June Achievers of Color

In the month of June we celebrate Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, when United States commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in the U.S. state of Texas in 1865. Juneteenth is a combination of two or more words or morphemes whose defines one new word of June and nineteenth, and is recognized as a state holiday or state holiday observance in 43 of the 50 states. On June 18, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger reads the contents of “General Order No. 3,”that says: The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.  On that day former slaves in Galveston, Texas rejoiced in the streets. June is also Black music month. Now called African-American Music Appreciation Month, it’s a celebration for African American Music every year in the month of June in the United States. It was originally started as Black Music Month by President Jimmy Carter, who on June 7, 1979, decreed that June would be the month of black music. Since then, presidents have announced to Americans to celebrate Black Music Month. For each year of his term, President Barack Obama has announced the observance under a new title, African-American Music Appreciation Month.Some additions have been added from last year. However due to space concerns, paragraphs have not been spaced.We begin recognizing achievers of color born in June with:

Rev. Canon Josiah Jesse Ransome-Kuti, born June 1, 1855, in Igbein, Nigeria, (died in 1930) becomes a Yorubian poet and collector of folk songs, born into a royal Yoruba family. He graduated from the Christian Mission Society Training Institute in Lagos, in 1875. He became an educator, an accomplished musician, singer, known for his inclusion of African instruments in church services. The book, “The Singing Minister of Nigeria,” by Isaac O. Delano, in 1942, celebrates Ransome-Kuti’s success at bringing Africans into the Christian faith through his use of folk songs and original African church music.

Maudelle Brown Bousfield, born June 1, 1885, in St. Louis, Missouri, (died November 4 or 14, 1971), becomes an educator, reformer, and club leader, who in 1969, under the administration of President Richard Nixon, became the first Black woman president of the National Education Association. She began her career teaching mathematics, from 1906 to 1914. She then moved back to her hometown, teaching mathematics at her old high school for a brief spell during the summer. She married Midian Bousfield, in 1914, a physician, who became one the first Black men to be appointed to the staff of the Old General Hospital in Kansas City. In 1939, he became the first Black member of the Board of Education. Maudelle became Chicago’s first elementary school principal as well as the first Black high school principal, during the 1930s. She never forgot the children of Chicago, and fought tirelessly on their behalf. She believed that education began in the home and the school’s job should be simply to enhance that knowledge and experience. The source of this information stated Bousfield became a true role model for teachers and reformers of the 20th Century who believed it is never enough to say that one’s work is complete, because the job is never finished as long as there are children out there to be educated. (From: Notable Black American women, Book II, page 41)

Myrah Keating Smith, born June 1, 1908, on the island of St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, died in May 1994. She became a pioneering nurse and midwife. She was born one of twin girls born to Zephaniah and Theadora Keating, Myrah Keating Smith. At an early age, she moved to St. John. She attended and graduated from Tuskegee Institute in 1932 as one of the first Virgin Islanders to earn a degree in nursing and then return home to practice her skills for the benefit of the residents of her islands. After graduation, she lived and worked on her native St. Thomas and then spent the rest of her career on the island of St. John where she was in charge of the Cruz Bay Clinic. Myrah Keating Smith was the health expert whose residents relied upon for their care. For routine exams or emergencies, she was the person that two generations of St. Johannian’s trusted with their health and their lives. In 1963, the St. John Business and Professional Women’s Club honored her as Woman of the Year. In 1977, she was cited by the 12th legislature for her years of hard work and duty to the people of St. John as a registered nurse. Also in her honor, the Department of Health established the Myrah Keating Smith Health Scholarship so deserving students on St. John could pursue their medical educations. In 1983, the newly built St. John clinic was named in her honor (and is still serving the community today). Myrah Keating Smith was the godmother for the 500 babies she helped deliver on the island of St. John over the course of her 45-year career, and she became known as the Angel of Mercy for her selflessness and devotion to the people of the community she served.

Warren Henry, born June 1, 1909, on a peanut farm where George Washington Carver lived doing research during summer months, (died October 31, 2001), becomes a scientist. Both of his parents were graduates of Tuskegee Institute.  Henry began reading at the age of four, occasionally going on walks with his father and Carver. He, too, attended Tuskegee Institute, where he majored in three subjects Mathematics, English, and French earning a Bachelor of Science, and serving as principal at a segregated school in rural Ardmore, Alabama. While there he received a summer scholarship at Atlanta University, where in graduate school, he taught classes at Spelman and Morehouse Colleges. In 1937, Henry earned his Master of Science in Organic Chemistry from Atlanta University. That summer Henry studied at the University of Chicago. Henry earned a Ph.D. (Physical Chemistry) from the University of Chicago in 1941. He wanted to continue with research and in those days a Ph.D. should have guaranteed him a research position, but only the historically Black schools offered him a job teaching. Thus, he returned to Tuskegee Institute where some of his students were members of the 99th Pursuit Squadron, the Tuskegee Airmen. From there, Henry secured a position at MIT’s Top-secret Radiation Laboratory, from 1943-1946, developing video amplifiers that were used in portable radar systems on warships. Henry also became chair of the Department of Physics at Morehouse College. The summer after his year at Morehouse, he moved on to the Office of Naval Research where he stayed for 12 years, 1948-1960. During the 1950s, Henry’s research and knowledge of materials at extremely low temperatures became unsurpassed in America. In the 1960’s while at Lockheed Space and Missile Co., he developed guidance systems for the detection of submarines and helped to design the hovercraft specially developed for use in night fighting during the Vietnam War. Henry’s nearly seven decades of work in the fields of magnetism and superconductivity have earned him praise as one of the most eminent African American scientists in American history. Some sources recall his birth took place February 18, 1909.  (From African American Registry)

Arthenia J. Bates Millican, born June 1, 1920, in Sumter, South Carolina, becomes a critic, scholar and writer of folklore, short stories, and novels. A protégé of Langston Hughes, Millican saw her first poem published at age sixteen. (From: Notable Black American Women, Book)

Marie Knight, born Marie Roach, June 1, 1925, in Sanford, Florida, but grew up in Newark, New Jersey, died August 30, 2009. She becomes a Gospel and R&B singer. Her family members were a part of the Church of God in Christ. She first toured as a singer in 1939 with Frances Robinson, an evangelist. In 1946, she made her first recordings for Signature Records as a member of The Sunset Four (aka. The Sunset Jubilee Singers). Shortly afterward, Sister Rosetta Tharpe saw her singing at the Golden Gate Auditorium in Harlem on a bill with Mahalia Jackson and invited Knight to join her on tour. Knight continued to record and perform with Tharpe through the 1940s, sometimes acting out the parts of “the Saint and the Sinner,” with Tharpe as the saint and Knight as the sinner. Among their successes were the songs “Beams of Heaven,” “Didn’t it Rain,” and “Up Above My Head,” recorded for Decca Records. “Up Above My Head,” credited jointly to both singers, reached No. 6 on the US R&B chart at the end of 1948, and Knight’s solo version of “Gospel Train” reached No. 9 on the R&B chart in 1949. Knight left Tharpe to go solo around 1951 and put together a backing group, The Millionaires (Thomasina Stewart, Eleonore King and Roberta Jones), with whom she recorded the 1956 album “Songs of the Gospel.” She also began recording secular R&B music in the late 1950s, for various labels including Decca, Mercury, Baton, Okeh, Diamond and Addit. Her duet with Rex Garvin (credited as Marie & Rex), “I Can’t Sit Down,” reached No. 94 on the pop chart in 1959. In 1961, she recorded the single “Come Tomorrow,” which was later a hit for Manfred Mann. Knight’s version of “Cry Me a River” reached No. 35 on the U.S. Billboard R&B charts in 1965. She toured with Brook Benton, the Drifters, and Clyde McPhatter, and regularly reunited onstage with Rosetta Tharpe. She remained friends with Tharpe and helped arrange her funeral in 1973. In 1975, having given up performing secular music, she recorded another gospel album, “Marie Knight: Today.” In 2002, Knight made a comeback in the gospel world, recording for a tribute album to Tharpe. She also released a full-length album, “Let Us Get Together,” on her manager’s label in 2007. She died in Harlem of complications from pneumonia, on August 30, 2009.

Paul Raymond Jones, born June 1, 1928, in Muscoda, Tennessee, died January 26, 2010. He becomes a philanthropic collector of African American art. (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 76, page 111)

William Blackshear, born June 1, 1935, in Marianna, Florida, becomes an editor of the Weekly Challenger Newspaper, and businessman. Awarded the Keys To The cities of Pensacola, Florida, in 1979 and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1977, he served as manager of the Tri County Challenger and Black Gold Incorporated.

Rev. Ike, born Frederick Eikerenkoetter, II, June 1, 1935, in Ridgeland, South Carolina,  (died July 28, 2009), becomes a flamboyant clergyman. He became the recipient of a World Service Award for Outstanding Contributions to Mankind, presented by the Prince Hall Masons.

Morgan Freeman born June 1, 1937, in Memphis, Tennessee, becomes an actor, film director, narrator and activistwho received Academy Award nominations for his performances in “Street Smart,” “Driving Miss Daisy,” “The Shawshank Redemption,” and “Invictus.” He won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 2005 for “Million Dollar Baby.” He also won a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award. Freeman has appeared in many other box office hits. He is known for his distinctively smooth, deep voice. He got his first break as part of the cast of “The Electric Company.” became an Academy Award-winning actor. Some of his acting performances include “Brubaker,” in 1980; “Eyewitness,” in 1980; “Teachers,” in 1984; “Lean on Me,” in 1989; and “Driving Miss Daisy,” in 1989, for which he received a Golden Globe Award. At the compiling of this information, he continues to make box office hits, as an actor, and sometimes directing, in the movie arena. (From: Notable Black American Men, Volume 1, page 312)

Howard Dodson, Jr., born June 1, 1939, in Chester, Pennsylvania, becomes an historian, writer, administrator, and lecturer who worked as the Director of the Moorland – Spingarn Research Center and Howard University Libraries. He served as the long-time director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, a position he occupied for over a quarter of a century (1984-2010). Some sources give his birth date as June 6, 1939.

Cleavon Little, born June 1, 1939, in Chickasha, Oklahoma (died October 22, 1992), becomes an actor. Some of his acting credits are for roles in Vanishing Point, 1971; Blazing Saddles, 1974; Cotton Comes to Harlem, 1970; and Toy Soldiers, 1984.

Barbara Ross, born June 1, 1942, in Detroit, MI; daughter of Fred Ross Sr. and Ernestine Moten; married, 1963 (divorced); married Edmond Beverly (a school superintendent), 197(?);    children: five. Military service: U.S. Navy Medical Corps Reserve; became captain. Education: Wayne State University, BS, biology and chemistry, 1965, MA, 1969; Michigan State University, College of Osteopathic Medicine, DO, 1973. Growing up in a working-class African-American family, Barbara Ross-Lee learned from personal experience about the ways that poverty and racial discrimination can affect health and access to health care. Early experiences with illness and death in her family made her believe that a career in medicine would both help her escape poverty and provide her with a way to help others. Told by a college adviser that women could not become doctors, Ross-Lee refused to give up her dream, overcoming many setbacks and detours on her road to a medical education. She not only became a successful doctor of osteopathy, but she also took an active role in working in the political arena to improve access to health care for the poor and disadvantaged. In 1993 Ross-Lee shattered another barrier when she became the first African American woman dean of a U.S. medical school. Born in 1942 in Detroit, Michigan, Ross-Lee was the first born of six children of Fred Ross Sr. and Ernestine Moten. As the eldest girl, young Barbara took on a protective role, caring for her younger sisters and brothers. At the age of ten she was forced to take on even more responsibility when her mother became sick with tuberculosis, a lung disease often associated with poverty. Fred Ross sent his children to stay with his parents in Alabama while Ernestine recovered from her illness, and for two years Ross-Lee filled the role of mother for her brothers and sisters. When the family was reunited, they went to live in low-income public housing in Detroit. Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee, sister of Diana Ross of The Supremes, became the first African American to be appointed dean of a predominantly white medical school in the United States. In 1993, Ross-Lee became the first African American woman dean of a United States medical school. She remained dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine of Ohio University until 2001.

Sheila J. Adams, born June 1, 1943, in Cincinnati, OH, has made it her life’s work to bring greater economic opportunity to those people who have yet to realize the American dream. For over a decade, she has served as president and chief executive officer of the Urban League of Greater Cincinnati, overseeing a broad range of services designed to strengthen the African American community. In her view, it is a fitting legacy for the great-granddaughter of a slave who escaped to Canada through Ohio’s Underground Railroad to teach other African Americans how to escape economic hardship by developing marketable skills. “It’s that old adage about if you give a person a fish, he’ll eat for a day, but if you teach a person to fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime,” Adams told Contemporary Black Biography (CBB, Volume 25)(From: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2872700009.html)

Beverly Guy Sheftall, born June 1, 1946, in Memphis, Tennessee, becomes is a Black feminist, scholar, writer and editor, who is the Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies and English at Spelman College, in Atlanta, Georgia. She is the founding director of the Spelman College Women’s Research and Resource Center, the first at a Historically Black College or University. Private First Class (PFC) Robert H. Jenkins, born June 1, 1948, Interlaken (Palatka), Florida, (died in 1969), in becomes a war hero, fighting in the Vietnam War. He received the Medal of Honor, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, while serving as a machine gunner with Company C, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, in connection with operations against enemy forces. Early in the morning Pfc. Jenkins’ 12-man reconnaissance team, occupying a defensive position at Fire Support Base Argonne, south of the Demilitarized Zone, suddenly, came under attack from a North Vietnamese Army platoon employing mortars, automatic weapons, and hand grenades. Reacting instantly, Pfc. Jenkins and another marine quickly moved into a 2-man fighting emplacement, and as they boldly delivered accurate machine gun fire against the enemy, a North Vietnamese soldier threw a hand grenade into the friendly emplacement. Fully realizing the inevitable results of his actions, Pfc. Jenkins quickly seized his comrade, and pushing the man to the ground, he leaped on top of the marine to shield him from the explosion. Absorbing the full impact of the detonation, Pfc. Jenkins became seriously wounded and subsequently succumbed from those injuries. His courage, inspiring valor and selfless devotion to duty saved a fellow marine from serious injury or possible death and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country. (From: http://www.mishalov.com/JenkinsRobert.html)

Andrae Crouch, born June 1, 1950, in San Francisco, California, along with his twin sister, becomes a gospel singer. (Although acknowledging him as the twin of Sandra Crouch, some sources give his birth date as July 1.) Andrae Crouch becomes one of the most renowned and widely respected pioneers of contemporary gospel music. By combining such classic gospel music elements as call-and-response and choir, along with pop songwriting techniques and production, Crouch’s style has influenced countless other artists. Some of his song titles are: “My Tribute,” “Soon and Very Soon,” and “Jesus Is the Answer.” From: http://www.answers.com/topic/andrae-crouch )

Sandra Crouch, born June 1, 1950, in San Francisco, California, along with her twin, Andrae Crouch, becomes a gospel singer. (From: All Music Guide, an Internet source)

Jesse Woods Johnson, born June 1, 1960, in Rock Island, Illinois, becomes a musician best known as the guitarist in the original lineup of The Time (more recently known as The Original 7ven).

Mark Curry, born June 1, 1964, in Oakland, California, becomes an actor and comedian. He became most famous as the star of the ABC sitcom “Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper.”Clement Virgo, born June 1, 1966 in Montego Bay, Jamaica, becomes a Canadian filmmaker, who co-wrote and directed a six-part miniseries adaptation of Lawrence Hill’s bestselling novel The Book of Negroes, starring Aunjanue Ellis, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lou Gossett Jr., Ben Chaplin, Jane Alexander and Lyriq Bent that aired to wide acclaim and a record-breaking 1.7 million Canadian viewers in January 2015 on CBC in Canada. It went on to premiere in February 2015 in the US, drawing landmark ratings for BET (Black Entertainment Television.)Pete Chatmon, born June 1, 1977, in New York City, becomes a filmmaker best known for writing, producing, and directing the feature film “Premium,” starring Dorian Missick, Zoe Saldana, Hill Harper, Eva Pigford, Frankie Faison, and William Sadler. Chatmon is sometimes referred to as “The Next Spike Lee” and produces films under the banner “A New Wave in American Cinema“. (From: Black Director’s List)Shakira Martin, born June 1, 1986, in Brooklyn, New York, died August 3, 2016, became a Jamaican model, best known for Miss Jamaica Universe, a title which she won in 2011.Shailyn Pierre Dixon, born June 1, 2003, a Canadian child actress and writer. She is best known for her role as the young Aminata in the television miniseries The Book of Negroes, for which she won the Canadian Screen Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series at the 4th Canadian Screen Awards in 2016. She has also appeared in the films The Best Man HolidaySuicide Squad[3] and Jean of the Joneses, and she plays the character Franny in the television series “Between.”

John Hope, born June 2, 1868, in Augusta, Georgia, (died February 20, 1936), becomes a civil rights activist and educator, whose mother became the daughter of an emancipated slave, and his father, James Hope, from Scotland. Though his father left a substantial amount of his estate to the family after his death, the family did not receive the inheritance. After completing the eighth grade in 1881, Hope entered Worchester Academy (Massachusetts) graduating with honors in 1890. Hope enrolled at Brown University that fall and began to perfect his speaking skills and his racial consciousness. Hope could pass for white, but identified himself as Black. He became the orator for his graduating class in 1894, and shortly after commencement he married Lugenia Burns. His philosophy when he entered the field of education focused on higher learning for blacks to make a convincing case for social equality. Hope turned down an offer to teach at Tuskegee Institute, and from 1894 to1898, he instructed Greek, Latin, and natural sciences at Roger Williams College in Nashville, Tennessee. When this school became Morehouse College, Hope became its first black president. W.E.B. Du Bois, with whom he had a close, lifelong friendship, shared his views. Hope became the only college president to participate in the Niagara Movement in 1906 and the only one to attend the initial meeting that resulted in the formation of the NAACP three years later. Other academic accomplishments included president of Atlanta Baptist College (1906) and his 1929 appointment as president of the “new” Atlanta University. This consortium included Morehouse, Spelman College, and Atlanta University.

Valaida Snow, born June 2, 1900, 1903 or 1904, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, (some reference sources indicate her birth place as Washington, D.C.), (died May 30, 1956), becomes a trumpet player, dancer, and jazz singer. Some people have described her mother as an eccentric music teacher. She named her daughters, Lavaida, Alvaida, and the subject of this profile, Valaida also appeared in three films during her professional career. Her year of birth has also been recorded as 1904 or 1905 in some Internet web sources.  Othar Turner, born June 2, 1907 or 1909, in Rankin County, Mississippi, but lived in Gravel Springs, Mississippi, (died February 26, 2003), becomes one of the best fife players of all time who played many blues fests and concerts (Tom Freeland). His band, The Risen Star and Drum band, consists of family members and friends). His CD, Everybody Hollerin’ Goat recorded on his farm in Gravel Springs and reached number two on billboard charts, in 1998. Chosen as one of the five “Essential Blues Records of the Decade,” he also received the Miscellaneous Artist of the Year Award in 1998. Turner started playing the fife at the age of 16 (The Oxford American Magazine).   From: (Living Blues Magazine).Dorothy West, born June 2, 1907, in Boston, Massachusetts, (died August 16, 1998), becomes a writer, editor, journalist, novelist, and short story writer. She began her literary career during the Harlem Renaissance period.(From: www.wikipedia.com)Charlie Sifford, born June 2, 1922, in Charlotte, North Carolina, becomes a professional golfer who often called “the Jackie Robinson” of golf. Sifford is remembered as the first Black man to break the color barrier in one of the nation’s most elite sports, golf. Sifford endured humiliation, threats to his life and limbs, and even mistreatment from some of his fellow pros. But nothing stopped him. He challenged a “Caucasian Only” clause in the Professional Golfer’s Association of America (PGA), by laws, and won. In an article for the Chicago Tribune, Sifford replied, “There’s not a man on this tour who would have gone through what I went through to be a golfer.” In an article for the Atlanta Constitution, Sifford concluded, “I still can’t believe I went so long without breaking down or quitting the game.” Sifford met Jackie Robinson in 1947, at the Negro National Open. Robinson encouraged Sifford to challenge the PGA, even though he knew how tough a fight Sifford would face. Robinson advised, patience, and Sifford agreed. Sifford won the Negro National Open six times. He began to challenge the PGA in 1953, and in 1955, he qualified for a tournament, and shot a 68, which got him into the tournament, but not into the locker rooms. Sifford won the Long Beach Open in 1957, and thereafter could not be ignored. In 1960, a California lawsuit caused the PGA to strike the clause of “Caucasian Only,” and Sifford received an official PGA Approved Player card for a one-year trial. Sifford once made this observation, he said, “It’s not important, I guess, that I didn’t make it real big. It’s important that I made it. At least it opened the door for a few more Blacks.”Sammy Turner, born Samuel Black, June 2, 1932, in Paterson, New Jersey, briefly achieved fame in the late 1950s as a rock ‘n’ roll balladeer, which specialized in recycled pop songs of the past, particularly those by Guy Lombardo. A remake of a Sammy Kaye hit from 1949, “Lavender Blue” (number 14 R&B/number 3 pop), in 1959, became his most notable record. Three follow-ups were similarly remakes of old pop hits: “Always” (number 2 R&B/number 20 pop), a frequently recorded pop song, and a notable hit for Vincent Lopez in 1926 and Guy Lombardo in 1945; “Symphony” (number 82 pop), a hit for Freddy Martin, Guy Lombardo, and others in 1946; and “Paradise” (number 13 R&B/number 46 pop), a Guy Lombardo hit from 1932. Turner’s only success in the UK “Always”, went to number 26. Although essentially a pop performer, because of his African-American heritage Turner also garnered considerable success on the R&B charts. Although successful as an R&B artist, Turner could not make the transition into the soul era, and rapidly faded as a recording artist after 1960. Information compiled from a Lycos Music Internet site.

John Edward “Johnny” Carter, born June 2, 1934, in Chicago, Illinois, died August 21, 2009, in Harvey, Illinois, becomes a vocalist, songwriter and member of the R&B groups The Flamingos and The Dells. He was born John E. Carter, in Chicago, Illinois and helped form The Flamingos during the early 1950s, while a member of a local church choir. Carter was featured as first tenor during the early years of the group and wrote their hit “Golden Teardrops,” 1953. In 1957, he left to serve in the United States Military and joined the already formed group, The Dells upon his return in 1960. They would gain recognition as a backup band with singer Dinah Washington, and found commercial success beginning in the late 1960’s charting such top 40 hits as “Stay in My Corner,”1968; “Oh What a Night,” 1969; and “Give Your Baby a Standing Ovation,” 1973. Carter remained a member of The Dells throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, performing and recording with them. He became a two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee as a member of The Flamingos, in 2001 and The Dells, in 2004.

Jimmy “Handyman” Jones, born June 2, 1937, in Birmingham, Alabama, became an R&B singer. Best known for his 1960 R&B smash “Handy Man,” Jimmy Jones sang in a smooth yet soulful falsetto modeled on the likes of Clyde McPhatter and Sam Cooke. Jones moved to New York with his family and began his entertainment career as a tap dancer. In 1954, he joined his first doo-wop group, the Berliners, who soon changed their name to The Sparks of Rhythm. Jones recorded a few sides with them in 1955, then left to form his own group, the Savoy’s. They recorded for Savoy in 1956, then jumped to Rama and changed their name to the Pretenders (after the Platters song). The Pretenders cut sides for several labels over the next few years, a few under the name the Jones Boys, before disbanding in 1959. Tired of serving as a group leader, Jones embarked on a solo career with the MGM-owned Cub label later that year. Teamed with writer/producer Otis Blackwell, Jones recorded a song he’d written back in his Sparks of Rhythm days called “Handy Man.” By early 1960, “Handy Man” had rocketed into the Top Five on both the pop and R&B charts. Jones followed “Handy Man” with another Top Ten hit, “Good Timin’,” later that year. That proved to be the full extent of his major commercial success, although he kept recording through most of the ’60s. (For more information go to Compiled from All Music Guide, an Internet Source – Steve Huey) Earl Young, born June 2, 1940, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, becomes a drummer who rose to prominence in the early 1970s as part of the Philly Soul sound. Young is best known as the founder and leader of The Trammps, who had a hit record with “Disco Inferno”.

William Guest, born June 2, 1941, in Atlanta, Georgia, becomes an R&B singer, member of the famed group, Gladys Knight and the Pips. However there are some sources that identify his birth date as July 2. (Info fromwww.xtreme.com and http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_old_is_William_Guest)

Nathaniel Bustion, born June 2, 1942, in Gadsden, Alabama, becomes an artist whose accomplishments have been nothing less than a universal awareness of Africa, Asia, Europe, South America and North America. His art expresses deep inner beauty. (From: www.nathanielbustion.com)

Jimmy Castor, born June 2, 1943, in New York City, New York, becomes a musician and bandleader, a master of novelty/disco funk, saxophonist Jimmy Castor started as a do wop singer in New York. He wrote and recorded “I Promise to Remember” for “Wing with the Juniors”, in 1956. Castor replaced Frankie Lymon in the Teenagers, in 1957, before switching to sax in 1960. He appeared on several soul-jazz and Afro-Latin sessions and had a solo hit song with “Hey Leroy, Your Mama’s Callin’ You” on Smash in 1966. Castor also played sax on Dave “Baby” Cortez’s hit “Rinky Dink.” He formed the Jimmy Castor Bunch in 1972 and signed with RCA. Their first release, “It’s Just Begun”, launched Castor’s next phase with the song “Troglodyte (Cave Man).” It became a Top Ten R&B and pop smash. Castor continued the trend in 1975 with “The Bertha Butt Boogie” and later recorded “E-Man Boogie,” “King Kong,” “Bom Bom,” and “Amazon.” Castor had his own label, Long Distance, in the ’80s. Compiled from All Music Guide, an Internet Source

Joan Pringle, born June 2, 1945, in Harlem, New York City, New York, USA., is an American actress, leading lady of 1970s American television series, known for General Hospital, The White Shadow and Original Sin (2001) Pringle is best known for playing vice principal “Sybil Buchanan” in the TV series The White Shadow. During the third and final season her character was promoted to principal.

Antone Lee Chubby Tavares, born June 2, 1945, in New Bedford, Massachusetts, becomes a singer, a member of the R&B group Tavares (also known as The Tavares Brothers). Clarence Page, born June 2, 1947, in Dayton, Ohio, becomes a journalist, syndicated columnist and member of the editorial board for the Chicago Tribune. He became an occasional panelist on The McLaughlin Group, a regular contributor of essays to News Hour with Jim Lehrer, host of several documentaries on the Public Broadcasting Service, and an occasional commentator on National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition Sunday. Page often appears as a political analyst on the Chris Matthews Show. He also appeared in the film Rising Sun (1993), playing himself as a talk show panel member. Page’s achievements came despite an undiagnosed case of ADD, the effects of which he recounts in a chapter in Positively ADD. [1] He graduated in 1965 from Middletown High School in Middletown, Ohio, and began his journalism career as a freelance writer and photographer for the Middletown Journal and Cincinnati Enquirer at the age of 17. Page received his Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from Ohio University in 1969, where he served as the commencement speaker in 1993 and 2001. Page received honorary doctorates from Columbia College in Chicago, Lake Forest College, and Nazareth College in Rochester and served in the United States military during the Vietnam War. After graduating college and taking a position with the Chicago Tribune, the Army drafted him in 1969 after only six months with the paper. He found himself assigned as an Army journalist with the 212th Artillery Group at Fort Lewis, Washington until 1971, when his obligation ended and he made his way back to the Tribune in 1971. [2] He has received a number of awards which include the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for commentary; the 1987 American Civil Liberties Union’s James P. McGuire Award for columns on constitutional rights; and the 1972 Pulitzer Prize for a Chicago Tribune Task Force series on voter fraud. (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 4)

Lawrence McCutcheon, born June 2, 1950, in possibly, Jacksonville, Florida, (some sources indicate his birth took place in Plainview, Texas) becomes a professional football player for the Los Angeles Rams from 1972-1979, the Denver Broncos & Seattle Seahawks in 1980 and finished his playing career in 1981 with the Buffalo Bills, reuniting with his former Rams coach Chuck Knox. On three of six occasions in the history of the Los Angeles Rams, Clutch carried the ball more than 1,000 yards each season. 

Antone Tavares, born On June 2, 1950, in New Bedford, Massachusetts, becomes an R&B singer, a member of the famed group known as Tavares. Five brothers made up the group, they are: Ralph, Antone (Chubby), Feliciano (Butch), Arthur (Pooch), and Perry Lee (Tiny). Their father, a multi-talented musician with a passion for Wes Montgomery and Jimmy McGtiff, played guitar and sang in small clubs in the Tavares’ hometown of New Bedford, Mass. Their oldest brother, John, kindled his siblings’ interest in the tight fluid singing of R&B harmony groups such as The Cadillacs, The Flamingos, The Penguins and The Moonglows, and personal tastes filled in any existing gaps with, among others, Mary Wells, Gladys Knight and the Pips and Etta James. Compiled from Dirty Water, an Encyclopedia Project, Internet siteKenneth Chenault, born June 2, 1951, in Long Island, New York, becomes president of American Express from 1997 to 2001. He currently serves as CEO of American Express. He became the first African-American CEO of a Fortune 500 company. In 1995, Ebony listed him alongside Michael Jordan, Rosa Parks, Bill Cosby and Colin Powell as one of 50 “living pioneers” in the African-American community.Cornel West, born June 2, 1953, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, becomes an activist, educator and writer. As a young man, marched in civil rights demonstrations and organized protests demanding black studies courses at his high school. West later wrote that, in his youth, he admired “the sincere black militancy of Malcolm X, the defiant rage of the Black Panther Party and the livid black theology of James Cone.” (From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornel_WestJamaal Abdul-Lateef Wilkes, born Jackson Keith Wilkes, June 2, 1953, in Berkeley, California, becomes a professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors.

Dennis Dexter Haysbert, born June 2, 1954, in San Mateo, California, becomes a film and television actor He is known for portraying baseball player Pedro Cerrano in the Major League film trilogy, President David Palmer on the American television series 24, and Sergeant Major Jonas Blane on the drama series The Unit, as well as his work in commercials for Allstate Insurance. Darnell Coles, born June 2, 1962, in San Bernadino, California, becomes a professional baseball player. His career placements include infielder with the Seattle Mariners from 1983 to 1985; infielder with the Detroit Tigers from 1986 to 1987; infielder/outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1987 to 1988; infielder/outfielder for Seattle Mariners from 1988 to 1990; infielder/outfielder for the Detroit Tigers in 1990 and the Toronto Blue Jays in 1992. (From: www.reallegends.com)

Norm Lewis, born June 2, 1963, in Tallahassee, Florida, (some sources say his birth took place in Eatonville, Florida) becomes a Tony Award nominated actor and baritone singer, who has appeared in Europe, on Broadway, in film, television recordings and regional theatre. He is perhaps best known for his roles in the popular musical production of “Porgy and Bess” and “The Phantom of the Opera,” making musical theatre history as the first African American actor to perform in the title role in Broadway’s long-running production of Phantom.

Sybil Lynch, born June 2, 1965 or 1966, in Paterson, New Jersey, known simply as Sybil, becomes an R&B and pop singer who had a successful career the 1980s and 1990s.

B-Real, born Louis Freese, June 2, 1970, in Los Angeles, California, becomes a rapper for the Kush label and then recording for Cypress Hill. (Info obtained from www.mtv.com)

Wayne Brady, born June 2, 1972, in Orlando, Florida, becomes a TV talk show and game show host, singer, comedian and actor. He is best known for his role on ABC’s television show, “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” Brady’s first job as an entertainer became that of the role of “Tigger” at Walt Disney World. He began to perform at a central Florida comedy club called SAK Comedy Club. He moved from Florida to Las Vegas, Nevada and then eventually on to Los Angeles, California in 1996, where he developed his acting skills. He served as host of VH1’s comedy series, Vinyl Justice; Countdown to the American Music Awards, and Safe Night. He has guest-starred on numerous television series and has received several nominations for his acting performances. In 2002, he also hosted his own TV show, “The Wayne Brady Show.” He hosts “Let’s Make a Deal” game show week day mornings.

Wentworth Earl Miller, II, born June 2, 1972, in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, England, becomes an actor, model and screenwriter who rose to stardom following his role as Michael Scofield in the Fox Network television series “Prison Break.” (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 75, page 89)

Dontae Jones, born June 2, 1975, in Nashville, Tennessee, becomes a professional basketball player for the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks. After his NBA season, Jones played for the Memphis Houn’ Dawgs, in ABA, and in Greece, Turkey, Italy and Korea. His mother placed an apostrophe intentionally at the end of his first name for distinction.  (From: 1996-97 Basketball Almanac and www.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/basketball/nba/players)Earl Boykins, born June 2, 1976, in Cleveland, Ohio, becomes a professional basketball player for the Golden State Warriors, the Denver Nuggets, Cleveland Cavaliers, New Jersey Nets, Orlando Magic, and the Los Angeles Clippers. He played high school basketball at Cleveland’s Central Catholic High School. (From: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/wnba/shock/2003-07-12-ford-all-star_x.htm) Gari Scott, born June 2, 1978, in Lake Park, Florida, becomes a professional football player for the Washington Redskins and the Green Bay Packers (From: http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/players/5128 

Orish Grinstead, born June 2, 1980, in Las Vegas, Nevada, died April 20, 2008, became a vocalist, a founding member of the R&B group 702. She has a twin sister Irish Grinstead (June 2, 1980), also a member of 702.

Bobby Simmons, born June 2, 1980, in Chicago, Illinois, becomes a professional basketball player for the Washington Wizards, Seattle Super-Sonics, and the Detroit Pistons. (From: www.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/basketball/nba/players)

Fredua Koranteng “Freddy” Adu, born June 2, 1989, in Tema, Ghana, becomes a professional soccer player, who at the age of 14 became the youngest athlete ever to sign a professional contract, in the United States, when selected by D.C. United in the 2004 MLS Super Draft. On April 3, 2004, he became the youngest player to appear in a Major League Soccer (MLS) game when he came on as a substitute in a game against the San Jose Earthquakes. Two weeks later, on April 17, he became the youngest scorer in MLS history, scoring a goal in a 3–2 loss to the Metro Stars. At the age of eight, his mother won the Green Card Lottery, and his family moved to Rockville, Maryland, in the United States, where he attended Sequoyah Elementary School. In 2003, he became a U.S. citizen.


Roland Wiltse Hayes, born one of six sons and a daughter, in a cabin on the plantation where his mother had been a slave, June 3, 1887, in Curryville, Georgia, (died January 1, 1977), becomes an opera singer and an educator, who at the age of eleven, his father, William Hayes, a sharecropper and former slave as well, died. Consequently, young Hayes spent most of his time working in the fields, only occasionally attending the poor country school for blacks. After their father’s death, Hayes and his brothers moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he became a member of an African American youth quartet that sang for nickels and dimes at the train station. At age 15, he met the African American pianist Arthur Calhoun, an Oberlin Conservatory student. Calhoun shared with Hayes his theoretical knowledge and introduced him to a white gentleman with a large collection of operatic recordings, including those of famed tenor Enrico Caruso. He recognized Hayes’s vocal abilities and encouraged him to pursue a career in music despite his mother’s objections. Hayes set out for Oberlin but ran out of money in Nashville. He therefore enrolled at Fisk University, entering the preparatory department. In 1911 Hayes received an invitation to join the Jubilee Singers–at that time a Fisk quartet–in Boston. (The Jubilee Singers and Fisk’s music department were separate entities.) He remained in Boston after the other singers departed, studying with the noted basso Arthur J. Hubbard. Hayes became the first of his race to receive international acclaim as a lieder singer, although still committed to the music of his people. Roland Hayes documented his feelings: “The Negro has his God-given music to bring to the sum total of good in the world. His future lies in the recognition of his heritage, the preservation of the songs of his fathers.” Roland Hayes became a pioneer in removing racial barriers for “singers of color” throughout the world, encouraging and supporting younger artists such as Marian Anderson, Dorothy Maynor, and Paul Robeson. F. W. Woolsey, in The Black Perspective in Music, wrote, “Hayes was the only concert attraction [black or white] who could fill Carnegie Hall and Symphony Hall in Boston three times a season.” His accomplishments and achievements were the result of hard work, perseverance, and faith in himself. Small in stature, Hayes became a giant in spirit. With his amazing vocal technique and spiritual singing quality, he would close his eyes, clasp his hands, and woo any audience. (Information compiled from Biography Resource Center, Gale Net Group, an Internet source and Notable Black American Men)

Lizzie “Memphis Minnie,” born Lizzie Douglas, June 3, 1897, in Algiers, Louisiana, (died August 6, 1973), becomes a blues musician and singer. Called Kid Douglas as a child, she learned how to play the guitar and banjo. Sometime during her early teens she began playing and singing on Memphis street-corners and eventually joined Ringling Brothers Circus and toured the South. During the 1920s she settled into Memphis’s Beale Street blues scene, where in 1929 a talent scout for Columbia Records discovered her. Accompanied by guitarist Kansas Joe McCoy, her second husband (she first married blues-man Casey Bill Weldon), she recorded later that year under the name Memphis Minnie. Her first song, Bumble Bee, became one of the most successful of the more than one hundred sides she recorded before retiring in the mid-1950s.

Dr. Charles Drew, born the oldest of five children in a middle-class family, June 3, 1904,  in Washington, D.C., (died April 1, 1950), became a pioneer in American medicine. His parent’s valued self-reliance, resourcefulness, and an honest days’ work. In his prime, at the age of 45 in 1950, he became chief of surgery at Freedmen’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., and professor of surgery at Howard University College of Medicine. He penned nearly two-dozen medical articles and had written a thesis that brought him international recognition as an expert on blood transfusion and storage; he had also been awarded the prestigious Spingarn Medal by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. At the time of his death from injuries sustained in an automobile accident traveling on Route 49, the very spot where the marker stands today, Drew earned a reputation for distinction and innovation in the medical field and training young African American surgeons to the highest standard of professional excellence. On a stretch of Route 49, a state highway that runs through North Carolina stands a tall rectangular marker inscribed in memory of Dr. Charles Richard Drew, a pioneer in American medicine. The monument is one of several memorials to him. Another is a portrait that hangs in the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Public schools, a park, and a medical school bear his name. There is also a Charles R. Drew Blood Center at the Red Cross Building in Washington, D.C. (Information compiled from Internet source Biography Resource Center and Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 7)

Josephine Baker born Freda Carson McDonald, June 3, 1906, in St. Louis, Missouri, in poverty (died April 12, 1975), but became an Internationally-recognized entertainer. Baker spent a hardscrabble childhood in the slums of St. Louis. After a successful audition at a local vaudeville theater, she left home at the age of 13, and worked as a waitress most of the time, and working on the stage whenever she could get there. By 1920, she married and divorced and married again, the second time to Willie Baker, from whom she took the name she used on stage. Baker finally caught her big break one year later while dancing in the chorus for Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake’s all-black revue “Shuffle Along.” A frenetic dancer and relentless onstage clown, Baker quickly attracted and received notice for a bigger part in another Sissle/Blake production, 1924’s “Chocolate Dandies.” The show made her a star in New York and she became big in Harlem as well with performances at the Cotton Club and the Plantation Club, among others. In 1925, she moved to Paris with the American production La Revue Nègre. Baker’s exotic dancing, uninhibited sexuality, and negligible attire, which included a skirt of feathers, suited the continent much more than America and she became an overnight sensation. Soon, she’d opened her own club (Chez Josephine) and starred in her first movie, the naturally exotic 1927 film “La Sirene des Tropiques.” Josephine Baker progressed from vaudeville to New York Theater to the Parisian cabaret scene and became the toast of Europe before the age of 21. Baker spent much of her life working tirelessly against prejudice, during World War II in Europe and the civil-rights era in America. She’s still one of the most famous expatriates in American history, perfectly epitomizing the hedonistic abandon of the Jazz Age in Paris. Back on stage by 1959, Baker spent much of the late 1950s and early 1960s raising her adopted children, an ethnically diverse clan of a dozen children she named the “rainbow tribe.” Baker participated in the 1963 civil-rights march on Washington and gave a series of four concerts at Carnegie Hall to raise funds for the cause. After suffering a heart attack in 1964, however, her performance career practically ended, except for a brief comeback just before her death from a stroke in 1975. (Information compiled from website www.allmusic.com  an Internet source and Notable Black American Women, Book 1)

Will Robinson, born June 3, 1911, in Wadesboro, North Carolina, (died April 28, 2008), becomes the first African-American head coach in Division I history when he accepted the position at Illinois State University in 1970. (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 69, page 140)

Elizabeth Duncan Koontz, born the youngest of seven children, June 3, 1919, in Salisbury, North Carolina, (died January 6, 1989), (some sources give birth date as June 4) becomes an educator and an organization official. Her parents were both educators. While serving as president of the National Education Association (NEA), from 1968 to1969, the first black elected to that position, Elizabeth Duncan Koontz urged members to organize, agitate, and, (if the situation warranted), strike in order to bring about needed change in the public schools. After resigning her position with the NEA, she went on to head the United States Labor Department’s Women’s Bureau, where she spoke out in support of black women’s rights. She served the education needs of her home state, North Carolina, as a teacher, as a leader in both the national and local teachers’ associations, and as assistant state school superintendent. (Information compiled from Biography Resource Center, Gale Net, an Internet source and Notable Black American Women, Book 1)

Dakota Staton, born June 3, 1930, outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, died April 10, 2007, becomes a jazz singer who began singing and dancing as a child, later attending the Filion School of Music. At 16, she starred in theor 1932 stage show Fantastic Rhythm and two years later joined local bandleader Joe Wespray. From there, Staton headlined a lengthy residency at Detroit’s landmark Flame Show Bar, followed by years traveling the Midwest club circuit. Eventually, she settled in New York City, and while performing at Harle Baby Grand she captured the attention of Capitol Records producer Dave Cavanaugh, who extended a contract offer. Staton’s debut single, “What Do You Know About Love?” appeared in 1954, and a year later she claimed jazz magazine Down Beat’s Most Promising Newcomer award. By no means strictly a jazz act, however, she was also a bold, brassy R&B singer and performed alongside Big Joe Turner and Fats Domino at legendary disc jockey Alan Freed’s first Rock ‘n’ Roll Party showcases. Freed regularly played St’s aton’s “My HeartDelight” on his daily WINS show, and when long-awaited full-length debut “The Late, Late Show” finally hit retail in 1957, it proved an enormous crossover hit, peaking at number four on the Billboard pop charts. Its 1958 follow-up “The Dynamic Dakota Staton!” reached the number 22 spot and more importantly heralded the beginning of her long collaboration with arranger and conductor Sid Feller. After marrying trumpeter Talib Ahmad Dawud in 1958, Staton converted to Islam and for a time performed under the name Aliyah Rabia. She was also an active member of Dawud’s advocacy group the Muslim Brotherhood, which existed in large part to combat the radical politics of black supremacist Elijah Muhammad. The Muslim Brotherhood found itself the center of controversy when Muhammad claimed that “they should be ashamed of trying to make fun of me and my followers while serving the devil in the theatrical world.” The resulting media attention undermined Staton’s commercial momentum, and while 1959’s “Crazy He Calls Me” still charted, she never again enjoyed the crossover success that greeted her previous records. After ten Capitol dates, culminating in 1961’s live Dakota at Storyville, she jumped to United Artists for 1963’s “From Dakota with Love.” After two more UA sessions, “Live and Swinging” and “Dakota Staton with Strings,” she exited the label and did not cut another record for eight years. Upon relocating to Britain in 1965, Staton worked hotels and cruise ships and was largely forgotten by the time she returned to the U.S. in the early ’70s. She signed to Groove Merchant and cut the 1972 comeback attempt “Madame Foo Foo” with soul-jazz great Richard “Groove” Holmes. Sessions for Muse and Simitar followed, and in 1999 she signed with High Note for her final studio date, “A Packet of Love Letters.” Staton’s health declined slowly but steadily in the years to follow, and she died April 10, 2007, at the age of 76. (Source: http://www.allmusic.com/artist/dakota-staton-mn0000668932/biography) and (From: www.allmusic.com )

Dr. Oretta Mae Todd, born June 3, 1933, in Detroit, Michigan, becomes a nurse and medical practitioner. She involved herself in a number of professional and community organizations, which include the Chi Eta Phi sorority, the N.A.A.C.P., the Detroit Urban League, and the Afro-American Museum Development Committee (currently known as the Museum of African American History, where she served as their first secretary. (From: www.med.umich.edu/hsshc/bios/todd.html )

Irma P. Hall, born June 3, 1935, in Beaumont, Texas, becomes an actress, who has appeared in numerous films and television shows since the 1970s. She is best known for playing matriarchal figures in the films “A Family Thing,” “Soul Food” and “The Ladykillers.”

Curtis Mayfield, born June 3, 1942, in Chicago, Illinois, (died December 26, 1999 or 2000), became a notable composer, musician, and singer. He began his music career with friend Jerry Butler (another achiever of color.) They joined a soul group called The Roosters, in 1957. In 1958, the group’s name became “The Impressions.” Butler left the group for a solo career after the success of the hit song “For Your Precious Love.” The group folded, but Mayfield continued to do sessions work. In 1960, he reformed The Impressions and remained with them until 1970. During that time, they became one of the most consistent vocal groups in the United States. Mayfield debuted as a solo artist in 1970. In 1990, Mayfield collaborated with rapper Ice-T on a remake of “Superfly,” which featured song “Superfly,” produced by Mayfield for the movie in 1972. On August 13, 1990, a lightning rig blown over from an outdoor festival in Brooklyn, New York struck Mayfield on the base of the neck, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. Until his death in early 2000, Mayfield continued to perform and record.

Phoebe Beasley, born June 3, 1943, in Cleveland, Ohio, becomes an artist and radio station executive. She became the first Black woman to be appointed president of American Women in Radio and Television. At seven years of age, her mother died. Her father remarried Mildred Gaines, whom Beasley credits as having been her role model and a major influence on her life. (From: Notable Black American women, Book 1)

Emmitt Thomas born June 3, 1943, in Angleton, Texas, forty-two years in the National Football League with an induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, in 2008.  On February 1, 2010 he became the secondary coach of the Kansas City Chiefs where he had coached Pro Bowl players Eric Berry and Brandon Flowers.

Edith McGuire, born June 3, 1944, in Atlanta, Georgia, became the second Back woman to win three Olympic medals in the same Olympic game, in 1964. She received a gold medal for the 200-meter, a silver medal for the 100-meter, and a silver medal for 4×100 meter-relay. (Information gathered from website www.usatf.org , an Internet source)

Eddie Holman, born June 3, 1946, in Norfolk, Virginia, becomes a soul singer, recording from the 1950s to 1970s. “Hey There Lonely Girl,” became one of his most memorable recordings. (Information acquired from article posted on website www.allmusic.com )

Deniece Williams, born June 3, 1950, in Gary, Indiana, became an R&B and gospel singer. She’s also the vocalist for the comedy sitcom of “Three’s Company.” In the article posted at www.allmusic.com, Williams states that her mother, also a singer, became her idol. Some of her other favorite entertainers are Carmen McRae, for her diction, and Nancy Wilson, who exemplified class and elegance for Williams. Fond of singers like Stevie Wonder, the R&B group, Earth, Wind and Fire, Minnie Ripperton and Pattie LaBelle,  Williams recorded a popular duets with crooner Johnny Mathis entitled “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late,” and “You’re All I Need To Get By.”

Nelson Arturo Liriano, born June 3, 1964, in the Dominican Republic, becomes a professional baseball player for the Toronto Blue Jays in August 1987. He has played with various teams, which include the Colorado Rockies. (Information gathered from collection of baseball card and www.espn.com, an Internet site).

Kurk Lee, born June 3, 1967, in Baltimore, Maryland, becomes a professional basketball player for the New Jersey Nets, a (NBA) Nation Basketball Association team and also played in the (CBA) Continental Basketball Association, (IBL) International Basketball League and in the Philippines, Turkey, Finland, and Estonia. He retired in 2002.

Andrea Congreaves, born June 3, 1970, in Epson (London), England, becomes a professional basketball player for the Orlando Miracles, and the Charlotte Sting. In 1999, she began playing basketball for European teams such as Bourges, France, and Como, Italy. (From: http://www.britball.com/profiles/andrea_congreaves.htm ) 

Shawn Foreman, born June 3, 1975, in Chesapeake, Virginia, becomes a professional football player for the New York Jets, the Oklahoma Wranglers, the Indiana Firebirds, and the Grand Rapids Rampage. (From: http://sports.nfl.com/2000/playerhighlights )

Jamie Marcellus Nails, born June 3, 1975, in Baxley, Georgia, becomes a professional football player for the Miami Dolphins. The Buffalo Bills first drafted him in 1997. He attended Florida A&M College. (Information obtained from http://sports.yahoo.com)


z-Zahir Hakim, born June 3, 1977, in Los Angeles, California, becomes a professional football player for the Detroit Lions. At the end of his playing career, he planned to start his own burger establishment called “Quickies” located in the Tempe area. His name means “radiant” and “high, wise counselor. (Information provided from website, www.nfl.com )

Pat Dennis, born June 3, 1978, in Shreveport, Louisiana, becomes a professional football player who played for the Kansas City Chiefs, in 2000 and 2001; the Dallas cowboys, in 2001; the Houston Texans, in 2002 and the Washington Redskins, in 2004. (From: www.nfl.com/2000/playerhighlights ) 

Lyfe Jennings, born Chester Jermaine Jennings, June 3, 1978, in Toledo, Ohio, becomes a multi-talented hip hop and R&B singer, soul singer-songwriter, record producer, and an instrumentalist. He plays the guitar, bass, and piano which he integrates into his music. The New York Times referred to him as a “socially minded R&B singer” Before his music career took off, in 1992, Jennings went to prison for arson. In his music, he refers to turning his life around while in prison. There, Jennings continued to write music and rekindle his faith in God. Jennings served a little over 10 years behind bars. The numbers “268-192” attached to the end of his debut album represent the identification number he given him while incarcerated. (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 69, page 92)

Tierre Brown, born June 3, 1979, in Iowa, Louisiana, becomes a professional basketball player for the Albuquerque Thunderbirds, Houston rockets, Cleveland Cavaliers, New Orleans Hornets, and the Los Angeles Lakers. Tierre became a member of the Houston Rockets at that time, making the team out of training camp after going unselected in the 2001 NBA draft. Brown ranked among the top 25 scorers in the nation both his junior and senior seasons at McNeese State his school suffered the invisibility of being off of the scouts’ radar. “Coming from a small school I knew my chances (to get drafted) were slim,” said Brown, who didn’t even bother hiring an agent to represent him. “I knew I was going to have to work to make it to the NBA.” Payday for a Lifetime of Work – (From: http://www.minorleaguenews.com/basketball/aaa/nbdl/lowgators/articles2004/031504.html ) 

Dedrick Dewalt, born June 3, 1979, in Chicago, Illinois, becomes a professional football player for the St. Louis Rams who once held the lead receiver position for the Philadelphia Eagles. (Information provided from website www.nfl.com and http://bceagles.ocsn.com ) Brandon Moore, born June 3, 1980, in Gary, Indiana, becomes a professional football player for the New York Jets. His says his favorite athlete is Reggie White. (More information can be obtained from www.goallinefootball.com  

Nikki Michelle James, born June 3, 1981, in Summit, New Jersey, becomes an American actress and singer best known for her performances in the popular stage musicals “The Book of Mormon” and “Les Misérables,” her role in the former having earned her a Tony Award. She has also appeared in several film and television roles and was most recently featured on “The Good Wife.”

Tamara Sanceri Bowie, born June 3, 1981, in Lansing, Michigan, becomes a professional basketball player for the Washington Mystics. (Information provided from website www.ballstatesports.com   an Internet source)

Alfred Joel Horford, born June 3, 1986, in Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, becomes a Dominican professional basketball player for the Atlanta Hawks of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Margaret Garner, (called Peggy) born a slave June 4, 1834, in Boone County, Kentucky, (died in 1858) with a national reputation in the years before the American Civil War. On January 28, 1856, she fled with her husband and four children (some sources say that she had six children) from her owner in Kentucky. The Garners successfully crossed the Ohio River near Cincinnati, but a group of slave owners found the family shortly thereafter. Before the slaveholders captured the fugitive slaves, Margaret Garner used a butcher knife to kill her young daughter. Garner also tried to kill her other children, but she was unsuccessful in her attempt. Garner did not want her children returned to a life of slavery. The Hamilton County Grand Jury indicted Garner and her husband on murder charges. A United States commissioner then ordered the Garners released from jail and returned to their owner. A federal district judge agreed with the commissioner and ordered the Hamilton County sheriff to turn the Garners over to a United States marshal to return the slaves to their owner. A probate judge from Hamilton County tried to intervene, but the federal marshal had already transported the Garners back to their owner in Kentucky. Ohio Governor Salmon P. Chase, a Republican and an abolitionist, demanded that Kentucky’s governor immediately return the Garners to Ohio so that they could stand trial on the murder charges. Chase did not want a precedent to be set that would allow Kentucky slaveholders to come to Ohio and reclaim fugitive slaves. The Garners’ owner then sold the family to a slaveholder in New Orleans, Louisiana. On the family’s trip to New Orleans, the steamboat that the Garners were traveling upon collided with another vessel. One of Margaret Garner’s other children drowned in the accident. Margaret Garner’s story of her willingness to kill her own child to prevent her from being returned to a life in bondage received national attention. A growing number of people, including many Ohioans, began to view slavery as an inhumane institution by the late 1850s. Margaret Garner was reported by her husband to have died of typhoid fever in Louisiana in 1858. The story of Margaret Garner was the basis of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “Beloved” (1987) by Ohio native Toni Morrison. The film adaptation, starring Oprah Winfrey, Thandie Newton, Kimberly Elyse and Danny Glover, was released in 1998. An opera entitled “Margaret Garner” with libretto by Toni Morrison and music by Richard Danielpour premiered in 2005. Pick up a copy of the book at http://amzn.to/1PDpEB1 or watch the film at http://amzn.to/1KI4DUp. (Source: http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Margaret_Garner)

Vivian Murray Chambers, born June 4, 1903 (died 1984), 
in Salisbury, North Carolina, becomes an entomologist (a person who studies animals.) He received a Bachelor of Science from Shaw University in 1928, then a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University, New York in 1931. He later received a Master of Science from Cornell University in 1935 and a Doctor of Science (Ph.D. in Economic Entomology) from Cornell in 1946. Dr. Chambers worked for the WPA (Works Progress Administration) as a Senior Research Worker in the American Museum of Natural History. In 1936 and 1937, Chambers worked as an Instructor of Science at Lincoln Normal School, Alabama. Between 1937 and 1943 Dr. Chambers worked as a Biologist for the Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University (Alabama A & M). In 1945, Dr. Chambers received an appointment as Professor of Biology at Alabama A & M. In 1970, Professor Chambers became Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. (From: http://www.termpaperslab.com/term-papers/38374.html )

Samuel L. Gravely, Jr. born June 4, 1922 (died October 22, 2004), in Richmond, Virginia, becomes the first Black naval commander. As a youngster he worked odd jobs to raise money to go to college. In 1942, Gravely enlisted in the Naval Reserve. Two years later he became an Ensign. In 1945 and 1946, he served in USS PC-1264 and released from active duty in April 1946, remaining in the Naval Reserve. Captain Gravely received a promotion to Rear Admiral, becoming the first African-American to achieve Flag Rank in the Navy.

In September 1976, Vice Admiral Gravely assumed command of the Third Fleet. From 1978-80, he served as Director of the Defense Communications Agency. He retired from the Navy on August 1, 1980. Vice Admiral Samuel L. Gravely, Jr. suffered a stroke and died on October 22, 2004 at the National naval Medial Center in Bethesda, MD; he was 82 years old. (From: Notable Black American Men, Volume 1, page 473; Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 5, page 102)

Oliver Edward Nelson, born June 4, 1932, in St. Louis, Missouri, died October 28, 1975, becomes an American jazz saxophonist, clarinetist, arranger and composer. Nelson’s family was musical: his brother was also a saxophonist who played with Cootie Williams (born July 10, 1911 – September 15, 1985) in the 1940s, and his sister sang and played piano. Nelson began learning to play the piano when he was six, and started on the saxophone at eleven. From 1947 he played in “territory” bands around Saint Louis, before joining the Louis Jordan big band from 1950 to 1951, playing alto saxophone and arranging. In 1952 Nelson underwent military service in the Marines playing woodwinds in the 3rd Division band in Japan and Korea. It was in Japan that Nelson attended a concert by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra and heard Maurice Ravel‘s Mother Goose Suite and Paul Hindemith‘s Symphony in E Flat. Nelson later recalled that this was the “First time that I had heard really modern music, for back in St. Louis I hadn’t even known that Negroes were allowed to go to concerts, I realized everything didn’t have to sound like Beethoven or Brahms…It was then that I decided to become a composer”. Nelson returned to Missouri to study music composition and theory at Washington and Lincoln Universities, graduating in 1958. Nelson also received private tutoring from composers Elliott CarterRobert Wykes and George Tremblay. While back in his hometown of St. Louis, he met and married Eileen Mitchell; the couple had a son, Oliver Nelson Jr., but soon divorced. After graduation, Nelson married Audrey McEwen, a union which lasted until his death; they had a son, Nyles. Audrey was a native of St. Louis, Missouri. Nelson moved to New York, playing with Erskine Hawkins and Wild Bill Davis, and working as the house arranger for the Apollo Theater in Harlem.

Linda Martell, born Thelma Bynem, June 4, 1941, in Batesburg-Leesville, South Carolina, becomes an American rhythm and blues and country music singer. In August 1969, she became the first African-American woman to perform at the Grand Ole Opry. The daughter of Pastor Clarence Bynem, began singing in church at age 5 when her singing developed in a gospel group consisting of three of her brothers. She was drawn to country music at a young age, in addition to blues, jazz and R&B, Her first recorded work was fronting a group called the Anglos, a single recorded in 1962 for the Fire label. In 1964 she recorded for the Tollie label as part of the Angelos that included her brother Elzie Lee. Martell caught her big break in 1969 when she joined Shelby Singleton’s Plantation Records and had a top-25 hit with “Color Him Father.” She made television appearances on The Bill Anderson Show and “Hee Haw” in 1970. She released a second single, “Before the Next Teardrop Falls”, which reached No. 33 on the Billboardcharts. She recorded one more charting single, an album and made 11 more appearances at the Grand Ole Opry before ending her recording career in 1974. A January 22, 2014 broadcast of a Swedish TV program entitled Jillis veranda-Nashville (transl: Jill’s Porch – Nashville) documented the search for an interview of Linda Martell. The stars of the show travel to South Carolina to meet Martell, discuss her music and why she abandoned her recording career. Martell reveals she decided to return to South Carolina because her children were small and she didn’t feel she could keep up the pace of touring, which was impacting her health. She worked in education for much of her life but provides few details. She retired in 1974.

Anthony Braxton, born June 4, 1945, in Chicago, Illinois, becomes a multitalented jazz musician. He created a large body of highly complex work. Much of Braxton’s music is jazz oriented, but he has also been active in free improvisation and orchestral music, and has written operas. Among the vast array of instruments he utilizes are the flute, the sopranino, soprano, F alto, E-flat alto, baritone, bass, and contrabass saxophones; and the E-flat, B-flat, and contrabass clarinets. Braxton has released well over 100 albums sincethe 1960s.

Leroy Hutson, born June 4, 1945, in Newark, New Jersey, becomes a soul and R&B singer, songwriter, arranger, producer and instrumentalist, best known as former lead singer of famed R&B vocal group “The Impressions.” As a teenager, Lee was a member of the Nu-Tones, a four-man vocal group based in New Jersey. They won several talent shows during Lee’s grammar school years. The other members of the Nu-Tones were Ronald King, Bernard Ransom, Ed Davis, and Irving Jenkins. In 1968, as part of the duo Sugar & Spice, Lee Hutson and Deborah Rollins recorded for Kapp Records. They recorded several singles with some success. Their single “In Love Forever” ranked the “Best New Record of the Week” in the local newspaper column “Soul Sauce”. Two other singles recorded were “Ah Ha Yeah” and “Dreams”. Initially attending Howard University in Washington D.C. to study dentistry, Hutson switched his major to music, beginning his musical career. At Howard University, Hutson joined The Mayfield Singers, a group put together on Howard’s campus by musician Curtis Mayfield that performed at New York’s famed Apollo Theater and Philadelphia’s Uptown Theater. The group released one single for Mayfield in 1967. There, Hutson collaborated with Donny Hathaway on “The Ghetto”, giving the late recording star his first hit record in early 1970. In 1971, three months out of college, Hutson was asked to replace Curtis Mayfield as the lead singer of “The Impressions”. He stayed with them for two-and-a-half years and recorded two albums with the group, before amicably leaving to pursue his own career as a writer, producer, arranger, and musician. The first Impressions single to feature Hutson as lead vocalist was entitled “Love Me”, released on Curtom Records in North America in June 1971. On August 27, 2013 Hutson, filed a complaint against Young Jezzy and others alleging that Young Jeezy’s song “Time” inappropriately incorporated the instrumental portion of The Impressions “Getting it On,” which was registered with the United States Copyright Office in 1973. In 1973 Hutson wrote, produced, arranged and recorded his first solo album, “Love Oh Love”, featuring the single “So In Love With You”, and through 1992 recorded eight albums and charted with thirteen singles in the U.S. In 2008, Hutson returned to recording under the name Lee Hutson, issuing an album “Soothe You Groove You” on his own Triumph label and via download. Two years later, in August 2010, Hutson made his comeback to European stages, performing at Suncebeat Festival in Zadar, Croatia, at Vintage at Goodwood Festival and at Indigo2 in London. He was backed by the British group The Third Degree. As a writer/producer, he has worked for Roberta Flack (“Tryin’ Times”, “Gone Away”), The Natural Four (“You Bring Out the Best in Me”, “Can This Be Real”), Linda Clifford, Voices of East Harlem (“Giving Love”), Arnold Blair (“Trying to Get Next to You”), and Next Movement (“Let’s Work It Out”), while more recently one of his own cult singles “Lucky Fellow” was covered by Snowboy on Acid Jazz records.

El DeBarge, born Eldra Patrick DeBargeJune 4, 1961, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, becomes an R&B and soul falsetto singer. He is the older brother of singers James and Chico DeBarge, and the focal point and lead singer of the DeBarge family group throughout the early 1980s. After the commercial pop success of their 1985 album, Rhythm of the Night, El left the group in 1986 to begin a solo career. He had modest hits including his collaboration with Quincy Jones on the 1990 quiet storm R&B classic, “Secret Garden”, and his cover of the classic 1976 Marvin Gaye ballad, “After the Dance”, which he recorded with jazz group Fourplay in 1992. El has since withdrawn from public view following the 1995 death of his brother Bobby from an AIDS-related illness, although he has worked with artists such as DJ Quik since then. (From: Soul Music A to Z, page 82, by Hugh Gregory)

John P. Kee, born the last of six boys, the 15th child of 16 children, June 4 (?), 1962, in Durham, North Carolina, (some source say his birth took place in Charlotte, N.C.), becomes a singer and songwriter of gospel music. While a teenager, he performed with groups like Cameo and Donald Byrd & The Blackbirds. He formed the New Life Community Choir, in 1981. In 1987, he released his first album with the New Life Choir, Yes Lord, which was recorded during a performance at the Brethren in Unity Youth Convention. In 1989 he released his debut solo album, Wait on Him. Kee has continued since then to balance solo albums and recordings with the choir.He became the recipient of many awards for his gospel music delivery, which include the Stellar Award, NAACP Award, and the Dove Award.

Xavier McDaniel, born June 4, 1963, in Columbia, South Carolina, becomes a professional basketball player in the position of small forward for the teams of the Seattle Super Sonics, Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks, Boston Celtics and New Jersey Nets. From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xavier_McDaniel

Tim Perry, born June 4, 1965, in Freehold, New Jersey, becomes a professional basketball player for the Philadelphia 73ers and the Phoenix Suns. From: www.wikipedia.com

Albert Joseph Brown III, born June 4, 1968, in Boston, Massachusetts, becomes a two-time Grammy-nominated American R&B recording artist and record producer. He grew up in Leonia, New Jersey, and Mount Vernon, New York. During the late 1980s under the stage name Al B. Sure!, he was one of new jack swing’s most popular romantic singers and producers. He is best known for the role of himself in Yakety Yak, Take it Back and Trash Talk. Brown was a star football quarterback at Mount Vernon High School in New York, who rejected an athletic scholarship to the Univerdity of Iowa to pursue a music career. In 1987, Quincy Jones selected Brown as the first winner of the Sony Innovators Talent Search. Subsequently, Brown went on to work with Jones on several projects, most notably the platinum single “The Secret Garden (Sweet Seduction Suite) ” from Jones’ double-platinum-certified album “Back on the Black”. On this recording, Brown was one of a quartet with Barry White, El DeBarge and James Ingram. His debut album from 1988 album “In Effect Mode,” sold more than two million copies, topping the Billboard R&B chart for seven straight weeks. The album included the single “Nite and Day,” which topped the R&B chart and reached No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. He received numerous Grammy and American Music Award (AMA) nominations, and won an AMA for Best New R&B Artist. He also received several Soul Train Award nominations, and won the award for Best New Artist. He also won several New York Music Awards. In addition, his 900 phone line was third in generating revenue, following those for “New Kids on the Block” and “Run-D-M-C.” As a writer and producer, Brown introduced the multi-platinum group Jodeci and teen R&B performer Tevin Campbel (also one of Quincy Jones’s former protégés), as well as Faith Evans, Dave Hollister, Case and Usher (one best-selling artists in American history) to the music industry. In 2000, Sure!’s ABS Entertainment launched a television development division, and he served as co-executive producer of the HBO Comedy Special starring Jamie Foxx, filmed at the Paramount Theater in Oakland, California. Recently, Sure! Teamed with the ABC Radio Network to produce a romantic nighttime show, “The Secret Garden,” hosted by him and featuring a blend of music and celebrity guests. In 2009, Brown signed with Hidden Beach Recordings. His first single for the label, “I Love It (Papi Aye, Aye, Aye),” entered the Radio & Records Urban AC chart at No. 33 in one week. The album “Honey, I’m Home” was released on June 23, 2009. Sure! participated in the Bless the Children Foundation celebrity auction along with NFL stars Charles Woodson and Anthony Dorsett. He was presented with the key to the city of Oakland by city council member Laurence E. Reid in recognition of the work of Sure!’s ABS Ken-Struk-Shen in refurbishing parts of the city. Reid proclaimed October 19 Al B Sure! Day. Sure! was a DJ on the Los Angeles radio station KHHT, and played old-school hip hop and R&B. He currently has a daily morning radio show on iHeart Radio.

Henry Burris, born June 4, 1975, in Spiro, Oklahoma, becomes a professional football player for the Canadian Football Leagus as a quarterback for the Calgary Stampeders. He also spent one year as a reserve quarterback for the Chicago Bears. (From: http://www.answers.com/topic/henry-burris)

Chad Slaughter, born June 4, 1978, in Dallas, Texas, becomes a professional football player for the Oakland Raiders. (From: www.espn.com)

Alex Brown, born June 4, 1979, in Jasper, Florida, becomes a professional football player for the Chicago Bears. (From: www.espn.com)

Clarence Coleman, born June 4, 1980, in Miami, Florida, becomes a professional football player for the Buffalo Bills. He plays the position of wide receiver. (From: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/nfl/players/6606/ )

Tony (Anthony or Antonio) Jackson, born June 5, 1876 (died April 20, 1921), in New Orleans, Louisiana, becomes a pianist, singer and composer. He showed musical talents at a young age. At about the age of 10 he constructed a type of crude but working and properly tuned harpsichord out of junk in his back yard, since his family lacked the money to buy or rent a piano. On this contraption young Tony reproduced hymns he heard in church. News of this accomplishment soon spread around the neighborhood and he received offers to use of neighbors’ pianos and reed organs to practice on. Jackson got his first musical job at age 13, when he began playing piano during off hours at a Tonk run by bandleader Adam Oliver. By age 15, he became considered by many musicians as the best pianist in town.

Ellen Walker Craig Jones, born Dollie Ellen Walker June 5, 1906, in Truro Township, Ohio, died January 23, 2000, becomes a community activist. At just four months old, her family moved to Urbancrest. Her mother, Weltha Belle Lee Walker, had been a school teacher before taking on the full-time job of raising Craig-Jones and her four sisters and three brothers. Her father, Charles Oscar Walker, supported the family by working long hours on area farmland as a sharecropper. Craig-Jones attended local Urbancrest schools as well as those in nearby Columbus. Though she only got as far as high school, Williams told CBB that Craig-Jones, “always said she got her education from the Master’s of Masters of the University of Knowledge, Wisdom, and Understanding.” It was an education that both stemmed from and spurred her lifelong commitment to community activism. In 1926, just 20 years old, Craig-Jones “marched off to the Franklin County Courthouse to talk to the commissioners about getting water for the village,” Williams told CBB. “Her concern was for the betterment of the community.” Over the next 30 years Craig-Jones never lost sight of that goal. Though she held a job as a domestic worker, she was constantly striving to improve the quality of life in Urbancrest. “In 1960 she went with the then-Mayor William Johnson to Chicago to talk to federal officers about getting government help for the community sewer system,” Williams told CBB. “In 1970 the city got both sewer and water systems.” Craig-Jones also worked to get others involved in community affairs by founding several civic organizations including the Urbancrest Volunteer Civic Improvement Association and the Urbancrest Community Recreation Club. She also founded and led the Council for Village Youth which focused on issues of housing and the establishment of a social center. In addition, she founded and served as first president of the local credit union. She was also president of the Urbancrest Housing Board. Eventually activism gave way to local politics and, according to Williams, Craig-Jones became “the first woman elected to the Urbancrest Council.” During 12 years as a council member, she worked tirelessly on community and civic issues ranging from public utilities to youth programs to housing. One area of particular concern for her was the elderly. Nearing retirement age herself, she was very aware of the problems facing older community members including access to city services, fixed incomes, and affordable housing. Working on behalf of the town’s seniors helped Craig-Jones deal with her own aging. “Her motto was ‘old may get me, but I’ll never get old,’” Williams told CBB. In 1971 Craig-Jones’s became the first African-American female elected to the office of mayor in the United States when she won the mayor’s race in Urbancrest. This feat secured her a place in the history books and laid the groundwork for hundreds of black female mayors who would come after her. However, it was not accomplished without difficulty. “Her first hurdle was being elected by 11 votes,” Williams told CBB. “The then mayor demanded a recount. The recount cost $10.00 at that time.” The results were confirmed. Craig-Jones was mayor and more committed than ever to helping Urbancrest. “She said, ‘I will see that our community gets some of the things available,’” Williams told CBB. Craig-Jones achievements both in and out of the mayor’s office brought an onslaught of public recognition. “She received 80 to 100 significant awards and honors,” Williams told CBB. In 1974 the governor of Ohio declared a statewide Ellen Walker Craig Day. That same year the Black Political Assembly gave her its Humanitarian Award. The city of Columbus awarded her its Mayor’s Medal in 1978. In 1993 the YWCA named her a Women of Achievement, and in 1994 she was inducted into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame. Because of her extensive experience in community activism and politics, Craig-Jones was also sought after by various educational organizations including the Joint Center for Political Studies, the African Heritage Studies Association, and the African Council of Elders.

(From: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/craig-jones-ellen-walker-1906-2000)

Marion Motley, born June 5, 1920, in Leesburg, Georgia, died June 27, 1999), becomes one of four players to break the 13 year color line in football, when he signed with the Cleveland Browns in 1946 as a fullback. Motley and the Browns won every championship in the four-year existence of the AAFC.

Morris Hood, Jr., born June 5, 1934 (died October 7, 1998), in Detroit, Michigan, becomes a legislator, serving as a member of the Michigan House of Representatives, in Lansing, Michigan. He became one of twelve elected in the year 1973. He served from 1971 to 1996. (From: http://politicalgraveyard.com/bio/holten-hook.html )

Leroy Eldridge Cleaver, born June 5, 1935, in Pomona, California, died May 2, 1998, in Wabbaseka, Arkansas. He becomes a Black Panther militant, writer and minister. (From: Notable Black American Men, Volume 1, page 203)

Floyd Lawrence Butler, born June 5, 1937 or 1941, in San Diego, California, died April 29, 1990. He becomes a soul singer, songwriter and co-founder of the R&B group known as Friends of Distinction, along with Harry Elston. He began his musical career as a member of the musical group, ‘The Vocals’ from 1963 until they disabanded in 1965. The group formed in Los Angeles, California, and included Lamonte McLemore, Marilyn McCoo, Harry Elston, and of course Butler. The group started off as the ‘Hi-Fi’s,’ in the Ray Charles Tour in 1963. Thanks to Charles they got lucky and signed with the Tangerine Record Label, releasing their first single, ‘Lonesome Mood,’ a year later. In 1964, they appeared with Margie Hendrix on the recording, ‘Let No One Hold You.’ In 1965, problems had started in the group and both Butler and Elston left to pursue other projects including operating a clothing store, and forming another group. The group officially disbanded for good in 1965. Following the breakup McCoo got a job at a department store, before joining the group, ‘The Fifth Dimension,’ along with McLemore. In 1968, Elston and Butler formed the group, ‘The Friends of Distinction,’ with Jessica Cleaves, Babrbara Jean Love, and later with Charlene Gibson (she replaced Love during her pregnancy). After practicing for an estimated six months the group toured the local circuits of Los Angeles, California, and then recruited former football player Jim Brown as there manager. Thanks to Brown’s help the group were signed to the RCA Records Label, releasing their first single, ‘Grazing in the Grass,’ originally recorded by jazz musician Hugh Masekela. The song became a hit, landing on the R&B charts for 17 weeks. This was followed by another hit, ‘Going In Circles,’ which lasted for 19 weeks at number three on the charts. After recording three more singles, ‘Time Waits for No One,’ I Need You,’ and ‘Love or Let Me Be Lonely,’ the group encountered some personal changes and both Jessica Cleaves and Barbara Love left the group. The group disbanded for good in 1973. Butler who also served as a Corporal in the United States Marine Corps, died of a heart attack on April 29, 1990, at the age of 52. In 1996, Elston reformed the group with new members including, Pattie Brooks, Drake Frye, and Van Jewel. Other recordings by the group are, ‘You and I,’ ‘New Mother Nature,’ and ‘Willa Faye.’ From: https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=3694210

Orlando Patterson, born June 5, 1940, in Westmoreland, Jamaica, becomes an author and National Book Award-winning scholar who became a historical and cultural sociologist known for his work regarding issues of race in the America, as well as the sociology of development. He became the John Cowles chair in Sociology at Harvard University. (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 4, page 191)

Bernard Kincaid, born June 5, 1945, in Birmingham, Alabama, becomes a politician, who served as mayor of Birmingham, Alabama, beginning in 1999. From: http://www.informationbirmingham.com/mayor/bio.htm

Freddie Stone, born Frederick Stewart, June 5, 1946 or 1947, in Vallejo, California, becomes a musician, best known for his role as co-founder, guitarist, and vocalist in the band Sly & the Family Stone. His brother, “Sly” Sylvester Stewart became the lead, the front man for the group. His sisters Rosie Stone and Vet Stone became members of the band as well. After leaving the band in the mid1970s, Freddie became a member of former Family Stone bandmate, Larry Graham’s band Graham Central Station. Later in life, he became an ordained minister and began recording and performing gospel and inspirational music. He became pastor of the Evangelist Temple Fellowship Center in Vallejo, where he lives with his wife Melody.

Ronnie Dyson, born June 5, 1950, in Washington, D.C., died November 10, 1990. He became an R&B singer and actor. He grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where he sang in church choirs. At just 18 years of age, he won a lead part in the Broadway production of “Hair,” debuting in New York in 1968. Dyson became an iconic voice of the 1960s with the lead vocal in the show’s anthem of the hippie era, “Aquarius”. It is Dyson’s voice leading off the song and opening the show with the famous lyric “When the Moon is in the seventh house, and Jupiter aligns with Mars…” He made a cameo appearance in the 1979 motion picture version of “Hair”, singing “3-5-0-0” with another “Hair” alumnus, Melba Moore. Dyson also appeared in the 1969 “Putney Swope.” After “Hair,” Dyson pursued his stage career with a role in “Salvation,” in 1970. His recording of a song from the Salvation score, “If You Let Me Make Love to You Then, Why Can’t I Touch You?” successfully launched his record career, breaking into the Top 10 of the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at number eight in 1970. The follow-up, “I Don’t Wanna Cry”, was a strong US R&B seller, climbing to number nine. In 1971, “When You Get Right Down To It”, of which his was a more dramatic cover version of a song that had been a hit the previous year for “The Delfonics” made the US charts, and reached number 34 on the UK Singles Chart in December that year. His record company, Columbia Records, sent him to Philadelphia in 1973 to be produced by Thom Bell, one of the premier producers of the day, for several tracks. Bell’s highly orchestrated style suited Dyson with hits including “One Man Band (Plays All Alone)”, which reached number 28 on the Hot 100 and number 15 on the R&B chart, and “Just Don’t Want to Be Lonely” peaking at number 60 on the Hot 100 and number 29 on the R&B chart. These appeared on an album which was also made up of re-mixes of some earlier recordings, including “When You Get Right Down To It”. Dyson remained with Columbia working with top-line producers for another three albums, “The More You Do It “(1976),  “Love in All Flavors” (1977) and “If The Shoe Fits” (1979). The title track of the first of the three resulted in one of the singer’s biggest-selling records, reaching number six on the R&B chart. It was produced by Charles “Chuck” Jackson (half-brother of Jesse Jackson and no relation to the more famous singer of the same name who, interestingly enough, recorded for the same company in the ’60’s) and Marvin Yancy, who had been responsible for successfully launching the career of Natalie Cole with a series of hits. (Jackson and Yancy had also produced hits for a Chicago soul group, “The Independents,” (with whom Jackson was also lead singer.) Dyson then moved to an Atlantic Records subsidiary label, the Cotillion Records label, in 1981 for two albums and several singles which were only moderately successful. His acting and singing career had begun to stall in the late 1970s due to ill health, and it was in 1983 that Dyson appeared on the R&B chart for the last time on Cotillion with “All Over Your Face.” His final solo recording was “See The Clown” in 1990.

Carole Fredericks, born June 5, 1952, in Springfield, Massachusetts, died June 7, 2001. She becomes a singer and philanthropist hailing from a talented musical family, Carole, the sister of the famed bluesman Taj Mahal, began singing in church, and participated in the chorus as an extracurricular activity at school. By the time she graduated from Classical High School in 1972, Carole had distinguished herself with her voice and was determined to become “the greatest blues singers in the world.” She moved to San Francisco, CA where her brother, Taj Mahal, put her to work immediately as a studio singer. She recorded three albums with Taj. On the weekends, she sang with a trio at La Belle Helene, a little bistro owned by a French couple. After each performance, the patrons and owner always suggested, “Carole, our country would love a singer like you. Why don’t you go to Paris?” Carole took their suggestions to heart. She moved back home to Springfield where she worked for a year to earn enough money for an airline ticket and living expenses. In January 1979, Carole boarded a Laker Airline flight to Paris, France. She was 27 years old. When Carole Fredericks emigrated from the United States to France to pursue a career in music, she added her name to a long list of African Americans who found refuge and personal expression in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower and along the Seine. She was not the first African American to meet with success in France. Since the 19th century, the road to Paris has been well worn by African America’s crème de la crème: Frederick Douglas, Henry O. Tanner, Dr. W. E. B. DuBois, Paul Robeson, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Gordon Parks, Josephine Baker, Nina Simone and many more. Carole had limited exposure to French in the United States, yet she mastered the language. To accomplish this goal, she immersed herself in French culture and learned the language through music. As her command of the language grew, so did her reputation. A gifted singer who willingly lent her talent and enthusiasm to every project, Carole’s career soared. As a member of Fredericks Goldman Jones, one of France’s best-known music groups, she infused rhythm and blues, soul and gospel into mainstream French music. Find her recordings at http://amzn.to/28e6SwS. Ms. Fredericks’ desire to better the plight of the homeless, hungry, battered, and ill won her a special place in the hearts of Europeans and Africans. Carole Fredericks’ untimely death on June 7, 2001, came after performing a benefit concert to raise funds for a children’s hospital in Dakar, Senegal. Carole was laid to rest on June 18, 2001, in historic Cimetière de Montmartre in Paris, France. In 2006, the Carole D. Fredericks Foundation was founded in her honor. The organization is dedicated to enriching the quality of foreign language education in general and French language in particular. They accomplish these goals by rendering contemporary music in the target language into instructional materials, by raising the public awareness about the advantages of learning a foreign language and by promoting the study of francophone cultures from a global perspective. (Source: http://www.carolefredericksfoundation.org/carole.html)

Warren Thomas, born June 5, 1958, in San Francisco, California, died September 2, 2005. He becomes an African-American comedian whose greatest fame came during the late 1980s and early 1990s, when he was a major figure in the San Francisco comedy scene and began appearing on HBO comedy specials. He won the San Francisco International Comedy Competition in 1987. Thomas was cited as the funniest comedian alive by Greg Proops. Because of its speed, rhythm and flow, his comedy was often compared to jazz music. Warren mentored Jamie Foxx and also worked with Dave Chappelle. His other television appearances included Comedy Central’s Comics Come Home special, “The Dennis Miller Show” and “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and “Premium Blend.” He also worked as a writer on “In Living Color.” Prior to his death in 2005, Thomas was working as a writer for Air America Radio,and was a frequent guest at Rocly Sullivan’s “Satire for Sanity” show. He also was working on a project with Jamie Foxx.

Joe DeLoach, born into a family with 11 sisters and one brotherJune 5, 1967, in Bay City, Texas, becomes a 1988 Olympic gold medalist in the 200-meter run. He enjoyed running at a young age, and desired to become a football player, but later set his mind to sprinting. He trained at the University of Houston, like Carl Lewis before him. (From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_DeLoach)

Brian McKnight, born June 5, 1969, in Buffalo, New York, becomes an R&B singer, songwriter, arranger, and producer. He is a multi-instrumentalist and plays the piano, guitar, and trumpet. McKnight’s musical career began for him as a child; member of the church choir and a bandleader in high school. Encouraged by his older brother Claude’s band “Take 6,” getting a record deal, McKnight sent out demo tapes and, at the age of 19, signed his first recording deal with Mercury Records. He released his first album, Brian McKnight, in 1992, “I Remember You,” in 1995, and his third and final album for Mercury, 1997’s “Anytime,” sold over two million copies.

Vaughn Parker, born June 5, 1971, in Buffalo, New York, becomes a professional football player for the Washington Redskins. (From: http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/players/profile?statsId=2817)

Torry Holt, born June 5, 1976, in Greensboro, North Carolina, nicknamed “Big Game” becomes a professional football player serving in the position of wide receiver for the St. Louis Rams. He is the older brother, Terrence Holt, a football player, plays for the Detroit Lions, as a safety. (From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torry_Holt)

Tamika Whitmore, born June 5, 1977, in Tupelo, Mississippi, becomes a professional basketball player for the New York Liberty, the Los Angeles Sparks, and signed with the Indiana Fever in 2006. While in the 9th grade, Tamika knew a local girl received a scholarship to play college basketball, that when she knew basketball was her calling. She saw basketball as a way to go to college for free and not burden her mother with the expenses of college. After the WNBA, Tamika would like to coach at her alma mater, University of Memphis. (From: http://aol.wnba.com/sparks/news/whit_interview.html)

Kirk Patrick Snyder, born June 5, 1983, in Los Angeles, California, grows up to become a professional basketball player for the Utah Jazz and the New Orleans Hornets. (From: www.wikipedia.com)

Janet Griffin can be contacted via Facebook

Want the rest of this month or a completed account of all members born in any particular month? Get it free! Send a note to the author at JGri481915@aol.com