December Achievers of Color

Below are some well known and not so well known achievers of color whose birthdays we recognize born in December. Enjoy. Some new names have been added from 2015 December achiever entrees. 

Spencer Dickerson, born December 1, 1871 in Austin, Texas, (died February 25, 1948), becomes a physician and army officer. Historians believe Dickerson to be the first student from the Medical School of Northwestern University, in 1898, to complete a two-year program in one year. Historians believe Dickerson to be the first student from the Medical School of Northwestern University, in 1898, to complete a two-year program in one year. (From: Dictionary of American Negro Biography, page 176)

John Sommerville, born December 1, 1882, in Jamaica (died in 1972), becomes a businessperson and politician; the first Black member of the Los Angeles, California Chamber of Commerce. His wife, Vada Watson, became the first Black female certified to practice dentistry in the state of California. He and his wife founded the Los Angeles, California Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), in their living room, and built a 26-unit apartment building, which they called “a Vada.” Sommerville lost the hotel during the stock market crash of 1929. In 1936, Sommerville became the first Black delegate to the California Democratic National Convention, and in 1949, he became the first African American appointed as Los Angeles police commissioner. (From: African American Registry)

Chief Buffalo Child Long Lance, born Sylvester Clark Long, December 1, 1890, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (died March 29, 1932), becomes a journalist, writer and actor; internationally prominent as a spokesman for Indian causes. Long had larger than ambitions for what he saw of his future in Winston. His father Joseph S. Long, a janitor in the school system and his family were classified as black. Long, born of mixed Lumbee and white ancestry on his mother Sally Carson Long’s side, and mixed Cherokee, white and black ancestry on his father’s side. In that segregated, binary society, blacks had limited opportunities. Long first left North Carolina to work as an Indian in a “Wild West Show.” Here he had a chance to learn from Cherokee elders. He continued to build on his Indian ancestry “to avoid the confines of racialism in the South and to secure a community of his choice. (Go to )

Jessie P. Guzman, born December 1, 1898 in Savannah, Georgia, (died October 25, 1996) becomes an educator, writer, and researcher in the Department of Research and Records at Tuskegee Institute. Guzman has received several awards and honors that include the Frederick Bancroft History Award in 1949, for her article in the Journal of Negro History; named Tuskegee Woman of the Year, in 1950 and became the first black to run for office in Macon County, Alabama. Guzman played a significant role preserving the history and culture of blacks in the United States and elsewhere through her research and published accounts of her findings. (From: Notable Black American Women Book 2)

Joel Fluellen, born December 1, 1907 or 1908, in Monroe, Louisiana, (died February 6, 1990) becomes an instrumental figure in the fight to end Hollywood bias during the 1940’s and 1950’s. Prior to beginning his acting career, Fluellen resided in Chicago where he worked as a milliner and store clerk. After appearing on stage in New York, he relocated to Hollywood in the early 1940’s and gained his first role as a bit player in “Cabin in the Sky (1943).” Realizing that acting opportunities were scarce for African Americans, Fluellen became a member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and submitted numerous resolutions urging the union to “use all its power to oppose discrimination against Negroes in the motion picture industry.” After SAG ignored his concerns, Fluellen became one of the founding members the Negro Actors Guild to help provide better opportunities on the West Coast. He also organized the Negro Arts Theater in Los Angeles. Although his involvement in the SAG led to gradual changes for African American actors, more than twenty years passed before the guild formed the Ethnic Equal Opportunity Committee to help improve film roles for the race. Fluellen continued to work as a film extra but his roles became no more substantial in mainstream films. He did, however, gain notable exposure in all-black films such as “The Jackie Robinson Story,” (1950), in which he portrayed Jackie’s college-educated, Olympic-winning brother; “A Raisin in the Sun” (1961), as Walter Lee’s potential business partner; and the “Great White Hope” (1970) as Jack Jefferson’s coach. When Fluellen’s film career ended in the late 1970’s, he continued to promote racial equality in Hollywood. In 1984, his supportive efforts for the advancement of African Americans in film led to a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for the late Dorothy Dandridge. The following year, he received the first Paul Robeson Pioneer Award from the Black American Cinema Society. He was known for The Autobiography of “Miss Jane Pittman (1974),” During the last years of his life, Fluellen suffered from prolonged illness and blindness. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot on February, 6, 1990. (From: )

Geraldine McCullough, born December 1, 1917, in Kingston, Arkansas, (died December 15, 2008), becomes a painter and sculptor, raised in Chicago from the time she was three years old. McCullough attended the Art Institute of Chicago for undergraduate and graduate studies, receiving her B.A. degree in 1948 and her M.A. degree in art education in 1955. As a student, she earned a John D. Standecker Scholarship, a Memorial Scholarship and a Figure Painting Citation. After completing her graduate studies, McCullough taught art at Wendell Phillips High School in Chicago. She also began exhibiting her paintings at various national galleries, receiving first prize in 1961 at the Art Exhibit of Atlanta University. With help from her husband, Lester McCullough, she took up welded sculpture and made her sculpting debut in 1963 at the Century of Negro Progress Exposition in Chicago. She received the George D. Widener Gold Medal for Sculpture in 1965 for her steel and copper structure, Phoenix. In 1967, she became the chairperson of the Art Department at Rosary College (later Dominican University) in River Forest, Illinois. Upon her retirement from the school in 1989, she received an honorary doctorate. McCullough’s various works were inspired by African ritual art to European and American influences. As a distinguished guest artist of the Russian government, her work can be seen in such respected institutions as the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and the National Woman’s Museum. (Source:

James R. Ford, born December 1, 1925, in Leon County, Florida, becomes an educator, politician, businessman and community activist who served in both the Navy and Army. Ford worked in the Leon County public school system from 1950 to 1987 as a teacher, becoming its first black administrator, presiding over the county’s first integrated school staff. In 1972, Ford became Tallahassee’s first black mayor; the first black mayor of a state capital city. He received elections to subsequent terms as mayor in 1976 and 1982. In addition, he served fourteen consecutive years as a Tallahassee city commissioner. In this office, he played a key role in establishing the Minority Business Department, the Frenchtown Area Development Authority and Affirmative Action Office. Ford worked to eliminate segregated practices in the city government and to secure employment for blacks.


Grady Lee Anderson, born December 1, 1931, in Ashby, Alabama, becomes an educator who became the first Black to receive EdD in 1968 at the University of Georgia at Athens. (From: Who’s Who Among Black Americans, 1990/1991, page 29)

 Lou Rawls, born December 1, 1933, in Chicago, Illinois, (died January 3, 2006)becomes a popular satin soul R&B singer, social activist, and an actor. Some fans have called him “The Funkiest Man Alive.” He is known for his smooth vocal style and his “silky” voice. Singer Frank Sinatra once said that Rawls had “the classiest singing and silkiest chops in the singing game. Rawls released more than 70 albumssold more than 40 million records,,appeared as an actor in motion pictures and on television, and voiced-over many cartoons. Rawls will be the subject of an upcoming biopic, “Through the Eyes of a Son.” Rawls’ son, Lou Rawls Jr., is the author of the script. Rawls will reportedly be portrayed by the actor Isaiah Washington. (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 17, (From: Soul Vibrations, Astrology for African Americans, page 196, All Music Guide, an Internet source and Contemporary Musicians, Vol. 19)

Billy Paul, born Paul Williams December 1, 1934, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, died April 24, 2016. He becomes a Grammy-award winning R&B soul singer. One of his popular tunes was entitled “Me and Mrs. Jones,” in 1972. He began his singing career at the age of twelve, appearing on local radio shows – Paul formed a trio and cut his first record, “Why Am I” for Jubilee Records before being drafted into the Armed Services. He became a brief stand in for one of the Blue Notes with Harold Melvin. In addition to receiving the Grammy, Paul has won several Ebby awards (given by the readers of Ebony Magazine); has been the recipient at the American Music Awards, the NAACP Image Award and numerous proclamations and keys to cities across the United States. He has toured internationally in the UK, and Latin America. Paul attended Temple University, West Philadelphia Music School, and Granoff School of Music, for formal vocal training. (From: Soul Music A to Z, page 233 and All Music Guide, an Internet source) Eugene B. Redmond, born December 1, 1937, in St. Louis, Missouri, becomes a poet, and academic, whose poetry, closely linked to the Black Arts Movement and the city of East St. Louis, Illinois. Redmond’s published works of poetry include a pamphlet poem and six poetry collections, as well as numerous contributions to journals and anthologies. He has edited two anthologies of African-American poetry and eight works by Henry Dumas (born (July 20, 1934 – May 23, 1968. Dumas had taught at nearby Hiram College, shot down in a New York subway, in a case of mistaken identity. It was Dr. Crosby that pushed to have SIU put Dumas’ writings into publication. He urged Redmond to edit the works. In 1976, Redmond became Poet Laureate of East St. Louis. (From: Dictionary of Literary Black Writers, Volume 41, page 275)

Gerald Anderson “Jerry” Lawson, born December 1, 1940, in Brooklyn, New York (died April 9, 2011), becomes an American electronic engineer known for his work in designing the Fairchild Channel F video game console. During development of the Channel F in the early-mid 1970s, Lawson became Chief Hardware Engineer and director of engineering and marketing for Fairchild Semiconductor’s video game division. He founded and ran Videosoft, a video game development company which made software for the Atari 2600 in the early 1980s, as the 2600 had displaced the Channel F as the top system in the market. Lawson and Ron Jones were the sole black members of the Homebrew Computer Club, a group of early computer hobbyists which would produce a number of industry legends, including Apple founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak Lawson also produced one of the earliest arcade games, Demolition Derby, which debuted in a southern California pizzeria shortly after Pong. Lawson later worked with the Stanford mentor program while preparing to write a book on his career. In March 2011, Lawson received honored as an industry pioneer by the International Game Development Association. One month later, he died of complications from diabetes. (From:


Richard Pryor, born Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor III, December 1, 1940 in Peoria, Illinois, (died December 10, 2005), becomes a famous comedian and actor,  known for his outspoken and often vulgar routines. He appeared in many movies, often teaming up with actor Gene Wilder. He once set himself on fire while freebasing cocaine, suffering burns on about half of his entire body. (From: Soul Vibrations, Astrology African Americans, page 196, and Contemporary Black Biography, Volumes 3, 24, and 56)


Randall Maxey, born December 1, 1941, in Cincinnati, Ohio, becomes a physician and activist who began practicing medicine in 1972. He launched a lifelong career in kidney disease prevention and treatment and fought for the rights of minority patients and doctors. In an interview for Contemporary Black Biography, Maxey stated “My goals are those of NMA ((National Medical Association) to eliminate health disparities that exist between underserved Americans and the general population.


George Arthur Foster, born December 1, 1948, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, becomes a professional baseball player for the San Francisco GiantsCincinnati RedsNew York Mets and Chicago White Sox from 1969-1986. In 1977, Foster hit 52 home runs, making him the only major league player to belt 50 or more homers in a single season during a 25-year period (Willie Mays with 52 in 1965 and Cecil Fielder with 51 in 1990). The next batters to hit 50 HRs in the National League were Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa in 1998. He also batted in a NL leading 149 runs. In recognition of his accomplishment, Foster received the NL’s MVP award by a unanimous vote. In 1981, at a point in his career when it looked like he might one day rank among the game’s all-time greats, Lawrence Ritter and Donald Honig included him in their book The 100 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time.


Kurt L. Schmoke, born December 1, 1949, in Baltimore, Maryland, becomes a politician; the first Black mayor of the city of Baltimore, Maryland from 1988 to 1999. Elected mayor on November 3, 1987, he becomes known for his opposition to the “War on Drugs” and his stance in favor of drug decriminalization. Schmoke initiated programs in housing, education, public health and economic development. During his three terms in office Schmoke faced very serious challenges, including poor quality schools, drug addiction, and violent crime. Some of his controversial positions include advocating the decriminalization of drug use, and employing Nation of Islam security guards in a housing project. His achievements included improving the environment of low-income housing projects, a needle-exchange program for addicts, keeping the tax rate stable, and attracting the Ravens football team to Baltimore.[8] In 1992, President George H. W. Bush awarded him the national Literacy Award for his efforts to promote adult literacy, and in 1994 President Bill Clinton cited Baltimore’s programs to improve public housing and enhance community economic development and named Baltimore one of six cities to receive Empowerment Zone designation  (From: Soul Vibrations, Astrology for African Americans, page 195 and Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 1) Obba Babatundé, born December 1, 1951, in Queens, New York, becomes a stage and screen actor remembered for his role as Principal Green on the TV series “Dawson’s Creek.”

He is known for his Emmy-nominated performance in the television movie Miss Evers’ Boys, a NAACP Image Award-nominated performance in the TV movie Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, and a Tony Award-nominated role for his performance as C.C. White in the original cast of the 1981 Broadway musical Dreamgirls. Babatundé, a protégée of Sammy Davis, Jr., once said of him, “This is the only cat that can do everything I can do.” Babatundé does dance, sing, play instruments, execute impersonations, including his portrayal of Davis, aided by their similarly in energy, size and talent, tap dancing and performing on multiple instruments. In fall 2009, Babatundé played Davis in the title role of “Sammy: Once in a Lifetime,” a world premiere musical at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego.

Mary Vesta Williams, born December 1, 1957, in Coshocton, Ohio (died September 22, 2011)…recording artist and songwriter, who performed across genres such as pop, jazz, adult contemporary    and R&B. Originally credited as Vesta Williams, sometimes simply billed as Vesta, beginning in the 1990s, she becomes known for her four-octave vocal range. She once sang The Star Spangled Banner for the Los Angeles Lakers game opener using all four of those octaves. Although Williams never had any albums certified gold or any Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, she scored six Top 10 hits on the United States Billboard R&B chart from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s which included “Once Bitten, Twice Shy”, “Sweet Sweet Love”, “Special”, and her 1989 hit and signature song, “Congratulations.” Williams’ father was a disc jockey. Her family moved from Ohio to Los Angeles in the 1960s. While there, Williams and her three sisters, Margaret, Marte and Marlena, appeared on the television show “Jack and Jill” as “The Williams Sisters”. Later, she returned to Ohio but decided to go back to Los Angeles in order to launch a solo career. Former Fifth Dimension member Ron Townson put Williams in his band Wild Honey. Following that stint, Williams found work as a backup singer, working with artists such as Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, Sting, Stephanie Mills, Anita Baker, and Gordon Lightfoot. Williams sang on the original version of Joe Sample’s “The Survivor,” and met producer David Crawford while working with his group Klique. After doing session work, she landed a recording contract with A&M Records and her debut album, “Vesta,” was released in 1986. The album featured her first Top 10 R&B hit “Once Bitten, Twice Shy”, which became her only UK hit and performed modestly on the US R&B charts. In 1989, Vesta performed the opening theme to the ABC miniseries, “The Women of Brewster Place.”  Williams portrayed a saloon singer in the 1993 film “Posse,” directed by Mario Van Peebles. During this time period she had a hit with the SWV song, “Rain”, recorded alongside smooth jazz musician Norman Brown. Williams had a recurring role as “Monica,” Jackee Harry’s best friend, in the television series “Sister, Sister” in the 1998-99 seasons. Her singing voice is featured in the theme song of UPN’s “Malcolm and Eddie.” Her final performance occurred on September 17, 2011 in Portsmouth, Virginia at the Autumn Jazz Explosion, just five days before her death. (From: )

Lisa Fischer, born December 1, 1958, in New York City, New York, becomes a vocalist and songwriter who rose to fame in 1991 with her debut album “So Intense,” which produced the Grammy Award winning hit single “How Can I Ease the Pain.” Known for her wide, high-reaching vocal range, Fischer has been recognized as one of the most successful session vocalists of the era. She has been a back-up singer for a number of famous artists, including Luther Vandross and Tina Turner, and has toured with The Rolling Stones since 1989, where her popularity with the fans has brought her to routinely duet with Mick Jagger on several songs when performing onstage.

C. Lodge, bornJune Carol Lodge,December 1, 1958, in London, England, becomes a reggae singer, actress and fine artist. Her breakthrough hit “Someone Loves You, Honey” became the best-selling single of 1982 in the Netherlands. Lodge is also an accomplished painter, having exhibited in Kingston art galleries, and has acted in several theatre productions. In 2000, Lodge was invited by Jamaican National Broadcasting Association TVJ to produce a 13-part children’s television series, based on the cassette albums. A critically acclaimed and popular success, the show got awarded by the Press Association of Jamaica and also the Caribbean Broadcasting Union.

Pamela D. McGee, born December 1, 1962, in Flint, Michigan, becomes a 1984 Olympic gold medalist, in the basketball competition. McGee starred, along with twin sister Paula, on back-to-back NCAA championship teams at USC. She won Olympic gold before starting a professional career that took her to Brazil, France, Italy and Spain. Her son traveled with her thanks to contract terms that included nannies and teammates who helped with the babysitting, including Cynthia Cooper. McGee’s son, JaVale McGee born January 19, 1988, selected 18th overall by the Washington Wizards in the 2008 NBA draft, plays professional basketball for the Dallas Mavericks. From: Black Olympian Medalists, page 79

Angela M. Brown, born December 1, 1964, in Indianapolis, Indiana, becomes a soprano opera singer. Her mother, Freddie Mae Brown, was a painter; her father, Walter Clyde Brown, worked in an auto factory. Along with brothers George and Aaron, Brown was raised in a deeply spiritual Baptist household. Her singing voice first drew notice at the Baptist church where her grandfather was minister. As early as the age of five she was stirring the congregation with renditions of gospel classics such as “You Can’t Beat God’s Giving.” She sang throughout her childhood at church functions, local competitions, and Broadway-style shows. “I did some jazz. I did some R&B. I was the front singer in a band when I was too young to be in the bars,” she told the New York Times.


Reggie Sanders, born December 1, 1967, in Florence, South Carolina, becomes professional baseball player for the Cincinnati Reds from 1991-1998; the San Diego Padres in 1999; the

Atlanta Braves in 2000; the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001; the San Francisco Giants in 2002; the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2003; the St. Louis Cardinals from 2004 to 2005 and the Kansas City Royals from 2006 to 2007.  (From: Personal Baseball Card Collection) Golden Ameda Brooks, born December 1, 1970, in San Francisco, California, becomes an actress, best known for her character role as Maya Wilkes in the TV sitcom “Girlfriends.” Mario Edwards, born December 1, 1975, in Gautier, Mississippi, becomes a professional football player for the Dallas Cowboys from 2000 to 2003, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004,and the Miami Dolphins in 2005.  (From:

Maurice Morris, born one of 15 children, December 1, 1979, in Chester, South Carolina, becomes a professional football player for the Seattle Seahawks from 2002 to 2008,

 and the Detroit Lions beginning in 2009.  (From:

Jabar Gaffney, born December 1, 1980, in San Antonio, Texas, becomes a professional football player for the Houston Texans from 2002 to 2005; the New England Patriots from 2005 to 2008, and the Denver Broncos beginning in 2009. (From:


Tony Hollings, born December 1, 1981, in Jeffersonville, Georgia, becomes a professional football player for the Houston Texans. (From:

“Janelle Monae” Robinson,  born December 1, 1985, in Kansas City, Kansas, becomes an R&B singer, musician, composer and record producer signed to Wondaland Art Society, Bad Boy Records and Atlantic Records. Monáe has stated that the fictional character of Dorothy from the film “The Wizard of Oz” has been one of her “musical influences.” She has told reporters that she has dreamed of being a singer and a performer since she was very young. One of her quotes from Brown Girl Collective is “Are we a lost generation of our people? Add us to equations but they never make us equal.”


DeSean William Jackson, born December 1, 1986, in Los Angeles, California, becomes a pro football wide receiver and return specialist for the Washington Redskins of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft. Jackson has been selected to the Pro Bowl three times, and was the first player selected to the Pro Bowl at two different positions in the same year when he was named to the 2010 Pro Bowl as a wide receiver and return specialist.

Ashley Monique Clark, born December 1, 1988, in Brooklyn, New York, becomes an actress, best known for the role as Sydney Hughley (D.L. Hughley’s TV daughter) on the ABC and UPN television program, The Hughleys.

 Zoe Kravitz, born December 1, 1988, in Los Angeles, California, becomes an actress, singer and model; the only child of musician Lenny Kravitz and actress Lisa Bonet.

Chanel Iman Robinsonborn December 1, 1990, in Atlanta, Georgia, becomes an American model, known professionally as Chanel Iman; best known for her work as a Victoria’s Secret angel/model. Her mother is of half Korean and half African American descent, and her father is African American. Iman started modeling with Ford Models at the age of 13 as a child model in Los Angeles, California. She flew to New York in 2006 and won third place in Ford’s Supermodel of the World contest.


Dom Pedro II “The Magnanimous,” born the seventh child, December 2, 1825, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (died December 5, 1891), becomes the second and last ruler of the Empire of Brazil, often called “The Brazilian Emancipator. He reigned for over 58 years. Recognized as member of the Brazilian branch of the House of Braganza, his father’s abrupt abdication and flight to Europe, in 1831, left a five-year-old Pedro II, as Emperor to a grim and lonely childhood. Obliged to spend his time studying in preparation for rule, he knew only brief moments of happiness and encountered few friends of his age. His experiences with court intrigues and political disputes during this period greatly affected his later character. Pedro II grew into a man with a strong sense of duty and devotion toward his country and his people. On the other hand, he increasingly resented his role as monarch.  (From: World’s Great Men of Color, Vol. 2, page 203)

Harry Thacker Burleigh, born December 2, 1866, in Erie, Pennsylvania (died December 12, 1949), becomes a composer and a recipient of the NAACP’s Spin gar n Medal in 1917. He introduced African American spirituals to the concert stage. (From: Dictionary of American Biography, Encyclopedia of Black America, page 200) John Matthew Shippen, Jr., born December 2, 1879, in Washington D.C. (died May 20, 1968), becomes an African American/Native American golfer who competed in the several early U.S. Opens. He was born the fourth of nine children whose father was a Presbyterian minister.   Charles Harris Wesley, born December 2, 1891 in Louisville, Kentucky, (died August 16, 1987), becomes a minister, historian and educator who received solid religious and academic training from his grandfather, a sexton in Quinn Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church. (From Notable Black American Men) Alfred E. Smith, born December 2, 1903, in Hot Spring, Arkansas (died May 26, 1986), becomes an administrative activist, working behind the scenes in the political arena. He served as a member of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Black Cabinet,” an unofficial group of Black individuals in the upper reaches of the federal government, who advised President Roosevelt on policies affecting Black Americans. (From: African American Registry)

Minnie Gentry, born Minnie Lee Watson, December 2, 1915, in Norfolk, Virginia (died May 11, 1993), becomes an actress who began studying piano at the age of nine, at the Phyllis Wheatley School of Music. She began acting at the Friendly Inn Settlement and married Lloyd Gentry in 1932. Subsequently, she appeared in many plays at the African-American theater the Karamu House. During the 1940s,   Gentry performed in a number of Broadway productions and later appeared in several films, including School Daze, Def by Temptation and Jungle Fever. In TV, she acted in the TV soap opera, All My Children and The Cosby Show. Her great grandson is actor Terrence Howard (born March 11, 1969.) From:


Charles C. Diggs, Jr., born December 2, 1922, in Detroit, Michigan (died August 24, 1998), becomes Michigan’s first a congressional representative in 1954 and a key player in the organizing of the Congressional Black Caucus. (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 21)

Evelyn Fairbanks, born December 2, 1928, St. Paul, Minnesota, (died March 21, 2001), becomes a writer, administrator and educator who before she died, began researching Black pioneers in rural Minnesota, with the hope of publishing the information into a book. (From: African American Registry) Willie Brown, born William Ferdie Brown December 2, 1940, in Yazoo City, Mississippi, becomes a professional football player for Denver Broncos from 1963 to 1966 and Oakland Raiders from 1967 to 1978, also became their backfield coach from 1979 to 1988 and a Pro Football Hall of Fame recipient in 1984. Willie Brown’s career with the Denver Broncos and the Oakland Raiders spanned 16 seasons and 204 games from 1963 through 1978. Even though the Broncos were not successful on the playing field during Willie’s four years in Denver, the 6-1, 195-pound cornerback was already an established star by the time he was traded to the Raiders in 1967. With a perpetually contending team in Oakland, Willie’s outstanding abilities emerged into clear focus. During his 12 years in Oakland, the Raiders played in three AFL and six AFC championship games, as well as Super Bowls II and XI. Armed with speed, mobility, aggressiveness, determination and a keen football sense, Brown became a key figure in every Raider success and soon was widely acclaimed as one of the premier cornerbacks of all time. Willie, who was born December 2, 1940, in Yazoo City, Mississippi, was an excellent end for four years at Grambling but was not drafted when his college career ended in 1963. He was signed by the Houston Oilers as a free agent but cut before the end of summer camp. He then went to Denver where he became a starter midway into his rookie season. A year later, he intercepted four passes against the New York Jets to tie an all-time individual record, won All-AFL honors, and played in his first AFL All-Star game, where he was named the outstanding defensive player. Altogether, Brown was named to an all-league team seven years, three seasons as All-AFL and four more as All-NFL. He was named All-AFC four times. He also played in five AFL All-Star games and four Pro Bowls. During his career, he intercepted 54 passes, which he returned for 472 yards and two touchdowns. His biggest steal, however, came in Super Bowl XI, when he returned an interception 75 yards for a clinching touchdown. – See more at:


Robert Albright, Jr., born December 2, 1944, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, becomes an educator who served as president of Johnson C. Smith University beginning 1983. Prior to becoming president of Johnson C. Smith University, Dr. Albright held a wide variety of positions in the field of higher education. He was the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He also served as the Special Assistant to the Assistant of Postsecondary Education in the United States Department of Education, the Vice President for Student Affairs at Lincoln University, the Director of Upward Bound at Virginia Union University, and as an Instructor and Director of Admissions at Lincoln University. Dr. Robert Albright received appointment as the eleventh president of Johnson C. Smith University in July 1983. Dr. Albright was the first African American to serve as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the American Council of Education. (From: Who’s Who Among Black Americans, 1990/1991, page 12) George Campbell, Jr., born December 2, 1945, in Richmond, Virginia, becomes an educator; the eleventh President of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, from July 2000 to July 2011.


Sydney Youngblood, born Sydney Ford, December 2, 1960, in San Antonio, Texas, becomes an American German singer, who had several successful dance funk hits during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Youngblood had four Top 40 hits in the UK and Europe in 1988 and 1989, including “Sit and Wait”, “I’d Rather Go Blind” and his debut “If Only I Could”. “If Only I Could” used the baseline and drumbeat from the Raze track “Break 4 Love”, and reached number three on the UK Singles Chart. In the U.S., the song “I’d Rather Go Blind” (originally sung by Etta James) enjoyed heavy rotation on the dance scene and made the Top 10 in the “Billboard Dance Charts”. “Sit and Wait” reached number 16 in the UK in December 1989. Youngblood continued his success with the album, “Feeling Free,” which also contained his earlier single, “Ain’t No Sunshine”.

Sunder Nix, born December 2, 1961, in Chicago, Illinois, becomes a 1984 Olympic gold medalist in the 4×400-meter relay. (From: Black Olympian Medalists, page 89)

Byron Irvin, born December 2 1966, in LaGrange, Illinois, becomes a professional basketball player for the Portland Trail Blazers, when selected in their 1989 NBA draft. Irvin is a cousin of former NBA player and current Boston Celtics head coach Glenn “Doc” Rivers, and is now a sports agent. He represents center Justin Williams, formerly of the Houston Rockets.

Renée Tenison born December 2 1968, in Caldwell, Idaho, becomes an American model, actress, and the first African-American selected to be the Playboy Playmate.

Stephen Thompson, born December 2 1968, in Los Angeles, California, becomes a professional basketball player for the Sacramento Kings, playing 23 games and one game as a member of the Orlando Magic, 1992-1993. In March of 2005, he stood in as interim men’s basketball coach for the California State L.A. Golden Eagles. He became the coach October 27,2006.

angel Kyodo Williams, born December 2, 1969, probably in New York City, New York, becomes an American writer, ordained Zen priest and the author of “Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living with Fearlessness and Grace,” published by Viking Press in 2000. Called “the most vocal and most intriguing African-American Buddhist in America” by Library Journal, Williams is the Spiritual Director of the meditation-based new Dharma Community and founder of the Center for Transformative Change in Berkeley, California, and is also credited with developing fearless Meditation, fearless Yoga and Warrior Spirit Training. As of October 2013, she became the world’s 2nd female Zen teacher of African descent. Her given Buddhist name, Kyodo, means “Way of Teaching.

“Treach,” born Anthony Criss, December 2, 1970, in East Orange, New Jerseybecomes a singer, member of the group called “Naughty by Nature.”  (From: All Music Guide and Rock on the Net)Wilson Jermaine Heredia, born December 2, 1971, in Brooklyn, New York, the son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic; a seamstress mother and a building superintendent father. Heredia becomes an American actor best known for his portrayal of Angel Dumott Schunard in the Broadway musical “Rent,” for which he won the Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for Best Featured Actor in a musical. Heredia also originated the role at London’s Shaftesbury Theatre in the West End theatre district and in the 2005 film adaptation. He has appeared in several films, including his portrayal of Cha-Cha, the drag queen, in 1999’s “Flawless,” where he worked opposite former “Rent” cast mate Daphne Rubin-Vega.Zack Crockett, born December 2, 1972, in Pompano Beach, Florida, becomes a professional football player for the Oakland Raiders. (From:

Alan Henderson, born December 2, 1972, in Morgantown, West Virginia, becomes a professional basketball player for the Atlanta Hawks. (From: ) Jarron Collins, born December 2, 1978, in Northridge, California, becomes a professional basketball player for the Utah Jazz. His twin brother plays professional basketball for the New Jersey Nets. (From:

Jason Collins, born December 2, 1978, in Northridge, California, becomes a professional basketball player for the New Jersey Nets. His twin brother plays professional basketball for the Utah Jazz. (From:

Garrick Jones born December 2, 1978, in California, becomes a professional football player for the Houston Texans. (From: , and , both Internet sports sources) Derrick Zimmerman born December 2 1981, in Monroe, Louisiana, becomes a professional basketball player for the Golden State Warriors, when selected in their 2003 NBA draft – Derrick received the NBDL’s Defensive Player of the Year award for two consecutive seasons (Austin 2005-06, Columbus 2004-05).


Dorell Wright, born December 2, 1985, in Los Angeles, California, becomes a professional basketball player, playing for the Miami Heat. They selected him in their 2004 NBA draft Valerie Holiday, born December 2, becomes an R&B singer; .lead singer of The Three Degrees and solo artist. Her birth year and place of birth were not mentioned in the source.

Alfred Lewis Enoch, born December 2, 1988, in Westminster, London, England, to English actor William Russell Enoch and his second wife, Brazilian physician Balbina Gutierrez, becomes an English actor known for his portrayals of Dean Thomas in the Harry Potter films and Wes Gibbins in the ABC legal drama “How to Get Away with Murder.” fluent in Portuguese and graduated with a degree in Portuguese and Spanish from the Queen’s College, Oxford. In 2001 he was cast as Dean Thomas in “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.” He appeared in seven of the eight Harry Potter films. He also voiced the character in video games. After the Harry Potter films, Enoch appeared in a number of plays throughout London. In 2016, Enoch was cast as Edgar/Poor Tom in the well received Talawa Theatre Company and Manchester Royal Exchange co-production of King Lear, for which he won much praise for his characterization and the physicality he brought to the roles.

John Wesley Edward Bowen, born December 3, 1855, in New Orleans, Louisiana (died July 20, 1933), becomes a Methodist clergyman, denominational official, college and university educator; one of the first African-Americans to earn a Ph.D. degree in the United States; credited as the first African-American to receive the Ph.D. degree, granted him from Boston University in 1887. Wesley became the first Afro American appointed a regular professor at Gammon Theological Seminary. (From: Encyclopedia of Back America, page 187-188)

Ada Crogman Franklin, born December 3, 1886, in Atlanta, Georgia (died in 1983), becomes an author, journalist, instructor and an administrator in the performing arts; nationally known for her production of “Milestones of a Race,” also recognized as the “matriarch of Black journalism.” She served as publisher of the Kansas City Call in 1955, after the death of her husband Chester Franklin, who founded the publication in 1919. Ada Franklin received the NNPA Distinguished Publishers award in 1982. (From African American Registry and Contemporary Authors)

Laura Waring, born Laura Wheeler on December 3, 1887, in Hartford, Connecticut, (died February 3, 1948), becomes an artist. Her father, Rev. Robert Wheeler pastored Talcott Street Congressional Church, home of Connecticut’s first Black congregation. In 1829, the church began operating a public school, the only place in the city where Black children could learn to read and write. Waring and other children learned their illustrious past, culture and African history. (From African American Registry)

John Wesley Dobbs, born December 3, 1882, in Marietta, Georgia, (died August 31, 1961), becomes a civic leader and activist often referred to as the unofficial “Mayor” of Auburn Avenue. In 1932, Dobbs served as Grand Master of Prince Hall Masons. Twelve years after Dobbs passed away, his grandson, Maynard Jackson, Jr., became the first African American mayor of Atlanta, Georgia. Some sources give Dobbs birth date as March 26, 1882. (From: African American Registry)

Ralph Gardner, born December 3, 1922, in Cleveland, Ohio, becomes a scientist who specialized in the development of hard plastics. Gardner, along with more than a dozen Black scientists involved themselves in research on atomic projects. Despite his work on the atomic bomb, Gardner could not find work in his field when he left in 1947. (From African American Registry) Neil A. Butler, born December 3, 1927, in Orange Heights, Florida, becomes the first African American mayor of Gainesville, Florida, in April 1969. There’s speculation, that he’d been elected to this position to stave off a possible law suite (From: and,+mayor+of+gainesville,+florida&source=bl&ots=p8WpkCksVq&sig=79TbzmTA9dg8ioSfQ6TpPOeCwkg&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Oym4UP_rA4GW8gTLnIBo&ved=0CCsQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=nell%20a.%20butler%2C%20mayor%20of%20gainesville%2C%20florida&f=false)

Eddie Bernice Johnson, born December 3, 1935, in Waco, Texas, becomes the first Black registered nurse elected to Congress, from North Texas. (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 11, and Black Firsts, Second Edition, page 327) “Mary Alice” Smith, born December 3, 1941, in Indianola, Mississippi, becomes an actress as The Oracle in “The Matrix” movie, replacing actress Gloria Foster who died in 2001. She is a Tony Award winner for “Fences” in1987 as Best features Actress. She also won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in Drama Role in 1993for I’ll Fly Away 1991-1993.


John Akii-Bua, born December 3, 1950, in Uganda, Africa, becomes a 1972 Olympic gold medalist in the 400-meter hurdles. (From: Black Olympian Medalists, page 1) Danger Alberto Juantorena, born December 3, 1951, in Santiago, Cuba, becomes a 1976 Olympic gold medalist in the 400-meter run. He set an Olympic and World record during that meet. (From: Black Olympian Medalists, page 65)


Michael Allen Bantom, born December 3, 1951, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, becomes a 1972 Olympic silver medalist in the area of basketball who played professionally with the Indiana Pacers in 1977. (From: Black Olympian Medalists, page 6)


Darryl Quinn Hamilton, born December 3, 1964, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (died June 21, 2015), becomes a professional baseball player for the New York Mets and the Colorado Rockies, drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 11th round of the 1986 Major League Baseball Draft. In 1990, despite missing time with injuries, Hamilton played in 89 games and hit .295. He was awarded with the Brewers “Unsung Hero Award” in 1990 and the “Good Guy Award” in 1991. After retiring from playing the game, Hamilton held other positions in the sport which included, in 2014, serving as a part-time color analyst on Brewers radio broadcasts. (From: Personal Baseball Card Collection and Who’s Who among African Americans, 16th Edition)

Steve Harris, born December 3, 1965, in Chicago, Illinois, becomes an actor most famous for his role as Eugene Young on the legal drama The Practice. He recently starred as Detective Isaiah “Bird” Freeman on the NBC drama, “Awake.” Harris played one of the leading characters in Tyler Perry’s “Diary of a Mad Black Woman.” (Some sources list his birth date as December 4.)

Lindsey Benson Hunter Jr., born December 3, 1970, becomes a professional basketball player and assistant coach for the Buffalo Bulls. He became a point guard in the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1993 to 2010, spending most of his career with Detroit Pistons. He was also the interim head coach of the Phoenix Suns in 2013.

Montell Jordan, born December 3, 1968 or 1971, in Los Angeles, California, becomes an R&B singer-songwriter and record producer who became the main solo male artist on its Def Soul imprint until leaving the label in 2003. In 2010, Jordan left the music business to become the worship leader at Victory World Church in Norcross, Georgia.  ((From: Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 23 and All Music Guide and Rock on the Net, both Internet source)

Kwamie Lassiter, born December 3, 1969, in Newport News, Virginia, becomes a professional football player for the San Diego Chargers. (From:


Lindsey Hunter, born December 3, 1970, in Utica, Mississippi, becomes a professional basketball player for the Detroit Pistons. (From:


 Trina Braxton, born December 3, 1974, in Severn, Maryland, becomes a singer and actress, member of the family singing group The Braxton’s, and also stars in the WE TV reality television series Braxton Family Values alongside her mother and sisters.


Shalonda Enis, born December 3, 1974, in Celeste, Texas, becomes a professional basketball player for the Charlotte Sting. (From:

Malinda Williams, born December 3, 1975, in Elizabeth, New Jersey, becomes an actress, best known for her role as Erica Wright in the 1996 movie, “A Thin Line Between Love and Hate” and as the hair stylist Tracy “Bird” Van Adams in the Showtime acclaimed drama series, “Soul Food,” from June 2000 to May 2004. ((From: Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 57) Cornelius Griffin, born December 3, 1976, in Brundidge, Alabama, becomes a professional football player for the New York Giants. (From:

Katrina Laverne Taylor, born December 3, 1978, in Miami, Florida, better known by her stage name “Trina,” becomes a rapper and model who first gained notoriety in 1998 with her appearance on Trick Daddy’s (Maurice Samuel Young born September 27, 1973), second studio album “” on the single “Nann N” Since then, she has released five moderately successful studio albums. XXL Magazine calls her “the most consistent female rapper of all time”. Source Magazine celebrated Trina’s career for the 2012 Women’s History month. In 2013, Complex Magazine ranked “Pull Over” #27 in their Top 50 Best Rap Songs by Women. In 2014, Trina was included in Billboard’s list of the “31 Female Rappers Who Changed Hip-Hop”.  Trina dated rapper Lil Wayne (born September 27, 1982), on-and-off from early 2005 to the summer of 2007. On October 5, 2005, during an interview with Wendy Williams, Trina confirmed that she and Wayne were happy and engaged to be married. Trina later became pregnant by Wayne, but suffered a miscarriage. The couple also have each other’s name tattooed on them. Trina has “Wayne” on her wrist, and Lil Wayne has “Trina” spelled out on his ring finger. Trina’s songs “Single Again”, “Here We Go”, “Don’t Go”, “So Many Memories”, “Way I Felt”, and “All Alone” are all about the relationship. Trina dated basketball player Kenyon Martin (born December 30, 1977) from 2007 to 2010. He had her lips tattooed on his neck. In mid-2013 it was reported that, Trina was in an on-again, off-again relationship with rapper French Montana (born Karim Kharbouch November 9, 1984), Trina started the Diamond Doll Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps younger girls with their life struggles. The organization is also in partner with the Florida Entertainment Summit to organize the Jingle Bell Toy Drive in an effort to bring joy to children in the South Florida area Rock Cartwright, born December 3, 1979, in Conroe, Texas, becomes a professional football player for the Washington Redskins. (From:

Terry Jones, born December 3, 1979, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, becomes a professional football player for the Baltimore Ravens. (From:

Eric Darius, also known as the “Smooth Breeze,”  born December 3, 1982, in Livingston, New Jersey, into a musical family (his father plays the bass, his mother sings, his older brother plays the drums and trumpet, and his younger sister sings), becomes a musician, playing the saxophone. He first expressed interest in playing the saxophone at the age of 10, when he first heard Nolan Sheuritz play the saxophone at his church. Inspired by his soulful playing, Eric started taking lessons with Nolan several weeks later. Several months afterward, he then began studying with Melissa Marko, who was a student at Hillsborough Community College at that time.       He then began performing at the age of 11 with Sonny LaRosa and America’s Youngest Jazz Band, which later performed at the prestigious Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland in 1995. Eric attended Blake High School of the Performing Arts in Tampa, Florida, where he was a member of the Blake Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Combo, Wind Ensemble, Marching Band, basketball team, soccer team, and National Honors Society, in which he graduated with a 5.2 grade point average. His musical influences range from artists like John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderly, and Charlie Parker, to today’s artists such as Kirk Whalum, Kenny Garrett, Michael Brecker, Branford Marsalis, and the late Grover Washington, Jr.

Lucie Bragg Anthony, born December 4, 1870, in Warrenton, North Carolina (died in 1932), becomes a physician, educator, temperance leader, musician, and writer. Anthony, the sister of achiever of color, George Freeman Bragg, Jr. a noted clergyman, made her contribution to society in education. (From: Notable Black American Women, Book 2 page 15) James E. Cheek, born December 4, 1932, in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, becomes an educator and president of Shaw University from 1963 to 1969, and president of Howard University after 1969. President Ronald Reagan awarded Cheek with the Medal of Honor; the nation’s highest honor awarded a civilian, in 1983. (From: Contemporary Newsmakers, 1987, and Encyclopedia of Black America, page 224)

Rod Rodgers, born December 4, 1937, in Cleveland, Ohio (died March 24, 2002), becomes a choreographer known for his commitment to bringing dance to poor, underserved communities and for his innovative and thought-provoking works. His work bridged the gap between black dance groups largely drawing upon authentic African dances exemplified by companies led by Pearl Primus and Katherine Dunham, with the modern dance traditions of Erik Hawkins, Hanya Holm, and Charles Weidman. With a career that spanned over four decades, Rod Rodgers was one of the co-founders of the Association of Black Choreographers, a co-founder of the Coalition of Dance Arts (C.O.D.A.), and founder of the Rod Rodgers Dance Company. When Rodgers died on March 24, 2002, the dance world lost a remarkable and highly dedicated African-American artist. ((From: Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 36 and

Tony Todd, born December 4, 1952 or 1954, in Washington, D.C., becomes an actor most famous for his portrayal of “The Candy Man.” (From: , and Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television, Volume 37) Cassandra Wilson, born December 4, 1955, in Jackson, Mississippi, becomes a jazz musician, vocalist, songwriter and music producer, considered by many as the best in her generation of jazz vocalist.

 Lee Smith, born December 4, 1957, in Jamestown, Louisiana, becomes professional baseball player for the St. Louis Cardinals. (From: Personal Baseball Card Collection)

“Masta Ace,” born Duval Clear, December 4, 1966, in Brooklyn, New York, becomes a rapper who appeared on the classic 1988 posse cut, “The Symphony”, he garnered notoriety as an unsung asset to the Juice Crew posse, where he released a number of well-respected albums that were nonetheless little-heard outside purist circles. The single that has earned him the most attention has been “Born to Roll.”


Dionne Farris, born December 4, 1968, in Plainfield, New Jersey, becomes a singer-songwriter known as “The Original Soul Rocker, Lady DY.” She first came on the scene as a member of Arrested Development and then went on to have the solo hits “I Know” and “Hopeless” (from the “Love Jones” soundtrack). After a hiatus from the music scene, she returned in the late 2000s and has released several independent soul and jazz albums.

 “Jay-Z,” born Shawn Corey Carter, December 4, 1969, in Brooklyn, New York, becomes a rap artist and music producer. Rock on the Net indicates his birth date as December 2. (From: All Music Guide and Rock on the Net) Jeff Blake, born December 4, 1970, in Daytona Beach, Florida, becomes a professional football player for the Arizona Cardinals. (From:

Shannon Briggs, born December 4, 1971, in Brooklyn, New York, becomes a professional heavy weight boxer and actor. Briggs began his career in 1992 and was undefeated in his first 25 fights. Briggs became New York City Golden Gloves champion, New York State Champion, National P.A.L. Champion and finished second place as a Heavyweight at the Pan-American Games in 1991.


Anthony David Harrington, born December 4, 1971, in Savannah, Georgia, becomes an R&B singer-songwriter better known as Anthony David. He is best known for his 2008 song “Words”, a duet with contemporary R&B singer India Arie, (born October 3, 1975.)

 Howard Eisley, born December 4, 1972, in Detroit, Michigan, becomes a professional basketball player for the New York Knicks. (From: , an Internet sports source)

Tyra Lynne Banks, born December 4, 1973, in Inglewood or Los Angeles, California, becomes a model, television personality, talk show host, producer, author, actress, singer and business woman. She began her career as a model at age 15 and rose to fame, becoming the first African American woman on the covers of GQ and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, on which she appeared twice. She is one of the original Victoria Secret Angels. By the early 2000s, Banks was one of the top-earning models in the world. Subsequently she moved onto television and film, known for her roles as Eve in Disney channel’s “Life Size” and Zoe in the box office hit “Coyote Ugly.” Banks first appeared on television on the show “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” In 2003, Banks created and became the host of the UPN/The CW long-running reality television show America’s Next Top Model” (2003 – 2015). Banks was also the co-creator of “True Beauty,” and was the host of her own talk show, “The Tyra Banks Show,” which aired on The CW for five seasons and won two Daytime Emmy awards for Outstanding Talk Show Informative. For more information regarding Tyra Banks career, you can go to Banks is one of four African Americans and seven women to have repeatedly ranked among the world’s most influential people by TIME magazine. While growing up, Banks states she was teased for her appearance and considered an “ugly duckling.” When Banks was 11 years old she grew three inches and lost 30 pounds in three months. (From: & Contemporary Black Biography Volumes 11 & 50 Notable Black American Women, Book 3, and Black Firsts, Second Edition, page 470)

Corliss Williamson, born December 4, 1973, in Russellville, Arkansas, becomes a professional basketball player for the Detroit Pistons. (From:

D’Wayne Bates, born December 4, 1974 or 1975, in Augusta, Georgia, becomes a professional football player who played three seasons with the Chicago Bears (19992001) and two with the Minnesota Vikings (2002-2003). Bates is best known for his achievements as a collegiate player at Northwestern University where he played for Big Ten Championship teams in 1995 and 1996. Bates was a two-time First-Team All-Big Ten performer (1996 and 1998) and still holds a majority of the NU season and career receiving records. (From:

Larry Smith, born December 4, 1974, in Kingsland, Georgia, becomes a professional football player for the Green Bay Packers. (From:

Betty Lenox, born December 4, 1976, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, becomes a professional basketball player for the Cleveland Rockers. (From:

“Big Pokey,” born Milton Powell, December 4, 1977, in Houston, Texas, becomes a rapper who is one of the original members of the “Screwed up Click.” While rapping, he attended Blinn Junior College in Brenham, Texas and even tried out for the NFL at one point. Big Pokey hooked up with DJ Screw in the early ’90s and started dropping rhymes on the DJ’s many mix tapes(From:…/big-pokey.html)

Miri Ben Ari, born December 4, 1978, in Ramat Gan, Israel, becomes an Israeli-born American violinist. Ben-Ari grew up playing classical music; she started training at age 5 and at age 12, she was presented with a violin by Isaac Stern. During her mandatory Israeli military service, she was chosen to play for the Israeli Army String Quartet. During her stint in the Israeli military, she heard an album by Charlie Parker (born August 29, 1920/died March 12, 1955) and immediately fell in love with jazz; she later said “My soul was sold.” Following her service, she moved from Israel to New York in hopes of using her classical training on stage and attended the Jazz department at “The New School”, but was expelled after two semesters due to poor attendance caused by Ben-Ari playing gigs to pay the rent. She released her first solo CD “Sahara,” in 1999. Her persistence earned her an appearance on BET’s 106 & Park; the viewer response netted her a return visit a few weeks later. Her performances caught the eye of Jay-Z (born, December 4, 1969) who invited her to play as one of the headliners of New York radio station Hot 97’s annual Summer Jam concert in 2001, where she netted a standing ovation. Around the same time, a mutual friend introduced Ben-Ari to Wyclef Jean (born October 17, 1969), who invited her to perform with him at his Carnegie Hall show, the first by a hip-hop artist at the venue. In 2003, she released her second CD “Temple of Beautiful,” and followed that up with a live CD the following year entitled “Live at the Blue Note.” She won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Song in 2005 as one of the co-writers of Kanye West’s (born June 8, 1977) “Jesus Walks.” In 2005, she released her fourth CD and first to focus on hip-hop style, entitled “The Hip Hop Violinist.” As part of the promotion for it, she was part of Reebok’s “I Am What I Am” global advertising campaign; Reebok was also part of the video for the first single from the CD, “We Gonna Win”. In 2006, she co-founded Gedenk (Yiddish for “remember”), an organization dedicated to promoting education about the Holocaust in the United States. In 2007 she received the International Jewish Woman To Watch of 2007 Award and in 2008 she received the “2008 Israel Film Festival Visionary Award,” “The Jewish Federation” award and “the American Society for Yad Vashem” Award. In 2009, she released “Symphony of Brotherhood,” an instrumental track featuring Martin Luther King’s (born January 15, 1929/died April 4, 1968) “I Have a Dream” speech. In part due to the song, she received the first Martin Luther King, Jr. Israeli Award in January 2008 at a ceremony hosted by the President of Israel, Shimon Peres.

Dennis Johnson, born December 4, 1979, in Danville, Kentucky, becomes a professional football player for the Arizona Cardinals. (From: Brian Cook, born December 4, 1980, in Lincoln, Illinois, becomes a professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers. (From:

Carlos Argelis Gomez Pena, born December 4, 1985, in Santiago, the Dominican Republic, becomes a professional baseball player for the New York Mets in 2007 and the Minnesota Twins in 2008. He became the fourth major leaguer and second in Twins history to hit for the reverse natural cycle. He also became the third-youngest player to hit for the cycle in MLB history.


Martell Webster, born December 4, 1986, in Seattle, Washington, becomes a professional basketball player for the Portland Trail Blazers.


Orlando Brown, born December 4, 1987, in Los Angeles, California, becomes an actor, rapper and musician, perhaps best known for his role as Eddie Thomas on the sitcom “That’s So Raven” and guest starring in several Disney Channel sitcoms in the early 2000s.


“Black Peter” Zwarte Piet, born December 5, about the year 500 (died ?), becomes a “Black-faced” character of European folklore, said to be a companion of Saint Nicholas (Dutch Sinterklaas). Children taught to believe they receive their presents from St. Nicholas and his companion “Black Peter,” his servant. According to legend, Zwarte, the Moorish servant only accompanied St. Nicholas on his holiday travels. “Black Peter” often portrayed as a mean and mischievous character. Children taught if they are good, Piet will leave them gifts and sweets for Christmas, but if they are not good Zwarte Piet will scoop them up, stuff them in his huge bag of spirit and take them away to Spain. (From: African American Registry)

Bill Pickett, born December 5, 1870 or 1871, in Travis County, Texas (died April 2, 1932), becomes an entertainer and rodeo personality. He invented a unique style of bulldogging. (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 11, African American Registry and Black Firsts, Second Edition, page 710)

John Shippen, Jr., born the fourth of nine children, on December 5, 1879, in Long Island, New York,  (died May 20, 1968), becomes an African American golf pioneer. His father, a minister, pastored a church on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation. In 1894, Shinnecock Hills opened for 12 holes of golf, and later expanded to 18 holes. With the clubs support Shippen entered the second U.S. Open, played at Shinnecock Hills. Shippen also encouraged his friend, Oscar Bunn, a full-blooded Shinnecock Indian, to enter also. It did not take long before the nasty side of his clubs supporters to reveal itself. Shippen played in the U.S. Open six times, ending in 1913. No other African American would play in the Open until 1948. In 1995, the establishment of the John Shippen Memorial Foundation recognizes and honors the memory of one of America’s true golf pioneers. (From African American Registry) Elbert F. Cox, born December 5, 1895, in Evansville, Indiana, (died in 1969), becomes a mathematician and educator; the first black person in the world to receive a PhD in mathematics. He spent most of his life as a professor at Howard University in Washington, D.C. and known as an excellent teacher. During his life, he overcame various difficulties, which arose, because of his race. In his honor, the National Association of Mathematicians established the Cox-Talbot Address, annually delivered at the NAM’s national meetings. The Elbert F. Cox Scholarship Fund used to help black students pursue studies, named in his honor. (From African American Registry) Modjeska Simkins, born December 5, 1899, in Columbus, South Carolina (died April 9, 1992), becomes a human and civil rights activist. She worked with over fifty progressive reform organizations during a period of six decades. African American Registry indicates her birthplace as Columbia, South Carolina. (From: Great African American Women, page 300 and African American Registry)

Sonny Boy Williamson II, born Alek Rice Miller, December 5, 1899, in Tallahatchie County, on the Sara Jones plantation in or near Glendora, Mississippi (died May 25, 1965), becomes a blues harmonica player, singer and songwriter.


Annie Greene Nelson, born the oldest of fourteen children, December 5, 1902, in Darlington County, South Carolina (died December 23, 1993), becomes a writer, South Carolina’s first known Black woman novelist of the twentieth century. (From: African American Registry and Notable Black American Women, Book 1)

Ernest Daniel Kaiser, born December 5, 1915, in Petersburg, Virginia, becomes an editor. Some people regard Kaiser as one of the foremost bibliographers in the area of Black life and history. He may still be alive, no record of death found. (From: Selected Black American Authors, page 149 and Contemporary Authors)

Lt. Col. Charity Edna Adams Earley, born December 5, 1917 or 1918, in Kittrell, North Carolina, (died January 13, 2002), becomes a pioneering army officer. She grew up in Columbia, South Carolina and attended the public schools of Columbia-Howard School, Waverly School, and Booker T. Washington High School, from which she graduated without ever missing a day of class. From the time she was in the fifth grade, Earley knew that she wanted to major in mathematics. She enrolled at Wilberforce University, an African-American Episcopal school in Xenia, Ohio, where she earned her BA in mathematics in 1938. Upon graduation, she returned to Columbia for four years to teach mathematics and science. Greater challenges beckoned Earley. She applied for and was eventually accepted into the first Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps-WAAC, which had been established during World War II. At the time of her entry, she did not know that the United States was at war. By the end of the war more than 4,000 African-American women had enlisted. She did realize that African-Americans had always been loyal to their country and viewed military service as being intertwined with freedom and full citizenship. Earley served in the Women’s Army Corps from July 1942 to March 1946. She moved up the ranks and became a lieutenant colonel, the highest position held by an African-American woman in the US military during World War II. She commanded the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion through its moves form Birmingham, England, to Rouen and Paris, France. This was the only group of African-American women to serve overseas during World War II. Additionally, she was a company commander and a station control and training officer. After her army years, Earley earned her MA degree in vocational psychology form Ohio State University and studied further at the University of Zurich and at the Ungian Institute of Analytical Psychology in Zurich, Switzerland. Public service was an integral part of Earley’s life. She volunteered with the Urban League, the YWCA, and the United Way of Dayton, Ohio, the United Negro College Fund, and the Black Leadership Development. She received several recognitions, including induction into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame. She received a Brotherhood Award from the Dayton Area Conference of Christians and Jews, a “Black Women Against the Odds” tribute to the top 100 women in African-American history and she established the Charity Edna Earley Scholarship at Wilberforce University. Her book, “One Woman’s Army,” published in 1989 and reissued in 1996, is a vivid story of her experiences and travels in the US Army. (From: Sources: Contemporary Black Biography Vol. 13 & 34 and and

Kay Davis, born Kathryn McDonald, December 5, 1920, in Evanston, Ill (died January 27, 2012, in Apopka, Florida) becomes a jazz singer. “As early as the age of 10, I knew I wanted to sing professionally,” she said in a 2001 interview with Northwestern magazine, published by Northwestern University, from which she received a bachelor’s degree in 1942 and a master’s degree a year later. As one of only six African-American students enrolled in the school of music at the time, she was not allowed to stay in the residence halls. Duke Ellington went to Evanston in 1944 and, after hearing Ms. Davis at a recital, asked her to join his band. She was soon singing alongside Joya Sherrill and Al Hibbler. She and Mr. Hibbler handled the vocals on one of the Ellington band’s best-known songs of that era, “I Ain’t Got Nothin’ but the Blues.” Ms. Davis performed with the Ellington orchestra from 1944 to 1950. As a member of a trio of female vocalists — including Ms. Sherrill and Maria Ellington Cole (no relation to Duke, later married to Nat King Cole) — she offered the maestro an opportunity to reprise something he had long relished: wordless vocalization. A major moment in her career came on Nov. 13, 1948, when she sang Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life,” with Strayhorn at the piano, at Carnegie Hall. “She was a classically trained coloratura,” Phil Schaap, curator of Jazz at Lincoln Center, said in an interview on Tuesday, noting that Ellington had used “the high-register female voice as instrumental color” in the middle and late 1920s. Among the best-known wordless works was “Creole Love Call,” sung by Adelaide Hall in 1927. “With Kay Davis, he returned to this practice,” including revisiting “Creole Love Call” in 1944. Mr. Schaap said “And he took a work that featured the trombone, ‘Blue Light,’ renamed it ‘Transblucency,’ and blended trombone with her highest-notes coloratura voice.” While “Transblucency” may be her signature piece in the genre, Ms. Davis recorded several other noteworthy wordless vocals — many accompanied by the renowned trombonist Lawrence Brown — including “Violet Blue,” “Minnehaha” and “On a Turquoise Cloud.”

Johnny Pate, born December 5, 1923, in Chicago, Illinois, becomes a musician as a child playing the piano and tuba. Later while serving in the Army, he picked up the bass and learned arranging. In the early ’60s, OKeh Recordsproducer/A&R director Carl Davis (Walter JacksonMajor LanceTed Taylorthe Opals) wanted a unique sound and enlisted Pate to write arrangements for the label. Pate and Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions first teamed in January 1963 recording the ballad “Sad Sad Girl and Boy,” which mid-charted in Cashbox magazine‘s charts. The next single, the rousing “It’s All Right,” parked at number one R&B for two weeks and hit number four pop in fall 1963; followed by “Talking about My Baby,” “I’m So Proud,” “Keep on Pushing”. The Keep on Pushing LP peaked at number eight pop in fall 1964. Pate produced and recorded most of their hits at Murray Allen‘s Universal Recording Studios in Chicago. In 1968, Pate began doing arrangements for Curtis Mayfield’s Custom label (the label’s slogan was “We’re a Winner”), whose roster included Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions and the Five Stairsteps. Pate left the label in 1972 and worked on numerous recordings including the classic 1978 quiet storm forerunner LP Words and Music by TV/movie/stage actress Lonette McKee on Warner Bros. Records. Pate also made soundtracks for films including Shaft in Africa. In 2006, TNC Records released an 80th Birthday album in tribute to Pate. His song “Shaft in Africa”, sampled by producer Just Blaze, for the out-of-retirement Jay-Z single “Show Me What You Got,” later became sampled by producer K-Def for Diddy‘s “We Gon’ Make It” featuring Jack Knight.

Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, born December 5, 1924, in Graaf-Reinet in Cape Province, South Africa (died February 27, 1978) becomes a South African political dissident, who founded the Pan Africanist Congress in opposition to South Africa under apartheid. In 2004 Sobukwe was voted 42nd in the SABC3’s Great South Africans. He came from a poor household and educated locally. He attended a Methodist college at Healdtown and later Fort Hare University where he joined the (ANACYL) African National Congress Youth League in 1948. In 1952 Sobuke achieved notoriety backing the Defiance Campaign. In 1957 he left the ANCYL to become Editor of, “The Africanist” newspaper in Johannesburg. He was a strong believer in an Africanist future for South Africa and rejected any model suggesting working with anyone other than blacks, despite the large non-black minorities in the country. He later left the ANCYL and formed (PAC) the, “Pan Africanist Congress” where he was elected its first President in 1959…
Because of his educational achievements and powers of speech, Robert Sobukwe became known as the Professor of “Prof” to his close compatriots and followers. He spoke to the need for Black South Africans to “liberate themselves” without the help of non-blacks. His strong conviction and active resistance inspired generations of South Africans, and also inspired many organizations involved in the anti-Apartheid movement, notably the Black Consciousness Movement…

John A. Williams, born December 5, 1925, in Jackson, Mississippi, becomes a novelist, author, educator and essayist. (From: (DLB) Dictionary of Literary Biography, page 279, and Soul Vibrations, Astrology for African Americans, page 196) James Cleveland, born December 5, 1931 or 1932, in Chicago, Illinois (died February 9, 1991), becomes an accomplished gospel singer, minister and composer. Cleveland’s life calling began at that city’s Pilgrim Baptist Church. Mahalia Jackson (achiever of color born October 26,) lived on Cleveland’s paper route and influenced his career too. In 1953, he joined a gospel group called the Caravans as pianist, arranger, and occasional singer. They had two successful recordings The Solid Rock and Old Time Religion. Between 1956 and 1960, Cleveland wrote an average of three songs a week. Cleveland left the Caravans, moved to Detroit and served as the musical director at the Bethel Baptist Church. There he formed his own group, The Gospel Chimes. During this time that he collaborated with Aretha Franklin on the Grammy winning album Amazing Grace and received a recording, contract with Savoy Records. While there, Cleveland recorded over 100 albums and in 1963 released “Peace Be Still,” which remained on the gospel music charts for fifteen years. His imaginative arrangements brought jazz and pop rhythms into the music and paved the way for fusion gospel artist such as Edwin Hawkins and Andre Crouch. James Cleveland suffered severe respiratory problems in his later years and died of heart failure on February 9, 1991 in Los Angeles. (From: African American Registry)

Lowell Wesley Perry, born December 5 1931, in Ypsilanti, Michigan (died January 7, 2001), becomes an American football player for the Pittsburgh Steelers, football coach, government official, businessman, and broadcaster. He became the first African American assistant coach in the National Football League (NFL), the first African American to broadcast an NFL game to a national audience, and Chrysler’s first African-American plant manager. He was appointed as the Commissioner of the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) by President Gerald Ford, holding that position from 1975 to 1976. He later served as the director of the Michigan Department of Labor from 1990 to 1996. He also served on the board of the NFL Board of Charities.

“Little Richard” Penniman, born the 3rd of twelve children, December 5, 1932, in Macon, Georgia, becomes a nationally recognized entertainer, often coined as the true pioneer of rock and roll. Timelines of African American History, page 178, indicates Little Richard’s birth date as December 25. He became the first artist to put the funk in the rock and roll beat and contributed significantly to the early development of soul music.  (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 15) Adolph Caesar, born December 5, 1933, in Harlem, New York (died March 6, 1986), becomes an actor who portrayed the role of “Old Mister” in Steven Spielberg’s “The Color Purple” He may be best remembered for his role in director Norman Jewison’s film “A Soldier’s Story.” He received a nomination for “Best Actor in a Supporting Role” from both the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes. Often overlooked is his acclaimed performance in “Fist of Fear, Touch of Death”

Orette Bruce Golding, born December 5, 1947, in Chapelton, Clarendon Parish, Jamaica, becomes a Jamaican politician who served as eighth Prime Minister of Jamaica from September 11, 2007 to October 23, 2011. He became a member of the Jamaica Labour Party which he led from 2005 to his resignation in 2011.


Jonathan Lewis, born December 5, 1953, becomes an R&B singer and a percussionist, a member of the group known as Atlantic Starr. (Place of birth was not indicated in the source.)

James Arthur Art Monk, born December 5, 1957, in White Plains, New York, becomes a professional football player in the position of wide receiver in the National Football League (FL) for the Washington Redskins, New York Jets and the Philadelphia Eagles. Monk was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008. He is a relative (first cousin once removed) of jazz pioneer Thelonious Monk (born October 10, 1917/died February 17, 1982).

O’Bryan McCoy Burnette, II, born December 5, 1961, in Sneads Ferry, North Carolina, becomes a singer-songwriter, musician, composer, multi-instrumentalist, arranger and producer, known simply as O’Bryan. He began playing the piano at 6 years old and then began singing in the church and at local talent shows. In 1974, he and his family moved to Santa Ana, California. O’Bryan was singing in the Second Baptist Church young adult choir when his friend Melanee Kersey approached him about considering a career in music. Melanee Kersey introduced the young singer to her husband, producer Ron Kersey (born April 7, 1949/died January 25, 2005). A former keyboardist for “The Trammps” and a veteran of the ’70s Philadelphia music scene, Kersey invited O’Bryan to join a group he was putting together. That group quickly folded, so Kersey later introduced O’Bryan to “Soul Train” television show creator and host Don Cornelius (born September 27, 1936/died February 1, 2012), with whom Kersey formed Friendship Producers Company. Cornelius took the young artist to Capitol Records, where O’Bryan released four albums that charted on the Billboard R&B charts. After a lengthy hiatus, O’Bryan formed his own label, Headstorm, and on Valentine’s Day 2007 released the ballad-driven album “FIRST (O’Bryan album). The set derived its name from what O’Bryan calls “the first step of a new musical journey,” highlighted by the songs “Just Like Doin’ It,” “Can I Kiss Your Lips”, “Man Overboard”, “Gotta Let You Go” and “Gratitude.” Longtime fans of the singer welcomed his return and responded to “F1RST” with enthusiastic reviews on music buyer-driven sites such as CD Baby, iTunes and Amazon.

 Dr. Dre, born Andre Brown, December 5, 1963, in Westbury, New York, becomes a hip-hop, and radio personality.

Wayne Smith, born December 5, 1965, in Kingston, Jamaica becomes a reggae musician whose 1985 recording of “(Under Me) Sleng Teng“, regarded as the beginning of reggae style reggae.


Kalonji Jama Changa, born Nigel Brown, December 5, 1970, in Bridgeport, Connecticut, becomes a community activist, lecturer, journalist and filmmaker, voted one of Departure Magazine’s Leaders of the New School and one of The Street Legends 2006 Hip Hop Activists of the Year. Coming from a long line of Freedom Fighters tracing back to his great-great grandfather, Sam Pace, a Seminole native accused of gunning down 7 U.S. Marshals, Kalonji Jama Changa began community organizing at an early age. Always vocal against any type of injustice, in 1999, Kalonji along with Leonardo Drakeford, a native of Bridgeport, Connecticut formed the Universal Black Panther Party (UBP). The UBP was a political organization modeled after the Black Panther Party of the 1960s. The UBP, operating mainly out of Connecticut and New York attempted to organize the youth through history classes and community programs. In June 2001, the group dismantled and Kalonji formed the rap group FTP that eventually grew into the FTP Movement.


Michel’le Denise Toussaint, born December 5, 1970, in Los Angeles, California, known mononymously as Michel’le, becomes an R&B singer and songwriter. She is best known for her songs from the late–1980s and early–1990s. Her most notably songs were Billboard Top 10 hit “No More Lies” and R&B chart topper “Something In My Heart” along with a signature childlike speaking voice, which is a startling contrast to her strong and soulful singing vocals. Between 2013 and 2015, Michel’le became one of six members on the TV One reality show “R&B Divas: Los Angeles.” Michel’le was originally a featured female vocalist on World Class Wreckin’ Cru’s 1987 single “Turn off the Lights”. The singer was called at the last minute to record vocals originally for Mona Lisa who could not make it to the studio. Michel’le was signed to Eazy-E’s Ruthless Records. In 1989, she released her self-titled debut album, produced entirely by then-boyfriend Dr. Dre… The album contained “No More Lies” and the hit singles “Nicety” and “Something in My Heart.” Michel’le was certified Gold on April 25, 1990 with 1.3 million copies sold overall to date.

 Cliff Floyd, born December 5, 1972, in Chicago, Illinois becomes a professional baseball player for the Montreal Expos from 1993 to 1996; the Florida Marlins from 1997 to 2002; the Montreal Expos in 2002; the Boston Red Sox in 2002; the New York Mets from 2003 to 2006; the Chicago Cubs in 2007 and the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008. Charlie Batch, born December 5, 1974, in Pittsburgh or Homestead, Pennsylvania, becomes a professional football player for the Pittsburgh Steelers; pictured in Ebony magazine, October 2001 (From:

Paula Maxine Patton, born December 5, 1975, in Los Angeles, California, becomes an American actress who made her film debut in the 2005 comedy film “Hitch” and starred in the epic fantasy film “Warcraft” (2016), based on the game series of the same name. Patton has also been the female lead in “Déjà vu: Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol and 2 Guns” She also appeared in the critically successful “Precious,” (2009).


Cory Hall, born December 5, 1976, in Bakersfield, California becomes a professional football player for the Atlanta Falcons. (From: Eddy Curry, born December 5, 1982, in Harvey, Illinois, becomes a professional basketball player for the Chicago Bulls and the New York Knicks.


Keri Lynn Hilson, born December 5, 1982, in Decatur, Georgia, becomes an American singer, songwriter and actress, who spent most of her youth working with producer Anthony Dent, as a songwriter and background vocalist for several R&B and hip hop artists. By the age of 14, Hilson had secured a record deal with the girl group D’Signe, who later disbanded. She attended Emory University in Atlanta, while she continued writing songs for artists, including Britney Spears and Mary J. Blige, with the production and songwriting team, The Clutch. In 2006, Hilson signed with American rapper and producer Timbaland‘s record label, Mosley Music. Her breakthrough came the following year after appearing on Timbaland’s single, “The Way I Are“, which topped charts around the world. She has contributed in the fight against HIV and AIDS, helped various relief efforts for natural disasters, and become involved with several educational organizations. In 2012, Hilson made her acting debut in the romantic comedy film, “Think Like a Man.” Her achievements include a BET AwardMOBO AwardNAACP Image Award and two Soul Train Music Awards.


Jackie Appiah Agyemang, born December 5, 1983, becomes a Ghanaian actress. For her work as an actress she has received several awards and nominations


Lauren Nicole London, born December 5, 1984, in Los Angeles, California, becomes an American film actress, model, television personality and occasional television actress. Beginning her career in music videos and later transitioning into film and television acting, London earned recognition for her performance in the 2006 film “ATL,”as well as the television shows “90210,” “Entourage,” and as Kiera Whitaker on the BET Comedy-drama “The Game.”

 Joshua “Josh” Smith, born December 5, 1985, in College Park, Georgia, becomes a professional basketball player for the Atlanta Hawks. Tina Alexandria Charles, born December 5, 1988, becomes an American women’s basketball player with the New York Liberty of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). 

Ross Elliot Bagley, born December 5, 1988, in Los Angeles, California, becomes an actor. Most popular as a child actor during the middle 1990s, Bagley is best known for his role as Nicholas “Nicky” Banks on the NBC sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” in which role he debuted in 1994 and acted out from 1994 to 1996. Bagley also portrayed Buckwheat in the 1994 feature film adaptation of “The Little Rascals,” and, along with Fresh Prince star Will Smith (born September 25, 1968), appeared in the 1996 movie “Independence Day.” In 2005, Ross enrolled in California State University at Northridge, where he sought a degree in cinema and television arts.

Anthony Joran Martial, born December 5, 1995, in Maasy Essonne, France, becomes a French professional footballer who plays as a forward for Premier League club Manchester United and the France national team.  Emma C. Clement, born December 6, 1874, in Providence, Rhode Island (died December 26, 1952), becomes American Mother-of-the-Year, in 1946, by the American Mothers Committee of the Golden Rule Foundation of New York; the first black woman so honored. Clement accepted the award “in the name of millions of Negroes in the United States and in the name of all mothers.”(From: Notable Black American Women, Book II, page 103) William Stanley Braithwaite, born December 6, 1878, in Boston, Massachusetts, (died June 8, 1962), becomes one of the most significant African American literary figures of the first half of the twentieth century, and a recipient of the prestigious Spingarn Medal in 1918. (From: Notable African American Men and Dictionary of Black Literature, page 7)

Joel Augustus Rogers, born December 6, 1883, in Negril, Jamaica (died March 26, 1966), becomes a pioneer historian, writer and journalist. He sought to recover the Black African presence excluded, ignored or misrepresented by most white historians. He devoted almost 50 years of his life to corrective research and revisionary scholarship. (From: Notable Black American Men, page 1029) Theodore K. Lawless, born December 6, 1892, in Thibodeaux, Louisiana (died May 1, 1971), becomes a physician and philanthropist who gained wide recognition for his research into the treatment and cure for syphilis, leprosy, and a host of other skin diseases. He received the Spingarn Medal, in 1954 for his work on skin disease. (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 11, and Timelines of African American History, page 224)


Anne Wiggins Brown, born December 6, 1912 or 1915, in Baltimore, Maryland (died March 13, 2009), becomes an actress; the original Bess in George Gershwin’s “Porgy & Bess.”


Jimmy Bivins, born December 6, 1919, in Dry Branch, Georgia (died July 4, 2012), becomes
a well-known heavyweight boxer who fought out of the city of Cleveland, Ohio throughout his boxing career. During his active boxing years, Bivins had 112 total fights, 86 wins (31 by KO), 25 losses, and 1 draw. Bivins also beat eight of the eleven world champions he faced. In 1999, Bivins received induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1999. He was also the one-time husband of Dollree Mapp, the subject of prominent Supreme Court case regarding the rights of search and seizures.

Jimmy Smith, born December 6, 1928, in Norristown, Pennsylvania, becomes a blues musician hailed as one of the finest jazz masters of the Hammond B-3 organ. (From: Soul Vibrations, Astrology for African Americans, page 196 and Contemporary Musicians, Vol. 30)

Akasha Gloria Hull, born December 6, 1944, in Shreveport, Louisiana, becomes a poet, educator, writer, and critic whose work in African-American literature and as a Black feminist activist has helped shape Women’s Studies. As one of the architects of Black Women’s Studies, her scholarship and activism has increased the prestige, legitimacy, respect, and popularity of feminism and African-American studies. Dr. Hull has been a professor of women’s studies and literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz, the University of Delaware, and the University of the West Indies, Mona, in Kingston, Jamaica. She has published four books, a monograph, three edited collections, over twenty articles in peer-reviewed professional journals, numerous chapters in a dozen volumes, fifteen book reviews, poems in more than thirty magazines and anthologies, and two short stories. Her first novel, Neicy, is due for release in late 2012.

Willie Hutch, born Willie McKinley Hutchison, December 6, 1944, in Los Angeles, California (died September 19, 2005) becomes singersongwriterrecord producer and recording artist for the Motown record label during the 1970s and 1980s. He joined a doo-wop group, The Ambassadors, as a teenager. After graduating from Booker T. Washington High, Hutch shortened his last name as he started his music career in 1964 on the Soul City label with the song, “Love Has Put Me Down.” Moving to Los Angeles, his music eventually caught the eye of the mentor for pop/soul quintet The 5th Dimension, and he soon began writing, producing, and arranging songs for the group. In 1969, he signed with RCA Records and put out two albums before he being spotted by Motown producer Hal Davis, who wanted lyrics to his musical composition “I’ll Be There,” for The Jackson 5. The group recorded the song the next morning after Hutch received the call. Motown CEO Berry Gordy signed Hutch to be a staff writer, arranger, producer, and musician shortly there afterward. Hutch’s later collaborations would be with the Jackson 5 and their front man Michael JacksonSmokey Robinson, the newly rechristened Miracles and Marvin Gaye. In 1973, Hutch started recording albums for Motown, releasing the Fully Exposed album that year. That same year, Hutch recorded and produced the soundtrack to the blaxploitation film, “The Mack” Hutch would have several R&B hits during this period, including “Brother’s Gonna Work It Out” and “Slick” and recorded the soundtrack for “Foxy Brown.” Hutch would record at least six albums for Motown, peaking with 1975’s “Love Power,” which reached number forty-one on the Billboard Hot 100 before leaving the label in 1977 for Norman Whitfield‘s Whitfield Records. Hutch returned to Motown in 1982 where he scored the disco hit, “In and Out,” that same year and recorded a song for the film “The Last Dragon,” in 1985. Hutch left Motown again by the end of the decade and by 1994 had moved back to Dallas. His manager, Anthony Voyce, said of Hutch: “I’ve never met a more generous and caring person.”

Ron Kenoly, born December 6, 1944, in CoffeyvilleKansas becomes a gospel singer and Christian worship leaderwhose express mission is “to create an environment for the manifest presence of God”. His musical style is one of jubilant praise and individual excellence on musical instruments. Although Ron himself does not play on any of his recordings, he leads comfortably with his voice and is always backed up by a team of world class musicians and a large choir. He holds several degrees, including a music degree from Alameda College, a Master of Divinity from Faith Bible College, and a Doctorate of Ministry in Sacred Music from Friends International Christian University. His music career began following time spent in the United States Air Force.[1] He originally a member of the group called Shades of Difference. His critical success came in 1992 when “Lift Him Up” became the fastest selling worship album to that point. “Welcome Home” also critically acclaimed, became a Billboard‘s “Top Indie Contemporary Christian music album” and winning a Gospel Music Association Dove Award for “Praise and Worship Album” in 1997. (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 45)


Tony Brown born December 6, 1945(year and place of birth not given in the source) becomes a radio personality and Internet website host. For more than 40 years, Tony Brown’s voice has been synonymous with the sounds of the night in the Delaware Valley. Tony’s career in radio began on Temple University’s WRTI in 1969, but his interest in radio actually began to develop around age 4. Tony performs on “Quiet Storm”, the theme song for his radio program that he co-wrote with Bert Willis and Philadelphia musicians Rob Arthurs and Rudy Gay. Tony’s well-ordered priorities are God; his wife Sunshine and their family; career; rest; leisure activities; more rest; and various hobbies and other interests. He credits his success and longevity in radio to God and his loyal listeners, “without whom the past 40+ years would not have been possible… I’d love to be on the radio for many more.” Read more:


Frankie Beverly, born Howard Beverly, December 6, 1946, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania becomes a musician, songwriter, music producer, and lead singer for the group known as Frankie Beverly and Maze, who started out singing gospel music in church as a school boy. He claimed that his first professional concert was a tour with The Silhouettes (famous for their 1958 hit single, “Get a Job“) at the age of twelve. As a teenager he formed The Blenders, a short-lived acappella, doo-wop group that were influenced by The Dells, The Moonglows, and The Del Vikings. After that outfit dissolved, he founded The Butlers, which would be the first group he recorded with in 1963. As time passed, they caught the attention of the record producer Kenny Gamble, who eventually released recordings by the group. It turned out that music performed by The Butlers did not fit into the “Philly Sound”, and after some heavy touring, the group relocated to California. The unit was re-christened as Raw Soul and caught the attention of a sister-in-law to Marvin Gaye. Gaye featured them as an opening act at his shows, and convinced Beverly to change the band’s name to Maze.

Thom Barry, born December 6 1950, in Cincinnati, Ohio, becomes an actor, notable for playing Detective Will Jeffries in “Cold Case,” from its first episode in 2003 until its cancellation in 2010. Barry is from Cleveland, and in the early 1980s he was a DJ in Cincinnati. He subsequently appeared in television advertisements, and has since developed a reputation as a character actor.

Gary Ward, born December 6, 1953, in Los Angeles, California, becomes professional baseball player for the Minnesota Twins, Texas Rangers, New York Yankees, and the Detroit Tigers. (From: Personal Baseball Card Collection and Who’s Who among African Americans, 16th Edition)

Eugene Wilde, born Ronald Eugene BroomfieldDecember 6, 1961, in West Palm Beach, Florida, and raised in Miami. He becomes R&B singer and songwriter, who had two #1 hits on the US R&B charts in the 1980s. He grew up as part of a family group, La Voyage, playing in local clubs. In the 1970s, the group became Tight Connection, and later known as Simplicious. Broomfield recorded an album with Curtom Records in 1979 as a member of Today, Tomorrow, Forever. On learning Broomfield’s middle name was Eugene, his manager insisted that he go by that name professionally; the last name was inspired by Broomfield seeing an advertisement for a New York club named Wildflower’s. In 1984, Eugene Wilde joined Philly World Records, and wrote and recorded his first hit, “Gotta Get You Home Tonight.” It rose to #1 on the US Hot R&B Hip Hop Songs chart, and also made #18 on the UK Singles Chart After a couple of less successful follow-ups, he hit #1 again a year later with “Don’t Say No Tonight.” He also had some lesser hits, including “Diana” (1986). His track “Personality” peaked at #34 in the UK Subsequent releases on the MCA label, solo and with the group Cabo Frio, (“I’ll Get Back To You,” 1987) were less successful.

Colin Salmon, born December 6, 1962, in Bethnal Green, London, England, the son of Sylvia Ivy Brudenell Salmon, a nurse. He becomes a British actor best known for playing Charles Robinson in three James Bond films and James “One” Shade in the Resident Evil film series. Salmon has been seen by television audiences as Walter Steele on the CW series “Arrow,” and General Coburn on “24: Live another Day,” a limited series based on Fox network’s hit TV series, “24.” He also played Mr. Sands on the CBS television series “Limitless.” He grew up in Luton and attended Ramridge Primary School and Ashcroft High School. On leaving school, Salmon became the drummer in the punk rock band the Friction which he formed along with three friends from Ashcroft High School. The band released a 7-inch EP, a live cassette, a cassette-EP and performed regularly around Luton in 1979 and 1980. Salmon also briefly worked with another band, the Tee Vees. He plays trumpet and has his own jazz quartet playing at venues such as the Dorchester Grill Room and at events such as the Cheltenham Jazz Festival.

Joyce Melissa “Meli’sa” Morgan, born December 6, 1964, in Queens, New York City, New York, becomes an American R&B/Soul singer–songwriter who had a string of urban contemporary and house music hits starting the mid–1980s through the mid–1990s. Morgan most notable songs includes her cover version of Prince’s “Do Me, Baby” (1985), “Do You Still Love Me” (1986) and “Still in Love with You” (1992). Morgan got her start in the music industry while singing with a church gospel choir called the Starlets of Corona. Morgan cites Chaka Khan as a major influence. Her initial chart entry was as the lead singer of the dance group, Shades of Love. They had a single entry on Billboard magazine’s Hot Dance Club Play chart in 1982, the #26 “Body to Body (Keep in Touch)”. This was re-popularized in 1994 by new remixes, “Body to Body (Keep in Touch)”, and reached number – 1 on the Hot Dance Club Play chart. That same year, music entrepreneur Jacques Fred Petrus asked her to join his newly created studio group, High Fashion, which featured Morgan and two other New York vocalists, Eric McClinton and Alyson Williams. High Fashion’s sole hit, “Feelin’ Lucky Lately”, reached #32 on the US Black Singles chart. In 1983 Morgan left, and was replaced in the group by the jazz vocalist, Marcella Allen. Morgan worked as a backing singer with Chaka Khan, Whitney Houston and Melba Moore. She had several solo hits on the U.S. dance chart as well, including “Still in Love with You,” which hit #3 in 1992.


Mike Green, born December 6, 1976, in Ruston, Louisiana, becomes a professional football player for the Chicago Bears. (From:

Kori Dickerson, born December 6, 1978, in Los Angeles, California becomes a professional football player for the Philadelphia Eagles. (From: Darrell Jackson, born December 6, 1978, in Dayton, Ohio, becomes a professional football player for the Seattle Seahawks. (From:

Laurent and Larry Bourgeois, born December 6, 1988, in Sarcelles, a commune in the northern suburbs of Paris, France, both become dancers, choreographers, and models. Professionally known as “The Les Twins,” Laurent & Larry Bourgeois, are often referred to by their respective nicknames, “Lil Beast” and “Ca Blaze”, they are recognized internationally for their talents in new style hip hop dancing. The self-taught dance duo became the darlings of the French audience in 2008 as finalists on the popular television show “Incroyable Talent.” They quickly rose to prominence in the United States after a video of their performance on the San Diego leg of the 2010 World of Dance tour went viral on YouTube, with over 32 million views as of February 9, 2016. In 2011 they won the Hip-hop New Style division of the prestigious international street dance competition Juste Debout. Les Twins have been featured dancers for various music artists, including Beyonce, Meghan Trainor and Missy Elloptt. Standing at 6’4″ (193 cm) tall, the brothers have modeled for French haute couture fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier and appeared in many high-profile, commercial advertising campaigns.

James Sumner Lee, born December 7, 1903, in Lancaster, South Carolina (died – ), becomes a scientist, bacteriologist who from 1930 to 1937, served as Professor of Biology at Shaw University and made Professor and Head of the Department of Bacteriology at North Carolina College, Durham, North Carolina in 1938. His area of research focused on bacterial cytology and cytochemistry. Willie B. Barrow, born December 7, 1924, in Burton, Texas, become a religious leader, and an official with Operation PUSH; known as “Little Warrior.” (From: Soul Vibrations, Astrology for African Americans, page 196 and Notable Black American Comer Cottrell, born December 7, 1931, in Mobile, Alabama, become a self-made king of Black beauty aides. In 1988, he started the Pro-Line Corporation with almost no funds. His hair care products included curly kits, kiddie kits and perm repair, to name a few. He also became a co-owner of the Texas Rangers, a major league baseball team. (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 11)

Carole Simpson, born December 7, 1940, in Miami, Florida, becomes the first Black woman to anchor a major newscast during the weekdays, when she substituted for Peter Jennings, August 9 (the day Whitney Houston celebrates her birthday), 1989. She became a broadcast journalist, the first Black woman to work as a television newsperson, in Chicago. Black Firsts, Second Edition, page 424, indicates her place of birth to be Miami, Florida. Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 30, and Notable Black American Women, Book 1, claim her birthplace to be Chicago, Illinois. (From: Soul Vibrations, Astrology for African Americans, page 196, Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 30, Notable Black American Women, Book 1, and Black Firsts, Second Edition, page 424) Melba Pattillo Beals, born December 7, 1941, in Little Rock, Arkansas, becomes an activist and journalist; a member of the Little Rock Nine, a group of African-American students who were the first to integrate Central High in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Reginald Lewis, born December 7, 1942, in Baltimore, Maryland (died January 13, 1993), becomes a business executive, serving as president and C.E.O. of TLC Beatrice International, the largest African American-owned business in 1989. (From: )

Johnny Mars, born December 7, 1942, in Laurens, South Carolina, becomes a musician, an electric blues harmonica player, singer and songwriter, who over a long career, worked with Magic Sam, Earl Hooker, B. B. King, Jesse Fuller, Spencer Davis, Ian Gillan, Do-Re-Mi, Bananarama and Michael Roach. At the age of nine, he received his first harmonica. (From: Dictionary of Black Literature, page 347)


Wilton Gregory, born December 7, 1947, in Chicago, Illinois, becomes a Catholic bishop, the Seventh Bishop of Belleville, Illinois, in 1994. In 2001, he became President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. On Dec. 9, 2004, Pope John Paul II appointed Bishop Gregory as the sixth archbishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, installed on Jan. 17, 2005. Archbishop Gregory contributes a leading role in the U.S. church. In Nov. 2001, chosen to serve as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, he served the next three years as vice president, under Bishop Joseph Fiorenza of the Diocese of Galveston-Houston. During his tenure in office, the crisis of sex abuse by Catholic clergy escalated, and under his leadership, the bishops implemented the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.” (From: African American Registry) Pearl Cleage Lomax, born December 7, 1948, in Springfield, Massachusetts, becomes a playwright and poet. (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 17)

Steve Howard, born December 7, 1963, in Oakland, California, becomes a professional baseball player for the Oakland Athletics. (From: Personal Baseball Card Collection) Shane Mack, born December 7, 1963, in Los Angeles, California, becomes a professional baseball player for the Minnesota Twins. (From: Personal Baseball Card Collection)

Christian Oyakhilome, born December 7, 1963, (known popularly as “Pastor Chris“) is a Nigerian minister who is the founding president of Believers’ LoveWorld Incorporated also known Chris Oyakhilome (also known as “Pastor Chris”) is a Nigerian Christian minister who is the founding president of Believers’ LoveWorld Incorporated, also known as Christ Embassy, a Bible-based Christian ministry headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria. His ministry runs several arms including the Healing School, Rhapsody of Realities, LoveWorld Books, and an NGO called the Innercity Missions for Children as well as three Christian television channels: LoveWorld TVLoveWorld SAT and LoveWorld Plus. Oyakhilome’s television programs feature what are claimed to be faith healings and miracles, in large meetings which his ministry organizes in several countries, with gatherings of over 2.5 million people in a single night’s event.

 Barbara Weathers, born December 7, 1963, in Greensboro, North Carolina, becomes an R&B singer, member of the group Atlantic Star. (From:  and All Music Guide,) Jeffrey Wright, born December 7, 1965, in Washington, DC, becomes an actor, quite possibly the most underrated and underexposed actor of his caliber and generation, Wright’s undeniable talent and ability to successfully bring to life any role he undertakes is on a par with the most praised and revered A-list actors in the business. Born and raised in Washington DC, Wright graduated from the prestigious Amherst College in 1987. Although he studied Political Science while at Amherst, Wright left the school with something that would prove to be more valuable: a love for acting. Shortly after graduating, he won an acting scholarship to NYU, but dropped out after only two months to pursue acting full time. With roles in 1990’s Presumed Innocent, and the Broadway production of Angels in America, (in which he won a well deserved Tony award), within a relatively short time Wright was able to show off his exceptional talent and ability on both stage and screen alike. His first major on-screen performance came in 1996 in the Julian Schnabel directed film Basquiat. Wright’s gave a harrowing performance as the late painter Jean Michele Basquiat, critically acclaimed for its haunting accuracy and raw emotion. With a Tony, a Golden Globe, and an AFI award under his belt, the intensity of Wright’s skill has been proven over and over again (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 54)

Patrice O’Neal, born December 7, 1969, in Roxbury, Boston, Massachusetts (died November 28, 2011), becomes a stand-up comedian, radio personality, and actor known for his confrontational style, often times he would play couples against each other. Primarily a stand-up comic, O’Neal made his Def Comedy Jam debut in 2007. Later, he performed on Late Night with Conan O’Brien and The Late Show with David Letterman.


Kevin Dogins, born December 7, 1972, in Eagle Lake, Texas, becomes a professional football player for the Philadelphia Eagles. (From:

Terrell Eldorado Owens, born December 7, 1973, in Alexander City, Alabama, becomes a professional football player for the San Francisco 49ers. (From:

Al Harris, born December 7, 1974, in Pompano Beach, Florida, becomes a professional football player for the Green Bay Packers. (From: Idrees Bashir, born December 7, 1978, in Decatur, Georgia, becomes a professional football player for the Indianapolis Colts. (From: )

Fabian Davis, born December 7, 1978, in Greenville, South Carolina, becomes a professional football player for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (From: )

Shaunzinski Gortman, born December 7, 1979, in Columbia, South Carolina, becomes a professional basketball player for the Minnesota Lynx. (From: , an Internet sports source)

Walter Young, born December 7, 1979, in Chicago Heights, Illinois, becomes a professional football player for the Carolina Panthers. (From: , an Internet sports source)

Henry Hugh Proctor, born December 8, 1868, near Fayetteville, Tennessee (died in 1933), becomes minister of the First Congregational Church in Atlanta, the second oldest black Congregational church in the United States. He was also a noted author and lecturer. Proctor’s parents were former slaves who dug ditches and preached sermons to pay for their son’s degree from Fisk University, graduating in 1891. In 1894, he received a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Yale University and ordained into the Congregational ministry. Proctor became pastor of the First Congregational Church in Atlanta. In 1903, Proctor joined George Washington Henderson, president of Straight University, a black college in New Orleans, to found the National Convention of Congregational Workers among Colored People, and Proctor became its first president. In 1904, Clark University awarded Proctor a Doctor of Divinity degree. After the Atlanta Race Riot in 1906, Proctor and a white attorney worked together to quell remaining tensions and formed the Interracial Committee of Atlanta. (From: Twentieth Century Negro Literature)

Sarah Williamson, born December 8, 1899 (died in 1986), in Norfolk, Virginia, becomes an educator and missionary to Liberia, Africa. (From: African American Registry and Black Women in America, Book 2, page 1268)

Wilfredo Óscar de la Concepción Lam y Castilla, better known as Wifredo Lam, born December 8, 1902, in Sagua la Grande (died September 11, 1982, in Paris, France), becomes a Cuban artist who sought to portray and revive the enduring Afro-Cuban spirit and culture. Inspired by and in contact with some of the most renowned artists of the 20th century, Lam melded his influences and created a unique style, ultimately characterized by the prominence of hybrid figures. Though he was predominantly a painter, he also worked with sculpture, ceramics and printmaking in his later life. Born of mixed-race ancestry: his father, Yam Lam, a Chinese immigrant and his mother, the former Ana Serafina Castilla, born to a Congolese former slave mother and a Cuban mulatto father, in Sagua La Grande, Lam surrounded by many people of African descent; his family, like many others, practiced Catholicism alongside their African traditions. Through his godmother, Matonica Wilson, a Santeria priestess locally celebrated as a healer and sorceress, he was exposed to rites of the African orishas. His contact with African celebrations and spiritual practices proved to be his largest artistic influence.


Cleo Patra Brown, born December 8, 1909, in Meridian, Mississippi, died April 15, 1996 or 1995. She became a jazz and gospel music pianist and singer. Born into a musical household, Cleo started singing in her father’s church as a youngster. Following the family move to Chicago in 1919, she began formal studies on the piano. By the early ’20s, she was working professionally in clubs and tent shows as well as broadcasting live with her own regular radio show. By the early ’30s, she was well-established and for the next two decades she worked almost non-stop, performing in cities across the United States and holding forth regularly in clubs such as New York’s Three Deuces. Opinions vary widely as to her talents, but there is no doubt that she was a great communicator. In fact, some listeners may wind up wishing they had a more personal relationship with Brown once they have heard such personal messages as “Mama Don’t Want No Peas and Rice and Coconut Oil,” or better yet “The Stuff Is Here and It’s Mellow.”  By the late ’40s, the rowdy content of her music was beginning to bother her. Brown was going through a religious experience that made singing about the usual tawdry classic blues themes a bit unsettling. She retired from music in 1953 and took up nursing. This was a short-lived career, winding up in a decision to return to music, but only of the religious variety. It was pianist Marion McPartland, a fine player as well as the host of the wonderful National Public Radio show Piano Jazz that came upon Brown living in the Denver, CO, area under not much of a professional spotlight. She was persuaded to visit New York in order to tape an appearance for “Piano Jazz,” resulting in a superb article on her by jazz writer Whitney Balliett, eventually reprinted in his book “American Singers.”A new spate of recordings and performances followed, the final chapters of a legend that had gone from the lore of the viper to the gospel, and back again. Dave Brubeck’s “Sweet Cleo Brown” is a charming tribute to her life’s work.

Emmanuel McDonald Bailey, born December 8, 1920, in Williamsville, Trinidad, becomes a 1952 Olympic bronze medalist in the 100-meter run. (From: Black Olympian Medalists, page 6) Sammy Davis, Jr., born December 8, 1925, in New York City, New York (died May 16, 1990), becomes a nationally recognized entertainer. Known as “The Ambassador of Goodwill, in 1969, he became the first Black entertainer to sleep in the White House. He began his career in entertainment at the age of three, performing in vaudeville with his father, Sam, Sr., and his uncle. (From: Soul Vibrations, Astrology for African Americans, page 196, Black Firsts, Second Edition, page 483-484, and Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 18) Hank Thompson, born December 8, 1925, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (September 30, 1969), becomes a professional baseball player; the third Negro League player to play in the Major Leagues. Thompson became the first Black to play in the National and American baseball leagues. He played eight seasons with the Giants. (From: African American Registry)

Jimmy Smith, born December 8, 1928, in Norristown, Pennsylvania, becomes a jazz musician, playing the Hammond organ. (From: African American Registry and All Music Guide)

Flip Wilson, born Clerow Wilson, the 10th of 18 children, December 8, 1933, in Jersey City, New Jersey (died November 25, 1998), becomes a comedian and TV host of “The Flip Wilson Show,” in 1970. He popularized the phrase “The devil made me do it.” (From: Soul Vibrations, Astrology for African Americans, page 196, Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 21, and Encyclopedia of Black America, page 860)

Jerry Butler, born December 8, 1939, in Sunflower, Mississippi, becomes an R&B singer, who began his music career as member of the famed soul group called The Impressions. He gained the title “The Iceman,” from two albums he recorded in the 1960s, “Ice on Ice,” and “The Iceman Cometh.” (From: All Music Guide, an Internet source and Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 26) Melba Tolliver, born December 8, 1939, in Rome, Georgia, becomes a WABC-TV news reporter. In 1971, while assigned to cover the White House wedding of Tricia Nixon, she changed her straightened hairstyle to the natural look, an afro, becoming the first Black woman reporting the news, to wear her hair that way. ABC-TV takes Tolliver off television for wearing the Afro. (From:, Notable Black American women, Book 2, and Black Firsts, 2nd Edition, page 70)

Michele Clark, born December 8, 1941, in Gary, Indiana, (some sources indicate her birth took place June 2, 1943) (died December 8, 1972), becomes a journalist who in 1972, graduated from a new program at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism created to recruit, train, and place minority journalists. Upon graduating, she began work as a reporter for WBBM-TV, a CBS owned station in Chicago. In July of 1972, she became a CBS News Correspondent. Her major responsibilities involved coverage of the 1972 presidential primaries. Killed on December 8, 1972, in a plane crash at Chicago’s Midway Airport at the early age of 29, the Summer Program in Broadcast and Print Journalism for Members of Minority Groups at Columbia University, from which Michele Clark graduated, named in honor of her memory. In 2002, Clark became a high school with the addition of the first 9th grade class, and now serves students in grades 6 – 12. The Michele Clark Academic Preparatory Magnet High School actively develops all students to become lifelong learners who are prepared to enter STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields and contribute to a dynamic, global society. The school is located in Chicago, Illinois. (From: Notable Black American Women, Book II, page 92)

Yvette Moyo, born on December 8, 1953 in Chicago, Illinois, becomes an author, hired at the National Publication Sales Agency to work with the original Blackbook as a door-to-door sales woman, received promotion to account executive with the Blackbook and Dollars & Sense magazine, and eventually promoted to the position of senior vice president of sales and marketing. She remained at the magazine handling branding, national events, and advertising until 1988 when she married Karega Kofi Moyo. They co-founded the marketing firm, Resource Associates International, Ltd. (RAI) and launched Real Men Cook for Charity, an annual Father’s Day celebration in 1990. In 1992, Moyo launched the Marketing Opportunities in Business & Entertainment (MOBE) advanced marketing symposium series. In November of 2001, MOBE worked co-hosted a White House briefing on African American Business and Technology. Following the success of Real Men Cook for Charities in the 1990s, their Father’s Day events held in thirteen cities and featured on network TV and in major national publications. These events generated over one $1 million for various nonprofits. Co-founder of the year-round nonprofit organization Real Men Charities, Inc. in 2003, Moyo served as Executive Director until 2013.  (From: LINCC Library Information Network, Biography Resource Center)

Nathan Harrell East, born December 8, 1955, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, becomes a jazz, R&B and rock bass player and vocalist. East holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from the University of California, San Diego (1978). He is a member of smooth jazz quartet Fourplay and has recorded performed and co-written songs with performers such as Eric Clapton, Joe Satriani, Phil Collins, Stevie Wonder, Toto and Herbie Hancock.


Teresa Weatherspoon, born December 8, 1965, in Pineland, Texas, becomes a professional basketball player for the New York Liberty. (From: )


David Harewood, born December 8, 1965, in Birmingham, England, becomes an actor very well-known for his television appearances on “The Vice,” “Fat Friends” and his movie roles in “Blood Diamond” and “The Merchant of Venice.” He began his professional acting career in 1990. Though admittedly, an indifferent student at Washwood Heath Comprehensive School, Harewood became a talented mimic and the unofficial class clown. His career ambitions seemed dim at this point, and he imagined that if he would be able to get a job after leaving school at all, it would be in one of the nearby factories. But his English teacher suggested that he might try acting, and though Harewood’s parents scoffed at the idea, he earned a place in a six-week course at the Britain’s prestigious National Youth Theatre. (From: and Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 52)

Wendell Edward Pierce, born December 8 1966, in New Orleans, Louisiana, becomes an actor, best known for his work in dramas, including his portrayals of Detective Bunk Moreland in “The Wire,” trombonist Antoine Batiste in “Treme” and “Michael Davenport” in Waiting to Exhale.

 Victor Green, born December 8, 1969, in Americus, Georgia, becomes a professional football player for the New Orleans Saints. (From:  and Who’s Who among African Americans, 16th Edition)

Corey Bradford, born December 8, 1975, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, becomes a professional football player for the Houston Texans. (From:

Autry Denson, born December 8, 1976, in Lauderhill, Florida, becomes a professional football player, the position of running back for four seasons for the Miami Dolphins, the Indianapolis Colts, and the Chicago Bears.

 Onterrio Smith, born December 8, 1980, in Sacramento, California, becomes a professional football player for the Minnesota Vikings. (From:

Onika Tanya Maraj, known by her stage name Nicki Minaj, born December 8, 1982, in St. James, a district of Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, (known as “the city that never sleeps” because of 24-hour activities there), becomes a Trinidadian-born American rapper, singer, songwriter, actress, and television personality.

 Nicki Minaj, born Onika Tanya Maraj, December 8, 1982, in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago, becomes a Trinidadian-born American rapper, singer-songwriter, voice actress and television personality. When she was five years old, she moved to the New York City borough of Queens. Minaj trained as an actress before she released three mix-tapes between 2007 and 2009 and signed to Young Money Entertainment. Minaj’s debut studio album, “Pink Friday” (2010), peaked at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 and was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) a month after its release. Minaj became the first female solo artist to have seven singles on the Billboard Hot 100 at the same time. Her seventh single, “Super Bass” has been certified quadruple-platinum by the RIAA, and has sold more than four million copies, becoming one of the best selling singles in the United States. 

Chrisette Michele Payne, born December 8, 1982, in Central Islip, New York, known professionally as Chrisette Michele, becomes an American R&B and soul singer-songwriter. She was signed to Motown Records, but left in order to sign herself under her own label Rich Hipster. She won a Grammy Award for Best Urban/Alternative Performance in 2009 for her song “Be OK”. Her father was a sociologist and her mother a psychologist. Michele led gospel choirs in high school. She attended Five Towns College in Dix Hills, New York, and graduated with a vocal performance degree.


Dwight Howard, born December 8, 1985, in Atlanta, Georgia, becomes a professional basketball player for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association. (Information and his picture is in ESPN magazine 05/28/2012, page 34)

Jermaine Taylor, born December 8, 1986, in Tavares, Florida, becomes a professional basketball player, in the position of shooting guard with the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League. Taylor was a starting guard for the University of Central Florida basketball team.


Raheem Shaquille Sterling, born December 8, 1994, in Kingston, Jamaica, becomes an English professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Manchester City and the England national team.

Tylen Jacob Williams, born December 8, 2001, in Westchester County, New York and raised in Yonkers with his older brothers Tyler and Tyrel, becomes an actor who began his acting career when he was still an infant. Before fame, when he was still a baby, he joined the main cast of the children’s television series Sesame Street. He grew up in the New York City area as the son of a New York Police Department officer and a minister and vocalist mother. His two older brothers, Tyler and Tyrel have both had successful acting careers. In 2013, he began shooting Instant Mom, a series starring actress Tia Mowry. His older brother Tyler James Williams (born in 1992) was the star of the popular sitcom Everybody Hates Chris. Tylen also guest starred in an episode of Everybody Hates Chris, along with his brother.

St. Martin de Porres, born December 9, 1579, in Lima, Peru, (died in 1639), the illegitimate son of a Spanish nobleman and a young freed Black save, called Saint Martin of Charity and the Saint of the Broom, for his devotion to his work, no matter how menial. He grows up from poverty to become the first Black saint in the Americas. De Porres spent part of his youth with a surgeon-barber, where he learned how to care for the sick. At the age of eleven, he became a servant in the Dominican priory. He held great devotion to the Eucharist, venerated from the day of his death. (From: African American Registry) Joe Chandler Harris, born December 9, 1848, in Eatonton, Georgia (died in 1908), becomes a famous writer, who wrote “Uncle Remus,” stories about animals that act like humans, such as Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox and Brer Bear. (From: African American Registry, an Internet source)

Carter G. Woodson, born December 9, 1875, in New Canton, Buckingham (died April 3, 1950), Virginia, becomes a historian, educator, and author, known as the “Father of Black History.” He founded Negro History Week in 1926, now called Black History Month. (From: Soul Vibrations, Astrology for African Americans, page 196, Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 2, and Encyclopedia of Black America, page 867-868) H. G. (Herbert George) de Lisser, born December 9, 1878 in Falmouth, Jamaica (died May 19, 1944), becomes a writer who achieved great eminence in Jamaica. His career as a journalist lasted from 1903 to 1944. (From: Dictionary of Literary Biography, page 144 and Contemporary Authors Online) Tim Moore, born Harry Roscoe Moore, December 9, 1887, in Rock Island, Illinois (died December 13, 1958), becomes a vaudevillian and comic actor of the first half of the 20th century who gained his greatest recognition in the starring role of George “Kingfish” Stevens in the CBS television series “Amos ‘n’ Andy”. He proudly stated, “I’ve made it a point never to tell a joke on stage that I couldn’t tell in front of my mother.” Cleveland Leigh “Cleve” Abbott, born one of seven children, December 9, 1892, in Yankton, South Dakota, (died April 14, 1955, in Tuskegee, Alabama), becomes a professional football player, coach and educator. After serving in Europe in World War I, Abbott accepted a position as professor and coach at Tuskegee. Abbott became the eighth head football coach for the Tuskegee University Golden Tigers located in Tuskegee, Alabama. He held that position for thirty-two seasons, from 1923 until 1954. His coaching record at Tuskegee of 202 wins, 97 losses, and 27 ties, as of the conclusion of the 2007 season, ranked Abbott first at Tuskegee in total wins and fifth at Tuskegee in winning percentage (.661).

J”Speedy” L. C. Higgins, born December 9, 1913, in Fort Smith, Arkansas (died in 1999), becomes a self-taught tap dancer and musician, playing the drums. (From: African American Registry) Samuel Washington Allen, born December 9, 1917 (also known by Paul Vesey), in Columbus, Ohio, becomes a poet and educator who taught at Boston University and Tuskegee Institute and Rutgers University. Allen’s poems were first published by Richard Wright in the journal, Présence Africaine, and his poetry is today found in many anthologies.

Roy DeCarava, born December 9, 1919, in Harlem, New York, (died October 27, 2009) becomes a photographer, printmaker and painter who became the first African American photographer awarded a Guggenheim fellowship. (From: African American Registry, an Internet source, Timelines of African American History, page 157, and Notable Black American Men) Redd Foxx, born John Elroy Sanford, December 9, 1922, in St. Louis, Missouri, (died Oct. 11, 1991), becomes a comedian, actor, and TV sitcom personality, starring as Fred Sanford, in “Sanford and Son.” (From: Soul Vibrations, Astrology for African Americans, page 196, Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 2, Encyclopedia of Black America, page 392)

 Lorenzo Wright, born December 9, 1926, in Detroit, Michigan, becomes a 1948 Olympic gold medalist in the 4×100-meter relay. (From: Black Olympian Medalists, page 127) Jessie Hill, born December 9, 1932 (died Sept. 17, 1996), in New Orleans, Louisiana, becomes an R&B and Southern soul singer and songwriter, who recorded the tune “Oop Poo Pah Doo,” in 1960. (From: All Music Guide, an Internet source and Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 13) Donald Toussaint L’ Ouverture Byrd, born December 9, 1932, in Detroit, Michigan, becomes an educator and noted musician, playing the trumpet and flugelhorn. (From: All Music Guide and Almanac of Famous People, 7th Edition)

Anna Diggs-Taylor, born Anna K. Johnston, on December 9, 1932, in Washington, D.C., becomes a federal judge appointed by President Jimmy Carter, in 1979, becoming the first African American woman in Michigan awarded such a judgeship. (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 20)

Junior Wells, born Amos Blackmore, December 9, 1934, in Memphis, Tennessee (died January 15, 1998), becomes an R&B singer and musician. He played the harmonica. (From: Soul Vibrations, Astrology for African Americans, page 196 and Contemporary Musicians, Vol. 17)

Patricia Stephens Due, born December 9, 1939, in Quincy, Florida (died February 7, 2012), becomes one of the leading African-American civil rights activists in the United States. Along with her sister Priscilla and others trained in nonviolent protest by CORE, Due spent 49 days in the nation’s first jail-in, refusing to pay a fine for sitting in a Woolworth’s “White only” lunch counter in Tallahassee, Florida in 1960. Her eyes damaged by tear gas used by police on students marching to protest such arrests, she wore dark glasses the rest of her life. She served in many leadership roles in CORE and the NAACP, fighting against segregated stores, buses, theaters, schools, restaurants, and hotels, protesting unjust laws, and leading one of the most dangerous voter registration efforts in the country in northern Florida in the 1960s. With her daughter, Tananarive, Due wrote Freedom in the Family: a Mother-Daughter Memoir of the Fight for Civil Rights, documenting the struggle she participated in, initially as a student at Florida A&M University, and later working for civil rights organizations and Florida communities, sometimes in partnership with her husband, civil rights attorney John D. Due, Jr.

 Sammy Strain, born December 9, 1940, in Brooklyn, New York, becomes an R&B singer, a member of the group Little Anthony and the Imperials. He sang with the group, the O’jay’s in the 1970’s, but returned to the Imperials in 1992.

Joan Armatrading, born December 9, 1950, in Basseterre (Caribbean Islands), St. Kitts, West Indies, becomes a British singer, musician and songwriter. (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 32, and Rock on the Net) Michael Dorn, born December 9, 1952, in Luling, Texas, becomes an actor, most remember for his role as “Worf,” on the Star Trek series.

Tina Allen, born December 9, 1955, in Hempstead, New York, becomes a noted sculptor of monumental memorable statues of Africans and African Americans. Her father, Gordon “Specs” Powell, a studio percussionist for CBS Records, became the first African American musician to play in the bands that provided live music for the popular Ed Sullivan Show and the Jackie Gleason Show. (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 22)

Bob Baldwin, born December 9, 1960, in Mt. Vernon, New York, becomes a contemporary jazz pianist, music composer, author, and producer. Baldwin learned music from his father, Robert Baldwin, Sr. Baldwin’s recording career started in 1983. He has earned five SESAC Music awards, initially for his 2002–2003 airplay of “The Way She Looked at Me,” followed by one for his 2008 airplay on , one in 2010 for his “Never Can Say Goodbye: A Tribute to Michael Jackson,” and one in 2011 for NewUrbanJazz.com2 / Re-Vibe, and one for his album Twenty. His 2015 release, “MelloWonder: Songs in the Key of Stevie”, which honors Stevie Wonder, debuted at No. 16 on the Billboard Overall Jazz Chart. In 1987, Sony founded the Sony Innovator’s Awards, an annual ceremony to award aspiring Afro-American artists who have shown outstanding talent in music and the visual arts. In his opening speech at the first ceremony held in 1988, music producer Quincy Jones stated that it was encouraging that a large firm like Sony was providing Afro-American artists a chance to be introduced to the entire nation. Baldwin was awarded the Sony Innovators Award in 1989 selected by Roberta Flack

Juan Samuel, born December 9, 1960, in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic, becomes a professional baseball player for the Brooklyn Dodgers. (From: Personal Baseball Card Collection) “Canibus,” born Germaine Williams, December 9, 1974, in Jamaica, becomes a musician and rapper. (From: Rock on the Net and All Music Guide) Daylon McCutcheon, born December 9, 1976, in Los Angeles, California, becomes a professional football player for the Cleveland Browns. (From:

Andrew Davison, born December 9, 1979, in Detroit, Michigan, becomes a professional football player for the Dallas Cowboys. (From:

James Lafayette, born James Armistead, a slave, on December 10, 1748, in New Kent County, Virginia, (died August 9, 1830), becomes a soldier attached to General Lafayette’s camp in the Revolutionary Army at Williamsburg, Virginia, where he acted as courier and double agent. African American Registry indicates Lafayette’s birth as December 10, 1748, while the Encyclopedia of Black America recalls his birth year as 1760 and death in 1832. (From: African American Registry and Encyclopedia of Black America, page 115) Edwin C. Berry, born December 10, 1854, in Athens, Ohio (died in 1931), called “The Black Horatio Algiers,” becomes an innovator in the hotel industry. In 1878, he began with a restaurant, and in 1892, built a 20-room hotel on the adjoining property of the restaurant. He eventually expanded the hotel to 55 rooms, and became the most successful small city hotel in the United States. Berry became the first hotelkeeper known to provide each room with a clothes closet, and amenities such as needle, thread and cologne. (From: African American Registry and African American Desk Reference, page 265) Milton B. Allen, born December 10, 1917, in Baltimore, Maryland (died February 12, 2003), becomes an attorney and public official. He became State’s attorney for the city of Baltimore, in 1970, serving four terms. (From: Who’s Who among Black Americans, 6th Edition, page 22 and Encyclopedia of Black America, page 99)

Clarence Matthew Baker, born December 10, 1921, in Forsyth County, North Carolina, died August 11, 1959. He becomes an American comic book artist who drew the costumed crime fighter Phantom Lady, among many other characters. Baker was the first African American artist to work for the publication. He also worked for Fox Comics, Quality Comics and St. John Publications and is responsible for the redesign on comic book character, Phantom Lady.

  Eddie “Guitar” Slim Jones, born December 10, 1926, in Greenwood, Mississippi, died February 7,-1959, becomes a popular blues guitarist. Slim didn’t have long to make such an indelible impression. He turned up in New Orleans in 1950, influenced by the atomic guitar energy of Gatemouth Brown. But Slim’s ringing, distorted guitar tone and gospel-enriched vocal style were his alone. He debuted on wax in 1951 with a mediocre session for Imperial that barely hinted at what would soon follow. A 1952 date for Bullet produced the impassioned “Feelin’ Sad,” later covered by Ray Charles (who would arrange and play piano on Slim’s breakthrough hit the next year).With the emergence of the stunning “The Things That I Used to Do” on Art Rupe’s Specialty logo, Slim’s star rocketed to blazing ascendancy nationwide. Combining a swampy ambience with a churchy arrangement, the New Orleans-cut track was a monster hit, pacing the R&B charts for an amazing 14 weeks in 1954. The guitar wizard switched over to Atlantic Records in 1956. Gradually, his waxings became tamer, though “It Hurts to Love Someone” and “If I Should Lose You” summoned up the old fire. But Slim’s lifestyle was as wild as his guitar work. Excessive drinking and life in the fast lane took its inevitable toll over the years, and he died in 1959 at age 32. Only in recent years has his monumental influence on the blues lexicon begun to be fully recognized and appreciated. No 1950s blues guitarist even came close to equaling the flamboyant Guitar Slim in the showmanship department. Armed with an estimated 350 feet of cord between his axe and his amp, Slim would confidently stride onstage wearing a garishly hued suit of red, blue, or green with his hair usually dyed to match! It’s rare to find a blues guitarist hailing from Texas or Louisiana who doesn’t cite Slim as one of his principal influences; Buddy Guy, Earl King, Guitar Shorty, Albert Collins, Chick Willis, and plenty more have enthusiastically testified to Slim’s enduring sway. Incidentally, one of his sons bills himself as Guitar Slim, Jr. around the New Orleans circuit, his repertoire heavily peppered with his dad’s material.


William H. Alexander, born December 10, 1930, in Macon, Georgia, becomes an attorney, judge, and politician, serving as a legislator and member of the Georgia House of Representatives. (From: Who’s Who among Black Americans, 6th Edition, page 17 and Ebony Successful 1000) Ralph Tavares, born December 10, 1941 or 1948, in the Cape Verde Islands, becomes an R&B singer, who along with his four brothers formed the group called “Tavares.” In the popular movie “Saturday Night Fever,” the Bee Gees (a white singing group composed of brothers) wrote the song “More Than a Woman,” especially for Tavares. (From: All Music Guide and Rock on the Net)


Theodore “Teddy” Wilson December 10, 1943, in New York City (died July 21, 1991) was an American character actor best known for his recurring role as Sweet Daddy Williams on the CBS sitcom Good Times.


Walter Orange, born December 10 or December 9, 1946, in Florida, becomes an R&B singer; member of the group called “The Commodores.” indicates Orange’s birth date as December 9. All other sources listed below suggest his birth date to be December 10. Some sources give the birth year as 1947. (From: All Music Guide, , Soul Music A to Z, page 70)

Jessica Cleaves, born December 10, 1948, in Los Angeles, California, died May 2, 2014, becomes a singer and song writer; the lead vocalist for the group “Friends of Distinction” in the 1960s. During the 1970s, Cleaves performed and recorded with Earth, Wind & Fire. She later moved to Detroit where she joined forces with George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic for several recordings.

DJ Hollywood, born Anthony Holloway, December 10, 1954, in possibly Harlem, New York, becomes a radio personality who originally coined the term “hip hop.” (From: All Music Guide)

Michael Clarke Duncan, born December 10, 1957, in Chicago, Illinois (died September 3, 2012), becomes an actor known for the role “John Coffey,” in the 1998 movie, “The Green Mile,” for which he received an Academy and Golden Globe Award nominations. Duncan also played and portrayed other well-known supporting roles, such as: “Bear” in “Armageddon,” and “Attar” in Planet of the Apes (2001),

Mark Aguirre, born December 10, 1959, in Chicago, Illinois, becomes a professional basketball player for the Dallas Mavericks, in 1981 and becomes the first Maverick to participate in the All Star Game as reserve. (From: Who’s Who Among Black Americans, 1990/1991, page 10) Nia Peeples, born Virenia Gwendolyn Peeples, December 10, 1961, in Hollywood, California, becomes an R&B recording star and an actress who married R&B recording star, Howard Hewett. Her ancestry is of Filipino, Spanish, French, and German descent; Scottish, Irish, English, Native American, and Italian ancestry. (From: and All Music Guide) Timothy Christian Riley, born December 10, 1965, in Oakland, California, becomes an R&B singer, member of the trio Tony Toni Tone. (From: All Music Guide and Rock on the Net, Contemporary Musicians, Vo. 12 and

Mel Rojas, born December 10, 1966, in Haina, Dominican Republic, becomes professional baseball player for the Chicago Cubs and the Montreal Expos. (From: Personal Baseball Card Collection) Rob Davis, born December 10, 1968, in Washington, D.C., becomes a professional football player for the Green Bay Packers. (From:

Bryant Lamonica Stith, born December 10, 1970, in Emporia, Virginia, becomes a professional basketball player for the Denver Nuggets, in 1992. (From: Who’s Who among African Americans, 16th Edition) Ewanya Johnson,born December 10, 1972, in Detroit, Michigan, died June 24, 2013, better known as Puff Johnson, becomes a singer and song writer who emerged on the music scene with the singles “Forever More”, (produced by Narada Michael Walden; written by Walden, Puff Johnson and S.J. Dakota. It achieved its biggest success in New Zealand where it reached number 5, and “Over & Over” which appeared on the soundtrack of the film “The First Wives Club,” the single became a hit in Europe and Australia, reaching the Top 20 in both continents. She released her first and critically acclaimed album, “Miracle,” in 1996. The album was produced by Randy Jackson of American Idol fame. She also collaborated with the Bay Area based R&B group, “Somethin’ for the People” and Tupac Shakur on his hit single, “Me Against the World”, which was featured on the “Bad Boys” movie soundtrack and his album of the same name. In 1997, Johnson toured Europe as an opening act for Michael Jackson and 3T. Her debut album was also certified silver in the UK. Towards the end of the year Miracle reached Top 40 in the Netherlands and the single “Over & Over” hit the Top 20. She did not release any further material and slipped out of the limelight. However, Johnson was listed as co-writer on three tracks on the 2005 album “A Change Is Gonna Come,” by U.S. singer Leela James (track 3 – “Good Time” along with Gordon Williams, James herself and Kenton Nix, track 7 “When You Love Somebody” with Gordon and James and track 13 “Prayer” alongside Chucky Thompson and James). Johnson lived in South Africa since January 2009, following her concert in Johannesburg. She attributed the decision to relocate to South Africa to the friendly and warm people that she met throughout her journey in the country. Johnson died of cervical cancer on June 24, 2013 at the age of 40.

Bernard Holsey, born December 10, 1973, in Rome, Georgia, becomes a professional football player for the Washington Redskins. (From: Tajh Abdulsamad, born December 10, 1976, in Carson, California, becomes an R&B singer; member of the group known as “The Boys.” Some sources indicate his birth took place December 8. Raven Symore, born December 10, 1985, in Atlanta, Georgia, becomes an actress who began her acting career as a child on The Cosby Show, and most recently, in the movie “Dr. Doolittle 2,” which also stars Eddie Murphy. (From: and Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 44)

Wilfried Guemiand Bonyborn December 10, 1988, in Bingerville, Ivory Coast, becomes an Ivorian football striker who  played for Swansea City in the Premier League and the Ivory Coast  Having begun his career at Issia Wazi, he moved to Sparta Prague in 2007, helping them to the Czech First League title in 2009-2010. In January 2011 he was signed by Dutch side Vitesse, where he was the top scorer in the Eredivisie in2012-2013, leading to a £12 million transfer to Premier League club Swansea City. Bony scored 35 goals in 70 appearances for the Swans and in January 2015 he joined Manchester City for £28 million. Bony struggled for game time at Man City and following the arrival of Pep Guardiola in the summer of 2016 he joined Stoke City on loan for the 2016-2017 Season. A full international since 2010, Bony was selected in the Ivorian squads for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and three Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, helping them to victory in the 2015 edition.

Teyana Taylor, born December 10, 1990, in Harlem, New York, becomes an American recording artist and actress from. In 2007, Taylor signed a record deal with American musician Pharrell Williams Star Trak Entertainment imprint, before making her first national appearance on MTV’s “My Super Sweet 16.” In 2012, she signed to Kanye West’s GOOD Music label through Def Jam, after asking for her release from Star Trak. As an aspiring songwriter, Taylor has worked with and written records for major artists such as Usher, Chris Brown, and Omarion. Teyana has appeared on runways during Fashion Week and has also landed high-profile features, such as on Kanye West’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.” Taylor is of African American and Trinidadian descent. Taylor is her mother’s only child. Her father has two sons and another daughter from a different relationship. Her mother raised her with her family and is currently her manager. At age nine, she picked up a microphone in front of a crowd and began performing. Teyana enrolled in many different talent competitions, including the Apollo Theater National All-Stars talent search, although she never won. Growing up, Taylor had strong influences from Lauryn Hill, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson.


William Goodridge, born December 11, 1805, in Maryland, (died January 15, 1873) to an Africa mother and an unknown white father, becomes a Black businessman and abolitionist. Little is known about his early years other than the fact that he and his mother were slaves. His master unexpectedly freed him when he was 16. Goodridge is said to have left York around 1822, and he learned the barber trade, possibly in Marietta, Pennsylvania. He returned to York between 1823 and 1825 and opened a barbershop on Centre Square, known today as Continental Square. The barbershop grew into a grand, sky lighted photography studio and emporium. Historically, many free Blacks became barbers. It is also known that their clientele was very diverse, and sought-after barbers like Goodridge were able to interact with prominent White citizens due to trust and respect. Goodridge’s interaction with influential White businessmen allowed him to form relationships that informed his business decisions. Due to his successful business transactions, by 1845, Goodridge had become a wealthy and talented businessman in York. Apart from being a retailer of various commodities, Goodridge owned about twenty commercial and residential properties in York. In 1847, he built a five-story building known as Centre Hall and is also credited with introducing the sale of daily newspapers in York. Eventually, he also entered the railroad business with the Goodridge Reliance Line of Burthen Cars offering services between York, Philadelphia, and more than 20 other cities. Goodridge put his wealth to good use by providing aid to the Underground Railroad. His railroad operation often moved enslaved Blacks on the way to freedom. His network on the Underground Railroad made him a key “conductor” and “station master.”  He befriended Frederick Douglass, John Brown, Frances Harper, Stephen Smith and other abolitionist change agents. On the third floor of the Goodridge building in Centre Square Goodridge concealed Osborn Perry Anderson following his participation with John Brown in the 1859 insurrection at Harper’s Ferry. Anderson fled to Canada and was the only participant in that ill-fated event to survive thanks in part to Goodridge and members of Pennsylvania’s Underground Railroad. After the Civil War, he remained a prosperous York businessman and his impact on the community continued.


Martin F. Becker, born December 11, 1820, in Dutch Guiana (now Surinam), South America (died in 1880). Beckerbecomes a sailor, printer, barber and administrator. As a sailor, he enlisted in the Union Navy, serving on the vessels, Cumberland and Minnesota, in 1863. He received wounds in the Battle of Honey Hill. >Becker was from Dutch Guiana (now Surinam), South America. His father was African and his mother East India and both had come to America from South Africa. After working as a sailor and attending college in Europe, Becker came to the United States. He lived for a time in Manchester, N.H., where he married a woman who worked at the Amoskeag Mills nearby. He was one of the few Blacks to vote in that state. Becker and his wife settled in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, where he ran a barbershop, worked as a printer, and was an active abolitionist. Becker remained in South Carolina, where he was elected to its constitutional convention from Berkley County in 1868, and was appointed trial justice by governors Robert K. Scott and Daniel H. Chamberlain. He also served as election manager of James Island in 1870. He fathered two sons, Henry, a pianist who became a music teacher, and Charles, who became the first Black teacher at the Fall River, Massachusetts, high school. Martin Becker died in 1880. (From: African American Registry, an Internet source)

Heman Sweatt, born the fourth out of six children December 11, 1912, in Houston, Texas (died on October 3, 1982), becomes an educator, postal worker and activist. His father had attended Prairie View Normal School, graduated in 1880 and became a schoolteacher. Later he worked as a principal in Beaumont and then moved to Houston for better economic opportunity. Young Sweatt grew up in a relatively desegregated area of Houston, the third ward on Chenevert Street. Even though it was relatively integrated, Heman still experienced racism and Jim Crow in full. In October 1920 the KKK opened their Houston chapter. His father passed his love of education on to his children. All of them would go on to attend and graduate from college. Only Heman Sweatt would attend school in Texas. He entered Wiley College in Marshall, Texas in 1930, and graduated in 1934 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Sweatt was regarded as one of the most brilliant students at Wiley College. In 1936 he became a teacher and substitute principal in Cleburne, Texas. In 1937 he attended the University of Michigan in order to become a physician. He enrolled in a number of challenging graduate courses including bacteriology, immunology, and preventative medicine; by the end of his first academic year he had completed twelve semester hours with a B+ average. In the summer of 1938 Sweatt became a postal carrier and decided not to return to the University of Michigan due to the severe winters and remained in Texas being a postal carrier. In April 1940 he married his high school sweetheart, Constantine Mitchell, and bought a house. Like his father his first interaction with the law was because of his concern with the practices within the Postal workers union. “Concerned with discrimination against blacks in the post office, where a worker had to be a clerk before promotion to a supervisory position and where blacks were systematically excluded from such positions, Sweatt challenged these practices in his capacity as local secretary of the National Alliance of Postal Employees. During the early 1940s he participated in voter-registration drives and raised funds for lawsuits against the white primary. Post offices stopped promoting blacks to supervisory positions by systematically excluding them from clerical positions that would make them eligible to be promoted. Sweatt wrote several columns for the Houston Informer and was a local secretary of National Alliance of Postal Employees; Sweatt was concerned with discrimination and challenged these practices. While preparing documentation for this case with an attorney, he became more interested in the law. A few years later, in the mid-1940s, Sweatt decided to attend law school. He asked William J. Durham to help him. Since Durham knew Texas didn’t have law schools for blacks, he advised Sweatt to apply to the University Of Texas School Of Law. Sweatt not only sought admission but, responding to an appeal Lulu White made to a group of Houston blacks for a volunteer to file a lawsuit, also agreed to serve as the NAACP’s plaintiff if he was rejected on the basis of race. Heman Marion Sweatt formally applied to the University Of Texas School Of Law. The president, Theophilus Painter, held on to the application until the segregation laws were reviewed. Sweatt met with Painter who informed him that although his credentials were adequate enough he could not allow him to enter UT. Painter went on to tell Sweatt “there is nothing available to you except for out-of-state scholarships”. The attorney general decided to uphold the segregation laws and denied Sweatt entrance to UT; Sweatt retaliated by filing suit against Painter on May 16, 1946. The case went to court, and he eventually won. In June 1950, the Supreme Court decided that students were not offered an equal quality law education in the state of Texas, and as a result UT would have to admit qualified black applicants. This was the same date the court ruled on McLaurin v. Oklahoma Board of Regents, in neighboring Oklahoma. On September 19, 1950 Sweatt registered for classes at the UT law school. However, as a result of the tremendous amount of stress and emotional trauma from the long drawn out court cases his mental and physical health had taken a turn for the worse. The Travis County Courthouse, where his court case took place was renamed “The Heman Sweatt Courthouse”, there is also a college scholarship set up in his name for the amount of $10,000. (From:


Josephine Harreld Love, born December 11, 1914, in Atlanta, Georgia, becomes a concert pianist, educator, musicologist, arts administrator, and cofounder of “Your Heritage House,” in the Detroit Cultural Center, an arts museum that includes an archive of materials about noted Black Americans in the arts. (From: Notable Black American Women, Book 1; ; and Great African American Women, page 291).


Morrie Turner, born December 11, 1923, in Oakland, California, (died January 25, 2014) becomes a syndicated cartoonist and artist. His father worked as a Pullman porter and his mother a nurse. He began drawing seriously in elementary school. Morris “Morrie” Turner attended McClymonds High School; in his senior year, he moved to Berkeley to finish his high school years at Berkeley High School. During this time he began questioning why there were no minorities in cartoons, his mentor, Charles Schulz who created Peanuts, suggested he create one. In 1965, the strip Wee Pals became the first comic strip syndicated in the United States to have a cast of diverse ethnicity. Within 90 days of King’s death, “Wee Pals” began appearing in over 100 newspapers nationwide. Turner is also a published author with sales over a half million, has 25 million daily readers throughout the United States and enjoys prominence in several international locales including: Brazil, Jamaica, the Philippines and Africa. In 2003, the National Cartoonist Society recognized him for his work on this strip and others with Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award. Turner, who prefers going by the name Morrie, also contributes his talents to concerts by the Bay Area Little Symphony of Oakland, California. He draws pictures to the music and of children in the audience. In 2009, Turner visited Westlake Middle School in Oakland to give a lesson to the OASES Comic Book Preachers Class of drawing. Turner collaborated with the students of the class to create the book “Wee the Kids from Oakland,” which gives a chance for students to express their challenges, successes and pride as youth in Oakland. (From:

 Edward Sawyer Cooper, born December 11, 1926, in Columbia, South Carolina, becomes a cardiologist and disease prevention advocate. He became the first African American president of the American Heart Association, in 1992. (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 6, and African American Desk Reference, page 232)

Big Mama” Willie Mae Thornton, born December 11, 1926, in Montgomery, Alabama (died July 25, 1984), becomes a blues singer and harmonica player. Willie Mae Thornton was raised in a religious setting in Montgomery, AL. Her father was a minister and her mother sang in the choir. Thornton’s musical aspirations led her to leave home in 1941 at age 14 and join the Georgia-based Hot Harlem Revue. Her seven-year tenure with the Revue gave her significant singing and stage experience and enabled her to tour the South, settling in Houston in 1948. Thornton was a self-taught drummer and harmonica player and regularly played both instruments on stage. She was singing on the Houston circuit when Peacock Records signed her in 1951. She opened the recording with “Partnership Blues” that year, backed by trumpeter Joe Scott’s band. But it was her third Peacock date with Johnny Otis’s band that proved the winner. She was the first to record the hit song “Hound Dog” in 1952. The song was #1 on the Billboard R&B charts for seven weeks. Along with her imposing vocals, Thornton began to emphasize her harmonica skills during the 1960s. Thornton was a tough woman. She dressed like a man and took no crap from anyone, even as the pounds fell off her once large frame during the last years of her life. (From: African American Registry, an Internet source and Timelines of African American History, page 169) Rosalyn Payne Epps, born December 11, 1930, in Little Rock, Arkansas, becomes the first African American president of the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA). She became a strong advocate for medical services for poor people. (From: Notable Black American Women, Book 1, and Black Women in America, page 397)

Alfred McCoy Tyner, born December 11, 1938, in from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, becomes a jazz pianist, known for his work with the John Coltrane Quartet and a long solo career.

 John W. Macklin, born December 11, 1939, in Fort Worth, Texas, becomes an analytical chemist and educator. His father died when he was young and he spent some of his early life living with his grandmother. At age seven he joined his mother and stepfather and younger sister in Seattle, WA. He earned his Bachelors Degree in 1962 from Linfield College in McKminnville, Oregon. In 1968 he received his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Cornell University. Macklin refined the technique of Raman spectrometry to test very small sample sizes. Raman spectroscopy, named after its Indian inventor, uses a laser beam passed through a sample of material to determine the identity of the atoms in its molecules and how they combine. In the 1980’s, Macklin collaborated with NASA scientists to analyze meteorites and cosmic dust particles looking for complex carbon-based molecules to elucidate the evolution of Earth’s carbon-based life. He showed that tiny crystals in clay could adsorb carbon molecules and facilitate the action of the sun’s energy to combine into them into larger ones. Macklin has also extended Raman spectrometry to the study environmental pollution. (From: ) 

Lester Errol Brown MBE, born December 11, 1943, in Kingston, Jamaica, died May 6, 2015, became a British-Jamaican singer and songwriter, best known as the frontman of the soul band Hot Chocolate. Hot Chocolate’s hits included “You Sexy Thing”, “Emma”, “So You Win Again” and “Brother Louie”. Errol passed away from liver cancer at age 71.


Booker T. Jones, born December 11, 1944, in Memphis, Tennessee, becomes a musician and bandleader. He heads the group called Booker T and the MG’s. (From: Soul Music A to Z, page 34)


Nathan Leftenant was born December 11, 1953. His place of birth not mentioned in source. Leftenant becomes a trumpeter/songwriter and singer; an original member of the group known as “Cameo” since 1976. He left the band in 1991 but temporarily returned a few years later. Nathan and his brother, ex-Cameo member Arnett Leftenant, composed and arranged as The Tity Brothers for Cameo’s horn section, from 1976 to 1981. Nathan also did weekly Radio shows online Thursday’s 8pm EST. (


Jermaine La Jaune Jackson, born December 11, 1954, in Gary, Indiana, becomes an R&B singer, member of the famed singer family group call The Jackson 5. Who’s Who among African Americans, 16th Edition records Jackson’s birth date as September 11, 1954. All other sources give December 11 as birth date. (From All Music Guide, an Internet source, Almanac of Famous People, 7th Edition, and Soul Music A to Z, page 156)


Valerie Boyd, born December 11, 1963, in Atlanta, Georgia, becomes a writer, widely published journalist, author, and cultural critic, best known for the critically acclaimed biography, Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston

 Moses Ugbisien, born December 11, 1964, in Nigeria, Africa, becomes a 1984 Olympic bronze medalist in the 4×400-meter relay. (From: Black Olympian Medalists, page 118) Gary Dourdan, born December 11, 1966, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, becomes an actor, most noted for his role as Warrick Brown on the series “CSI.” From: 

Monique Angela Hicks, born December 11, 1967, in Baltimore, Maryland, becomes better known as “Monique,” an award-winning actress, comedian and talk show host. She is best known for her role as Nikki Parker in the UPN series The Parkers while making a name as a stand-up comedy.


Willie McGinest, born December 11, 1971, in Long Beach, California, becomes a professional football player for the New England Patriots. (From:, an Internet sports source)

Yasiin Bey, born Dante Terrell SmithDecember 11, 1973, in Brooklyn, New York, better known by his former Mos Def, becomes a hip hop recording artist, actor, and activist. Best known for his music, Mos Def embarked on his hip hop career in 1994, alongside his siblings in the short-lived rap group Urban Thermo Dynamics (UTD). He subsequently formed the duo Black Star, alongside fellow Brooklyn-based rapper Talib Kweli Greene (born October 3, 1975), and released their eponymous debut album in 1998. He became a major force in late-1990s underground hip hop while under Rawkus Records. As a solo artist, he released in 1999,  2004, 2006, and 2009. Prior to his career in music, Mos Def entered public light as a child actor, having played roles in television movies, sitcoms, and theater, some of which were under the name Dante Beze. At the age of 14, he appeared in the TV movie “God Bless the Child,” which aired on ABC in 1988. He played the oldest child in the 1990 family sitcom “You Take the Kids,” shortly before it cancelled. In 1995, he played the character “Dante” in “The Cosby Mysteries.” Since the early 2000s, Mos Def is well known for his roles in films such as “Something the Lord Made,” “Next Day Air,” “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” “16 Blocks,” “Be Kind Rewind,” “The Italian Job,” and “Brown Sugar,” and for his portrayal of Brother Sam in the American drama series “Dexter.” He is also known as the host of “Def Poetry Jam,” which aired on HBO between 2002 and 2007. Mos Def has been vocal on several social and political causes, including the police brutality, the idea of American exceptionalism, and the subjugated state of Black Americans.


Robert Holcombe, born December 11, 1975, in Houston, Texas, becomes a professional football player for the Tennessee Titans. (From: , an Internet sports source)

Vonnie Holliday, born December 11, 1975, in Camden, South Carolina, becomes a professional football player for the Kansas City Chiefs. (From: , an Internet sports source) Shareef Abdur-Rahim, born December 11, 1976, in Marietta, Georgia, becomes a professional basketball player for the Atlanta Hawks and the Sacramento Kings. (From: , an Internet sports source)

Chris Marcus, born December 11, 1979, in Charlotte, North Carolina, becomes a professional basketball player for the Denver Nuggets. (From: , an Internet sports source) Josh Scobey, born December 11, 1979, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, becomes a professional football player for the Arizona Cardinals. (From: , an Internet sports source) Nick Maddox, born December 11, 1980, in Kannapolis, North Carolina, becomes a professional football player for the Buffalo Bills. (From: and , both Internet sports sources)

Condola Rashad, born December 11, 1986, in New York City, New York, becomes an American actress, daughter of actress Phylicia Rashād and former professional football player and sportscaster Ahmad Rashād. Condola Rashad is a Tony Award-nominated actress. She is known for “Steel Magnolias” (2012), “Sex and the City 2” (2010) and “30 Beats” (2012).


Alia Atkinson, born December 11, 1988, in Saint Andrews Parish, Jamaica, becomes a Jamaican swimmer and Olympian who won the 100-meter breaststroke at the 2014 Short Course World Championships, becoming the first black woman to win a world swimming title. She received a Swammy Award as the 2015 Central American, Caribbean and South American region’s Female

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