The month of March is governed by the astrological signs of Pisces, from March 1 to the 20th. Pisces, said to be emotional, sensitive and poetic individuals on the surface, play the power game, but in actuality, are gentle, compassionate, sympathetic, emotional, impressionable, and intuitive dreamers with feelings easily hurt. These achievers include personalities such as rapper, actress and businesswoman, Queen Latifah, (born March 18, 1970), basketball great and actor, Shaquille O’Neal (born March 6, 1972), and actress and once Miss America, Vanessa L. Williams (born March 18, 1963.) There are many famous individuals of color born in the month of March. Here you will read some brief information on some them you may have heard of and some may not know. My hope is that you will learn a little something you did not know and for those of you born on the same day as one of these achievers, my hope is that information about their lives will inspire you to become all that you can be. I encourage you to do even more research on some of the people of color you read about featured in this article. Thank You and Enjoy.
Harriet Tubman, born Araminta Harriet Greene Tubman, March 1, 1820 (or March 20, 1822 depending on the source), in Maryland (died March 10, 1913), becomes an abolitionist; conductor of the famed Underground Railroad, who devoted her life to fighting slavery, helping slaves and ex-slaves, and championing the rights of women. An incredibly brave woman, often called the “Moses of her people,” Tubman helped John Brown recruit soldiers for his raid on Harpers Ferry (1859). She worked as a nurse, scout, and a spy for the Union during the US Civil War (in South Carolina). She continued to help rescue Southern slaves during the war. After the war, she lived in Auburn, New York, where she founded the Harriet Tubman Home for Aged Negroes and worked for the voting rights of blacks. (Although date of birth is not for certain, some reference sources indicate her birth took place on January 29, 1820 (if so, she and Oprah Winfrey share the same date). Other sources may site May 18, 1820 as her birth date, however I first came across March 1, 1820 in my search for Tubman’s birth date.Blanche Kelso Bruce, born March 1, 1841, the eleventh child of Polly, a slave, on a plantation in Farmville, Prince Edward County, Virginia, (died March 17, 1898), becomes a United States senator, politician, plantation owner, educator and orator; the first Black Republican senator from Mississippi to serve a full term in the U.S. Senate, from 1870 to 1880. (From Interesting People, Black American History Makers, by George L. Lee, page 180)
Naomi Bowman Talbert Anderson, born March 1, 1843 in Michigan City, Indiana, becomes an advocate for the right to vote. Talbert Anderson became an example of a Black American woman whose insight and selflessness benefited her family, gender, and race. She wrote on temperance and women’s rights, lectured and campaigned on behalf of women’s suffrage, and became a staunch advocate of human rights. (References sources found regarding Naomi Bowman Talbert Anderson’s life did not indicate her date of death.) (From: Notable Black American Women, Book 2, page 11 and 12)
Ralph Waldo Ellison, born March 1, 1914, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (died April 16, 1994, in New York City, New York), named by his father after Ralph Waldo Emerson, (American essayist, philosopher, poet, and leader of the transcendentalist movement) becomes the noteworthy author of “The Invisible Man.” (From: The African American Century, by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Cornel West, page 205)
Harry Belafonte, born March 1, 1927, in New York City, New York, becomes an internationally known entertainer, singer, actor and activist; the recipient of numerous awards and honors, which include an Emmy Award, Grammy Award and Tony Awards. He received the Danny Kaye Award for the recording of “We Are the World,” for the United States Committee for UNICEF, in 1989. (From: Directory of Black Performing Arts, by Edward Mapp, pages 23 & 24)
- Endora Pettigrew, born March 1, 1928,in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, becomes an educator and writer who wrote an article entitled, “Competency Based Teacher Education Training for Multi-Cultural Education.” She served as president of Sunny College of Old Westbury in New York, an undergraduate college of 3,600 students.
Raymond St. Jacques, born James Arthur Johnson, March 1, 1930, in Hartford, Connecticut, (died August 27, 1990), becomes an actor, best known for his role as Ed Coffin in the 1970 movie “Cotton Comes to Harlem” and the TV western “Rawhide.”
Richard Rive, born March 1, 1931, in Cape Town, South Africa, (died June 4 or 5, 1989), becomes a writer, literary critic, and teacher, considered one of South Africa’s most important short story writers; whose stories about the ironies and oppression of apartheid and degradation of slum life, become extensively anthologized and translated into more than a dozen languages.
Oliver Sain, born March 1, 1932, in Dundee, Mississippi (died October 28, 2003, St. Louis, Missouri) became an American saxophonist, songwriter, bandleader, drummer and record producer. As a performer and producer, Oliver Sain exerted an influence on the evolution of St. Louis and R&B rivaled that of his close friend and infrequent collaborator Ike Turner. Sain’s credits include launching the career of Little Milton, who became a vocalist in Sain’s band, and discovering Bobby McClure and Fontella Bass, whom he originally hired as pianist for Little Milton. Sain wrote “Don’t Mess up a Good Thing” which became a number one hit in the US for Bobby McClure in 1965. (From: www.wikipedia.com)
“Leo” Leovigildo Brouwer, born March 1, 1939, in Havana, Cuba, becomes an Afro-Cuban composer, classical guitarist and conductor, an enormous influence on guitar music in particular, and classical music in general, demonstrated by more than a hundred recordings on which played, composed or conducted. Brouwer’s compositions reflect classical, Afro-Cuban, jazz and avant-garde influences. His many film scores have brought his music to the attention of huge audiences around the world. Brouwer’s influence in his native country results in part from the important positions he has held in Cuban music institutions.
Elvin Lamont Bethea, born March 1, 1946,in Trenton, New Jersey, becomes a former American football defensive end who played his entire career with the Houston Oilers. He played his entire career with the Houston Oilers. He played for North Carolina A&T State University where he became the first person from that school elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Marki Bey, born Marqueeta Bey, March 1, 1947, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, becomes an actress best known for her role as Diana “Sugar” Hill in the 1974 horror blaxploitation zombie film “Sugar Hill.” Since retiring from acting, she and her husband have operated Murder Mystery Cruises in Los Angeles, California.
Norman Connors, born March 1, 1947, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, becomes a jazz musician, known for his work in R&B. He lived in the same neighborhood as comedian Bill Cosby and became interested in jazz as a young child, exposed while attending elementary school. As a junior in high school, Connors began sneaking into jazz clubs, and sat in for musicians like Elvin Jones at a John Coltrane gig. At age 13, he met his idol, Miles Davis. This became such an inspiration for him, that he started expressing his admiration for Davis, the famous trumpeter, by dressing like him. Connor’s went on to study music at Philadelphia’s Temple University and the Julliard School of Music in New York. He first recorded as a sideman when musician Archie Shepp employed him on his 1967 Impulse session “Magic of JuJu.” In 1975, Connors made R&B his music of choice. The album “Saturday Night Special” included the number 10 soul hit, “Valentine Love.”
Jorge Aragão, born Jorge Aragao da Cruz, March 1, 1949, in Rio de Janeiro, becomes a Brazilian musician, singer/songwriter, working in the genres of samba and pagoda. A multi-instrumentalist, he plays the guitar, surdo (type of drum), cavaco (type of stringed instrument), and banjo, among other instruments. In performance, he usually plays the cavaquinho most of the show, and sometimes the banjo.
Stephen Emory Barnes, born March 1, 1952, in Los Angeles, California, becomes a martial arts teacher and writer of science fiction, lecturer, creative consultant and human performance technician, with twenty novels in print, who wrote for Twilight Zone series, Andromeda, and Stargate SG-I. He lectured at UCLA, the Maui Writers’ Workshop, MENSA, USC, and the Smithsonian. Winner of the 2003 Endeavor Award for his novel “Lion’s Blood,” Barnes also wrote the Emmy-winning Outer Limits episode “A Stitch in Time.” A STAR Speaker of the last three Screenwriting Expos, and has a black belt in Kenpo “Aikka style” karate.
Anthony Charles Griffin, born March 1, 1960, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, becomes a physician, plastic surgeon, who is one of a small but growing number of black plastic surgeons; about one hundred nationwide. Considered one of the nation’s top authorities on plastic surgery for African Americans and other ethnic skin types, his practice he has sought to demonstrate that blacks need not emulate traditional ideals of beauty. “Minorities no longer feel like they have to look like Barbie dolls, and that’s the way it should be,” Griffin wrote in an Ebony magazine column in 2008. “One’s natural ethnic features … are now something to be proud of.” In 2002, Griffin took his practice to the national stage, appearing on the hit ABC reality series Extreme Makeover. He used his celebrity status to bring attention to what he considers his most important work: Operation Smile, a medical mission that provides free surgical care to children with deformities in developing countries. Griffin sees this social mission as ultimately defining his life’s work.
Michael T. Rozier, born March 1, 1961, in Camden, New Jersey, becomes a college and professional football player who became a running back in the United States Football League for two seasons and the National Football League for seven seasons during the 1980s and early 1990s. Rozier played college football for the University of Nebraska, and won the Heisman Trophy in 1983. Afterward, he played professionally for the Pittsburgh Maulers and Jacksonville Bulls of the USFL and the Houston Oilers and Atlanta Falcons of the NFL. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
Robert Booker Tio Huffman, born March 1, 1965, in Houston, Texas, better known by his ring name Booker T, becomes a professional wrestler and wrestling commentator, currently signed to WWE, on its Smack Down brand.
Don Lemon, born March 1, 1966, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, becomes an American journalist and television news anchor. Based in New York, he hosts CNN Tonight with Don Lemon. Lemon won an Emmy Award for a special report on the real estate market in Chicago. He received an Edward R. Murrow Award for his coverage of the capture of the D.C. area sniper, and a number of other awards for reports on Hurricane Katrina, and the AIDS epidemic in Africa. In 2009, Ebony magazine voted Lemon as one of the 150 most influential African-Americans. Lemon received a DART award as one of the worst journalists for 2014 from the Columbia Journalism Review. (From: www.wikepedia.org)
Richard Serrell, born March 1, 1968, in Oakland, California, better known by his stage name Richie Rich, becomes a rapper. He runs his own record label with partner Lev Berlak called Ten-Six Records. Rich first entered music in the late 1980s with the group 415. By 1995, Richie Rich had become the first Bay Area rapper to sign with New York’s Def Jam Records.
Yolanda Yvette Griffith, born March 1, 1970, in Chicago, Illinois, becomes, a professional basketball player playing for the Sacramento Monarchs and the Seattle Storm. She considers basketball star Cheryl Miller, her role model. You can read her story at http://www.jockbio.com/Bios/Yolanda/Yolanda_bio.html.
Chris Webber, born Mayce Edward Christopher Webber, III, March 1, 1973, in Detroit, Michigan, becomes a professional basketball player, who played for the Golden State Warriors from 1993 to 1994, the Washington Bullets, from 1994 to 1997 and the Sacramento Kings from 1998 to 2005. From 2005 through 2007, Webber played for the Philadelphia and the Detroit Pistons in 2007. He came back to the Golden State Warriors in 2008. Webber became one of only six players to have career averages of 20 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists (Four of which are Hall of Famers: Baylor, Bird, Chamberlain, and Cunningham. Kevin Garnett is still active.) The Sacramento Kings retired Chris Webber’s Number 4 Jersey on February 6, 2009 when the Kings hosted the Utah Jazz.
Stephen Davis, born March 1, 1974, in Spartanburg, South Carolina, becomes a professional football player who played for the Washington Redskins from 1996 to 2002; the Carolina Panthers from 2003 to 2005 and the St. Louis Rams in 2006. At the 1991 South Carolina state meet, he set a state record in the 100 meters with 10.40 seconds. His record stood for 17 years, until Marcus Rowland ran a 10.35 at the 2008 state meet. Regarded as the No. 1 recruit in the nation in 1992, Davis named USA Today Offensive High School Football Player of the Year.
Damione Lewis, born March 1, 1978, in Sulphur Springs, Texas, becomes a professional football player who played for the St. Louis Rams from 2001 to 2005 and the Carolina Panthers from 2006 to present. After the 2007 season, the Panthers re-signed Lewis to a new three-year $14 million extension. He is related to Olympic hurdler, McClinton Neal (born January 1, 1968), who won an Olympic gold medal in 1992, in the 400-meter hurdles. Neal also ran in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.
Liya Kebede (Amharic: ሊያከበደ) born March 1, 1978, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, becomes an Ethiopian-born model, maternal health advocate, clothing designer and actress who has appeared three times on the cover of U.S. Vogue.Kebede serves as the WHO’s Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health since 2005. In 2003, named the newest face of Estee Lauder cosmetics, Kebede became the only Ethiopian to serve as their representative in the company’s 57-year history.
Patrick Chukwurah, born March 1, 1979, in Nigeria, becomes a professional football player who played for the Minnesota Vikings from 2001 to 2002; the Houston Texans in 2003; the Denver Broncos from 2003 to 2006 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beginning in 2007. He signed with the Seattle Seahawks on January 8, 2013.
Lupita Nyongo, born March 1, 1983, in Mexico City, Mexico, becomes a Mexican-Kenyan born actress and film director. “You can’t rely on how you look to sustain you. What is fundamentally beautiful is compassion for yourself and for those around you. That kind of beauty enflames the heart and enchants the soul.” Nyong’o started in the film industry as a production assistant on several Hollywood films. In 2008, she made her acting debut with the short film East River and subsequently returned to Kenya to star in the television series “Shuga,” (2009). Nyong’o became the first Kenyan actress and the first Mexican actress to win an Academy Award. In 2014, People magazine named her “The Most Beautiful Woman” Glamour magazine named her “Woman of the Year.”
Denise Vasi, born March 1, 1983, in Brooklyn, New York, becomes an actress best known for her role as Randi Hubbard on ABC’s All My Children. A Brooklyn native, Vasi signed with Ford Models at the age of 12. She went on to grace the pages of international campaigns. Vasi has also been featured in campaigns for fashion labels Fiorucci (Spring 2009); Dollhouse, American Eagle, Old Navy and UK brand Republic. She appeared in Avon catalogues as well as modeling for Frederick’s of Hollywood. Represented by Next Models, Vasi has been featured in numerous on-camera and print campaigns for leading cosmetics and hair care brands including: and has been featured in numerous on-camera and print campaigns for leading cosmetics and hair care brands including:
Rob Brown, born March 1, 1984, in Harlem, New York, becomes an actor most known for his roles in films such as “Finding Forrester,” 2000; “Coach Carter,” 2005; “Take the Lead,” 2006 and “The Express,” in 2008.
Jonathan Strickland, youngest test pilot, born March 1, 1992, (birthplace unknown at present) becomes a world record setting pilot whose interest in aviation began from the cradle. As a toddler, he pointed to the jets in the sky on their way to LAX Airport, before he could say the word plane. At nine months of age, Jonathan accompanied his paternal grandmother, Nana, on his first commercial airplane flight to Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Although very young at the time, that first flying experience sparked his fascination. From that flight on, every trip that Jonathan took, the crew would allow him to visit the cockpit to take pictures and sit in the captain’s seat. He could not return home from a trip without stopping at the airport gift shop to pick up a few model airplanes. For Jonathan’s sixth birthday, he received Pro Pilot 98′ flight simulator software as a gift from his parents John and Andrea. That same year for Christmas, he received other flight simulator software from his grandparents. Over the years, Jonathan began to master the software using yolks and joysticks. By the age of eight, Jonathan had accumulated hundreds of hours of flight simulation training before making his first general aviation plane flight with the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Young Eagles youth program in Torrance California. Jonathan continued to broaden his interest in flying by taking lessons to learn how to fly helicopters because he wanted to do something “different.” As a reward for making the Honor Roll, his Nana paid for his first helicopter-flying lesson. During the lesson, Jonathan stunned his flight instructor by demonstrating that he knew how to hover the helicopter within the first couple of hours of training. He continued taking lessons in both aircraft. Next, Strickland aimed his sights at becoming the youngest person to fly a helicopter and airplane on the same day. He discovered in Canada, the minimum age to be 14 compared to age 16 in the United States, the minimum age limit to fly solo in an aircraft. Strickland’s flight timeline reads: in 2006, at 14 years old: 1st aircraft solo (Cessna 152) – record holder, youngest to achieve; 1st helicopter solo (Robinson R22) – record holder youngest to achieve); 1st International helicopter trip from Los Angeles to Vancouver, Canada – record holder; 1st same day aircraft & helicopter solo – record holder, youngest to achieve; First Year of High School. In 2007, at 15 years old: Introduced &learned to flying a high performance complex aircraft, in Instrument Meteorological; Conditions (IMC) (Beechcraft A36); Learned how to fly using Garmin’s G1000. In 2008 at 16 years old, earned Student Pilot Certificate; Flown over 100hrs form Solo at the age of 16, to Private on 17thbirthday. In 2009 at 17 years old, earned Instrument Rating; Introduced to Aerobatic Flight, in a T-34; Flew a Cessna 172R, from Los Angeles Ca, to Atlanta Ga. (16hr trip). In 2010, at 18 years old, he earned a Commercial Pilots Certificate on his 18th Birthday, March 1. (For more information on Jonathan Strickland go to http://milwaukeecourieronline.com/index.php/2012/02/25/the-sky-is-no-longer-the-limit-six-world-records-set-at-16-years-old )
George Suttles, born March 2, 1901, in Brockton, Louisiana (died 1968), becomes a professional baseball player for the Negro League who five times became elected to participate in the East-West All-Star game. In the first East-West game (played in 1933 at Comiskey Park, Chicago), Suttles hit the first homerun in All-Star history a three-run shot off Pittsburgh Crawford’s’ ace, Sam Streeter (born September 17, 1900-August 9, 1985). Often called “The Mule,” his thirty-year baseball-playing career began in 1918; two years before Rube Foster’s Negro National League’s, inaugural season, and continued until after Jackie Robinson had his rookie season with the Dodgers under his belt.
Janet Collins, born March 2 (or March 7), 1917, in New Orleans, Louisiana (died May 28, 2003), becomes the first African American ballerina at the Metropolitan Opera. Collins opened the door for other African American girls and women who want to be ballet dancers. There are reference sources that indicate her date of birth to be March 7. (From: Directory of Black Performing Arts, by Edward Mapp, pages 76 & 77, “I Dream A World,” page 19 gives her birth date as March 7, 1917)
Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, born Edward Davis, March 2, 1922, in New York City, New York, (died November 3, 1986) becomes a musician; a tenor jazz saxophonist, who played with Cootie Williams, Lucky Millinder, Andy Kirk, Louis Armstrong, and Count Basie, as well as leading his own bands and making many recordings as a leader. He played in the swing, bop, hard bop, Latin jazz, and soul jazz genres. Some of his recordings of the 1940s could be classified as rhythm and blues. His 1946 band, Eddie Davis and His Beboppers, featured Fats Navarro, Al Haig, Huey Long, Gene Ramey and Denzil Best.
General Frank E. Petersen, Jr., born March 2, 1932, in Topeka, Kansas, becomes the first African American pilot in the United States Marine Corps, in 1978. He received many awards and honors, which include the NAACP’s Man of the Year Award. Simon Estes, born March 2, 1938, in Centerville, Iowa, becomes an opera singer, who sang in the church choir as a young boy and throughout his educational years. A music high school named for him is in Cape Town, South Africa and a Switzerland-based youth foundation named for him also exists.
Lawrence Albert Payton, born March 2, 1938, in Detroit, Michigan (died June 20, 1997) becomes a tenor, songwriter, vocal arranger and record producer for the popular Motown quartet, the Four Tops. Payton sang lead on the songs “Feel Free”(from the Catfish album), “Until You Love Someone” and “The Girl from Ipanema” from “The Four Tops Live!” album. Payton had 11 children. One of his sons, Roquel, went on to sing with the Four Tops. (From: www.wikipedia.org )
David Satcher, born March 2, 1941, in Anniston, Alabama, one of ten children, becomes the first African American head of the Atlanta-based agency, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and presided over its’ $2 million dollar budget, plus 7,000 employees.
Elaine Brown, born March 2, 1943, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, becomes an activist and author, who rose from an obscure ghetto existence, to run one of the most powerful and notorious Black militant organizations in the United States, the Black Panther Party. Brown became the first and only woman to lead the Black Panther Party, assuming power from Huey Newton, in 1974, who jumped bail and fled the country not to face murder charges, later acquitted. Brown maintained control until 1977. In 2005, Brown ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Brunswick, Georgia. Today, as an activist, writer and popular lecturer, she promotes the vision of an inclusive and egalitarian society, focusing on resolving problems of race, gender oppression and class disparity in the United States. She is also president of the nonprofit educational corporation Fields of Flowers, which aims to build a model education center for Black and other poor children. She is a Board member of the National Alliance for Radical Prison Reform, a board member of Mothers Advocating Juvenile Justice, and Vice-President of The Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation. Brown is a member of the Geechee Council of Georgia and a founder of the Brunswick Women’s Association for Community Improvement.
Elaine R. Jones, born March 2, 1944, in Norfolk, Virginia, becomes an attorney, organization executive and civil rights advocate. From 1977 to 1988 she served as NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Legislative Advocate and head of the Washington, D.C. office, and became the first female director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF)
Rodger Mell Smitherman, born March 2, 1953, in Montgomery, Alabama, becomes a politician; a Democratic member of the Alabama Senate, representing the 18th District since 1995. His wife, Carole Catlin Smitherman, born in 1952, became a Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge and served in 2009 as the 31st Mayor of Birmingham, Alabama.
Hansen Clarke, born March 2, 1957, in Detroit, Michigan, becomes a politician and former U.S. Congressman and Representative-elect in the 14th Congressional District of Michigan. Clarke became the first U.S. Congressman of Bangladeshi descent. Clarke entered Congress after defeating incumbent Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick in the 2010 Democratic primary for the 13th congressional district. In 2012, due to redistricting, fellow incumbent Gary Peters chose to run against Clarke in the 14th congressional district primary. Clarke came in second in the Primary, while Peters gained the most votes. Clarke left Congress in January 2013. In April 2014, Clarke announced he would again run in the 14th District primary. (www.nndb.com gives his birth date as March 3, 1957; www.wikipedia.org gives March 2)
Mark Dean, born March 2, 1957, in Jefferson City, Tennessee, becomes a computer scientist and inventor whose father worked as a supervisor at the Tennessee Valley Authority Dam. As a boy, he and his father built a tractor from scratch. Dean recalled in an interview that while growing up one white friend in sixth grade asked if he was really black. His friend had concluded Dean was too smart to be black. Dean became one of the few black students attending Jefferson City (Tenn.) High School. He became both a fine athlete and a straight-A student. Dean has been with IBM since 1980. Named as an IBM Fellow in 1995, and one of only 50 active fellows of IBM’s 200,000 employees, Dean becomes the first African American honored. At the time this information was compiled for African American Registry, Dean served as Vice President of Performance for the RS/6000 Division in Austin Texas. Dr. Dean holds more than 20 US Patents, including three of IBM’s original nine PC patents. In 1997 he was inducted into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame joining two other noted Black members, George Washington Carver and Dr. Percy Julian. In 1999, he led the team that built a gigahertz (1000 MHz) chip which did a billion calculations per second.
Scott Monroe Sterling, March 2, 1962, in the Bronx, New York (died August 27, 1987), known by the stage name DJ Scott La Rock, becomes a hip hop disc jockey (DJ) and music producer from the Bronx borough of New York City.
Suzette Charles, born Suzette DeGaetano March 2, 1963, in Mays Landing, New Jersey, becomes a singer and entertainer who represented New Jersey in the 1984 Miss America pageant held in Atlantic City, New Jersey. She won her preliminary talent night and finished first runner-up to Vanessa Lynn Williams, who became the first African-American to wear the crown and title of Miss America. When Williams resigned the title in scandal, Charles fulfilled her duties for the remaining seven weeks. Charles’s 7-week reign became the shortest served by any Miss America.
Alycia Cooper, born March 2, 1971, in Los Angeles, California, becomes a stand-up comedian and actress, who began acting at age seven. For eight years Cooper produced television in Washington D.C. and became the creative force behind shows like “Video Soul,” ”In Your Ear,” “Rap City,” and “Soundstage.” Cooper writes the “Top Tens,” for the #1 radio show in Los Angeles, “The Steve Harvey Morning Show,” and has written for Russell Simmons of Def Comedy Jam fame. Her sitcom credits consist of writing credits for “Veronica’s Closet,” “Jesse,” “The Jamie Foxx Show,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Will and Grace,” “The Bernie Mac Sow,” and she wrote and produced many titles for “The Parkers.” (From: http://delafont.com/comedians/alycia-cooper.htm )
Clifford Smith, born March 2, 1971, in Hempstead, New York, better known as “Method Man,” becomes a hip-hop recording artist, record producer and actor who took his stage name from the 1979 film “The Fearless Young Boxer,” also known as Method Man. Method Man is perhaps best known as a member of the East Coast hip hop collective Wu-Tang Clan. He is also one-half of the hip-hop duos “Method Man & Redman.” In 1996, he won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group, for “I’ll Be there for You/You’re All I Need to Get By,” with R&B singer-songwriter Mary J. Blige..
Dominique Canty, born March 2, 1977, in Chicago, Illinois, becomes a professional basketball player for the Chicago Sky. Canty attended Whitney Young High School in Chicago, Illinois, named a High School All-American by the WBCA. By the time she graduated, Canty finished her career as the school’s all-time leading scorer; male or female.
Corey Simon, born March 2, 1977, in Pompano Beach, Florida, becomes a professional football player who played for the Philadelphia Eagles from 2000 to 2004; the Indianapolis Colts from 2005 to 2006 and the Tennessee Titans in 2007. Simon retired from Pro Football after eight seasons in the NFL on October 25, 2007.
Reginald Alfred “Reggie” Bush, Jr. born March 2, 1985, in San Diego, California, becomes a professional football running back for the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League. Star running back who received benefits tantamount to payment while playing college football at the University of Southern California, leading to USC’s retroactive forfeiture of its 2004 NCAA championship. After weeks of rumors that his 2005 Heisman Trophy would be revoked, Bush announced September 14, 2010 that he would return the honor.
Kofi Siriboe, born March 2, 1994, in Los Angeles, California, becomes an actor whose works have spanned theatre, film, and television. He is most notable for his role as Javy Hall in the Fred Durst directed movie “The Longshots. “
Alexander Crummell, born Wednesday, March 3, 1819, in New York City, New York, (died September 10, 1898), becomes a pioneering religious worker, educator and abolitionist. He became one of the leading Black nationalist of the 19th century. From a very early age, his parents instilled in him values that would shape the rest of his life. Crummell believed that in order to achieve their potential, the African race as a whole, including those in America the West Indies, and Africa, needed to unify under the banner of race. Racial solidarity, to him, became the solution to slavery, discrimination, and continued attacks on the African race. Crummell’s achievements include a college education, becoming a priest, and setting up the American Negro Academy, His contributions to the academic world, via his sermons and written works, leave the impression of a well-educated, well-spoken, and well-written black man who believed deeply and fervently in the Pan-African idea and worked most of his life to achieve it. Crummell’s legacy can be seen not in his personal achievements, but in the influence he exerted on other black nationalists and Pan Africanists, such as Marcus Garvey (born August 17, 1887-June 10, 1940), Paul Laurence Dunbar (born June 27, 1872 – Feb. 9, 1906) and W. E.B. Du Bois (born February 23, 1868-Aug. 27, 1963). Du Bois paid tribute to Crummell with a memorable essay entitled “Of Alexander Crummell,” in the Twelfth Chapter of his “The Souls of Black Folk.” In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante (born August 14, 1942) listed Alexander Crummell on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans.Crummell believed that God works actively in history and that the good are rewarded in this life and all evil are punished. Though somewhat ambivalent to cultural expressions by black masses, he never wavered on his stance on Black Nationalism. Alexander Crummell died in September of 1898. Before his death he organized the American Negro Academy, which was dedicated to the pursuit of the higher culture and civilization for black Americans. His main sources of writings are located in the Schomburg Collection in New York City.
Henry Clay Bruce, born Thursday, March 3, 1836, a slave, in Virginia, becomes a black writer. His birth took place in the year Martin Van Buren became President of the United States. Forbidden to read, in order to gage the birth of a child, Africans usually associated it with the occurrence of some important event. His owner Lemuel Bruce sold the Bruce family eight years later to Jack Perkinson, who lived in Keytesville, Missouri. Rented out to several different people, Bruce master brought him back to Virginia in 1847. Bruce received his freedom after the Civil War, and moved to Leavenworth, Kansas with his new wife. In August 1881, his brother, then Register of the United States Treasury, got him a job in the Post Office Department at a salary of seven hundred and twenty dollars a year, with a chance of promotion in Washington, D.C. His autobiography, Twenty-Nine Years a Slave, received publishing in 1895. Henry Clay Bruce died in 1902.
Jefferson F. Long, born a slave, March 3, 1836, near the city of Knoxville and Crawford County, Georgia, (died February 4, 1901), becomes a self-educated politician, the first African American from Georgia to be elected to the United States House of Representatives. Elected as a Republican to the Forty-first Congress, Long filled the vacancy caused when the U.S. House declared Samuel F. Gove not entitled to the seat. Long served from December 22, 1870, to March 3, 1871.
John Baxter Taylor Jr., born Monday, March 3, 1884, in Washington, D.C. (died December 2, 1908), becomes a veterinarian and an Olympic track star educated at Central High School, Philadelphia and Brown Preparatory before entering the University of Pennsylvania. Within a few weeks of earning his degree in Veterinary Medicine, Taylor crowned his achievement with Olympic gold at the London games in July 1908. The gold-medal-winning team for the 1,600-meter relay included Nathaniel Cartmell, Melvin Sheppard, William Hamilton and John Baxter Taylor, one of America’s first Black Olympic champions. A glowing tribute to John Baxter Taylor’s athletic and academic accomplishments appeared in the yearbook of the Vet School Class of ‘08. The yearbook stated, “We of the Class of 1908 are proud and can boast of having one of the greatest athletes the world has ever known.”
Ruby Dandridge, born Ruby Dean Butler, March 3, 1900 (or March 1, 1899), in Wichita, Kansas, (died October 15, 1987), becomes an actress and entertainer who became best known for her role on the radio show “Amos ‘n Andy,” in which she played Sadie Blake and Harriet Crawford. She also had a role in the 1959 movie “A Hole in the Head,” in which she played Sally. She gave birth to daughter, actress Dorothy Dandridge, born November 9, 1922. (From: Directory of Black Performing Arts, by Edward Mapp, page 86)
Sarah Rector, born March 3, 1902, in a two-room cabin near Twine, Oklahoma, on Muscogee Creek Indian allotment land, becomes a landowner. She died at age 65 on July 22, 1967. Both Joseph and Rose (her parents) had enslaved Creek ancestry, and both of their fathers fought with the Union Army during the Civil War. When Oklahoma statehood became imminent in 1907, the Dawes Allotment Act divided Creek lands among the Creeks and their former slaves with a termination date of 1906. Rector’s parents, Sarah Rector herself, her brother, Joe, Jr., and sister, Rebecca all received land. Lands granted to former slaves were usually the rocky lands of poorer agricultural quality. Rector’s allotment of 160 acres was valued at $556.50. Primarily to generate enough revenue to pay the $30 annual tax bill, in February 1911 Rector’s father leased her allotment to the Devonian Oil Company of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1913, however, her fortunes changed when wildcat oil driller B.B. Jones produced a “gusher” that brought in 2500 barrels a day. Rector now received an income of $300.00 per day. Once this wealth was made known, Rector’s guardianship was switched from her parents to a white man named T.J. Porter, an individual personally known to the Rectors. Multiple new wells were also productive, and Rector’s allotment subsequently became part of the famed Cushing-Drumright Field in Oklahoma. In the month of October 1913 Rector received $11,567. When Rector turned eighteen on March 3, 1920, she left Tuskegee and her entire family moved with her to Kansas City, Missouri. By this point Rector, who now owned stocks and bonds, a boarding house, a bakery and the Busy Bee Café in Muskogee, Oklahoma, as well as 2,000 acres of prime-river bottomland, was a millionaire.
Canada Lee, born March 3, 1907, in New York City, New York (died May 9, 1952), becomes an actor who pioneered roles for African Americans. A champion of civil rights in the 1930s and 1940s, Lee died shortly before scheduled to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee. He became an actor after careers as a jockey, boxer and musician. Lee furthered the African-American tradition in theater pioneered by such actors as Paul Robeson. Lee is the father of actor Carl Lee, born Carl Vincent Canegata (November 22, 1926– April 17, 1986), an African-American actor, perhaps best known for his portrayal of a heroin dealer, the title role in the Obie Award-winning play “The Connection.” He later appeared in the film version.
Moddie Daniel Taylor, born March 3, 1912, in Nymph, Alabama, (died September 15, 1976), becomes a chemist who earned his doctorate of Science from the University of Chicago in 1943. There he worked on the University of Chicago’s Manhattan Project during World War II. The objective of the University’s task to demonstrate fissionable material could achieve critical mass, thus proving that nuclear fission could be used as an energy source weapon; the atomic bomb. Dr. Taylor received an appointment to Professor of Chemistry at Howard University from 1959 to 1969, later serving as Chairman of the Chemistry Department at Howard University from 1969 to 1976; chosen, in 1960, one of the six best chemistry teachers in the United States.
Margaret Allison Bond Richardson, born March 3, 1913, in Chicago, Illinois, (died April 26, 1972), becomes an opera singer, pianist and composer, the first Black soloist to perform with the Chicago Symphony in 1933 at the Chicago’s World Fair. Opera singer, Leontyne Price commissioned and recorded many of her spirituals arrangements. One of Bonds’ most famous compositions became “Go Tell It on the Mountain.” (From: Directory of Black Performing Arts, by Edward Mapp, page 33)
Peter Abrahams, born March 3, 1919, in Johannesburg, South Africa, becomes a South African novelist regarded as a pivotal figure in the literary heritage of South Africa. Some sources say his birth took place on March 19, 1919, in Vrededorp, near Johannesburg, S. Africa. One of the most prolific South African black prose writers, his early novel “Mine Boy” (1946) was the first to depict the dehumanizing effect of racism upon South African blacks.
Tommy McCook, born March 1927, in Havana, Cuba, (died May 5, 1998), becomes a Jamaican saxophonist; a founding member of “The Skatalites,” and also directed “The Supersonics” for Duke Reid, and backed many sessions for Bunny Lee or with The Revolutionaries at Channel One Studios in the 1970s.
Andrew DeGraffenreidt, born March 3, 1928, in Kansas City, Missouri, (died Feb. 25, 2009), becomes an educator and politician becomes the first African American city commissioner of Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1973. He became part of the commission, which elevated Virginia S. Young to the position of mayor, the first woman to hold the post in the city, and the first female mayor of a large city in Florida. During his three terms in office, he worked to establish a Youth Advisory Board and improve city infrastructure. He also pushed for the hiring of more minorities in the city’s police department. He played a key role in the opening of the Von D. Mizell Community Center in Fort Lauderdale’s historically black Dorsey-Riverbend neighborhood. DeGraffenreidt became the first African-American superintendent of Parks for Fort Lauderdale. He left the commission in 1979.
Annie Frances Lee, born March 3, 1935, in Gadsden, Alabama (died November 24, 2014), becomes an artist raised by a single parent, she grew up in Chicago, Illinois, and attended Wendell Phillips High School. Lee began painting at an early age, winning her first art competition at the age of ten. Lee was offered a four year scholarship to attend Northwestern University after high school, but married instead and raised a family. It was not until age forty that Lee decided to pursue a career as an artist; she enrolled in Loop Junior College and completed her undergraduate work at Mundelein College in Chicago. After eight years of night classes while working at Northwestern Railroad as a clerk in the engineering department, Lee earned her M.A. degree in interdisciplinary arts education from Loyola University. Lee’s railroad job inspired one of her most popular paintings, Blue Monday, which depicts a woman struggling to pull herself out of bed on a Monday morning. Her trademarks are the animated emotion of the personalities in the artwork and the faces which are painted without features. At age fifty, Lee had her first gallery show; she allowed prints to be made of four of her original paintings. Using her unique designs, Lee also developed figurines, high fashion dolls, decorative house wares, and kitchen tiles.
Willie Chambers, born March 3, 1938, in Mississippi, becomes a soul singer, member of The Chambers Brothers, a rock band in the 1960s with hits such as “In the Midnight Hour, “I Can’t Turn You Loose”, and “Time Has Come Today.”
Odessa Cleveland, born March 3, 1944, in Winnetka, California, becomes an actressbest known for her role as Lieutenant Ginger Bayliss, a recurring character on the TV series M*A*S*H, on which she appeared for 20 episodes from 1972 to 1974; and 2 episodes in 1977.
Muhammad Isaiah Kenyatta, born March 3, 1944, in Chester, Pennsylvania, becomes a civil rights activist and an educator that served as Black Economic Development Conference director and National Council of Churches project director. He is also a self-employed writer. He received his Doctor of Divinity from 7th Day Adventist Church, in 1976.
Hattie Winston, born March 3, 1945, in Greenville, Mississippi, becomes an actress and singer, best known for her role as Margaret on Becker and as a prominent cast member of the PBS children’s series The Electric Company. Her TV appearances include Musical Chairs, in 1975; Midday Live, in 1975 and Positively Black, in 1976. (From: Directory of Black Performing Arts, by Edward Mapp, page 402)
Gloria Hendry, born March 3, 1949, in Winter Haven, Florida, also known as Gloria Henry, becomes an actress who began her acting career in the 1968 Sidney Poitier film “For Love of Ivey.” Perhaps known best for portraying the Bond girl, Rosie Carver in the James Bond film “Live and Let Die, Hendry hales from Seminole, Chinese, Creek Indian, Irish and African descent,” In that film, she became the first African American woman to become romantically involved with 007. She is not, however, the first African-American Bond girl; that title went to Trina Parks, born December 26, 1946. When first released in South Africa, in the film, they cut out her love scenes with Roger Moore, prohibited by the Apartheid government. She later starred in several 1970s blaxplotation films. She also portrayed the martial arts expert, Sydney, in “Black Belt Jones.” Gloria has recently completed her memoir, entitled “Gloria”. In it she discusses Bond, the films of the 70s, working as a Bunny at the famous Playboy Club in the 60s, modeling, singing and her experiences as an African American woman during the 1960s.
- Randall Pinkston, born March 3, 1950, in Yazoo County, Mississippi, becomes a TV journalist, who in 1994 became a correspondent for CBS Evening News and CBS News Sunday Morning, CBS News, New York. He has crisscrossed the world and the United States. Some of the stories he’s covered include: Saddam Hussein’s refusal to permit U.N. inspectors to go into Iraq; the American intervention in Haiti; the Susan Smith trial; the Freemen siege in Montana; the Unabomber story; and indentured servitude in America.
Robert Gossett, born March 3, 1954 in The Bronx, New York, becomes an actor who landed his first professional job after he graduated from high school in a production of “
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” He went on to act in the Broadway production of Lloyd Richard’s of “Fences,” Hal Scott’s “A Raisin in the Sun” and Donald McKayle’s “The Last Minstrel Show. ” He also performed in the Negro Ensemble Company’s productions of “Manhattan Made Me, Sons & Fathers of Sons,” “A Soldier’s Play” and “Colored People’s Time.” Gossett has extensive experience in television, with guest starring roles on “Crossing Jordan,” “NYPD Blue,” and “Dark Angel.” In film, Gossett has acted in the Jeff Bridges/Tim Robbins film “Arlington Road” and the Sandra Bullock movie “The Net.” Gossett is the cousin of actor Louis Gossett, Jr. (born May 27, 1936). He starred as Commander Taylor on the TNT crime drama “The Closer.”
Darnell Williams, born March 3, 1955, in London, England, becomes a soap opera actor, best known for his portrayal of Jesse Hubbard on the ABC soap opera All My Children from 1981 to 1988, and from 2008 to 2011, a role which has earned him two Daytime Emmy Awards. Williams began portraying Jesse Hubbard on “All My Children,” in 1981. His character became involved in a love affair with upper middle class Angie Baxter (Debbi Morgan, born September 20, 1956). The characters eventually married and thus Williams became one half of the first African American super couple on an American soap opera. Williams won two Daytime Emmy Awards for his work on “All My Children,” in the 1980s. During the mid-1980s, both he and Morgan co-hosted a dance show titled “New York Hot Tracks,” that also featured music videos. In May 2007, Williams joined the cast of “Guiding Light,” in the recurring role of the villainous Griggs, a man who A.C. Mallet once employed by, as a hit-man.
“Jackie” Jacqueline Joyner-Kersee, born March 3, 1962, in St. Louis, Missouri, becomes an Olympic athlete who in 1988 became an Olympic gold medal winner in the areas of the heptathlon and the long jump. She received the Sullivan Award in 1986, the Associated Press Athlete of the Year, in 1987. In 1988, she received both Olympic Gold Medal in the heptathlon competition and the long jump competition. She also received an Olympic Gold Medal in 1992, in the heptathlon competition. In 1984, she garnered the Olympic Silver Medal in the heptathlon competition and Olympic Bronze Medal in 1996, in the long jump competition. She became a member on the Library of Congress Living Legend 2000list and induction into the US Olympic Hall of Fame and the St. Louis Walk of Fame in 2004.
Herschel Junior Walker, born March 3, 1962, in Augusta, Georgia, becomes a professional football player who played for the New Jersey Generals from 1983 to 1986; the Dallas Cowboys from 1986 to 1989; and the Minnesota Vikings, beginning in 1989. He is the owner of Diversified Builders, Inc., in Athens, Georgia. Walker became the recipient of the Heisman Trophy for outstanding college football player in the U.S., in 1982. Born in Augusta, grew up in Wrightsville, Georgia. In his junior year, Walker won the 1982 Heisman Trophy while at the University of Georgia. He played as a running back for five NFL teams. (Contemporary Black Biography, Gale Research Inc., Volume 1, page 23)
“Ton Loc,” born Anthony T. Smith, March 3, 1966, in Los Angeles, California, becomes a rapper and actor. Born and raised in the hope-destroying pit known as Los Angeles, Anthony Smith managed to survive the streets by adopting the gang lifestyle that many poor black kids are driven to by their meager prospects. Called “Antonio Loco” by his friends, Smith spent his youth as a member of the Crips, one of the more notorious gangs thriving in Los Angeles at the time. In the late 1980s, he made an unexpected break into the music industry as a rapper, shortening his name to Tone-Loc and specializing in party-themed songs that deliberately avoided wallowing in the negativity of his gang background. For his debut album, Loc-ed After Dark (1989), the rapper enlisted the production skills of the Dust Brothers and the writing skills of an unknown named Young MC, who would earn his own big break the following year with the Grammy-winning track Bust A Move). Two of the Young-penned tracks Wild Thing and Funky Cold Medina went on to become popular singles, with Wild Thing earning Tone-Loc the distinction of being the second rap performer to reach the top of the mainstream charts (the first having been the Beastie Boys and their 1986 album Licensed to Ill). Despite, or perhaps because of his popularity with the pop music crowd, Tone-Loc, never fully embraced by the hip-hop community because most regarded his style of music being closer to a novelty act. During the remainder of the decade, Tone-Loc kept himself busy balancing roles for television on series such as Touched By An Angel (!), NewsRadio, Living Single, Martin and Early Edition with further voice-over work (most notably for the animated science-fiction film Titan A.E., 2000) and occasional feature film roles (Heat, 1995, and Freedom Strike, 1998, among others). He landed a starring role opposite John Stamos in the series Thieves in 2001 and acting credits continued to accumulate on both the large and small screen in the early 2000s.
Kola Boof Naima Bint Harith, born March 3, 1969, in Omdurman, Sudan, becomes a Sudanese-born author, found guilty of “Blasphemy and Treason” by Sudan’s Taliban-like, Arab Islamic fundamentalist government. Although Boof lives in California, the Sudanese government has issued a “fatwa” or death sentence by beheading for her in retaliation for Boof’s controversial writings criticizing their custom of enslaving women. On August 21st Arab-Muslim gunmen attacked Boof outside LA. Boof survived the attack.
Marcus Price, born March 3, 1972, in Port Arthur, Texas, becomes a professional football player, an offensive lineman who played seven seasons in the National Football League for the San Diego Chargers, the Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints, and the Buffalo Bills. He signed with the Dallas Cowboys on November 27, 2005, but did not play.
Bobby Brooks, born March 3, 1976, in Vallejo, California, becomes a professional football player for the Oakland Raiders and the Jacksonville Jaguars. He also played for the Cologne Centurions and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats during his playing career.
Eric Warfield, born March 3, 1976, in Texarkana, Arkansas, becomes a professional football player for the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots of the National Football League. The Chiefs drafted in the seventh round of the 1998 NFL Draft. On April 3, 2006, Warfield signed with the New England Patriots but was released shortly after training camp, never playing in a regular season game for the team.
Henry Douglas, born March 3, 1977, in Brooklyn, New York, becomes a professional football player for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 1999 to 2003. He is also a member of the Aggie’s track and field team, as a sprinter. Douglas also played for the Los Angeles Avengers, the Chicago Rush and the Columbus Destroyers.
Renard Cox, born March 3, 1978, in Richmond, Virginia, becomes a professional football player for the Jacksonville Jaguars. In his interview for the University of Maryland, Tarrapins website, Cox stated he would like to take a trip to China and that the best advice he received would have been “Quitters never win.” At the time this interview Cox said, “If I could change one thing in the world, it would be the number of deaths and murder and that in his opinion America’s biggest problem for the twenty-first century would be Y2K. Cox stated he would most like to meet Reggie White, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Tupac Shakur.
Alexis Fields, born March 3, 1979, in California, becomes an actress best known for “The Call,” in 2002, “Jacked,” in 2001 and “Roc,” in 1991. She is the younger sister of actress Kim Fields.
Wesley Eric Weston, Jr., born March 3, 1981, in Cloverland, Houston, Texas, better known by his stage name Lil’ Flip, becomes a rapper best known for his singles “I Can Do Dat” from his debut album The Leprechaun.
Erika Cristina de Souza, born March 3, 1982, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, becomes a Brazilian professional basketball player for the Atlanta Dream of the WNBA. Prior to joining the Dream for their inaugural 2008 season, De Souza became a member of the Los Angeles Sparks in 2002, with whom she played in 11 games. Leaving the WNBA thereafter, De Souza traveled to Spain.; there she won the 2005-2006 MVP of the Spanish women’s league while playing with UB-Barca. In 2007, she returned to the WNBA, playing for the Connecticut Sun in 32 games, with 2 starts.
Ida Gray Nelson Rollins, born March 4, 1867, in Clarksville, Tennessee (died May 3, 1953), becomes the first African American woman to earn a dental degree at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1890. (From: http://www.answers.com/topic/ida-gray-nelson-rollins)
Garrett Augustus Morgan, born the seventh of eleven children in Paris, Kentucky, March 4, 1877 (died August 27, 1963), becomes an inventor. Morgan became the son of a white father and grandson of a Confederate colonel, and a part Indian and slave mother freed in 1863, by the Emancipation Proclamation. His first invention became the improvement of the belt fastener for sewing machines, in 1901. He then invented the Morgan inhalator that became called the gas mask, in 1912, and used by combat troops in World War 1. He invented a hair straightened and opened G.A. Morgan’s Hair Refining Cream company, in 1913. He invented the traffic signal (an automatic stop sign), for which he received $40 thousand dollars from General Electric Company. He also owned and published of the Cleveland Call newspaper (later known as the Call & Post), beginning in the 1920’s. He received a gold medal from Cleveland, Ohio, for his devotion to public safety. His most notable invention became the National Safety Hood. (From: Black Pioneers of Science and Invention, by Louis Haber, page 88, Contemporary Black Biography, Gale Research Inc., Volume 1, page 172)
Memphis Tennessee Garrison, born March 4, 1890, in McDowell County, West Virginia (died in 1988) becomes an educator and activist who became vice president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s board of directors from 1964 to 1966. She had previously served for 22 years as NAACP’s National field secretary, from 1936 to 1959. She also served as a member of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s National Citizens Committee on Community Relations in 1964. Among her many honors and awards, she received the NAACP’s Madame C.J. Walker’s Gold Medal Award, in 1929. She received the NAACP’s Distinguished Service Award for outstanding achievement and service in civil rights, in 1969. Mrs. Garrison became a successful, inspiring, commendable woman who played a major role in the history of black people in West Virginia.
Carrie Best, born March 4, 1903, in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, becomes a black Canadian writer, publisher and activist. Best became extremely involved in the community, raising awareness about human rights issues. She became a publisher in Nova Scotia when she and her son created the Clarion, the first Black newspaper in Nova Scotia. She researched all her own articles, many of which were about discrimination in public places such as restaurants, hotels and theatres. She also incorporated environment and labor issues into her articles. The paper stopped running in 1956, but this did not stop Best from writing. She continued to submit articles to the Nova Scotia Gleaner, the Halifax Herald, and the Pictou Advocate where she had a regular column. She also had a successful radio show called “The Quiet Corner”, that ran for twelve years on five radio stations across the province. She produced and narrated the show, in which she read from novels and poems. Eventually she wrote her autobiography, “That Lonesome Road,” published by her own publishing company. Best became the promoter of the “Kay Livingstone Visible Minority Women’s Society of Nova Scotia” shortly after the sudden death of its original founder, Kay Livingstone. She became the provincial coordinator for this organization and decided to revive the Clarion. She republished it in 1992. Best’s list of accomplishments and contributions to the betterment of society are endless. Best’s determination to succeed began as a child, encouraged by great role models like her mother. She became a role model herself; a voice for those who could not speak for themselves. In September 2001, at the age of 97, Carrie Best died in her hometown of New Glasgow.
Homer Harris, born March 4, 1916, in Seattle, Washington, (died March 17, 2007) becomes a physician and athlete who grew up playing football, baseball and soccer in the fields of the Washington Park Arboretum and swimming in Lake Washington. A gifted athlete, he became the first Black captain of Garfield High School’s football team in 1933. On a football scholarship, he went to the University of Iowa, which he chose over the University of Washington because as a Black man he could not live on the UW campus. At Iowa, he became Most Valuable Player in the Big Ten Conference. The following year he became the Big Ten’s first Black captain and the first Black captain of any sport in Iowa. However, despite his talents on the playing fields, his mother had other ambitions for him. He had considered playing professional football after graduation, but the National Football League had banned Black players at the time. His mother always called him Doc, and told him if he did not want to go to medical school that was fine, but that she would help some other boy go. Harris went on to Meharry Medical College in Tennessee and then joined the Army. After World War II, he did a residency in dermatology and returned to Seattle, where he set up practice. In 2002, he received induction into the Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame, much for the barriers he broke and the game he played. Recently an anonymous donor has given $1.3 million to create a half-acre park in Harris’ honor. The gift may be the largest single private donation made toward a park in the city’s history. Harris said, “I’m very imperfect, and I’ve struggled just like everybody else.” His wife Dorothy said it moved him deeply. “It really meant something to him that someone would do this for him.” Harris died March 17, 2007.
Philip Hubbard, born March 4, 1921, in Macon, Missouri (died January 10, 2001), becomes an electrical engineer, and the first African American professor at The University of Iowa. His academic specialties were electronics and hydraulics, a field in which he earned an international reputation as a scholar, inventor, and consultant.
Miriam Zenzi Makeba, born Zenzile Miriam Makeba, March 4, 1932 (died November 10, 2008), in Prospect, near Johannesburg, in South Africa, becomes a singer, writer and civil rights activist. The Grammy Award winning artist is often referred to as Mama Afrika. (From: Directory of Black Performing Arts, by Edward Mapp, pages 241 & 242)
Barbara McNair, born March 4, 1939, in Racine, Wisconsin, (died February 4, 2007) becomes a singer and actress whose big break came with a win on Arthur Godfrey’s TV show Talent Scouts. Among her hits were “You’re Gonna Love My Baby” and “Bobby”. In 1967 McNair traveled with Bob Hope to Southeast Asia to perform for U.S. troops during the Vietnam War along with Raquel Welch, Elaine Dunn, Phil Crosby and 1967 Miss World Madeline Hartog Bell. She said on stage that Hope talked her into going on the tour by promising her she’d get to meet royalty. “He let me walk his dog Prince,” she joked. Among the songs she sang was a slowed-down, emotional version of “For Once in My Life.” She portrayed Sidney Poitier’s wife in “They Call Me Mister Tibbs,” (1970) and its sequel, “The Organization,” (1971), and George Jefferson’s deranged ex-girlfriend Yvonne in “The Jeffersons” (1984). McNair starred in her own 1969 television variety series The Barbara McNair Show, one of the first black women to host her own musical variety show. The show was produced in Canada by CTV (at CFTO/Toronto), and lasted three seasons in first-run syndication in the United States until 1972. Barbara was also widely seen on TV game shows in the 1960s, “You Don’t Say,” “Hollywood Squares,” “Match Game.” She was also a VIP guest on the talk shows of the period, with Johnny Carson, Joey Bishop, Mike Douglas, and Merv Griffin. On December 15, 1976, her husband, Rick Manzie, was murdered, in their Las Vegas Bruce Street Mansion. Mafia boss-turned-FBI-informant who later claimed in his book “The Last Mafiaso” that Manzie had been a Mafia associate who tried to put a contract on the life of a mob-associated tax attorney with whom he had a legal dispute. “Many believe the murder was a mafia hit, although this has never been officially proven” (From: Directory of Black Performing Arts, by Edward Mapp, pages 237 & 238 and www.wikipedia.org )
Ji-Tu Cumbuka born March 4, 1942, in Montgomery, Alabama, becomes American veteran stage and screen actor. His father, a Baptist minister believed acting was “the devil’s work”, so he left home and moved to New York. After several difficult years, he enlisted in the Army, where he played football and ran track. He made All-Army in both sports. Offered many college scholarships, he chose to attend Texas Southern. After three years of attending acting classes and acting in community plays and workshops he landed a role in the 1968 movie “Uptight” directed by Jules Dassin. (From: www.wikipedia.org )
Mary Wilson, born March 4, 1944, in Detroit, Michigan, becomes a singer, an original member of the famed Motown group called The Supremes.(From: Directory of Black Performing Arts, by Edward Mapp, page 399)
Bobby Womack, born March 4, 1944, in Cleveland, Ohio, (died June 27, 2014), becomes a singer who with his brothers in 1959, formed the Womack Brothers and toured the gospel circuit, where he met Sam Cooke (born January 22, 1931-Dec. 11, 1964) who recruited him as a guitarist in his touring band. Few sources who indicate his birth date as March 5.
Haile Gerima, born Mypheduh, March 4, 1946, in Gondor, Ethiopia, becomes an Ethiopian filmmaker is a leading member of the L.A. Rebellion film movement, also known as the Los Angeles School of Black Filmmakers. His films have received wide international acclaim. Gerima has also been an influential film professor at Howard Universityin Washington, DC, since 1975; best known for the 1993 film, “Sankofa.”
Mykelti Williamson, born March 4, 1960, in St. Louis, Missouri, becomes an actor best known for his role as Benjamin Buford (Bubba) Blue in the 1994 film “Forrest Gump,” and as Detective Bobby “Fearless” Smith in the critically acclaimed but commercially unsuccessful crime drama “Boomtown.” He appeared in movies such as “Soul of the Game,” “Free Willy 1 and 2,” and “Waiting to Exhale.” Williamson is also owner of his own production company, called God’s Property.
Robb Armstrong, born March 4, 1962, in Wynnefield, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, becomes a syndicated cartoonist. At the time the information on Armstrong was compiled for Contemporary Black Biography, he served as one of four Black syndicated cartoonists in the United States, whose comic strip called “Jump Start” runs in more than 250 newspapers which include the Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, Atlanta Journal and Constitution and the Chicago Sun-Times.
Kevin Johnson, born the son of Georgia West, an African-American, and Lawrence “Frog” Johnson, a White American, March 4, 1966, in Sacramento, California, became a professional basketball player for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Phoenix Suns turned politician, becoming the first African American mayor of Sacramento, California from December 2, 2008 to present.
Christopher B. Duncan, born March 4, 1970, in Lincoln, Nebraska, becomes an actor who held a leading role of President William Johnson in the sitcom “The First Family.” Duncan played the role of Braxton P. Hartnabrig on “The Jamie Foxx Show.”
Angela V. Shelton, born March 4, 1970, in Omaha, Nebraska, becomes a comedian and an actress. Her television credits include “Mr. Show with Bob and David,” “Grounded for Life,” and “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody.” Shelton became a contestant on the NBC reality series “I’m a Celebrity.”
Shavar Malik Ross, born March 4, 1971, in South Bronx, New York, becomes an actor, film director, screenwriter, film producer, editor, photographer, author, and internet entrepreneur.
Jerome Davis, born March 4, 1974, in Detroit, Michigan, becomes a professional football player for the Detroit Lions, in 1998, and the San Francisco 49ers, in 2000.
Jason Marsalis, born March 4 1977, in New Orleans, Louisiana, becomes a jazz drummer and the youngest member of the famous New Orleans Marsalis jazz musical family; the youngest son is brother to jazz musicians Brandford Marsalis, Delfeavo Marsalis and Wynton Marsalis.
Grant Heard, born March 4, 1978, in Lake Jackson, Texas, becomes a professional football player for the San Francisco 49ers and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Patrick Washington, born March 4, 1978, in Washington, D.C. becomes a professional football player for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Trenton Hassell, born March 4, 1979, in Clarksville, Tennessee, becomes a professional basketball player for the Chicago Bulls and the New Jersey Nets.
Kimberly Michelle Pate born March 4 1982, better known by her stage name K. Michelle becomes an R&B recording artist, pianist, guitarist and songwriter.
Draymond Jamal Green, born March 4, 1990, in Saginaw, Michigan, becomes professional basketball player for the Golden State Warriors of the NBA. Green played a key role on the Warriors’ 2015 championship team. On July 9, 2015, Green re-signed with the Warriors to a five-year, $82 million contract. Green helped the Warriors record their first ever 10–0 start to a season behind averages of 11.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, a team-high 6.6 assists, and 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocks per game. On November 14, he recorded his second career triple-double with 16 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds in a score of 107–99 overtime win over the Brooklyn Nets. On November 24, he recorded 18 points and 7 rebounds in a win over the Los Angeles Lakers as the Warriors set the record for best start in NBA history at 16–0. Three days later, he recorded his third career triple-double with 14 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a 135–116 win over the Phoenix Suns. His fourth career triple-double happened at the next game on November 28 against the Sacramento Kings. Green had 13 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists against the Kings, becoming the first Warriors player with back-to-back triple-doubles since Wilt Chamberlin in 1964.
Bobbi Kristina Brown, born March 4, 1993, in Livingston, New Jersey, died July 26, 2015. She became an actress, known for The 2012 Billboard Music Awards (2012). Whitney Houston Brown and Bobby Brown were her parents.
Lula Mae Hymes Glenn, born March 5, 1917, in Newman, Georgia, becomes a track and field athlete; one of the leading track stars at Tuskegee Institute in the 1930s.She belonged to the era of segregation when even the most outstanding black women athletes might go virtually unnoticed. With Glenn’s participation, Tuskegee became the first black team to win the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) championship in the first fourteen years of the competition. Years of effort to build up the women’s athletic program at Tuskegee under coach Amelia C. Roberts led to the 1937 Tuskegee victory at the women’s track and field championship sponsored by the AAU. The star of the Trenton, New Jersey, competition was Lula Hymes, who took first place in the long jump with a 17 foot, 8-inch jump. She also took second place in the 50-meter dash and second place in the 400-meter relay, along with three other participants. In 1938, the Tuskegee women’s team again won the AAU women’s track and field championship, with Hymes as the high-point winner in the 100-meter dash and the broad jump. In the 1939 nationals, Glenn set a new American record with an 18 foot, 1-inch jump in the running broad jump competition. She married Miles Alfonso Glenn that same year. Glenn was the first all-around star for the Tuskegee women’s team and continued to be a leading figure until 1941. In the years since, Tuskegee Institute has continued to field a leading women’s team in the track and field competition. (From: Black Women in America, Volume 1, page 491)
Leontine Turpeau Current Kelly, born March 5, 1920, in the parsonage of Mount Zion Methodist Church in Washington, D.C. becomes the first Black woman bishop of a major denomination in the United States, in 1984. The United Methodist Church in the San Francisco area elected her bishop. (From: I Dream a World, page 112)
George Washington Collins, born March 5, 1925, in Chicago, Illinois, (died December 8, 1972), becomes a lawyer and politician, a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois. He served from November 3, 1970 to December 8, 1972, when he died in an airplane crash; a month after his reelection to a second term, The airplane crashed while traveling in support of the fourth wards-annual Christmas party. His wife Cardiss Collins (born September 24, 1931) won election to his seat (which had been redistricted to the seventh district) shortly thereafter. George Collins enlisted in the army after graduating from high school. In 1946, after discharge, he attended Central Y.M.C.A. College, graduating in 1954. He worked with the Chicago Municipal court while earning a business law degree from Northwestern University. For three years, until 1961, Collins served as deputy sheriff of Cook County; elected as sheriff in 1969, to fill the remaining term of Daniel Ronan, who had died that August.
Raymond Gilmore Allen, born March 5, 1929, in Kansas City, Missouri, becomes a TV actor most remembered for his role as “Uncle Woody,” the alcoholic husband of “Aunt Esther,” on the TV sitcom “Sanford and Son.” Raymond Gilmore Allen, born March 5, 1929, in Kansas City, Missouri, becomes an American actor best known for his appearances on television in the 1970s.
Clifford (Lester) Mason, born March 5, 1932, in New York City, New York, becomes a playwright and critic who did a TV “Documentary on Black Religion” for CBS in 1973 and wrote “Sister Sadie,” in 1970. (From: Directory of Black Performing Arts, by Edward Mapp, page 247)
Earl Woods, born March 5, 1932, in Manhattan, Kansas, the last of six children of Maude and Miles Woods and becomes a businessperson, administrator, and teacher; father of top-ranked professional golfer Tiger Woods. He attended Kansas State and played catcher on the baseball team, the first African-American player in the Big Eight Conference. Woods married Kultida Punsawad in Brooklyn in 1969, his second marriage. They met during his second tour of duty with a U.S. Army Special Forces unit during the Vietnam War. While stationed there, he met fellow lieutenant colonel Nguyen T. Phong, and thought so much of his bravery he nicknamed him “Tiger.” He would later name his son after Phong to preserve his memory. Woods served two tours of duty as a Green Beret in Vietnam and taught in the Army until his retirement as a lieutenant colonel in 1974. Following the service, he moved to Cypress in Orange County, California and worked as a contracts administrator for McDonnell Douglas. An avid golfer, Earl Woods trained his son Tiger to play the game he loved. Early on, Earl predicted greatness for his son. Woods wrote two books “Training a Tiger” and “Playing Through.” In the second book, he wrote about his philosophy, “My whole life is about being positive. It’s about dreaming, and then taking steps in your life to achieve those dreams. It is about overcoming obstacles and stereotypes such as bigotry and prejudice. Life is about giving and about sharing and caring for others, standing up and being counted for what you believe in, being a spokesperson and a role model, and being an inspiration.” Earl Dennison Woods died on May 3, 2006, at his home in Cypress, California, after a lengthy battle with cancer. The elder Woods served as president of the ETW Corporation and co-founded the Tiger Woods Foundation.
Canaan Banana, born March 5, 1936, in Southern Rhodeia, (died November 10, 2003), becomes a politician; the first Black president of Zimbabwe, serving from 1980 to 1987. During his lifetime, Banana brought together two of the country’s political parties, the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU).
Olusegun Aremu Okikiola Matthew Obasanjo, born March 5, 1937, becomes the 5th and the 12th President of Nigeria, serving his first term from February 13, 1976 to October 1, 1979 and becomes a second term from May 29, 1999 to May 29, 2007. His first name “Olusegun means “God is victorious.”
Fred “The Hammer” Williamson, born March 5, 1938, in Gary, Indiana, becomes an actor, architect, and former professional football defensive back for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1960, the Oakland Raiders from 1961 to 1964, and the Kansas City Chiefs from 1965 to 1967. Williamson finished his eight-season career in 1967 with 36 interceptions, which he returned for 479 yards and 2 touchdowns, in 104 games. Like football running back turned actor Jim Brown (born February 17, 1936), he turned to acting. Williamson also acted alongside Mr. Brown in films such as 1974’s “Three the Hard Way,” 1975’s “Take a Hard Ride,” 1982’s “One Down, Two to Go,” 1996’s “Original Gangstas” and 2002’s “On the Edge,” along with guest starring with him in a handful of episodes of various television programs. Before Jim Brown did it in 1974, Williamson posed nude for Playgirl magazine in the October 1973 issue. (From: Directory of Black Performing Arts, by Edward Mapp, pages 396 & 397)
Charles Henry Fuller, Jr., born March 5, 1939, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, becomes a playwright whose play entitled, “A Soldier’s Play,” in 1981, won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1982, and became a movie in 1984. Fuller, vowed to become a writer after noticing that his high school’s library had no books by African American authors. He achieved critical notice in 1969 with “The Village: A Party,” a drama about racial tensions between a group of mixed-race couples. Of his methods for advancing the African-American cause, Fuller said in a 1982 interview, “My argument is on the stage. I don’t have to be angry. O.K.? I get it all out right up there. There’s no reason to carry this down from the stage and into the seats. And it does not mean that I am not enraged at injustice or prejudice or bigotry. It simply means that I cannot be enraged all the time. To spend one’s life being angry, and in the process doing nothing to change it, is to me ridiculous. I could be m ad all day long, but if I’m not doing a damn thing, what difference does it make?” (From: Directory of Black Performing Arts, by Edward Mapp, page 128)
Michael Warren, born March 5, 1946) is an American TV actor and former college basketball player, best known for playing Officer Bobby Hill on the NBC television series Hill Street Blues.
Bernard Powell, born March 5, 1947, in Kansas City, Missouri, (died in1979), becomes a civil rights activist, who at the age of 13 joined Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the March to Selma, Alabama. He longed to become Missouri’s first Black governor, but shot to death in a social club. Across from his childhood home, stands a bronze statue erected in his memory.
Marsha Francine Warfield (born March 5, 1954, in Chicago, Illinois) is an American actress and comedian. She grew up in Chicago and attended Calumet High
Marsha Warfield, born March 5, 1955, in Chicago, Illinois, becomes an actress and comedienne who became best known for her 1986–1992 role of “Roz” on the popular NBC sitcom “Night Court.” She hosted “The Marsha Warfield Show8 0 for two years (1990-1991) and made guest appearances on many television shows. Marsha Francine Warfield, born March 5, 1954, in Chicago, Illinois, becomes an American actress and comedienne. She grew up in Chicago and attended Calumet High School. She is best known for her 1986–1992 role of Roz on the popular NBC sitcom Night Court.
Carvin Winans and Marvin Winans born March 5th, 1958. Carvin Winans and Marvin Winans are twin siblings to Gospel musicians Bebe Winans, Cece Winans, Mario Winans and Vickie
Zeke Mowatt, born March 5, 1961, in Wauchula, Florida, becomes a professional football player for the New York Giants from 1983 to 1989 and again in 1991, and the New England Patriots in 1990. In 1994, Mowatt founded Mowatt Inc, a janitorial service based out of Hackensack, NJ with branch offices located in Pennsylvania and Maryland.
Robert L. Curbeam, Jr., born March 5, 1962, in Baltimore, Maryland, becomes an astronaut who became a member of the crew of the STS-85, which from August 7 to August 19 (a 12-day mission), deployed and retrieved the CRISTA-SPAS payload. At the time of this writing, Curbeam, Jr. currently holds the record for the most spacewalksduring single spaceflight. On December 7, 2007, NASA announced that Curbeam chose to leave NASA after 13 years, to pursue a job in the private sector.
Grand Wizard Theodore, born March 5, 1963, in Bronx, New York, becomes one of early hip-hop’s most skilled DJs, becomes universally acknowledged as the inventor of the scratch technique. Though variants of the story exist, it is generally accepted that Grand Wizard Theodore was playing records at a high volume in his bedroom. Fed up with the noise his mother entered and ordered him to turn the music down. At this point he looked away from the turntable to face her. While his mother lectured him he continued slowly moving the record back and forth, which produced a sound all its own. When she left the room he was intrigued by the sound the vinyl made when manipulated in this fashion. After months of experimentation he introduced this technique at a party and thus scratching was born. Many forms of popular music have since used the technique. (From: www.wikipedia.org )
Reggie Williams, born March 5, 1964, in Baltimore, Maryland, becomes professional basketball player who played pro basketball for the Los Angeles Clippers from 1987 to 1990, the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1990, and the San Antonio Spurs, in 1990.
Michael Jerome Irvin, born March 5, 1966, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, becomes a professional football player for the Dallas Cowboys, regarded as the most successful wide receiver in the history of the NFL. He received the nickname “The Playmaker.”
DeQuincy Scott, born March 5, 1978, in Laplace, Louisiana, becomes a professional football player for the San Diego Chargers and the Minnesota Vikings.
Corey Brewer, born March 5, 1986, in Portland, Tennessee becomes a professional basketball player for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Benjamin W. Arnett, born March 6, 1838, in Brownsville, Pennsylvania, (died Oct. 7, 1906), becomes a religious leader, educator, state politician and writer. In his youth, Arnett lost a leg to cancer. He became the seventeenth bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He also served as the church historian and provided a sound financial system for his church. In 1872 Arnett became the first black man to serve as foreman of an all-white jury, and in 1885 he became an Ohio State Legislator for a district with a white majority. He authored a bill that repealed the Black Laws of Ohio. A forceful and compelling speaker, he became influential in Republican politics, thanks, in part, to his friendship with fellow legislator (and later president), William McKinley.
James Johnson Edwards, born March 6, 1918, in Muncie, Indiana, (died: January 4, 1970, in San Diego, California), becomes an actor most famous in the role of Private Peter Moss in the 1949 film “Home of the Brave,” in which he portrayed a soldier experiencing racial prejudice while serving in the South Pacific during World War II. Other notable roles were in Stanley Kubrick’s “The Killing,” (1956) and John Frankenheimer’s “The Manchurian Candidate,” (1962). Edwards was prolific on TV in the 1960s, playing character roles in various series such as “Peter Gunn,” “The Fugitive,” “Burke’s Law,” “Dr. Kildare” and “Mannix.”
Frances Walker-Slocum, born March 6, 1924, in Washington, D.C., becomes a concert pianist who served on the faculty of Oberlin College forty years before retiring. She began her music training at age four and one-half. After four years of private study, her parents enrolled her in the junior division of the Music Department at Howard University. There she studied piano and theory until her graduation from Dunbar High School in 1941. In this year, she also gave her first full recital in the Howard University Chapel, Washington, D.C. At the age of five, involved in a fire, she received severe burns that made her early life difficult. After a year-long hospitalization and multiple surgeries, her right arm remained badly impaired. She pushed herself to overcome this handicap. She amazingly developed her piano technique to enable her to play the piano with power and speed. She and her brother, composer George Walker (born June 27, 1922) grew up in a home embodying strict discipline and control. Their father George Theophilus (1874-1952), an M.D. of Jamaican descent, emphasized accomplishment and excellence at a time when minorities may have received less encouragement.
Wes Montgomery, born John Leslie Montgomery, March 6, 1925, in Indianapolis, Indiana, (died June 15, 1968), becomes a jazz guitarist. Montgomery came from a musical family; his brothers, Monk (born October 10, 1921-May 20, 1982) played the string bass and electric bass and Buddy (born January 30, 1930) played the vibraphone and piano. Wes Montgomery is generally considered one of the major jazz guitarists, emerging after such seminal figures as Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian (born July 29, 1916-Mar. 2, 1942) and influencing countless others, including Pat Martino, George Benson (born March 22, 1943), and Pat Metheny. Montgomery’s home town of Indianapolis has named a park in his honor.
Carmen DeLavallade, born March 6, 1931, in Los Angeles, California, becomes an actress, singer and dancer known as “the total dancer,” equally at home in ballet, modern, and theatrical dancing. Reared by an aunt, who owned one of the first African-American history bookshops on Central Avenue, and her cousin, Janet Collins, (born March 7, 1917 – May 28, 2003) the first African-American prima ballerina, at the Metropolitan Opera, inspired young De Lavallade, who began studying ballet with Melissa Blake, at the age of 16. After graduation from Thomas Jefferson High School, in Los Angeles, De Lavallade received a scholarship to study dance with Lester Horton. (From: Directory of Black Performing Arts, by Edward Mapp, pages 94 & 95)
Marion Shepilov Barry Jr., born the third of 10 children, March 6, 1936, in Itta Bena, Mississippi, (died November 23, 2014), becomes a controversial politician; a two-time mayor, who served as mayor of the District of Columbiafrom 1979 to 1991, and again as mayor from 1995 to 1999. He became the target of a high-profile 1990 arrest on drug charges, which precluded him from seeking reelection that year. After conviction of the charges, Barry served six months in prison, but became elected to the D.C. city council in 1992 and ultimately returned to the mayoralty in 1994, serving from 1995 to 1999.
Lovelace Watkins, born March 6, 1938, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, (died June 11, 1995), becomes a singer,
and a former Golden Gloves champion who toured South Africa, in 1974. (From: Directory of Black Performing Arts, by Edward Mapp, pages 382 and 383)
Wilver Dornell “Willie” Stargell, born March 6, 1940, in Earlsboro, Oklahoma, (died April 9, 2001) becomes a professional baseball player for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He is the only player to have won three MVP trophies in a single year. A larger-than-life statue of him was unveiled outside the Pirates’ new stadium, PCN Park, the day he died in 2001.
Mary Wilson, born March 6, 1944, in Greenville, Mississippi, becomes an R&B soul singer, an original member of the famed Motown singing group known as The Supremes;the only artist to be a consistent member of the group in its eighteen-year tenure (1959-1977).
Anna Maria Horsford, born March 6, 1948, in New York City, New York, becomes an actress who appeared in movies such as “Set It Off,” “Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored,” and “Dear God.” Her TV appearances include The Wayans Brothers and the soap opera “Guiding Light,” as Clara Jones in 1979.
General William E. “Kip” Ward, born March 6, 1949, in Lipscomb, Alabama, becomes a four-star general who last served as Commander, U.S. Africa Command from October 1, 2007 to March 8, 2011. He was the first officer to hold this position. General Ward previously served as Deputy Commander, U.S. European Command. General Ward received a commission into the infantry in 1971. His military education includes the Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced courses, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and U.S. Army War College. He holds a M.A. in Political Science from Pennsylvania State University and a B.A. in Political Science from Morgan State University. His military service includes overseas tours in Korea, Egypt, Somalia, Bosnia, Israel, two tours in Germany, and a wide variety of assignments in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii.
D.L. Hugley, born Darryl Lynn “D. L” Hughley, March 6, 1963, becomes an actor, political commentator and stand-up comedian best known as the original host of BET’s Comic View from 1992-1993, the eponymous character on the ABC/UPN sitcom “The Huglies.”
Yvette Wilson, born March 6, 1964,in Los Angeles, California, (died June 14, 2012), becomes a comedian and actress, best known for her role as Andell Wilkerson on the UPN sitcom “Moesha” and its spinoff “The Parkers.” She has appeared on many comedy films such as “House Party 2,” “House Party,” “Friday,” and on “Russell Simmons ‘Def Comedy Jam.’
Maurice Ashley, born March 6, 1966, in Kingston, Jamaica, becomes a professional chess player, noted as the highest ranked Black chess player in the world, in the 1990’s. He is the first and as of 2009 only African-Americangrandmaster. Always promoting chess among youth, Ashley coached the Raging Rooks of Harlem, and the Dark Knights (from Harlem), both of which have won national championships under his guidance. In September 1999, he opened the Harlem Chess Center, which has attracted such celebrities as Larry Johnson (born March 14, 1969) and Wynton Marsalis (born October 18, 1961). In 2003, Ashley became Grandmaster of the Year by the U.S. Chess Federation. He makes appearances all over the country speaking to young people and adults about chess and its benefits.
Awadagin Pratt, born March 6, 1966, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, becomes a classical pianist, who in 1992 became the first African American to win the Naumburg International Piano Competition. His attire along with his trademark dreadlocks make him unique on the classical music circuit.
Negele Oscar Knight, born March 6, 1967, in Detroit, Michigan, becomes a professional basketball player for the Phoenix Suns in 1990. Knight has also played for the San Antonio Spurs, the Portland Trail Blazers, the Detroit Pistons and the Toronto Raptors. He played in six NBA seasons. His best year as a professional came during the 1993-94 season as a member of the Spurs, when he appeared in 64 games averaging 9.3 points per game.
Shaquille O’Neal, born March 6, 1972, in Newark, New Jersey, becomes an internationally recognized professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns. He became an actor and star of the action film “Steel.” Shaquille means “little one.
Michael Finley, born March 6, 1973, in Melrose Park, Illinois, becomes a professional basketball player for as the Phoenix Suns from 1995 to 1996, the Dallas Mavericks from 1996 to 2005 and the San Antonio Spurs. Finley won an NBA championship in 2007 with the San Antonio Spurs in his 12th NBA season and received the “game bal l” from his teammates.