordings. He recorded a handful of songs for Chess Records, and composed such tunes as Tough Times; Ice Cream Man; and Rattlesnake, during the mid 1950s. (From: Big Book of Blues)
Johnnie Tillmon Blackston, born April 10, 1926, in Scott, Arkansas, becomes the founding chairperson and director of the National Welfare Rights Organization. Her first hand experience as a welfare mother combined with a talent for mobilizing people and resources, helped bring attention to multilevel inequalities in the welfare system. (From: Timelines of African American History and I Dream A World)
Ray Agee, born April 10, 1930, in Dixon Mills, Alabama, becomes a West Coast R&B singer, who suffered from polio. He became permanently disabled. He and his brothers formed a gospel group called the Agee Brothers and began recording rhythm and blues in 1952, for the Modern and Alladin labels. Some of his recordings include: Somebody Messed Up; Tin Pan Alley; Black Night Is Gone; and I’m Not Looking Back. (From: The Big Book of the Blues)
Lee Weaver II, born April 10, 1930 (or 1922) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, becomes an actor who portrays the role of Ricardo Williams, an elderly black resident of Shady Grove retirement home who shared an apartment with a white roommate, in the NBC series “Easy Street,” which aired form 1986 to 1987. He later relocated to a Beverly Hills mansion when his roommates’ niece invited both of them to live with her and share her good fortune. (From: www.imdb.com an Internet source)
Mae Faggs, born April 10, 1932, in Mays Landing, New Jersey, becomes a track and field athlete, educator and administrator, who became the first American woman to participate in three Olympic Games. She became a legendary sprinter, despite her size of only 5’ and 118 lbs., and the first of many award-winning Tennessee State Tigerbelle track athletes. Track star and Olympic gold medalist, Wilma Rudolph, who also attended Tennessee State, credits Faggs with giving her invaluable assistance during her career. (From: Notable Black American Women, Book 2)
Hari Rhodes, born April 10, 1932, in Cincinnati, Ohio (died January 15, 1992, in Canoga Park, Los Angeles, California), becomes an author and actor whose career spanned three decades beginning around 1960.
Charles E. Donegan, born April 10, 1933, in Chicago, Illinois, becomes an educator and an attorney who served as legal council for the NAACP Legal Defense Fun from 1967 to 1969. He became a contributor to information compiled in the Dictionary of American Negro Biography, 1982. (From: Who’s Who among Black Americans, 15th Edition)
The Honorable Rev. Eugene Tillman, born April 10, (?) neither (year given nor place of birth) possibly Brunswick, Georgia, becomes a politician; member of the Georgia House Representative and a minister. (From: Internet Site)
J. Patterson, bornPercival Noel JamesPatterson, ON, QC, PC, O.E., born April 10, 1935, becomes the sixth Prime Minister of Jamaica, serving from 1992 to 2006. Until February 2006 he served as the leader of the Jamaican People’s National Party (PNP). The new PNP leader, Portia Simpson Miller (born December 12, 1945, in Wood Hall, Jamaica), took over as Prime Minister on 30 March 2006. Patterson became Jamaica’s longest-serving Prime Minister, serving exactly 14 years.
Robert “Bobby” Smith of “The Spinners”, born April 10, 1936, in Detroit, Michigan (died March 16, 2013) is dead at 76. Smith passed away from complications of influenza and pneumonia. A Detroit native, he helped form the famed group in 1960, at Ferndale High School, just north of Detroit. Smith began leading the group in 1961. Smith’s melodic voice could always be singled out on such 70s hits as “I’ll Be Around,” “Could It Be I’m Falling In Love” and “They Just Can’t Stop The (Games People Play).” RIP to an R&B great!
Bunny Wailer, born Neville O’Riley Livingston, April 10, 1947, in Kingston, Jamaica, also known as Bunny Livingston and affectionately as Jah B, becomes a singer, songwriter and percussionist who became an original member of reggae group The Wailers along with Bob Marley (born February 6, 1945 – died May 11, 1981) and Peter Tosh (born October 19, 1944 – died September 11, 1987.) He is considered one of the longtime standard bearers of reggae music. He has been named by Newsweek as one of the three most important musicians in world music. (From: Contemporary Musicians, Volume 11)
George Kenneth “Ken” Griffey Sr., born April 10, 1950, in Donora, Pennsylvania, becomes a professional baseball outfielder who was a member of the famed Big Red Machine. Griffey made his Major League Baseball debut on August 25, 1973 with the Cincinnati Reds. That season, Griffey played in only 25 games, but batted .384 with three homers. The following season, Griffey saw more playing time with 88 games. In 1975, Griffey began to break out with a .305 batting average with four home runs and 46 RBI’s. Griffey’s best season came in 1976, when he came just short of winning the batting title behind Bill Madlock of the Chicago Cubs.
Juan Williams, born April 10, 1954, becomes a journalist and political analyst for Fox News Channel. He also writes for several newspapers including The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal and has been published in magazines such as The Atlantic Monthly and Time. He became a senior news analyst for National Public Radio (NPR) from 1999 until October 2010. At The Washington Post for 23 years, Williams has worked as an editorial writer, op-ed columnist, White House correspondent and national correspondent.
Alhaji Aliko Dangote MFR GCON, born April 10, 1957, in Kano, Nigeria, becomes a business magnate in Nigeria, who owns the Dangote Group, which has interests in commodities. The company operates in Nigeria and several other countries in Africa, including Benin, Cameroon, Togo, Ghana, South Africa and Zambia. As of January 2015, he had an estimated net worth of $18.6 billion USD.
Kenneth “BabyFace” Edmonds, born April 10, 1959, in Indianapolis, Indiana, becomes a national and internationally recognized music producer, composer, singer and arranger. (From: All Music Guide.com)
Afrika Bambaataa, born Kevin Donovan April 10, 1960, in New York City (South Bronx), New York, becomes a rapper. (From: All Music Guide.com)
Olivia Brown, born April 10, 1960, in Frankfurt, Germany, becomes an actress who played Detective Trudy Joplin on “Miami Vice” and Vanessa Hargraves on “Designing Women”. Olivia also played Patricia Hamilton (recurring), on “7th Heaven,” and Barbara Lee (recurring), on “Moesha”. Brown has acted in several films.
Michael Devereaux, born April 10, 1963, in Casper, Wyoming, becomes a professional baseball player for Major League Baseball, as an outfielder. Drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth round of the 1985 amateur draft, he made his debut on September 2, 1987.
Karen Booker, born the youngest of twelve children, April 10, 1965, (place of birth not given, but possibly somewhere in Tennessee), becomes a professional basketball player for the Houston Comets and Utah Starzz. She became a member of the Gold Medal winning team at the 1991 World University Games and the recipient of the Dr. Jim Robbins Award and Female Athlete of the Year, in 1987, and voted by all Vanderbilt students for the top senior athlete, and the first woman to win the award. (From: www.wnba.com)
Kenny Lattimore, born April 10, 1970, in Washington, DC, becomes an R&B, Gospel and Jazz singer who first developed his interest for music in the high school band program at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Maryland. He often acknowledges Dr. Baker for setting him on his current path. Lattimore spoke at the 2005 Eleanor Roosevelt High School Graduation. He is an alumnus of Howard University in Washington, DC. A stint as session vocalist for R&B group Maniquin led to an official place in the group as lead singer. The group released a lone self-titled album for Epic Records in 1989, with its lead single “I Wanna Ride” an answer to the hit single “Mercedes Boy” by Pebbles in both sound and lyric. Both artists’ singles were produced and co-written by Charlie Wilson of Gap Band fame. Lattimore soon left Maniquin to pursue a solo career, and the group subsequently disbanded. Kenny Lattimore began his own record company Sincere Soul Records in 2012 and will, in conjunction with EMI Records release his newest album entitled Back 2 Cool on June 19, 2012. The album’s first single “Find a Way” produced by Ivan “Orthodox” Barias & Carvin “Ransum” Higgins will hit radio on Valentine’s Day 2012.
Kamaal Ibn John Fareed, born Jonathan Davis April 10, 1970, better known by his stage name Q-Tip, becomes a rapper and record producer from St. Albans, Queens, New York. He embarked on his music career as part of the critically acclaimed East Coast hip hop group. A Tribe Called Quest. John Bush of AllMusic called him “the best rapper/producer in hip-hop history,” while editors of About.com placed him on their list of the Top 50 Hip-Hop Producers, as well as placing him on their list of the Top 50 MCs of Our Time (1987–2007). In 2012, The Source ranked him #20 on their list of the Top 50 Lyricists of All Time. (From: All Music Guide.com and www.mtv.com)
Royce Alexander White, born April 10, 1991, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, becomes a professional basketball player who played for the Sacramento Kings of the NBA.
Vincent Jean Mpoy Kompany, born April 10, 1986, in Uccle, Belgium, becomes a Belgian professional footballer who plays for and captains both English club Manchester City and the Belgium national team. He is capable of playing at both centre back and defensive midfield.
Percy Lavon Julian, born April 11, 1899, the oldest of six children, in Montgomery, Alabama (died April 19, 1975), becomes a notable internationally-acclaimed chemist, known as the “soybean chemist” because of his success in synthesizing innovative drugs and industrial chemicals from natural soy products. He received over 130 chemical patents and a host of professional awards. Among his awards, in 1947, he received the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal. The creation of a synthetic version of cortisone, a drug used to relieve pain and inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis, became his most important contributions. He also produced physostigmine, prescribed to alleviate the effects of glaucoma, a disease of the eye that can cause blindness if untreated. Julian’s work with soybeans and soy derivatives also led to the mass production of male and female hormones, testosterone, and progesterone and the development of a powerful firefighting chemical called Aero-Foam used by the U.S. Navy during World War II. (More information can be gathered on Dr. Percy Lavon Julian in: Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 6)
Jane Mathilda Bolin, born April 11, 1908, in England, but raised in Poughkeepsie, New York (died January 8, 2007), becomes the first Black female judge in the United States. (From: Black Women in America, Book 1 Black First, 2nd Edition)
James H. Browne, born On April 11, 1910, in Little Rock, Arkansas, becomes an entrepreneur, founder of Crusader Life Insurance Company, which merged with American Woodsmen’s Life Insurance Company in 1969. (From: Ebony’s successful 1000 Library)
Tony Brown, born April 11, 1933, in Charleston, West Virginia, becomes a talk show host, TV commentator, columnist, filmmaker, and social activist. In 1991, he received the NAACP’s Image Award. (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 3)
Cleotha Staples, born April 11, 1934, in Drew, Mississippi (died February 21, 2013), the first child of Pops and Oceola Staples, becomes an R&B singer, member of the group known as The Staple Singers.
Meshach Taylor, born April 11, 1947, in Boston, Massachusetts, (died June 28, 2014), becomes an actor and comedian, best known for his Emmy nominated turn as Anthony Bouvier on the CBS hit sitcom Designing Women, and for his portrayal of Hollywood Montrose, a flamboyant window dresser, in the box office hit and cult classic romantic comedy film Mannequin. He played Sheldon Baylor on the CBS sitcom Dave’s World (1993-1997), and appeared as Tony on the short-lived NBC sitcom Buffalo Bill opposite Dabney Coleman. From 2004-2007, Taylor played Alastair Wright, the history teacher turned school principal, on Nickelodeon’s sitcom, Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide. He is most remembered for his role in the sitcom “Golden Girls,” and appeared in “M.A.S.H.” and “Barney Miller.”
Janeth Arcain, born On April 11, 1969, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, becomes a professional basketball player for the Houston Comets. In 1991, she won a gold medal in the Pan American Games, and in 1992, as a member of Brazil’s Olympic team, received an Olympic Silver medal; the first Olympic medal Brazil ever won in basketball competition. She received recognition as WNBA’s Most Improved Player in 2001. (From: Contemporary Hispanic Biography, Vol. 1)
Will Packer, born April 11, 1974, in St. Petersburg, Florida, becomes an American filmmaker and producer, and founder of Will Packer Productions, scored a surprise hit with the 2007 step-dance drama “Stomp the Yard.” In 1996 he graduated magna cum laude from Florida A&M University with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. It was there that he began filmmaking with colleague and future business partner Rob Hardy. Participating in an internship with veteran producer Warrington Hudlin propelled Packer toward the helm of self-financed and distributed films he would later go on to produce. In 1994, he co-founded Rainforest Films, a film production and Distribution Company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Until 2013, he produced and oversaw the company’s studio financed and self-financed films and distribution projects. Packer has been acknowledged on several high profile lists, including but not limited to, Giant magazine’s “The Giant 100”, Jet magazine’s “Who’s Hot To Watch in 2008 and Black Enterprise’s “Most Powerful Players Under 40.”
Cris Vianna, born April 11, 1977 in São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil. She is an actress, known for Paraíso (2009), Última Parada 174 (2008) and Duas Caras (2007).
Tamara Tenell Moore, born April 11, 1980, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a professional basketball player for the Minnesota Lynx, named Minnesota Player of the Year in 1998, and also Miss Basketball.
Richard Harvey Cain, born April 12, 1825, in Greenbrier County, Virginia (died January 18, 1887), becomes an African Methodist Episcopal bishop, state legislator, and U.S. representative from South Carolina, serving from 1873 to 1875, and again from 1877 to 1879. (From: Black Firsts, Book 1, and Encyclopedia of Black America)
Lucy Hughes Brown, born April 12, 1863, in Mebanesville, North Carolina, (died on June 26, 1911), becomes a pioneering physician who graduated from Scotia Seminary in Concord, North Carolina in 1885, and married Rev. David Brown four years later. In 1894 she graduated with a degree in medicine from Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania. After practicing medicine in Wilmington, North Carolina for two years, she and her husband moved to Charleston in 1896. She was a co-founder of the Hospital and Training School for Nurses and served as the head of the department of nursing and instructor. She retired in 1904 due to ill health.
Johnny Dodds, born April 12, 1892, in Waveland, Mississippi (died August 8, 1940), becomes a New Orleans based jazz clarinetist and alto saxophonist, best known for his recordings under his own name and with bands such as those of Joe “King” Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, Lovie Austin and Louis Armstrong.
Horace R. Cayton, born April 12, 1903, in Seattle, Washington, (died August 16, 1940), becomes a writer, educator, journalist, sociologist and researcher. During the 1930s and 1940s, Cayton distinguished himself as one of America’s leading sociologists and Black intellectuals. Cayton’s mother became the daughter of Hiram Revels, the first Black from Mississippi to serve in the U.S. Senate, elected during the Reconstruction era of the 1870s. (From: Notable Black American Men)
Theodore Roosevelt “Hound Dog” Taylor, born April 12, 1915, in Natchez, Mississippi, (died December 17, 1975), becomes a musician, teaching himself to play the guitar. He began playing professionally in 1935 and received his style inspiration from Elmore James, “Lightnin” Sam Hopkins, and “Sonny Boy” Williamson, to name a few. (From: Black Musicians and Music Educators)
Herbert Bertie Bowman, believes took place April 12, 1931, in Summerton, South Carolina. Born the fifth child of tenant farmers Robert Bowman and Mary Ragin Bowman; the household eventually will included fourteen children. He becomes the longest-serving African-American staff member on Capitol Hill, arriving in the capital in 1944 as a thirteen-year-old runaway. Bowman worked his way up from a janitorial position to become hearing coordinator for the U.S. Senate’s powerful Foreign Relations Committee. In 2008 his autobiography, Step by Step: A Memoir of Hope, Friendship, Perseverance, and Living the American Dream, was published, with a forward by former President Bill Clinton. (From: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-1841900011.html)
Herbie Jeffrey Hancock, born April 12, 1940, in Chicago, Illinois, becomes a famous musician, composer, and band leader. (From: Encyclopedia of Black America, Timelines of African Americans, Who’s Who Among Black Americans, Internet Birthdays, and Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 8)
Gabrielle K. McDonald, born April 12, 1942, in St. Paul, Minnesota, becomes a federal judge. (From: Who’s Who among Black Americans and the African American Almanac)
Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, born April 12, 1942, in Nkandla, Zululand (now part of the province of KwaZulu-Natal), becomes the President of South Africa, elected by parliament following his party’s victory in the 2009 general election. He received no formal schooling. As a child, Zuma constantly moved between Zululand and the suburbs of Durban in the area of Umkhumbane (near Chesterville)
Michael Lockett Garrett, born April 12, 1944, in Los Angeles, California, becomes a professional football player, recipient of the Heisman Trophy in 1965 as a halfback for the USC Trojans, and the athletic director at Langston University.
Willie Parnell, born April 12, 1945, in Houston, Texas, becomes an R&B singer with the late 1960s group called Archie Bell and the Drells. One of their most famous songs became “The Tighten Up.” (From: Soul Music A to Z) <
Melanie Elizabeth Lomax, born April 12, 1950, in Los Angeles, California, (died September 10, 2006), becomes a civil rights lawyer and former head of the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners. In the early 1960s, her mother took her to visit the segregated South, an experience which had a lasting effect on Melanie, who decided to focus on civil rights instead of following her father into criminal law. In 1975, she started working for the Los Angeles County Counsel’s office, defending county agencies in labor and civil matters. She founded her own firm in 1984, specializing in age, sex and racial discrimination cases. Appointed by Mayor Tom Bradley (born December 29, 1917/died September 29, 1998), Lomax became the first black woman to lead the Los Angeles Police Commission, which she headed when motorist Rodney King (born April 2, 1965/died June 17, 2012) beaten by four officers of the Los Angeles Police Department. She won many friends and enemies in its aftermath, when she waged a high-profile battle to oust controversial Police Chief Daryl F. Gates in an effort to transform the department’s culture. Melanie was also responsible for the Emergency Preparedness and Maintenance of LAX.
Ralph Wiley, born April 12, 1952, in Memphis, Tennessee, becomes a writer, a polemic journalist and essayist. (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 8)
Suzzanne Douglas, born April 12, 1957 or 1958, probably in Chicago, Illinois, ( the reference information obtained from www.geocities.com), indicates that as a child Douglas would escape her South Chicago home, with her mother to see the Chicago Air Crown Theater’s “The Sound of Music.” These performances made her realize she wanted to be an actress. She co-star of the 1989 movie, “Tap” (with Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis Jr.); and a recipient of NAACP IMAGE award 1989.
Julius Kariuki, born April 12, 1961, in Kenya, Africa, becomes a 1988 Olympic gold medal recipient, establishing an Olympic record in the 3,000 meter steeplechase competition. (From: The Black Olympian Medalists)
Tracy Camilla Johns, born April 12, 1963, in Queens, New York, becomes an actress, best known for her leading role as Nola Darling in Spike Lee’s 1986 film “She’s Gotta Have It,” and appeared in the films “Mo’ Better Blues” and “New Jack City.” She also appeared in an Air Jordan advertisement with Lee and basketball icon Michael Jordan. Johns appeared in the music video for Ton Loc’s 1988 single “Wild Thing.”
Kevin Robinzine, born April 12, 1966, in Fort Worth, Texas, becomes a 1988 Olympic gold medal winner in the 4×400-meter relay. (From: The Black Olympian Medalists)
Mellow Man Ace, born April 12, 1967, in Cuba, becomes a Spanish rapper/actor (Only the Strong)
Tamika Williams, born April 12, 1980, in Dayton, Ohio, becomes a professional basketball player for the Minnesota Lynx. (From: www.wnba.com )
Kareem Abdul–Jabbar (born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor, Jr.; April 16, 1947), in New York City, New York, becomes a retired professional basketball player who played 20 seasons in the National Basketball Association for the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers.
Aliaume Damala Badara Akon Thiam (born April 16, 1973), in St. Louis, Missouri, (pronounced /ˈeɪkɒn/), better known as Akon, is an American singer, rapper, songwriter, businessman, record producer and actor.
Mumia Abu–Jamal (born Wesley Cook April 24, 1954), in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, becomes known as a convicted murderer sentenced to death in 1982 for the 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner.
Sir Grantley Herbert Adams, CMG, QC (born April 28, 1898 – 28 November 1971), was a Barbadian and British West Indian statesmen. Adams was a founder of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP). Grantley Adams International Airport(GAIA) (IATA: BGI, ICAO: TBPB) is the international airport of Barbados, located in Seawell, Christ Church. It is the only designated port of entry for persons arriving and departing by air in Barbados and operates as a major gateway to the Eastern Caribbean.
Julian Francis Abele, born April 30, 1881, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (died April 23, 1950) was a prominent African-American architect, and chief designer in the offices of Horace Trumbauer. He was the primary designer of the west campus of Duke University.