October Achievers of Color

Individuals born in this month are often found in positions which balance the scales of justice. The scales of justice are a symbol used in many Western presentations of modern law. They symbolize the idea of the fair distribution of law, with no influence of bias, privilege or corruption. People born in the month of October, we might say, demonstrate this characteristic are: the late Johnnie Cochran, born October 2, 1937; ; civil rights activist, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, born October 8, 1941; insurrectionist and abolitionist, Nat Turner, born October 2, 1800; civil and human rights activist, Al Sharpton, born October 3, 1954; civil and social rights activist, social activist for nonviolence, Mahatma Ghandi, born October 2, 1869; freedom pioneer, William Grant Still, a director of the Underground Railroad, born October 7, 1821; Archbishop Desmond Tutu, born October 7, 1931; Charleszetta “Mother” Waddles, born October 7, 1912, community activist, director, founder and spiritual leader of the Mother Waddles Perpetual Mission, Inc. who devoted her life to providing food, hope and human dignity to downtrodden and disadvantaged people; John Brown Russwurm, editor of the first African American newspaper, the Freedom Journal, born October 1, 1799; Black Panther leader, H. Rap Brown, born October 4, 1943; music producerRussell Simmons, born October 4, 1957; civil rights pioneer, Autherine Lucy Foster, born October 5, 1929; comedian and actor, the late Bernie Mac, born October 5, 1957; Nation of Islam’s, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, born October 7, 1897; and mayor of New Orleans, Ernest “Dutch” Morial, born October 9, 1929, who changed the laws and the people, by creating opportunities that had never before existed . His message is that if you work hard and dream great things, and can convince others, you can be anything in the world you want to be.”

The names above are just a few of the champions of color born in October. Read more about these individuals in the rest of this article. Thank you. Enjoy 

Peter Salem, born a slave on October 1, 1750, in Framingham, Massachusetts (died 1816), becomes a soldier and patriot, whose owner named him after his hometown, Salem, Massachusetts. He became one of the original Minutemen heroes of the American Revolutionary War. In 1882, the town of Framingham erected a monument in his honor. (The birth date referenced here is not for certain.)


John Brown Russwurm, born On October 1, 1799, in Port Antonio, Jamaica (died March 29, 1851), becomes a journalist, abolitionist and colonizer. Russwurm born of an unidentified slave mother and a white American merchant, John Russwurm, who raised him as free, has been noted as one of the first African American college graduates and an editor of the first African American newspaper, Freedom’s Journal. He became governor of Maryland Colony in 1836 and held that position until his death in June of 1851. Russwurm’s importance in African American history worked for a brief period as editor of the Freedom’s Journal. However, he is more of a substantial figure in the history of Liberia, where he became a pioneering Black official who laid the foundation for the eventual incorporation of the Maryland Colony into Liberia. (From: Notable Black American Men, pg. 1038)


Theophile T. Allain, born a slave on October 1, 1846, in Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana (died 1917), becomes a farmer, merchant, and politician. Described as a Mulatto, treated as free by his father, he became elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives, in 1870, but denied. However, elected to the Louisiana House again, and served from 1872 to 1874, and again in 1881 to 1890, he served in their Senate from 1874 to 1880.


Aminta C. N. Burnet, born October 1, 1892, in St. Thomas, Danish West Indies, (died February 7, 1977), becomes an attorney, and educator who represents that group of Virgin Islanders that grew up during the period when it took courage and great wit to break down certain traditions or limitations. The daughter of Auguste, a merchant, and Caroline Mitchell Burnet .In the 1940’s few females of the territory dared to enter law school. Not only did Burnet earn a jurist doctorate degree but she was admitted to practice law in New York City in 1946 and later in April, 1950, was certified as an attorney and counselor in the United States Supreme Court. In addition to her legal achievements, Burnet is also recognized as an outstanding educator of earlier times. Before going to the mainland, she was principal of the former Bethesda School on St. Thomas, which was located in the western end of Charlotte Amalie. She became a teacher of opportunity classes at Public School 157 in Manhattan. In 1948, her students nominated her in the Best Teacher contest, which she won. Even though Attorney Burnet lived most of her adult life in the continental United States, she nonetheless retained interest and contact with her homeland. As a member of the Federation of American Virgin Islands Societies, she assisted this group in maintaining a better relationship with the U.S. Department of Interior, the agency responsible for the affairs of U.S. territories. In this relationship she worked toward such improvements as increased appropriations for education, increased educational benefits for the masses, civil service appointments, and a resident commissioner in Washington. Her crusade for self-government for the islands ended with her death on February 7, 1977, in New York City.


Florence Powell, born October 1, 1903, in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania (died 1991), becomes an educator, and the first African American trained as a librarian in the United States. She married Charles Powell, in 1931, and moved to Jefferson City, Missouri, where she became “The First Lady” of Lincoln University, where her husband served as president.

 Robert Richard “Bob” Boyd, born October 1, 1919, in Potts Camp, Mississippi (died September 7, 2004), becomes a professional baseball player in the Negro Leagues. He has often been called “The Rope.” Boyd played for the Baltimore Orioles. He was the first Baltimore Orioles regular to hit. (From: Voices from the Negro League, pg. 183) 

Napoleon Haney, born October 1, 1926, in Texas City, Texas, becomes a former mayor of Hyde Park, Illinois.

Albert Collins, born October 1, 1932, in Leona, Texas (died November 24, 1993), becomes a blues singer, guitarist, band leader, and songwriter. He was called “The Iceman,” and sometimes, “The Razor Blade.” (From: All Music Guide, an Internet source)


George R. Carruthers, born October 1, 1939, in Cincinnati, Ohio, becomes an astrophysicist. He became instrumental in the design of lunar surface ultraviolet cameras. His research focused on experimental investigations of atomic nitrogen recombination. (From: Faces of Science: African Americans in the Sciences, an Internet source)


LaMont Johnson, born October 1, 1941, in New York City, New York, becomes a jazz pianist. (From: All Music Guide, an Internet source)

Herb Fame, born Herbert Feemster October 1, 1942, in Anacostia, Washington, D.C, becomes an R&B singer of the duo “Peaches and Herb, He sang in church and neighborhood groups as a child. After graduation from high school, he worked in a local record store where he met record producer Van McCoy and was signed to Columbia subsidiary Date Records by McCoy and A&R executive Dave Kapralik. Francine “Peaches” Barker (born Francine Edna Hurd, April 28, 1947, in Washington, D.C.), using the stage name Francine Day, started a singing trio initially dubbed The Darlettes and later renamed The Sweet Things after a change of record label to Date Records. Having produced two releases for the trio, McCoy decided to record Feemster/Fame and Hurd/Day together at Kapralik’s suggestion. The resulting single, “We’re in This Thing Together,” was distributed to radio stations but went nowhere for months until December 1966, when a St. Louis disc jockey broadcast the single’s B-side, a revival of the 1934 hit “Let’s Fall in Love.” Herb has remained a constant in “Peaches & Herb” since its creation in 1966, while seven different women have filled the role of “Peaches”.

Edison OJackson, born October 1, 1942in Heathsville, Virginia, becomes the sixth president of Bethune-Cookman University. Previously, he served as president of Medgar Evers College from 1989 to 2009. On March 20, 2013, Jackson began serving as president of Bethune-Cookman University. Jackson received his Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology in 1965, and the Master of Arts degree in Counseling from Howard University in 1968, and the Doctorate in Education from Rutgers University in 1983, with academic emphasis on the philosophy, function, role and administration of urban educational institutions.


Herbert Toubo Rhoad, born October 1, 1944, in South Carolina, died December 8, 1988, becomes an original member of The Persuasions, the baritone in the group. He spent 26 years with the quintet, which formed in Brooklyn in 1962, singing a repertory ranging from gospel to rock-and-roll. The group has performed in concerts throughout the world and has released a dozen albums. Mr. Rhoad, who was born in South Carolina, sang with several other pop groups after he moved to Brooklyn as a teen-ager. (From: http://www.nytimes.com/1988/12/15/obituaries/herbert-toubo-rhoad-singer-44.html


Rod Carew, born October 1, 1945, in Gatun, Panama, becomes a professional baseball player. He joined the Minnesota Twins in 1957, as a second baseman and won his first batting championship in 1969. Carew was a right-handed thrower and left-handed hitter with excellent speed. He won seven American League batting titles. He was inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991. (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 20)


Donny Hathaway, born October 1, 1945, in Chicago, Illinois (died January 13, 1979), becomes a popular music-recording artist and songwriter. He occasionally teamed up with achiever of color, singer and radio personality, Robert Flack. Some of their popular tunes include, “The Closer I get To You,” in 1978, and “Where is the Love, in 1972,” which both reached the US top 5 on the music charts. (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 18)


Carrie Lucas, born October 1, 1945,in Carmel, California, becomes an American R&B musician in 1976 she was signed to Soul Train Records. Lucas made six albums over seven years with Soul Train and Solar Records: “I Gotta Keep Dancing” and “Gotta Get Away From Your Love” were the two hit singles from Lucas’s first album, “Simply Carrie,”, released in 1977. “I Gotta Keep Dancing” peaked at number #64 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1977.


Juanita James, born October 1, 1952, in Brooklyn, New York, becomes a writer and book-publishing executive. From 1976 to 1981, James served as a researcher and administrator for Time Life Books. From 1987 to 1990, she served as C.E.O. and president of Time Life Libraries. She has been named to the Corporate Hall of Fame, National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women and the Achievement Awards, Links, Inc. (a civil rights organization). (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 13, page 115)


Howard Hewett, born October 1, 1955, in Akron, Ohio, becomes an R&B singer, music writer, and producer. He was once a dancer on Soul Train. He became a member of the R&B group known as “Shalamar,” in 1979. (From: All Music Guide, an Internet source)


Yvette Freeman, born October 1, 1957, in Wilmington, Delaware, becomes an actress best known for her role as Haleh Adams, a registered nurse, on the NBC drama ER. She is one of the longest serving recurring characters on the show, having appeared in every season since 1994, with her first appearance in the two hour pilot episode.


Alton Lister, born October 1, 1958, in Dallas, Texas, becomes a professional basketball player for the Boston Celtics and the Portland Trail Blazers. (From: Basketball Internet sources)


Cedric Napoleon, born October 1, 1962 (place of birth not given in source referral) becomes a founding and former member of Pieces of a Dream (Lead Vocalist/Bassist/Song Writer). He traveled, and performed as a featured artist and formed his own band known as Cedric A. Napoleon and Friends. He has played with several prominent artists in his career, including Grover Washington, Jr., Phylis Hyman, Gerald Veasley, Barbara Walker, Hezekiah Walker, Kurt Carr, Sharon Baptist Church, St. Thomas African Episcopal Church, and Kingdom Restoration. Cedric is currently teaching Bass, Vocals, and The History of Jazz at the Philadelphia Clef Club.


George Tawlon Oppong Ousman Weah, October 1, 1966, in Monrovia, Liberia, becomes a professional footballer for the A.C. Milan team (among others) and a politician.


Mike Pringle, born October 1, 1967, in Los Angeles, California, becomes a professional football player for the Atlanta Falcons and the Montreal Alouettes.

 Heather Hunter, born October 1, 1969, in Bronx, New York, becomes a professional porn star and c dancer on the famed “Soul Train.” (From: www.nndb.com)

Kerry Brothers Jrborn October 1, 1970, in Brooklyn, New York, better known as “Krucial”, “Krucial Keys” or, as Alicia Keys often refers to him, “K”, becomes a multi-Grammy Award winning producer and an American songwriter, executive producer and record producer. He has worked on four of Alicia Keys’ multi-platinum albums:

Blu Cantrell, born Tiffany Cobb, October 1, 1976, in Providence, Rhode Island, becomes a singer from multiracial ethnicity. Some reference sources indicate her birth took place March 16, 1976. (From: www.nndb.com)

 Tony Beckham, born October 1, 1978, in Gainesville, Florida, becomes a professional football player for the Tennessee Titans. (From: www.wspn.com, an Internet source)

Rudi Johnson, born October 1, 1979, in Petersburg, Virginia, becomes a professional football player for the Cincinnati Bengals.

 “Shawnna” born Rashawnna Guy, October 1, 1979, in Chicago, Illinois, becomes a musician. She is the daughter of Buddy Guy, a blues musician, born July 30, 1936. (From: www.nndb.com)

Júlio César Clemente Baptista, born October 1, 1981, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, becomes a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder or forward for Major League Soccer club Orlando City SC. He is nicknamed “The Beast” due to his physique. Baptista began his career as a defensive midfielder, and after a series of impressive performances for his hometown squad Sao Paulo FC, Baptista signed for Sevilla FC in 2003. Upon signing for Sevilla, he was converted into a forward, and in his two seasons, he scored 50 goals, leading to his 2005 transfer to Spanish giants Real Madrid. After two unsuccessful seasons at Real Madrid with a loan spell at Arsenal sandwiched in between, Baptista transferred to Roma in Italy. In January 2011 he returned to Spain by signing for Malaga, and two years later went back to Brazil with in Cruzeiro Esporte.

Haruna Babangidi, born the 8th son of 10 boys, October 1, 1982, in Kaduna, Nigeria, becomes a professional footballer for the teams of Barcelona and the Olympiacos.


Isis King, born October 1, 1985, in Annapolis, Maryland, becomes an American fashion model and a fashion designer, a contestant on both the eleventh cycle and the seventeenth cycle of the reality television show America’s Next Top Model.

 Dizzee Rascal, born Dylan Mills, October 1, 1985, in Bow, London, England, becomes a UK Garage rapper. (From: www.nndb.com)

Jurnee Smollett, born October 1, 1986, in New York City, New York, becomes an actress who plays the role of Lisa Tyler on the weekly episode of “The Defenders.” She began her career as a child actress appearing on television sitcoms, with her most significant regular role being on “On Our Own.”


Lionel Glenn Robert Ainsworth, born October 1, 1987, in Nottingham, United Kingdom, becomes an English footballer who plays for Motherwell. He plays as a right winger.


Nat Turner, born a slave October 2, 1800, in Southampton County, Virginia (died November 11, 1831), becomes a slave revolt insurrectionist, the property of a prosperous small-plantation owner in a remote area of Virginia. His mother, an African native, transmitted a passionate hatred of slavery to her son. He learned to read from one of his master’s sons, and he eagerly absorbed intensive religious training. In the early 1820s, he was sold to a neighboring farmer of small means. During the following decade, his religious ardor tended to approach fanaticism, and he saw himself called upon by God to lead his people out of bondage. He began to exert a powerful influence on many of the nearby slaves, who called him “the Prophet.” It has been recorded that Turner, a bondsman, led the only effective, sustained slave rebellion in August of 1831, in U.S. history. Spreading terror throughout the white South, his action set off a new wave of oppressive legislation prohibiting the education, movement, and assembly of slaves and stiffened pro-slavery, anti-abolitionist convictions that persisted in that region until the American Civil War from 1861 to 1865. Turner’s rebellion put an end to the white Southern myth that slaves were either contented with servitude or too servile to mount an armed revolt. In Southampton County, Black people came to measure time from “Nat’s Fray,” or “Old Nat’s War.” For many years in Black churches throughout the country, the name Jerusalem referred not only to the Bible but also covertly to the place where the rebel slave had met his death; Jerusalem, Virginia. (From: Britannica.com, an Internet source)


Although not born of African descent, but of color, Mahatma Gandhi, born Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, October 2, 1869, in the Gujarat province of India (died January 30, 1948), becomes a lawyer and non-violent activist. In 1888, Gandhi went to London, England to study law, and became a lawyer in 1891. He received offers to practice law in South Africa, and lived there from 1893 to 1914. When he returned to India in 1915, his goal became the independence of India from British rule. Gandhi began to develop the principles of Satyagraha, known as the practice of nonviolent passive resistance, while protesting racism living in South Africa. Despite arrests, imprisonment and violent retaliation, Gandhi and his followers adhered (to remain devoted and uphold) to the principle of Satyagraha. These actions led to worldwide attention. Gandhi also began to fast as a method of protest. He became known as “Mahatma,” which means “Great Soul.” In 1947, India became an independent state after 300 years of British rule, a victory for Gandhi and non-violent resistance. Gandhi was assassinated in India, in January of 1948. Describing Gandhi, Albert Einstein said, “Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.” (From: www.nndb.com)

James Titus “Jimmy Slyde” Godbolt, born October 2, 1927, in Atlanta, Georgia (died May 16, 2008), becomes the recipient of an award for his tap-dancing prowess from the NEA in 2006. Known as the King of Slides, Godbolt became a world-renowned tap dancer, especially famous for his innovative tap style mixed with jazz. His family then moved to Boston, where he grew up. After seeing Bill Robinson perform, Slyde began tap lessons at age 12 with Stanley Brown at The New England Conservatory of Music. Soon after forming the duo “The Slyde Brothers” with a fellow student, Jimmy “Sir Slyde” Mitchell, Slyde began touring with big bands in clubs throughout the United States in the late 1940s and early 1950s, performing regularly with both Duke Ellington and Count Basie. In the 1960s, after work temporarily dried up in the United States, he moved to Paris and danced in Europe for six years. Slyde’s profile in the United States revived noticeably in the 1980s. He danced in the films “The Cotton Club,” “Tap” and “Round Midnight, as well as a number of television specials. He collaborated with Steve Condos on a program of jazz tap improvisation at the Smithsonian Institution and performed across the United States and in South America. In 1989, Slyde received a Tony Award nomination for his Broadway debut in the musical “Black and Blue.” Slyde continued performing and teaching throughout the United States late into his life, stressing the importance of mastering the basics and using sliding cascades of taps close to the floor.

Moses Gunn, born October 2, 1929, in St. Louis, Missouri (died December 16, 1993), becomes an actor nominated for an Emmy Award for his portrayal of African chief Kintango, in the first installment of “Roots,” 1977. In 1977, he became an actor on the sitcom, “Good Times.” He also guest starred on a number of other TV series. (From: www.nndb.com)


Maury (Maurice Morning) Wills, born October 2, 1932, in Washington, DC, becomes a professional baseball player for the L.A. Dodgers. In 1962, he stole 104 bases, which garnered him the Associate Press male athlete of the Year Award in 1962. Wills reports actress Doris Day became his girlfriend, in the early 1960s. (From: www.nndb.com)


Robert Henry Lawrence, born October 2, 1935, in Chicago, Illinois (died December 8, 1967,) becomes the first Black selected for space travel. He died during a training incident in December 1967. Conspiracy and speculation arose and faded as to the cause of Lawrence’s death. In 1989, a memorial erected in honor of astronauts who gave their lives for the space program, did not include Robert H. Lawrence. Not until December 1997 had Lawrence been given recognition and his name added to the prestigious list. This came about due to the advocacy efforts of space historian, James Oberg (a white man). After 30 years, the Air Force acknowledged one of its pioneers in space, the first African American astronaut selected for the space program.


Jerome Gary Cooper, born October 2, 1936, in Lafayette, Louisiana, becomes a businessman and diplomat, serving as U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica from 1994 to 1997. (From: www.nndb.com)


Henry Robinson, born October 2, 1936, in Port Royal, South Carolina, becomes a mayor of Port Royal, South Carolina. However, at the time I came upon this reference information, Robinson served as a member of the city council of Port Royal, South Carolina, a position he was elected to in May 1999.


Johnnie Cochran, Jr., born October 2, 1937, in Shreveport, Louisiana (died March 29, 2005), becomes a notable lawyer, who gained worldwide attention, as a member of the Dream Team, in the televised live courtroom defense of football icon, O.J. Simpson (July 9, 1947), accused of killing wife, Nicole and friend.


Dorothy Pitman Hughes, born October, 2 1938, in LumpkinGeorgia, becomes a feminist, child-welfare advocate, African-American activist, public speaker, author, pioneering African-American small business owner, and mother of three daughters. She was a co-founder of Ms. Magazine in 1972.


Michael Lucius Lomax, born October 2, 1947, in Los Angeles, California, one of six children in a comfortable middle-class family, becomes the President and chief executive officer of the United NegroCollege Fund beginning in 2004. His father, Lucius Walter Lomax, Jr., was an attorney and businessman, and his mother, Almena Davis Lomax, was a journalist, who had come to Los Angeles from the South during the 1920s. Young Michael grew up on the west side of the city, in an integrated neighborhood where blacks, Japanese Americans, Korean Americans, and Latinos lived side by side. He gained an early understanding of diversity from his neighbors, both the traditional first-generation immigrants and their Americanized children. His career includes Morehouse College, English instructor, 1971–3; Office of Atlanta mayoral candidate Maynard Jackson, speechwriter, 1973; City of Atlanta, various positions, 1973–8; Fulton County Board of Commissioners, member, 1978–80, chairman, 1980–92; Morehouse College, English professor, 1978–83; Spelman College, English professor, 1978–88, Dillard University, president, 1994–2003, United Negro College Fund, president and chief executive officer, 2004. He built a career for himself based on his notion of community service and civic responsibility. Education became his focus. After productive careers as an elected official, a teacher, and a university administrator, Lomax became president and chief executive officer of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the oldest minority scholarship organization in the United States. As head of UNCF, Lomax became part of assisting tens of thousands of students at hundreds of colleges and universities, extending the community he serves across the nation.


Avery Brooks, born October 2, 1948, in Evansville, Indiana, becomes an actor most remembered for his role as “Sisko,” on the weekly series “Star Trek, Deep Space 9.” (From: www.nndb.com)


Vanessa Bell Armstrong, born October 2, 1953, in Detroit, Michigan, becomes a Gospel and R&B singer, who released her debut album “Peace Be Still,” in 1983. Armstrong appeared on Broadway in 1991 in a production of “Don’t Get God Started.” “Always,” a Marvin Winans (born March 5, 1958) composition that anchors the play also appears on Armstrong’s 1987 self-titled album. Her Broadway role leads to a cameo appearance in the Oprah Winfrey TV special “The Women of Brewster Place”. Armstrong recorded the theme to the popular 80’s NBC sitcom “Amen.” Armstrong’s 2007 album, Walking Miracle, is her first release in 6 years, and blends traditional gospel fare like “So Good To Me” (produced by Smokie Norful, born October 31, 1975) with contemporary songs like “Till The Victory’s Won” (produced by Fred Jerkins, III) and the title track (produced by Rodney Jerkins, born July 29, 1977). The latter song was inspired by Armstrong’s son who was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. (From: All Music Guide, an Internet source)


Ernest Bai Koroma, born October 2, 1953, in Makeni, Bombali District, Sierra Leone, becomes a politician, serving as Head of State, President of Sierra Leone beginning in 2007. (From: www.nndb.com)


Henry “Hank” Johnson, Jr., born October 2, 1954, in Washington, DC, becomes a politician and attorney, serving as U.S. Congressman from Georgia’s 4th District. He defeated Cynthia McKinney (born March 17, 1955) in the Democratic primary in 2006. Low-profile back-bencher best known for an amusing video clip from a 2010 hearing in which he asked Admiral Robert F. Willard, commander of the U.S. Pacific fleet, whether expansion of an American military base in Guam might cause the island to “become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize”. Willard appeared bewildered as he answered, “We don’t anticipate that.” (From: www.nndb.com)


Freddie Jackson, born October 2, 1956 or 1958, in Harlem, New York, becomes an R&B singer, one of the top recorders dominating the latter portion of the 1980s. (From: All Music Guide, an Internet source)


Claude V. McKnight III, born October 2, 1962, in Brooklyn, New York, becomes an R&B singer, lead singer and founding member of the group Take 6, and the. older brother of singer Brian McKnight (born June 5, 1969);


Marcus Robertson, born October 2, 1969, in Pasadena, California, becomes a professional football player for the Tennessee Titans.


Dion Allen, born October 2, 1970, becomes an R&B singer of the group “Az Yet.” Information is limited for Dion Allen.


Aaron McKie, born October 2, 1972, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, becomes a professional basketball player for the Portland Trail Blazers and the Philadelphia 76ers. (From: Basketball Internet sources)


Latocha Scott, born October 2, 1973, in Atlanta, Georgia, becomes an R&B singer, songwriter, and an occasional actress, best known as a member of the multi-platinum selling R&B group, “Xscape,” who rose to popularity in the 1990s. Prior to joining Xscape, LaTocha had been performing with a group called Precise. While attending Tri-Cities performing arts high school in East Point, Georgia, LaTocha’s sister Tamika met Kandi Burruss. The three began singing together and recruited a fourth member Tamera Coggins, though her time with the group was short lived. After a short while, Tameka “Tiny” Cottle was asked to audition for the girls and Xscape was officially formed. After the group’s major debut performance at BET’s Teen Summit in 1992, the girls were introduced to record executive, Ian Burke, who later became the group’s manager. Xscape soon caught the attention of Jermaine Dupri, who later signed the group to his So So Def Recordings


Anthony Johnson, born October 2, 1974, in Charleston, South Carolina, becomes a professional basketball player for the Sacramento Kings, Atlanta Hawks and the Orlando Magic. In an interview he stated he would most like to meet author/poet Maya Angelou.


DeShaun Holton, born October 2, 1975, in Detroit, Michigan (died April 11, 2006), becomes a rapper. (From: www.nndb.com)


Mandisa Lynn Hundley, born October 2, 1976, in Citrus Heights, California, known professionally as Mandisa, becomes an American gospel and contemporary Christian recording artist. Her career began in the fifth season of American Idol, in which she finished in ninth place. She is the fifth American Idol alumna to win a Grammy Award for her album “Overcome” in the Best Contemporary Christian Music Album.


Bashir Levingston, born October 2, 1976, in Seaside, California, becomes a professional football player for the New York Giants and the Miami Dolphins. (Fromwww.sportsillustrated.cnn.com , an Internet source)


John Thornton, born October 2, 1976, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, becomes a professional football player for the Tennessee titans and the Cincinnati Bengals. (From: www.sportsillustrated.cnn.com , an Internet source)


Deon Dyer, born October 2, 1977, in Chesapeake, Virginia, becomes a professional football player for the Miami Dolphins and the Houston Texans. (From: www.sportsillustrated.cnn.com , an Internet source)


Junior Harrington, born October 2, 1980, in Wagram, North Carolina, becomes a professional basketball player for the Denver Nuggets.


Tyson Cleotis Chandler, born October 2, 1982, in Hanford, California, becomes an American professional basketball player for the Phoenix Suns and the Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Stephanie Linus, born October 2, 1982Stephanie Onyekachi Okereke, in Ngor Okpala, Imo State, Nigeria, becomes a Nigerian actress, film director and model who received several awards and nominations for her work as an actress, including the 2003 Reel Award for Best Actress, the 2006 Afro Hollywood Award for Best Actress, and three nominations for Best Actress in a Leading Role at the Africa Movie Academy Awards in 2005, 2009 and 2010. She was also the runner up for the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria beauty pageant of 2002. In 2011, she was honored by the Nigerian government with a National honor (Member of the Order of the Federal Republic, MFR).


James T. Holly, born October 3, 1829, in Washington, DC, (died in 1911), becomes a religious leader, missionary, and Black separatist. Holly had one simple main idea: The only way for Blacks to flourish, was to physically separate themselves from whites. He became an ardent supporter of emigration. (From: Notable Black American Men, pg. 560)


  1. Thomas Fortune, bornof slave parentsOctober 3, 1856, in Marianna, Florida (died in 1928), becomes a leading Black American journalist of the late 19th century and civil rights activist. He attended a Freedmen’s Bureau school for a time after the Civil War. He eventually became a compositor for a Black newspaper in Washington, D.C. He moved to New York City about the year 1880. He began his professional journalistic career as editor and publisher of a newspaper first called the New York Globe, from 1882 to 1884. The paper name changed to the New York Freeman, and Fortune worked there from 1884 to 1887. The paper was finally changed to the New York Age, for which he worked from 1887 to 1907, when he sold it. In his editorials for the Age, Fortune defended the civil rights of both Northern and Southern Blacks, and spoke out against racial discrimination and segregation. He also wrote the book, “Black and White,” in 1884, in which he condemned the exploitation of Black labor by both the agriculture and industry in the post-Reconstruction South. Fortune was the chief founder of the Afro-American League, in 1890, and became an important forerunner of the NAACP. Though a militant defender of Black rights, Fortune had by 1900 allied himself with the more moderate Booker T. Washington (achiever of color), a move that eventually compromised Fortune’s reputation and lead to a decline in his influence. From 1923 until his death in June 1928, he edited the Negro World, the journalistic organ of the movement led by Marcus Garvey (achiever of color). (From: Twentieth Century Negro Literature and Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 6)


Jesse Stahl, born October 3, 1879, in Tennessee (died in 1935), becomes a cowboy and rodeo star inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, became a major saddle bronco rider. Although exceptionally talented, Stahl who had a brother Ambrose seldom placed higher than third at the major rodeos mainly because he was Black. At one rodeo where he’d clearly bested his competitors, Stahl was awarded second place. Perhaps to mock the judges, he rode a second bronco while facing backward. A spectacular ride by black Stahl, on a previously un-ridden bucking horse called “Glass Eye” was one of the highlights of the show. Some rodeo enthusiast consider Jesse Stahl the greatest of all bronco riders; neither is surprising when one considers that approximately five thousand black cowboys rode the cattle trails in the 19th century. Jesse Stahl retired in 1929 and died in Sacramento, California in 1935.  He is remembered today as a peerless roughrider. He was posthumously inducted into Oklahoma City’s Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1979, only the second black cowboy (after Bill Pickett) to receive that honor. (From: http://www.blackpast.org/?q=aaw/jesse-stahl-c-1879-1935)


Dudley Weldon Woodard, born October 3, 1881 in Galveston, Texas (died in 1965), becomes the second African American to earn a PhD in Mathematics, from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Woodard developed a Masters of Science Degree program at Howard University, in 1929. This guaranteed Howard’s mathematical program as an elite institution for mathematical studies among Historically Black universities and colleges. (From: http://www.archives.upenn.edu/histy/features/aframer/math.html)


Josephine Riley Matthews, born October 3, 1897, in Aiken County, South Carolina (died ?). Matthews goes down in history as one of Black History’s “Unsung Heroes.” During four decades as a licensed midwife, “Mama Jo,” (as she was called) delivered more than 1300 babies, black and white, in rural South Carolina. She graduated from high school at the age of seventy-four. In 1976, the state of South Carolina named her Woman of the Year and Outstanding Older American.

Saunders Redding, bornthe third of seven children,October 3, 1906, in Wilmington, Delaware (died in1988), becomes a writer, educator, scholar, and critic. He has been called “dean of Afro-American scholars.” Redding’s writings reveal that he was an integrationist. He believed the African American culture and the American experience were so interdependent, that one could not be studied without the other. The book, “A Scholar’s Conscience,” describes Redding’s egalitarian attitude (a person who believes that all people are equal). It became an outgrowth of his upbringing; hearing his father read from The Bible, The Crisis magazine, and his grandmother reciting from The Book of Common Prayer; his mother quote poetry of Whittier and Whitman, and his college teachers demonstrate Hugh Blair’s Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Letters. (From: Notable Black American Men, pg. 1000)


David Pitt, born October 3, 1913, in Grenada (died December 18, 1994) becomes a physician and one o Britain’s first Black political pioneers. Grenada-born David Pitt first stood for election in 1959 and eventually became Lord Pitt of Hampstead. He achieved many ‘firsts’ and left a real legacy. If today’s politicians stand on the shoulders of the likes of Bernie Grant, Diane Abbott and Paul Boateng, they stood on the shoulders of Pitt. The lists of David Pitt’s achievements are awe-inspiring. He was the driving force behind the landmark 1976 Race Relations Act whichset up the Commission for Racial Equality to enforce it. The law is often credited to the then Labor Home Secretary Roy Jenkins but would not have been possible without Pitt.


Henry Van Dyke, born October 3, 1928, in Allegany, Michigan, becomes an author. He served as writer-in-resident at Kent State University, in 1969. He became the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1971, and received a literary award from the Academy of Arts and Letters, in 1973.


Samuel AkPabot, born October 3, 1931, in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, becomes a Nigerian Composer,professor and author who is called the “Father of Nigerian Art.” In the year before Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Nigerian composer Samuel Ekpe Akpabot and Cynthia Boudreau, the 16-year-old White woman with whom he was sitting, were denied service at the restaurant of the Conrad Hilton Hotel in Pittsburgh, on the basis of his race. The young woman expressed her outrage and fled the scene in tears. The incident was not an uncommon occurrence in the U.S. at the time, and would in most cases have passed unnoticed by the rest of the world. The composer resolved on the spot, however, to memorialize it, and later did so in a tone poem which came to be called Cynthia’s Lament. (Fromhttp://chevalierdesaintgeorges.homestead.com/akpabot.html)


Chubby Checker, born Ernest Evans, October 3, 1941, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, becomes a rock n roll pioneer of the 1960’s, famous for his song and dance called “the Twist.” He also popularized such dances as the Hucklebuck, the Fly, the Pony, and Limbo Rock. Checker’s first single was called, “The Class.” He has even starred in a pair of featured films entitled “Twist Around the Clock,” and “Don’t Knock the Twist.” During his professional recording career, Checker notched 32 chart hits. (From: All Music Guide, an Internet source)

P. Arnold, born Patricia Ann Cole, October 3, 1946, in Los Angeles, California, becomes a soul singer and actress, born into a family of gospel singers, and so began her musical training at a very young age. An unfortunate marriage to David Arnold when she was only 15 brought a period of considerable hardship throughout her late teen years, but she persevered with her musical ambitions in the hopes that it would open the door to a better life. Her first break came when she won an audition to be one of the back-up singers forIkeand Tina Turner in 1966. After Ike & Tina toured with The Rolling Stones in England, Mick Jagger invited Arnold to stay, and later co-produced her first solo record The First Lady of Immediate (1967). It was in England that P.P. would subsequently establish the main center of her popularity. There she worked with The Small Faces, singing on their hit “Tin Soldier” (1966) and accompanying them on their subsequent tour. The Small Faces would later write hits for Arnold and her band The Nice. After the Nice split off on its own, Arnold worked with The Blue Jays and T.N.T., and recorded two singles with Barry Gibb as producer. (From: www.nndb.com)


Ben Cauley, born October 3, 1947, in Memphis, Tennessee, died September 21, 2015, became a trumpet player, vocalist, songwriter, and founding member of the Stax recording group, The Bar-Kays, and the sole survivor of the 1967 plane crash that claimed the lives of soul singer Otis Redding and four members of the Bar-Kays.


Gerald Boyd, born October 3, 1950, in St. Louis, Missouri, died November 22, 2006, becomes a journalist and editor, whose mother, had sickle cell anemia, died when he was very young. His father became a delivery truck driver and an alcoholic, moved to New York and played little role in his childhood. Boyd and his older brother, Gary, were raised by their paternal grandmother, who also raised their two cousins. Their younger sister, Ruth, was raised by their maternal grandmother in California. Boyd joined the New York Times in 1983 after serving as White House correspondent for the St. Louis Post -Dispatch. At 28, he became the youngest journalist chosen for a prestigious Nieman fellowship at Harvard. At a lecture in St. Louis, Boyd told hometown audience, “Throughout my life I have enjoyed both blessing and the burden of being the first Black this and the first Black that, and like many minorities and women who succeed, I’ve often felt alone.”


Ronnie Laws, born October 3, 1950, in Houston, Texas, becomes a jazz saxophonist. He is the brother to jazz musician, Hubert Laws. (From: All Music Guide, an Internet source)


David M. Winfield, born October 3, 1951, in St. Paul, Minnesota, becomes a professional baseball player, who attended the University of Minnesota. He became a multi-threat natural athlete of such potential, that professional teams in three sports drafted him. He chose baseball, the San Diego Padres of the National League. He played with them for eight years, jumping the leagues to sign with the New York Yankees, who gave him the most lucrative contract in the history of the sport (at that time), but also a star showcase for his prowess. Winfield played the position of outfielder, and foiled homeruns that only a man of his size, 6’6″, speed, and body control could do. Always a powerful batter, he used to describe himself as “a wrist hitter, a line-drive hitter.” Winfield puts as much of the energy he displayed on the baseball playing field into his work with the David Winfield Foundation, a charitable foundation serving underprivileged youth.


Karen Bass, born October 3, 1953, in Los Angeles, California, becomes a politician, serving as a U.S. Congresswoman from California’s 33rd District. She worked as a physician’s assistant and state legislator before being elected to US Congress in 2010, succeeding Diane Watson (born November 12, 1933). Formerly Speaker of the California Assembly, Bass became the first African-American woman to lead a legislative chamber in the US. (From: www.nndb.com)


Alfred (Al) Charles Sharpton, Jr., born October 3, 1954, in Brooklyn, New York, becomes became a clergyman and civil rights advocate. He became an ordained minister at the age of 10. He has served as Youth Director of Operation Breadbasket, in 1969 and 1970. He became Director of National Youth Movement, which later became known as the United African Movement from 1970. He became a candidate for Democratic nomination for the Mayor of New York City, in 1997. He received the Key to City of Orange, in 1993; He founded and directed the National Action Network Inc., in 1991. He received the Man of the Year Award from New York State Cultural Society, in 1993. Sharpton became the first African American Senate candidate in New York history.


Keb’ Mo, born Kevin Moore, October 3, 1951, in Los Angeles, California, becomes a blues guitarist, whose first introduction to music became Gospel at an early age. (From: All Music Guide, an Internet source)

 Deborah Coleman, born On October 3, 1956, in Portsmouth, Virginia, becomes a blues singer, guitarist, and songwriter. In 2001, she won the Orville Gibson Award for Best Blues Guitarist, and nominated for the W. C. Handy award four times. (From: All Music Guide, an Internet source)

Reggie Givens, born October 3, 1971, in Emporia, Virginia, becomes a professional football player for the Washington Redskins. (From: www.sportsillustrated.cnn.com , an Internet source)


Tariq Luqmaan Trotter, born October 3, 1971,in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, better known as Black Thought…music artist who is the lead MC of the Philadelphia-based hip hop group The Roots, as well as an occasional actor. Black Thought, who co-founded The Roots with drummer Questlove (Ahmir Thompson), is widely lauded for his live performance skills and his complex and politically aware lyrical content.


India Arie Simpson, born October 3, 1975, in Denver, Colorado, becomes a, soul, R&B, and neo soul singer-songwriter, record producer, guitarist, and flutist, whose mother (now Arie’s stylist), a former singer signed to Motown as a teenage, opened for achievers of color, singers Stevie Wonder (May 13, 1950) and Al Green (April 13, 1946). Arie’s father is former professional basketball player Ralph Simpson (August 10, 1949).


Talib Kweli, born Talib Greene, October 3, 1975, in Brooklyn, New York, becomes a professional rapper, the son of two college professors (sociology and English). Talib Kweli displayed a talent for writing early in his life, but it was an ambition to join the Major Leagues as a professional baseball player that preoccupied his childhood. This idea fell away by his teen years when he began to apply his skills to hip-hop rhyming, using it as a means to overcome his shyness and connect with his peers. In high school he began an enduring friendship with fellow Brooklyn native Dante Smith (later to make a name for himself as Mos Def (born December 11, 1973), who encouraged him to pursue hip-hop as a full-time career; this idea was brought closer to fruition in 1994 through a meeting with Tony Cottrell (DJ Hi-Tek), a Cincinnati-based producer who, recognizing Kweli’s talents, invited the young rapper to contribute to some of his projects for the Rawkus label. The first full-scale collaboration between Kweli and Hi-Tek (the single Fortified Live, issued under the name “Reflection Eternal” was released by Rawkus in 1997. In 1998 Kweli and Mos Def joined forces to form Black Star, a project whose name was taken from the first black-owned ocean liner to travel between Africa and the States, established by Marcus Garvey in 1919. (From: www.nndb.com)


Steven Marsh, born October 3, 1979, in Wingate, North Carolina, becomes a professional football player for the Tennessee Titans. (From: www.titansonline.com an Internet source)


Bobby Jackson, born October 3, 1979, in probably in Harvey, Illinois, becomes a professional football player for the Green Bay Packers. (From: www.packers.com)


LaQuanda Barksdale, born October 3, 1979, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, becomes a professional college basketball player for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels and the San Antonio Silver Stars. She served as team captain for the 1999 and 2000 seasons. She is listed among the Best of the Rest, and as a candidate for the Naismith College Player of the Year Award. She played for the USA Basketball team that won a silver medal at the World University Games in Spain. During the 1998 and 1999 seasons, she led the Tar Heels in rebounding, and ranked third on the team in scoring. Her favorite foods are angel hair pasta with shrimp. She enjoys the TV show, “The Real World,” and favorite movie is “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.” Barksdale favorite book is “Rosemary’s Baby,” by Ira Levin; favorite band is the Backstreet Boys, and favorite athlete is Mia Hamm. Her favorite pastime activities are doing puzzles, reading, and sleeping. She majored in psychology at the University of North Carolina. Barksdale says she would like to take a vacation anywhere, but would like to go back to Hawaii to surf and just chill on the beach. If she could trade places with anyone for a day, she says it would be her mom, to let somebody else carry her heavy load for a while. (Fromwww.wnba.com)


Theron Smith, born October 3, 1980, in Bartow, Florida, becomes a professional basketball player for the Memphis Grizzlies.

Rakim Mayers, born October 3, 1988, in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York, becomes better known by his stage name ASAP Rocky (stylized as A$AP Rocky), an American rapper, record producer, director, actor and model. His father was from Barbados, and his mother, African American. He became a member of the hip hop group A$AP Mob, from which he adopted his moniker.

Carrie Allen McCray, born the ninth of ten children, October 4, 1913, in Lynchburg, Virginia, (died July 25, 2008), becomes a writer, one of the founders and first board members of the South Carolina Writers Workshop, and was the namesake for its literary award. She was also a member of the Board of Governors of the South Carolina Academy of Authors. She said “I never thought of myself as a writer — only as a social worker and teacher who wrote and loved to write. For me, it had to be validated. It took Freedom’s Child to do that.”


  1. Delores Tucker, born Cynthia Delores Nottage October 4, 1927,in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, becomes a controversial civic leader and politician, who served as Secretary of State in Pennsylvania, and national vice president of the board of trustees of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), in 1989. In 1992, she became national chairperson of the National Political Congress of Black Women.


James Forman, born October 4, 1928, in Chicago, Illinois, becomes a civil rights activist and writer, who served as minister of foreign affairs for the Black Panther Party, in 1968. Forman served as executive secretary of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), for several years in the early 1960’s. In 1969, as a representative of the National Black Economic Development Conference, he wrote, “The Black Manifesto,” a document that demanded $500 million from white churches and synagogues, as reparations for the injustices suffered by Blacks under slavery and capitalism.


Lee P. Brown, born October 4, 1937, in Wewoka, Oklahoma, becomes the 50th mayor of Houston, Texas, on January 2, 1998. Overwhelmingly elected to serve a second term in November 1999, Brown served as a New York City police commissioner. The son of farm workers, Lee Brown worked his way through college and earned a Bachelors Degree in Criminology form Fresno State University in 1961, a Masters in Sociology from San Jose State University in 1964, and a Masters in 1968 and a Doctorate in 1970, in Criminology from the University of California at Berkeley. Mayor Brown has spent his professional career working to empower people and communities to improve their safety, security, and quality of life. Brown’s success as a crime-fighter became recognized when President Clinton selected him to serve in the cabinet-level position of Director of National Drug Control Policy. Mayor Brown dedicated his administration to the children of Houston and made providing Opportunities for Youth his second guiding principle. He has lived up to his promise by increasing funds for after school programs and creating a variety of youth-oriented programs such as the Power Card Challenge, which doubled the number of juvenile library cardholders in its first year. Library Journal named Mayor Brown 1999 Politician of the Year for his vision and active support of the library system and the children of Houston. Mayor Brown has led several trade missions abroad and is overseeing the effort to bring the 2012 Summer Olympic Games to Houston. Among his many awards, Dr. Brown was selected Father of the Year in 1991 by the National Father’s Day Committee. He served as mayor of Houston Texas until January 2, 2004.


Elizabeth Eckford, born October 4, 1941, Little Rock, Arkansas, in is one of the Little Rock Nine, a group of African-American students who, in 1957, were the first black students ever to attend classes at Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock (Pulaski County), Arkansas. Integration came as a result of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. Elizabeth’s public ordeal was captured by press photographers on the morning of September 4, 1957, after being prevented from entering the school by the Arkansas National Guard. A dramatic snapshot by Johnny Jenkins (UPI) showed the young girl being followed and threatened by an angry white mob; this and other photos of the day’s startling events were circulated around the US and the world by the print press. In 1999, President Bill Clinton presented the nation’s highest civilian award, the Congressional Gold Medal, to the members of the Little Rock Nine.

Bernice Johnson Reagon, born October 4, 1942, in Dougherty City, Georgia, becomes a vocalist, composer and founder of the group Sweet Honey in the Rock. Though perhaps most widely known as the founder and guiding force of the Washington, D.C. based women’s group Sweet Honey in the Rock, Bernice Johnson Reagon is also a noted political activist, a Distinguished Professor at Washington’s American University and a curator emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution. She also occasionally records solo albums. During the ’60s, she founded the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee Freedom Singers. Before founding Sweet Honey in the Rock in 1973, she became the vocal director of the D.C. Black Repertory Theater. Early musical inspirations for Reagon include the gospel music she heard while attending the Black American Baptist Church; the harmonies that surrounded her became the basis for those of her famous group. To Reagon, music is a means for affecting change in society, instilling a sense of heritage and cultural pride, and creating solidarity in the face of adversity, uniting people while simultaneously celebrating their differences. In addition to performing with Sweet Honey in the Rock, writing songs, teaching, and working as curator, she also writes books and makes videos. (From: All Music Guide, an Internet source)

Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, born Hubert G. Brown, better known as H. Rap Brown, October 4, 1943, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, becomes a powerful symbol of Black Rage, a leader in the Black Panther Party, during 1960’s America. While attending Southern University from 1960 to 1964, he joined the civil rights organization, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). He became Alabama project director in 1966 and national director of SNCC after Stokely Carmichael left in May 1967. By 1968, Brown had completely abandoned his pacifist beliefs and joined the Black Panther Party. He quickly developed a reputation for extremist views reflected in his book, “Die Nigger Die!” in 1969. Associated with the rallying call, “Burn, Baby, Burn”, Brown was arrested. He was charged with inciting people to riot and committing arson, and accused of importation of a weapon into Louisiana. He has been imprisoned several times between 1967 and 1970, was shot and captured by New York City police, during an armed robbery. Sentenced to a term of from five to fifteen years in Attica Prison, Brown was paroled in 1976. Converting to Islam, he changed his name to Jamil Abdullah al-Amin. After his release, he became a grocery store owner in Atlanta Georgia. Since his release, he had been arrested and accused of murdering a sheriff deputy, in March of 2000. Brown told reporters he believes this to be a government conspiracy.


Clifton Duncan Davis, born October 4, 1945, in Chicago, Illinois, becomes an actor, songwriter, singer, and pastor. Davis starred on the television shows “That’s My Mama” and “Amen.” Davis also wrote several hits for The Jackson 5, including “Never Can Say Goodbye” and “Lookin through the Windows.”


Anita DeFrantz, born October 4, 1952, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, becomes an American Olympic Athlete and member of the International Olympic Committee. She was captain of the American rowing team at the 1976 Summer Olympics winning the bronze medal in women’s eight. She became the first female vice-president of the IOC executive committee in 1997.

Russell Simmons, born October 4, 1957, in Queens, New York, becomes business magnate. Simmons and Rick Rubin founded the pioneering hip-hop label Def Jam. He also created the clothing fashion lines Phat Farm, Argyleculture, and American Classics. Some sources indicate his birth took place September 4, 1957, however the majority reportOctober 4, 1957 as his date of birth.


William Augustus (Billy) Hatcher, born October 4, 1960, in Williams, Arizona, becomes a professional baseball player, who positioned as an outfielder for the Chicago Cubs in 1984 and 1985; the Houston Astros from 1986 to 1989; the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1980 to 1990; the Cincinnati Reds from 1990 to 1992 and the Boston Red Sox from 1992.


Michael Tyrone Sharperson, born October 4, 1961, in Orangeburg, South Carolina, (died May 26, 1996), becomes a professional baseball player, the position of an infielder in Major League Baseball who played for the Toronto Blue Jays (1987), Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves. Sharperson batted and threw right-handed. A member of the Dodgers 1988 World Series championship team, Sharperson was part of the group of utility players known as “The Stunt Men”, for their ability to play many different positions and roles. While mostly used at third base and second, Sharperson also played shortstop, first base and right field. (From: Who’s Who Among Black Americans – 1994/1995)


Jon Secada, born October 4, 1962, Juan Francisco Secada Martínez, in Havana, Cuba, becomes a singer and songwriter who has won two Grammy Awards and sold 20 million albums since his English-language debut album in 1992. His music fuses funk, soul, pop and Latin percussion. Secada also has worked as a songwriter for Gloria Estefan, Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, Mandy Moore and other performers. Secada immigrated with his parents to the United States at age 12 after previously living in Spain; while he attended school, his family managed a coffee shop. As a teen, Secada discovered his gift for music. In the culturally-diverse city of Miami, Secada was exposed to salsa and meringue. Secada also became interested in rhythm and blues and pop music performed by Barry Manilow, Marvin Gaye, Billy Joel, Elton John and Stevie Wonder.

 A.C. Green, born October 4, 1963,in Portland, Oregon, becomes a professional basketball player for the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers. He became a member of the 2000 Laker’s championship team, starting in all six games of the Finals. His initials, A.C., do not stand for anything. He established a fund at his alma mater, Oregon State, to provide scholarships to ethnic minority students. Green plans to pursue a career as a minister and speaks to youth groups through the A.C. Green Foundation. He hosts the annual A.C. Green Leadership Camp for kids and enjoys bowling, baseball,golf and eating frozen yogurt.


Vicky Bullett, born October 4, 1967, in Martinsburg, West Virginia, the only daughter of seven children, becomes a professional basketball player for the Charlotte Sting. In 1998, she led the Sting in free-throw percentage, rebounds, steals, blocked shots, and double-doubles. She ranked third on the team in scoring. In 1989, selected as the ACC Player of the Year, Bullett became a member of the 1988 gold and 1992 bronze U.S. Olympic teams. She majored in general studies, with an emphasis on elementary education at Maryland. She considers her college graduation as her proudest achievement. She sites the movie “A Time to Kill,” as her favorite, and enjoys the music of Reba McIntyre. Her favorite foods are her mom’s pancakes and spaghetti. She enjoys playing tennis and is a short stop in softball. Her brother, Scott Bullett, a baseball player, played for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Chicago Cubs, before joining the Cincinnati Reds baseball team. (From: www.wnba.com)


Sonja Henning, born October 4, 1969, in Jackson, Tennessee, becomes a professional basketball player for the Houston Cornets and the Indiana Fever. She became a member of the 1990 NCAA champion Stanford Cardinals as well as the gold medal winning USA World Championship team. Henning took a four-year hiatus from basketball to attend Duke Law School to become a labor law and employment associate in Los Angeles. She says she is proud of having graduated both college and law school and when her playing days are over, she will continue her law career. She supports domestic violence and mentoring issues. (From: www.wnba.com)


Geoffrey Shawn Fletcher, born October 4, 1970, in New London, Connecticut, becomes a screenwriter, film director, and adjunct film professor at Columbia University and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in New York City, New York. He took home an Academy Award for “Precious,” in the Best Screenplay Adaptation Category. It’s the FIRST TIME a BLACK AMERICAN Has Won A Writing Oscar!!! BLACK HISTORY Was Made Once Again!!

 Jim Jackson, born October 4, 1970, in Toledo, Ohio, becomes a professional basketball player for the Atlanta Hawks, Portland Trail Blazers and the Dallas Mavericks. Jackson led the Hawks in 1999 and 2000 in points per game. In 1999 and 2000, he ranked 7th in the NBA in free-throws percentage and 14th in three point filed goals made. He led the Trail Blazers in 1998 and 1999 in free-throw percentage. He ranked 17th in the NBA, and led the team to an 8-1 record in his nine starts. In the 1997 and 1998 seasons, Jackson ranked 20th in the NBA. Jackson ranks 6th in the Dallas Mavericks franchise history. Jackson is a spokesperson for D-FY-IT (Drug Free Youth in Texas) and Unsung Heroes, a series of public service announcements. His James Arthur Jackson Foundation raises money for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas. In an interview, he stated he would most like to meet Halle Berry and Janet Jackson. He names Hall-of-Famer Julius Erving as his boyhood hero. Jackson has a tattoo of Chinese writing that translates into “He who knows about another man is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.” Ryan McNeil, born October 4, 1970, in Fort Pierce, Florida, becomes a professional football player for the Dallas Cowboys and the San Diego Chargers. 

Wendy Fitzwilliam, born October 4, 1972, in Diego Martin, Trinidad and Tobago, becomes a beauty queen,entrepreneur and philanthropist who won Miss Trinidad and Tobago Universe and became the second Miss Universe in history from Trinidad and Tobago in 1998. She became the third woman of African heritage to capture the Miss Universe crown. This victory came just two months prior to her graduation from law school. She received admittance to the Trinidad and Tobago Bar in 2000. Since her reign ended, she has been actively involved in a variety of business and charitable endeavors in her homeland.


Kurt Thomas, born October 4, 1972, in Dallas, Texas, becomes a professional basketball player for the Miami Heat and the New York Knicks.


Kerry Joseph, born October 4, 1973, in New Iberia, Louisiana, becomes a professional football player for the Seattle Seahawks, who plays the position of defensive back and wears the number 28.

 Ken Anderson, born October 4, 1975, in Shreveport, Louisiana, becomes a professional football player for the Chicago Bears. From: www.sportsillustrated.cnn.com)

Case Woodard, born October 4, 1975, in New York City, New York, becomes an R&B singer-songwriter known mononymously as “Case.” After stints with R&B group ‘Future’ and a duo called ‘Black’, Case got work co-writing and singing background for artists including Usher, Christopher Williams and Al B. Sure. Armed with a song written by Faith Evans, Case was discovered by Russell Simmons who signed him to Def Jam Records. In 2001, as the first artist on the new Def Soul imprint, Case released his third album Open Letter and topped the charts with the Tim & Bob produced hit song “Missing You.” Open Letter, Case’s most well-known album went gold. “Missing You” is Case’s only #1 single to date, as it topped the R&B charts and reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100.


Reggie Coleman, born October 4, 1978, in Florida, becomes a professional football player for the Green Bay Packers. (From: www.espn.com)


Dana Davis, born October 4, 1978, in Davenport, Iowabecomes an actressknown for playing Chastity Church on the ABC Family television series “10 Things I Hate About You” and Carmen Phillips on the TNT series “Franklin & Bash.”

Yon-Ken Rambo, born October 4, 1978, in Cerritos, California, becomes a professional football player for the Dallas Cowboys. (From: www.espn.com)

Woodrow Dantzler, born October 4, 1979, in Orangeburg, South Carolina, becomes a professional football player for the Dallas Cowboys. (From: www.espn.com)


James Jones, born October 4, 1980, in Miami, Florida, becomes a professional basketball player for the Indiana Pacers.


Shontelle Layne, born October 4, 1985, in St. James Parish, Barbados, known professionally as Shontelle, becomes a singer and songwriter who released her debut album “Shontelligence,” in November 2008. Her second album, “No Gravity,” was released in September 2010. Her singles, “T-Shirt”, and “Impossible”, achieved modest international success.


Kali Hawk, born October 4, 1986, in the Bronx, New York, becomes an actress, comedian and model, featured as Trudy in “Couples Retreat,” Kahlua in “‘Bridesmaids,” Shelby on “New Girl,” and Gloria Peeples in “Peeples.” She is also seen on TV’s “Black Jesus.”

Derrick Martell Rose, born October 4, 1988, in the Englewood area, one of the most dangerous neighborhoods on Chicago’s South Side, becomes an American professional basketball player for the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played one year of college basketball for the Memphis Tigers before being drafted first overall by his hometown Chicago Bulls in the 2008 NBA draft. After being named the NBA Rookie of the Year, Rose, at age 22, became the youngest player to win the NBA Most Valuable Player Award in 2011.


James (Tim) Brymn, born October 5, 1881, in Kinston, North Carolina, (died October 3, 1946), becomes a military band leader, musical conductor, arranger and composer who received his educated at Christian Institute and Shaw University before attending the National Conservatory of Music. He came to New York around the turn of the century and soon began composing. In 1905, he wrote five songs that were probably used in the Smart Set shows. They included “Morning Noon and Night,” “O-San,” “Powhatana,” “Travel On,” and “Darktown Grenadiers.” He later served as a musical director for the Clef Club. He also led orchestras at Ziegfeld’s Roof Garden and Reisenweber’s Jardin de Dance.2. In his late teens, Tim Brymn’s 70-piece orchestra, “The Black Devils,” was advertised as “The Overseas Jazz Sensation.” During WWI, they were the musical unit for the 350th Artillery, AEF. Brymn joined ASCAP in 1933.


Autherine Lucy Foster, born October 5, 1929, in Shiloh, Alabama, becomes a civil rights activist and the first Black student to enroll in the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, breaking the color barrier. (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 35)


Yvonne Braithwaite Burke, born Pearl (Perle) Yvonne Watson, October 5, 1932, in Los Angeles, California, becomes the first Black woman elected to the California General Assembly in 1966, and the first Black woman elected to the United States House of Representatives from California, in 1972.


Clarence Sims, born October 5th, 1934, best known by his stage name, Fillmore Slim, is a blues vocalist and guitarist with five albums to his credit. During the 1960s and 1970s, he was also a highly renowned pimp in San Francisco, often referred to as “The West Coast Godfather of the Game” and “The Pope of Pimping”. Fillmore Slim became friends with Eli’s owner Troyce Key, who admired Slim’s musical styling’s and eventually recorded his first album called “Born to Sing the Blues” (as Clarence “Guitar” Sims), released in 1987. It was then that, in order to support the album, Fillmore put together a touring band and retired from pimping completely.


Acel Moore, born October 5, 1940, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (died February 13, 2016), becomes a Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper columnist Moore attended Settlement Music School from 1954 to1958. Moore served in the United States Army until 1962 and attended the Charles Morris Price School of Advertising and Journalism from 1964 to 1966. Moore began his career with the Philadelphia Inquirer as a copy clerk in 1962; in 1964, he became an editorial clerk, and from 1968 to 1981, he worked as a staff writer. In 1970, Moore won the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Scale of Justice Award for his series on the juvenile court system. In 1974, Moore and Reggie Bryant hosted a television show called Black Perspectives on the News on Philadelphia’s WHYY public television. In 1977, Moore won the Pulitzer Prize for local investigative reporting for his series on abuse of inmates at Fairview State Hospital. From 1980 to 1989, Moore served on the faculty at the University of California at Berkeley and administered the school’s summer program for minority journalists; he was also a journalism instructor at Temple University and Florida A&M University, in addition to being a journalism consultant to Northwestern University, Duquesne University, University of Kansas and Norfolk State University.


Derek M. Hodges, born October 5, 1941, in St. Croix, Virgin Islands, becomes a former mayor of St. Croix, Virgin Islands and a member of the Democratic National Convention.


Richard Allen Street, born October 5, 1942, in Detroit, Michigan, becomes an R&B singer an autobiographer. In 1971, he became a member of the famed R&B Motown group, The Temptations. He replaced original member, Paul Williams.


Linda Washington Cropp, born October 5, 1947, in Atlanta, Georgia, becomes an American politician from Washington, D.C. the capital of the United States. She became a Democratic member of the Council of the District of Columbia, where she became the first woman to serve as the elected Council Chairman. On September 12, 2006, she lost the Democratic Primary for Mayor (57%-31%) to Adrian Fenty. This loss came in spite of the fact that Cropp had been endorsed by outgoing mayor Anthony A. Williams. She was succeeded as Council Chairman by Vincent C. Gray.

Carter Cornelius, born October 5, 1948, in Dania Beach, Florida, (died November 7, 1991) becomes a rhythm and blues musician (later a.k.a. Prince Gideon Israel). He became a member of the musical group Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose, a family-oriented musical group formed in 1971, with Carter, his brother Eddie, and his sisters Billie Jo, and Rose. Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose released their self-titled album on the United Artists LP soon after forming. The album went to #29 on the LP Pop Chart and was a minor hit. The group also scored successes with recordings “Treat Her like a Lady“, “Too Late To Turn Back Now”, and “Don’t Ever Be Lonely (A Poor Little Fool Like Me).” The release of “Don’t Ever Be Lonely (A Poor Little Fool Like Me)” was the group’s last hit. Carter Cornelius died on November 7, 1991, at the age of 43. Other recordings by this group include, “I Just Can’t Stop Loving Her”, “Let Me Down Easy”, “I’m So Glad (To Be Loved By You)”, “Good Loving Don’t Come Easy”, “Got To Testify (Love)”, “Big Time Lover”, “I Keep Falling Deeper and Deeper”, and “I’m Never Gonna Be Alone Anymore.”Lucius Tawl Ross, born October 5, 1948in Wagram, North Carolina become the rhythm guitarist for “The Funkadelics,” from 1968 to 1971 and played on their first three albums. He left the band in 1971 soon after a debilitating experience with LSD. He moved back to North Carolina and dropped out of the music scene, but resurfaced in 1995 after a nearly 25-year absence to release a solo album, a.k.a. Detrimental Vasoline – Giant Shirley, issued by Coconut Grove Records under the name “Tal” Ross. Delroy Wilson, born October 5, 1948, in Kingston, Jamaica, (died March 6, 1995, becomes a reggae singer. In 1994, Wilson’s enduring legacy to Jamaican music received recognition by a special plaque awarded him by the Jamaican government, and presented by the then (achiever of color) Prime Minister, Patterson (born April 10, 1935).

Sandra Puma Jones, born October 5, 1953, in Columbia, South Carolina, becomes a Reggae singer who graduated from Columbia University with a Masters Degree, before becoming a social worker in New York City. She studied dance with the Chuck Davis troupe where she took particular interest in African dance. After becoming disillusioned with city life she declared a need to” discover her roots” and headed for Jamaica; ostensibly on vacation, but intending to seek employment. She sang with Miriam Makeba and Ras Michael, and the Sons of Negus. In 1978, through Ras Michael, she was introduced by a mutual friend to Derrick “Duckie” Simpson, who was looking to augment Black Uhuru following line up changes that had brought Michael Rose into the band. She joined Black Uhuru for the recording sessions of the 1979 album, Showcase. She went on to sing on seven studio albums, which represents the groups most critically acclaimed period, culminating in Anthem earning the Grammy

Bernard Jeffrey “Bernie Mac” McCullough, born October 5, 1957, in Chicago, Illinois, died August 9, 2008, becomes a stand-up comedian, actor and voice artist, better known by his stage name Bernie Mac He gained popularity as a stand-up comedian. He joined comedians Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer and D. L. Hugley in “The Original Kings of Comedy.” After briefly hosting the HBO show Midnight Mac, he appeared in several films in smaller roles. His most noted film role was as Frank Catton in the remake “Oceans Eleven” and the title character of “Mr. 3000.” He was the star of “The Bernie Mac Show,” which ran from 2001 through 2006, earning him two Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.

Neil de Grasse Tyson, born October 5, 1958, in New York City, New York, becomes an astrophysicist, named as one of 40 most influential up and coming New York residents, by Craines Magazine, in 1966. (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 15, pg. 208)


Charles Edward Davis, born October 5, 1958, in Nashville, Tennessee, becomes a professional basketball player for the Washington Bullets, now the Washington Wizards, from 1981 to 1985. He then played for the Milwaukee Bucks in 1985, 1986 and 1988. He played for the San Antonio Spurs in 1988 and the Chicago Bulls in 1989 and 1990.

 Chris Whitney, born October 5, 1971, in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, becomes a professional basketball player for the Washington Wizards. He made his NBA Playoffs debut in 1997 for the Wizards. He traveled to South Africa in the summer of 1997 as a member of the NBA/Sprite Tour. In an interview, he stated his favorite pastime is watching TV and movies and he always puts on and ties his right shoe first before games, to “get off on the right foot.” Grant Hill, born October 5, 1972, in Dallas, Texas, becomes a professional basketball player for the Detroit Pistons and the Orlando Magic. Hill led the Pistons in scoring and ranked 10th in the NBA, in rebounds, in 1999. Hill participated as a member of the gold-medal winning U.S. Men’s Basketball Team in the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics and led all players in the All-Star Game voting in 1996 after becoming the first rookie in NBA history, in 1995, to lead the league in voting. Hill served as vice-chairman of the 1999 Special Olympic World Games, held in North Carolina. His father, Calvin Hill, is an all-time NFL and Dallas Cowboys great at running back. Grant Hill became the eighth player in Duke history to have his number (33) retired. Hill boyhood idols were Arthur Ashe and Julius Erving. Heather Headley, born October 5, 1974, in Barataria, Trinidad and Tabago, becomes an R&B singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress, who received one Tony Award and one Grammy Award, as of 2012. At age four, Headley began playing the music of her native Trinidad, including calypso and soca. In 1989 she moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana in the United States at the age of fifteen with her mother and brother Junior, when her father was offered a job as pastor of McKee Street Church of God with headquarters in Anderson, Indiana. In 1997, she originated the role of Nala in The Lion King, the Broadway musical. Headley’s performance was well received, and she then originated the title role in the Broadway adaptation of Aida, earning the Tony Award for Best Actress in 2000. In 1999, she appeared in the Encores! production of Do Re Mi, with Nathan LaneRandy Graff, and Brian Stokes Mitchell. She also starred in a concert version of the musical Dreamgirls alongside Audra McDonald and Lillias White. From November 2012, Headley will play the role of Rachel Marron, in the musical adaptation of Whitney Houston‘s 1992 movieThe Bodyguard at London’s Adelphi Theatre. Under BMG North America chairman/CEO Clive Davis for the first time, Headley released her second album In My Mind in January 2006. The title track “In My Mind” (produced by India Arie (born October 3, 1975 or 1976) with collaborator Shannon Sanders ) was released as the first single; and its music video was directed by Diane Martel. The song reached number-one on the U.S. Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. The second single “Me Time” was released to Urban AC outlets only. An album track, “Am I Worth It“, served to promote Headley’s New March of Dimes Educational Campaign “I Want My 9 Months.”

Ronnie Heard, born October 5, 1976, in Bay City, Texas, becomes a professional football player for the San Francisco 49ers. (From: www.sportsillustrated.cnn.com)


Kele Le Roc, born October 5, 1977, in East Ham, London, becomes a British songstress who first found widespread acclaim in 1995 with the underground hit “Let Me Know”. She scored two Top 10 hits on the UK Singles Chart, with “Little Bit of Lovin'” in 1998 and “My Love” in 1999; both peaked at #8.

Teana McKiver, born October 5, 1980, in Wilmington, North Carolina, becomes a professional basketball player for the Charlotte Sting. 

Brandi Danielle Williams, born October 5, 1982, in Detroit, Michigan, becomes an actress, singer and songwriter, most notable for singing in the R&B trio “Blaque.” Her family includes members of the musical community, such as Smokey Robinson, Claudette Robinson, and Bobby Rogers of “The Miracles,” Cherrelle, Wanda Young of “The Marvelettes”, Marvette Britto (New York Publicist) and Pebbles (1980s hit-making recording artist and founder of another girl group “TLC”. Brandi began singing at the age of 3 in Detroit. By age 10, she relocated to Atlanta, Georgia and attended Ridgeview Middle School. She soon immersed herself in music. On March 27, 1999, when Brandi was 16 years old, Blaque released their first single “808” written by Reed & R. Kelly. It peaked at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 & was certified platinum. Their self-titled debut album was released on June 1, 1999 and it debuted #53 on the Billboard 200. The album sold up to one million copies achieving triple-platinum and led to tours, awards & nominations and interviews. Blaque’s third single “Bring It All To Me” succeeded even better than the first one, staying in the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 for many weeks. Brandi founded a production company known as Tune Town Productions.


Kanesha Nichole Brookes, born, October 5, 1984, in Houston, Texas, better known as Brooke Valentine, becomes an R&B singer and former member of the group “Best Kept Secret.” In 2005, she made popular her single “Girlfight,” which peaked on U.S. music charts in 2005, paving the way for her debut album “Chain Letter,” released via Subliminal Entertainment imprint on Virgin Records and went on to sell more than 290 000 units worldwide. After a first attempt at a comeback, Brooke officially returned to the spotlight in 2012 with two new singles “Forever” and the Adult R&B Top 40 Hit “Don’t Wanna Be in Love”.


Henri Christophe, born October 6, 1767, in Grenada (died Oct. 8, 1820), became a King of Haiti; a Haitian revolutionary leader. As a freed black slave, he aided Toussaint L’Ouverture in the liberation of Haiti and became an army chief under Dessalines. In 1806, Christophe took part in a successful plot against his life. Elected president of the republic, Christophe, a pure-blooded black, waged a savage and inconclusive struggle with Alexandre Pétion, the champion of mulatto supremacy, who retained control of South Haiti. In 1811, entrenching himself in North Haiti, Christophe declared himself king as Henri I and entered upon an energetic but tyrannical reign. He created an autocracy patterned after the absolute monarchies of Europe. Compulsory labor enriched his fiefdom. Christophe surrounded himself with lavish, and sometimes ludicrous, magnificence; the pomp and splendor of his reign are still shown by the ruins of the citadel of La Ferrière, a formidable fortress on top of a mountain, surrounded by precipitous cliffs, and of the fabulous palace of Sans Souci, at Camp Haïtien, his capital. In 1820, when he suffered from partial paralysis, revolts broke out. In despair, Christophe committed suicide.


Anne (Anna, at birth) Margaret Cooke, born On October 6, 1907, in Washington, D.C., (died in 1966), becomes a theater educator and director. For nearly four decades, Cooke, a pioneering director, teacher, and administrator in theater education, in 1934, founded the first Black summer theater in America, and in 1949, she brought international acclaim to the Howard Players of Howard University, when they became the first undergraduate group in America invited to perform abroad with State Department sponsorship. Cooke’s father, an architect, taught at Wilberforce University in Ohio and her grandfather, Thomas E. Miller, a United States congressional representative from South Carolina, became the first president of South Carolina State College. Anne Cooke has received distinction for her excellence wherever she worked, and of the many students and individuals she mentored, which include achievers of color, (From Notable Black American Women, book 2)


James Warren Lee, born On October 6, 1909, in New Orleans, Louisiana (died in 1960), becomes a proto-zoologist and zoologist. His area of research dealt with the motor activities of protozoa. (From: Faces of Science: African Americans in the Sciences, an Internet source)


Marjorie Peebles-Meyers, born October 6, 1915, in New York City, New York, (died possibly in 2001) becomes the first Black woman to graduate from Wayne University Medical School (now Wayne State University), in 1943. (From: www.med.umich.edu)


Fannie Lou Hamer, born Fannie Lou Townsend, the 12th child of 20 children to sharecroppers, on October 6, 1917, in Ruleville, Montgomery County, Mississippi, died March 14, 1977, becomes a civil rights activist, famous for her recurring statements, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Hamer rose from being a doormat to being the doorkeeper of her own destiny. Hamer learned early, the art of picking cotton. She did her job well when promoted from cotton picker to timekeeper on the plantation. In August 1962, Hamer attended a rally, for which groups such as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and James Forman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee were organizing people, to fight for freedom in Mississippi. This gathering dramatically changed Hamer’s life. From this point on, she shared the empowering effect of the civil rights struggle with all who would listen to her words. In the process, she became one of the most quotable women of her time. Hamer often stated that her Christian faith was at the heart of her work. In the pursuit of a unified humanity, Hamer believed all Black women, whether middle class or working class had a special obligation to support right and justice. She said, “Whether you have a “PhD or no D,” we’re in this bag together, and whether you’re from “Morehouse or Nohouse,” we’re still in this bag together.” Hamer received honorary doctorate degrees from several institutions including Howard University. Her favorite song, whenever she appeared at speaking engagements was, “This Little Light of Mine,” because she regarded herself as a “little light,” and she hoped her life made a difference, and it did.


Joseph Echols Lowery, born October 6, 1921, or 1924 in Huntsville, Alabama, becomes a clergyman and noted civil rights leader who worked with Martin Luther King, Jr. during the early days of the civil rights movement. His many awards and honors include the Martin Luther King Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize, in 1990. In December of 1999, Dr. Lowery received honor as the first recipient of the Walter P. Reuther Humanitarian Award presented by Wayne State University. The award celebrates the life of Walter P. Reuther, a pioneer of the modern civil rights movement and a leader in the forefront of many struggles for social justice. Lowery became one of the founders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and served as president and chief executive officer until 1997 when he retired from this office. For more than 30 years, he served as pastor of the historic Central United Methodist Church, Atlanta’s largest and oldest predominately Black United Methodist Church. Under his leadership, the congregation grew by 2,000 members. Lowery also became one of the founding members of BLF, which promotes creative leadership and the empowerment of African Americans to improve their own lives and expand their opportunities, and fully participate in American social, economic and political life.


Julius Levonne Chambers, born October 6, 1936, Mount Gilead, North Carolina, becomes a civil rights activist and an attorney. Among the many awards he has received, include the NAACP Hall of Fame Award in 1975.


Serge Nubret, born October 6, 1938, in Anse-Bertrand, Guadeloupe (died April 19, 2011), becomes a French professional bodybuilder, bodybuilding federation leader, movie actor and author. Serge received many awards and bodybuilding titles, including IFBB Mr. Europe (1970) Tall, NABBA Mr. Universe (1976) and WBBG Pro, Mr. World (1977). Serge Nubret’s nickname is “The Black Panther”.


Thomas McClary, born October 6, 1949, in Eustis, Florida, becomes a professional guitar player, a founding and former member of The Commodores and one of the first African-American students to integrate the Florida school system prior to the enforcement of Brown v. board of Education. McClary began playing music at a very early age, starting with the ukulele and then adding the acoustic guitar and later the electric guitar to his repertoire. After graduation, McClary went to college at Tuskegee University in Alabama where he majored in business.


Tony Dungy, born October 6, 1955, in Jackson, Michigan, becomes a professional football coach who began his football career as a quarterback for the University of Minnesota, from 1973 to 1976. He served as defensive coach for the San Francisco 49ers in 1979 and the Kansas City Chiefs, from 1989 to 1991. He began working with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1996. Dungy also became a member of the 1979 Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers. (From: Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 17, pg. 71)


Lamman Rucker, born October 6, 1971, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, becomes an American actor who began his acting career on the daytime soap operas “As the World’s Turn” and “All My Children,” before roles in Tyler Perry’s films “Why Did I Get Married?”, “Why Did I Get Married Too?” and “Meet the Browns” and its television adaptation. In 2016, he began starring as Jacob Greenleaf in the Oprah Winfrey Network drama series, “Greenleaf.”

 J.J. Stokes, born October 6, 1972, in San Diego, California, becomes a professional football player for the San Francisco 49ers and the Jacksonville Jaguars. (From: www.sportsillustrated.cnn.com)

Tebucky Jones, born October 6, 1974, in South Carolina, becomes a professional football player for the New England Patriots. He plays the position of defensive back and wears the number 34.


Melinda Marie Doolittle, born October 6, 1977, in St. Louis, Missouri, becomes an American singer who finished as the third place finalist on the sixth season of American Idol. Prior to her appearance on American Idol, Doolittle worked as a professional back-up singer for, among others, Michael McDonald, Kirk Franklin, Aaron Neville, BeBe and CeCe Winans, Alabama, Jonny Lang, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Carman and Anointed.


Sylvester Morris, born October 6, 1977, in New Orleans, Louisiana, becomes a professional football player for the Kansas City Chiefs. He plays the position of wide receiver. (From: www.nfl.com)


Kevin Lewis, born October 6, 1978, in Orlando, Florida, becomes a professional football player for the New York Giants. (From: www.sportsillustrated.cnn.com)


Roshon Bernard Fegan, born October 6, 1991, in Los Angeles, California, mononymously known as Roshon (stylized as ROSHON, formerly stylized as RO SHON), becomes an American singer-songwriter, actor, rapper, and dancer best known for his role as Ty Blue on the Disney Channel original series “Shake it Up” and for his role as Sander Loyer in the Disney Channel movie franchise “Camp Rock,” with the Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato. He writes and produces his own music as well as working with the president of Lava/Universal Republic. In 2012, Roshon appeared on Dancing with the Stars.

Rhyon Nicole Brown, born October 6, 1992, in Los Angeles, California, becomes an American actress, singer, and dancer, the younger sister of R&B singer Ra Vaughn, who made her film debut in “Santa & Pete” (1999) and has appeared in various television shows. Brown has had recurring roles on shows such as “That’s So Raven” as Madison, on “Judging Amy” as Rebecca Van Exel, and a starring role on the ABC Family TV series “Lincoln Heights,” as Lizzie Sutton. In 2005, she appeared in 50 Cent’s semi-biographical film, “Get Rich or Die Tryin” as the younger version of 50 Cent’s love interest Charlene.

Jonathan David Samuel Jo Jones, born October 7, 1911, in Chicago, Illinois, (died September 3, 1985), becomes an American jazz drummer, a band leader and pioneer in jazz percussion. Jones anchored the Count Basie Orchestra rhythm section from 1934 to 1948 and sometimes known as Papa Jo Jones to distinguish him from younger drummer Philly Joe Jones.

Reverend Charleszetta (Mother) Waddles, born October 7, 1912, in St. Louis, Missouri, the eldest of seven children, only three of whom survived to adulthood (died in July 2001), becomes an African American woman with an eighth-grade education, founded a comprehensive social services agency, the Perpetual Mission that serves the low-income communities of Detroit. Mother Waddles, a St. Louis, Missouri, native who moved to Detroit in 1937, was age 40 and had ten children of her own at the time. “One day I had a vision,” she was quoted in a Lansing State Journal article, “The Lord told me to feed the hungry and clothe the naked.” Her husband, Payton Waddles, a former Ford Motor Company worker who died in 1980, supported Mother and the children while she rounded up neighbors and fellow churchgoers to start the Mission. Privately funded and staffed by volunteers, the Mission now helps approximately 90,000 annually, Mother Waddles, a Methodist minister, estimates. The list of the Mission’s services includes emergency aid, job training, a graphic arts program, and a culinary arts school. Those seeking help from the Mission include unwed mothers, prostitutes, abused children, the handicapped, the elderly, and the poor. The volunteer staff ranged from Mother Waddles’ own children to a mostly paralyzed woman who makes telephone calls from her own house to locate wheelchairs and arrange transportation for the indigent. Funding, according to a 1990 Mission budget report, ranges from Mother Waddles donation of $10,500 from her husband’s pension and Social Security, to private cash donations, corporate grants, and food. In addition to overseeing the Mission, Mother Waddles’ work included giving speeches and sermons, which were a mix of what she called “downtrodden tales,” optimism, and humor.


Desmond Mpilo Tutu, born October 7, 1931, in Klerksdrop, Transvaal, South Africa, becomes an activist and retired Anglican bishop who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid. He became the first black South African Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, and primate of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa (now the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.

Enrique AntonioTony Sylvester” (Silvester), born October 7, 1941, in Colon, Panama, (died November 26, 2006) becomes a musician and founding member of the 1970s music group The Main Ingredient. Their biggest hit was the 1972 song “Everybody Plays the Fool”. The trio, which also included Donald McPherson and Luther Simmons, Jr. was formed in New York and originally called The Poets. In 1971, McPherson died and was replaced by Cuba Gooding, Sr. the father of actor Cuba Gooding, Jr. They performed and recorded intermittently through the early 2000s. Their other notable songs include “Just Don’t Want To Be Lonely” and “Happiness Is Just Around The Bend”.   (From: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=16882340 )

Austin Stoker, born October 7, 1943, in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tabago, becomes an American actor known for his role as Lt. Ethan Bishop, the police officer in charge of the besieged Precinct 9, Division 13, in John Carpenter’s Howard Hawks-inspired, 1976 film, “Assault on Precinct 13.”

Stanley ONeal, born October 7, 1951, in Roanoke, Virginia, becomesbusiness executive, former President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc., having served in numerous senior management positions at the company prior to this appointment.  – Who is this man? He’s the guy at Merrill Lynch who worked his way up a long corporate ladder to become CEO. Born in 1951 in Roanoke, Alabama, this young black boy from down south was destined for greatness. Once he reached the top, O’Neal went to work with a vengeance. He sliced 14,800 jobs off the payroll, sold off businesses, closed 266 offices around the world, and engineered the biggest shakeup in the 117-year history of the company to make it more efficient and, ultimately, more profitable. After being involved in both the Enron and Martha Stewart scandals, Merrill Lynch had some serious damage control issues. The legal fees alone cost hundreds of millions of dollars. O’Neal’s belt-tightening measures have not made him many friends. Some execs resigned, while others publicly criticized the decision to give him the job. Maybe he’ll fail, maybe he won’t. Just remember, beating the odds is his specialty.

Toni Michelle Braxton, born October 7, 1967, in Severn, Maryland, becomes an R&B singer-songwriter, record producer, actress, and philanthropist who’s won six Grammy Awards, seven American Music Awards, and five Billboard Music Awards and has sold over 60 million records worldwide. October 6, 2010 that Braxton once again had filed for bankruptcy, reporting up to $50 million in debts. A reality series entitled “Braxton Family Values,” starring Toni and her sisters, debuted April 12, 2011 on WE TV. WE TV ordered a 13-episode second season of the show after the third episode of the first season. On September 18, 2011, Georgia Music Hall of Fame inducted Braxton. Braxton has been recognized for her distinctive dramatic contralto voice. Her voice has been called “husky, sultry, elegant and sexy.” Due to the huskiness of her voice, Braxton often used male singers such as Michael McDonald, Luther Vandross (born April 20, 1951 – July 1, 2005) and Stevie Wonder (born May 13, 1950) as vocal style models. Chaka Khan (born March 23, 1953) and Anita Baker (born January 26, 1958) were two of the few female singers that she could stylize. Steve Huey of Allmusic cites a key to Braxton’s success is the versatility of her voice, which he states as being “soulful enough for R&B audiences, but smooth enough for adult contemporary; sophisticated enough for adults, but sultry enough for younger listeners; strong enough in the face of heartbreak to appeal to women, but ravishing enough to nab the fellas.” Braxton began her career singing traditional R&B and adult contemporary ballads and love songs on her debut and sophomore albums. However, hip-hop soul and dance music elements begun to get spun into her sound on The Heat, More Than a Woman, and Pulse. She also showcased her classical training while performing in Broadway plays “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aida” as well as her duet with II Divo, “The Time of Our Lives”. Her role in “Beauty and the Beast” marked the first (and only) time a black woman commanded the leading role of Belle on Broadway (in the UK, Michelle Gayle (born February 2, 1971) played the role in the West End).Nicole Ari Parker-Kodjoe, born October 7, 1970, in Baltimore, Maryland, also known as Nikki Kodjoe, becomes an American actress and model, known for her role as Becky Barnett in the 1997 film “Boogie Nights” and as the attorney Teri Joseph on the Showtime series “Soul Food,” which ran from 2000 to 2004. Additionally, Nicole co-starred on the short-lived UPN romantic comedy “Second Time Around” that lasted for one season.


Jamie Hector, born October 7, 1975, in Brooklyn, New York, becomes a Haitian-American actor known for his portrayal of Marlo Stanfield on the critically acclaimed HBO series “The Wire. “

Gilberto Aparecido da Silva, born October 7, 1976, in Lagoa da Prata, Minas Gerais, Brazil, becomes a Brazilian footballer known for his time with Arsenal where he played as a defensive midfielder or defender. Gilberto was raised in a poor family and as a child he balanced playing football with various labor jobs. He began his football career in 1997 with America Mineiro, where good form earned him a move to Atletico Mineiro in 2000. He became a star player for Atlético, playing for three years in the Brazilian Campeonatp Serie A. He came to particular prominence when he helped the Brazilian National team win the 2002 FIFA World Cup, playing in all seven of Brazil’s matches. In August 2002, for a fee of £4.5 million, he joined Arsenal, with whom he won the 2003-2004 Premier League as an ‘Invincible’, and two FA Cup trophies.

Jermain Defoe, born October 7, 1982, in Beckton, London, England, becomes an English footballer who played as a striker for Toronot FC of Major League Soccer and the England national football team. In April 2011, Defoe became the 20th player to score a century of Premier League goals, and became the 14th highest goal scorer in Premier League history. He became the fifth highest goal scorer in Tottenham’s history in September 2013, and the club’s highest goal scorer in European competitions in November 2013. Defoe also holds the Premier League record for the most goals scored as a substitute, with 22, as of 11 January 2014. Defoe made his England debut in 2004 and has made 55 appearances, scoring 19 goals, including two appearances and a goal at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Amber Stevens, born October 7, 1986, in Los Angeles, California, becomes an American actress and model, best known for her role as Ashleigh Howard in the ABC Family series “Greek.”

Clarence Williams, born October 8, 1893, in Plaquemine, Louisiana (died November 6, 1965), becomes an American jazz pianist, composer, promoter, vocalist, theatrical producer, and publisher.

Fred Cash, born October 8, 1940, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, becomes best known for being a member of the successful group “The Impressions,” a group in which he replaced Jerry Butler in 1960. Cash was an original member of “The Roosters,” the group that later evolved into The Impressions. After leaving the group for a time, he returned, replacing original member Jerry Butler, soul singer.

Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr. born Jesse Louis Burns; October 8, 1941, in Greenville, South Carolina, becomes an American civil rights activist, Baptist minister and politician. He ran as a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988 and served as a shadow U.S. Senator for the District of Columbia from 1991 to 1997. He is the founder of the organizations that merged to form Rainbow/PUSH. Former U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr. is his eldest son. Jackson was also the host of “Both Sides with Jesse Jackson” on CNN from 1992 to 2000. He attended the racially segregated Sterling High School in Greenville, where he was elected student class president, finished tenth in his class, and earned letters in baseball, football and basketball. Upon graduating from high school in 1959, he rejected a contract from a minor league professional baseball team so that he could attend the University of Illinois on a football scholarship. Following his second semester at the predominantly white University of Illinois, Jackson transferred to the North Carolina A&T, a historically black university located in Greensboro, North Carolina. There are differing accounts of the reasons behind this transfer. Jackson has claimed that he changed schools because racial prejudice prevented him from playing quarterback and limited his participation on a competitive public-speaking team. Writing on ESPN.com in 2002, sociologist Harry Edwards noted that the University of Illinois had previously had a black quarterback, but also noted that black athletes attending traditionally white colleges during the 1950s and 1960s encountered a “combination of culture shock and discrimination”.[6] Edwards also suggested that Jackson had left the University of Illinois in 1960 because he had been placed on academic probation. However, the president of the University of Illinois reported in 1987 that Jackson’s 1960 freshman year transcript was clean, and said he would have been eligible to re-enroll at any time. (For more information go to www.wikipedia.org )

Sheila Ferguson, born October 8, 1947,in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, becomes an American singer, actress, authorand song-writer. She was the second longest serving member of 1970s American female soul music group “The Three Degrees,” singing lead on most of the group’s biggest hits most notably “‘When Will I See You Again” ” which was a huge international success topping the UK Singles Chart and peaking at #2 in the US. Following her departure from The Three Degrees in 1985, Ferguson went on to have her own solo singing career, touring internationally, making multiple TV appearances and releasing a solo album, “A New Kind of Medicine. She has forged a prolific stage and screen career in the UK, starring in numerous musicals, soul legend tours and her own sitcom, “Land of Hope” and “Gloria.” She is also the best-selling author of Soul Food: Classic Cuisine from the Deep South.


Vocalist, Tony Wilson, born October 8, 1947, in Trinidad, becomes a member of the band “Hot Chocolate.”

 Airrion Love, born October 8, 1949, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, becomes a soul and R&B vocalist, an original and founding member of the group known as The Stylistics.

Robert Earl “Kool” Bell, born October 8, 1950, in Youngstown, Ohio, becomes a singer, songwriter, and bassist, who became the founding member of the jazz/R&B/soul/funk/disco band, Kool & the Gang. Taka Boom, born Yvonne Stevens, October 8, 1954in Chicago, Illinois, becomes an R&B and dance music singer, the younger sister of Chaka Khan and Mark Stevens of Aurra. She sang background vocals for several Parliament albums in the 1970s. Taka Boom is known for her work with DJ/producer Dave Lee, especially in a range of hits under the Joey Negro name. Taka Boom was also a later member of the Norman Whitfield group The Undisputed Truth.

Priscilla “CeCe” Marie Winans Love, born October 8, 1964, in Detroit, Michigan, the eighth of ten children and the oldest of three girls, becomes a gospel singer, who has won numerous awards, including Grammy’s and Stellar Awards. She began her solo career with the Platinum certified album “Alone in His Presence.” Released in 1995, it earned her a Grammy Award and two Dove Awards, including the Female Vocalist of the Year, an award she earned again in 1997. Winans’ next release, the Gold certified “Everlasting Love released in 1998, featured Winans highest to date Billboard charting solo singles “Well Alright” and “Slippin”. The song “On That Day” from the album was written and produced by R&B singer Lauryn Hill (born May 26, 1975). Later that year, Winans released “His Gift” a holiday album. CeCe, a good friend of Whitney Houston (born August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012) and godmother to her daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, performed “Don’t Cry for Me” and “Jesus Loves Me” at Houston’s funeral, at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, Jersey on February 18, 2012. CeCe is also the godmother to Minister Deron Cozart, Sr., and a good friend of Dr. Bridget E. Hilliard, co-pastor of New Light Christian Center (Houston, Austin, and Beaumont, Texas).


Karyn Parsons, born October 8, 1966, in Hollywood, California, becomes an actress, the daughter of an interracial couple, she attended Santa Monica High School, though began her acting career at the age of 13. She has worked on television shows such as The Bronx Zoo, Out All NightThe John Larroquette ShowMelrose Place, and Static Shock. She has appeared in the films The JobMajor PayneClass Act, and The Ladies Man. She has also worked as a model, and is currently involved with a project titled Sweet Blackberry, a series of animated DVD films. Apart from her acting career, she also enjoys fencing, horseback riding, and dancing. Hilary Banks is played by Karyon Parsons in the classic NBC television comedy series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Will’s cousin and the eldest daughter of the Banks family, she is an attractive but slightly moronic young woman. She has a pretentious demeanor, often acting like a spoiled child with a shallow outlook on life. She claims to hobnob with celebrities, and is largely obsessed with money and shopping for new clothes. But in spite of her superficial personality, and her tendency to snobbishly look down on Will’s upbringing, the two of them actually get along well enough.


Edward Theodore Riley, born October 8, 1967,in Harlem, New York, professionally known as Teddy Riley, becomes a Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter, musician, keyboardist, and record producer credited with the creation of the New Jack Swing. Through his production work with Michael Jackson, Bobby Brown, Doug E. Fresh, Today, Keith Sweat, Heavy D., Usher, Jane Child, etc. and membership of the groups Guy and Blackstreet, Riley is credited with having a massive impact and seminal influence on the formation of contemporary R&B, hip-hop, soul, and pop since the 1980s.

C.L Smooth, born Corey Brent Penn, Sr., October 8, 1968, in New Rochelle, New York, becomes best known as the vocal half of the hip-hop duo Pete Rock & CL Smooth. After the pair split in 1995 Pete Rock, whose work with CL had garnered him a reputation as one of the most acclaimed producers in hip-hop, went on to produce (and remix) tracks for dozens of marquee-name and/or well-respected acts, and to release a batch of solo and instrumental albums. CL Smooth remained musically inactive. During his period of hiatus, Smooth declined even to appear as a guest on other artists’ albums, with the exception of “Only the Strong Survive” with DJ Krush in 1996. Recently, however, he contributed featured guest vocals to songs by AZ (“Magic Hour”), Nujabes (“Sky is Falling”) and Dipset affiliate J.R. Writer (the remix of “Mesmerize”) or Supafuh (“Act of Faith”). He released his debut solo album, American Me, in 2006. To promote the album, Shaman Work released a promotional mixtape compiled by DJ J Period called Man on Fire in late April 2006, featuring 36 minutes of freestyles and a remixed version of the track “Impossible”. He was also featured on the DJ Jazzy Jeff album The Return of the Magnificent on the track “All I Know,” which was also featured in the video game NBA Live 08.

Trina Broussard, born October 8, 1969, in Houston, Texas, becomes an R&B singer and songwriter who began her career in 1997 when she covered Minnie Ripperton’s song “Inside My Love”. A year later in 1998, Broussard signed a recording contract with Jermaine Dupri’s label So So Def, leaving later after her first album was stalled. In 2002, Broussard released her first album Inside My Love on Motown/Universal Records, with singles “Sailing” and “Love You So Much”. In 2004, Broussard released her single “Dreaming of One” as the lead single from her second album, Same Girl. The album’s release was later followed by the release of two additional singles “Losing My Mind” and ‘”Joy”. In 2009, Broussard returned to music industry and embark on a short promo tour. Announced by Broussard, her third studio album Life of a Libra would be released in 2010

Sunshine Anderson, born October 8, 1974, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, becomes an R&B and soul singer and songwriter. Wallace Sellars, a friend of a producer/Soulife A&R Vice President, Mike City, heard Anderson singing on her way to the cafeteria of North Carolina Central University (where she earned a B.S. in criminal justice) and introduced the two. From there, Anderson was managed by Macy Gray (born September 6, 1969) during the recording of her first album.

Nicholas Scott “Nick” Cannon, born October 8, 1980 (some sources give October 17 as his birthday) in San Diego, California, becomes an actor, comedian, rapper, and radio/television personality. Cannon was largely raised by his paternal grandfather, whom both he and his biological father called ‘dad’. Growing up in Lincoln Park, a notorious gang-ridden neighborhood in Southeast San Diego, Cannon avoided gangs and spent most of his time playing basketball. Cannon received his first break doing stand-up comedy on his father’s local cable access program. After graduating in 1998 from Monte Vista High School in Spring Valley, California, Cannon attained a gig as a warm-up comedian for Nickelodeon’s studio audience in Los Angeles, most notably “All That,” on which he also made guest appearances. For awhile, Nick resided in Charlotte, NC. During the mid ’90s, he was affiliated with a group of young African Americans between the ages of 10-15 where they produced a program for cable access television titled, “Check This Out!” Nick’s dad, along Theautry “TX” Green, Paula Williams and Dwayne Gross, were committed to exposing young African American youth to the fundamentals of television production…from behind the camera. This may have served as an impetus for Nick’s interest in television producing, hosting, acting and more. Before entering high school, Nick left Charlotte and was no longer involved with “Check This Out.” He was a key member of the group and participated in several episodes as host, co-host, audio operator, camera operator and more. As a teenager, Cannon formed the rap group “Da G4 Dope Bomb Squad” with his friend Steve Groves; they opened for the likes of Will Smith, LFO, 98 Degrees, and Montell Jordan. After signing with Jive Records in 2001, he was featured alongside Romeo Miller and 3LW on the “Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius” soundtrack with a cover of the 1988 hit song “Parents Just Don’t Understand”. His debut self titled album was released in 2003 and included the single “Your Pops Don’t Like Me (I Really Don’t Like This Dude)”. In 2005, Cannon formed his own record label, Can-I-Ball Records, with plans to release his second studio album, entitled Stages, later that year, the album’s first single, “Can I Live?”, a pro-life song, was released in July 2005followed by the second single “Dime Piece” in March 2006. It was never released because of Nick Cannon’s acting career. He became the regular host of “America’s Got Talent. (For more information go to www.wikipedia.org )

Mary Ann Shadd Cary, born the eldest of 13 children, October 9, 1823, in Wilmington, Delaware, died June 5, 1893, becomes an activist, educator and journalist. Born into a free African-American family, her father worked for the abolitionist newspaper called the Liberator run by famed abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison and provided help to escaped slaves as a member of the Un


Martha Louise Morrow Foxx, born October 9, 1902, in Charlotte, North Carolina, ioneering educator. During her infancy, Martha became partially sighted. She entered the Governor Morehead School for the Blind. She remained a student there until her family moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1917. Martha became …


Elton Clay Fax, born October 9, 1909, in Baltimore, Maryland, died May 13, 1993, becomes an American illustrator, cartoonist, and author. Elton Fax graduated from Frederick Douglass high School in 1926, where he was classmateswith Cab Calloway. Soon after college he was featured in a solo art show at the offices of the Baltimore Afro-American newspaper. Elton Fax taught art at the Harlem Community Art Center in New York beginning in 1934, and was involved with the Works Project Administration Federal Art Project. Fax was an illustrator for magazines such as Weird Tales, Astounding Science Fiction, Complete Cowboy, Real Western, Story Parade, Child Life, and All Sports. In 1942, he began a newspaper comic named Susabelle, and later an illustrated history panel, “They’ll Never Die,” both carried in African-American newspapers. He also created greeting card illustrations for The Links. Fax toured Latin America in 1955, and was a lecturer in East Africa in 1963, both times sponsored by the US State Department. Also in 1963, he toured Nigeria with jazz musician Randy Weston, sponsored by the American Society of African Culture. He was one of the fourteen representatives of the American Society for African Culture at on international writers’ meeting in Rome in 1959, and he reported from the meeting for the New York Age. Fax was the older brother of music scholar Mark Oakland Fax, born June 15, 1911 (died January 2, 1974) was a composer and a professor of music. (From: Contemporary Black Biography Volume 48)

 William Emanuel Huddleston, October 9, 1920, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, died December 23, 2013, becomes a jazz multi-instrumentalist, composer known professionally as Yusef Abdul Lateef. Although Lateef’s main instruments were the tenor saxophone and flute, he also played oboe and bassoon, both rare in jazz, and also used a number of non-western instruments such as the bamboo flute, shanai, shofar, xun, arghul and koto.

Nona Hendryx, born October 9, 1944, in Trenton, New Jersey, becomes a vocalist, producer, songwriter, musician, author, and actress known for her work as a solo artist as well as for being one-third of the trio Labelle, who had a hit with “Lady Marmalade. Hendryx became one of the first artist to agree to perform for the first New York City GMHC (Gay Men’s Health Crisis), Dance-a-thon created to raise funds to support people living with HIV AIDS. This led other artists to give their time and talent to the organization eventually raising millions of dollars, educating millions and contributing to the search for a cure for AIDS In 2001 she discussed her bisexuality in an interview with “The Advocate” magazine and has become a gay-rights activist over the years. In summer 2008, she joined Cyndi Lauper on her “True Colors tour” raising awareness of discrimination and the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community.

Michael “Mike” Singletary, born October 9, 1958, in Houston, Texas, becomes a professional football coach and former professional football player. He worked as the linebacker coach and an assistant to the head coach for the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL. After playing college football for Baylor University, Singletary was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 2nd round of the Draft and was known as “The Heart of the Defense” for the Chicago Bears’ Monsters in the mid-1980s. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame  in 1998. Singletary later pursued a career as a coach, first as a linebackers coach for the Baltimore Ravens, then as the linebackers coach for the San Francisco 49ers. In 2008, the 49ers promoted Singletary to the head coaching position after previous head coach Mike Nolan was fired during the season and he remained in that position until he was fired with one game remaining in the 2010 season.


Lecrae Moore, born October 9, 1979, in Houston, Texas, becomes an American Christian hip hop artist, songwriter, record producer and actor. He is the president, co-owner and co-founder of the independent record label Reach Records, and the co-founder and president of the non-profit organization ReachLife Ministries. To date, he has released seven studio albums and three mixtapes as a solo artist, and has released three studio albums, a remix album, and one EP as the leader of the hip hop group 116 Clique. He produced much of his earlier material along with other early Reach Records releases. Lecrae, in reference to his label as a Christian rapper, has stated that his music is just hip hop, though it reflects his Christian faith. In May 2016, Lecrae signed to Columbia Records in a joint deal between his label and Columbia. On September 14, 2014, Christian-rapper Lecrae Moore became the first person ever to land an album at No. 1 on both the Billboard 200 and Gospel charts. His album, “Anomaly,” sold 88,000 copies in its first week and, as a result, he has been featured on a variety of syndicated TV and radio shows, including “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” This particular accomplishment represents a culmination of Lecrae’s growing popularity, since he has already sold hundreds of thousands of albums worldwide and is a Grammy-winning artist. While Lecrae often downplays the “Christian rapper” label in hopes of avoiding stigmas or categories, his reputation as a man of Christian faith has not faltered. Even as his music has begun to cross genres and fan bases, his unwillingness to compromise his Christian character and faith is evident in his lyrics and testimony that inspire and touch the lives of his audience. Lecrae’s life changed at age 19 after attending a youth conference where he first encountered Christ and first experienced Christian hip-hop. Not long after, Lecrae was involved in a serious car accident—but walked away without a scratch. The accident represented, according to Lecrae, a second chance at life through God’s grace. He has since dedicated his life to Christ and to sharing God’s message through his music and testimony.


Tyler James Williams, born October 9, 1992, in Westchester County, New York, becomes a singer, actor and rapper, most recognizable for having played the title character of the Chris Rock-inspired sitcom “Everybody Hates Chris” and for playing the songwriter Cyrus DeBarge in the Disney Channel movie “Let It Shine.”

Jean Norris Baylor born October 9th, (the year unknown at present) in probably Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, becomes one of the R&B/hip hop soul duo Zhané, best known for their 1993 hit “Hey Mr. D.J.”, which reached No. 6 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. Other popular hits include “Groove Thang” (U.S. No. 17) and minor hit “Sending My Love,” both released in 1994. The group was part of Queen Latifah’s Flavor Unit collective.

Dorothy Celeste Boulding Ferebee, born October 10, 1898, in Norfolk, Virginia, died September 14, 1980, becomes an African-American physician and activist, administrator, international leader on children, youth, and civil rights activist. Ferebee was affiliated with Howard University’s Medical school, starting in 1927 as an instructor of Obstetrics, and later as the medical director of the Howard University Health Service from 1949-1968, all while maintaining her own private practice. She was also instrumental in establishing the Southeast Neighborhood House, an adjunct of the whites-only Friendship House medical center, to provide medical care and other community services to African-Americans in Washington D.C. She served as the first medical director for the Mississippi Health Project, “a seven year program stands as one the most impressive examples of voluntary public health work ever conducted by black physicians in the Jim Crow South, touching thousands of black Mississippians at a time when they had virtually no access to professional medical care”. She served as the tenth International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority from 1939 until 1941. She then served as the second president of the National Council of Negro Women, from 1949 to 1953, succeeding its founder, Mary McLeod Bethune. She also served as the director of health services at Howard University Medical School from 1949 until 1968. From 1969 to 1972, Dr. Ferebee served at the national fourth vice president of Girl Scouts of the United States of America. She was the first recipient, in 1959, of Simmons College’s Alumnae Achievement Award. The college also awards several scholarships in her name each year. In 1990 Washington Highland Elementary School, at 3999 Eighth Street, SE, was renamed Ferebee-Hope Elementary School to honor Ferebee and also Marion Conover Hope. The school was closed in 2013, but the next door recreation center, also named Ferebee-Hope, remained open. (Information obtained from www.wikipedia.org)

Thelonious Sphere Monk, born October 10, 1917, in Rocky Mountain, North Carolina, died February 17, 1982, becomes a jazz pianist and composer considered one of the giants of American music. Monk had a unique improvisational style and made numerous contributions to the standard jazz repertoire, including “Epistrophy”,”‘Round Midnight”, “Blue Monk”, “Straight, No Chaser” and “Well, You Needn’t”. Monk is the second-most recorded jazz composer after Duke Ellington, which is particularly remarkable as Ellington composed over 1,000 songs while Monk wrote about 70. Monk started playing the piano at the age of six. Monk was largely self-taught. He attended Stuyvesant High School but did not graduate. He toured with an evangelist in his teens, playing the church organ, and in his late teens he began to find work playing jazz. In the early to mid-1940s, Monk was the house pianist at Minton’s Playhouse, a Manhattan nightclub. Much of Monk’s style was developed during his time at Minton’s, when he participated in after-hours cutting contests which featured many leading jazz soloists of the time. The Minton’s scene was crucial in the formulation of bebop and it brought Monk into close contact with other leading exponents of the emerging idiom, including Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Christian, Kenny Clarke, Charlie Parker and, later, Miles Davis. Monk is believed to be the pianist featured on recordings Jerry Newman made around 1941 at the club. Monk’s style at this time was later described as “hard-swinging,” with the addition of runs in the style of Art Tatum. Monk’s stated influences included Duke Ellington, James P. Johnson, and other early stride pianists. In the documentary “Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser,” it is stated that Monk lived in the same neighborhood in New York City as Johnson and knew him as a teenager. (For more information go to www.wikipedia.org )

Oscar Brown Jr., born October 10, 1926, in Chicago, Illinois, died May 29, 2005, becomes an American singer, songwriter, playwright, poet, civil rights activist, and actor. He ran unsuccessfully for office in both the Illinois state legislator and the U.S. Congress. Brown wrote numerous songs (only 125 have been published), 12 albums, and more than a dozen musical plays. Brown was named after his father Oscar Brown, Sr. a successful attorney and real estate broker who intended for him to follow in his footsteps and become a practicing lawyer. While he did help his father at his practice, he ventured off into other careers, such as advertising and serving in the army in the mid-1950s and writing songs. When Mahalia Jackson recorded one of his songs, “Brown Baby,” he began to focus on a career as a songwriter. His first major contribution to a recorded work was a collaboration with Max Roach, “We Insist!” which was an early record celebrating the black freedom movement in the United States. Columbia Records signed Brown as a solo artist, who was by now in his mid-thirties and married with five children. In 1960, Brown released his first LP, Sin & Soul, recorded from June 20 to October 23, 1960. (For more information go to www.wikipedia.org )

General Hazel Johnson Brown, born one of seven siblings, October 10 1927, in West Chester, Pennsylvania, died August 5, 2011, becomes a pioneering military leader. Her parents had a farm where they raised a variety of livestock and grew fruits and vegetables. They lived off the land and also supplied tomatoes to the Campbell Soup Company. Hazel learned the value of hard work on the farm at an early age. Her father instilled all of the Johnson siblings with discipline and responsibility that stuck with her throughout her life. Even at that young age, and probably because of her loving yet strict parents, she learned to appreciate order and organization. These attributes served her well later in life. She excelled at academics, as a student at East Whiteland Elementary School and later Tredyffrin-Easttown Junior/Senior High School (today’s Conestoga). Like most success stories, it was the influence of one person in particular that inspired Hazel. As her sister, Gloria Smith recalls, the kids were periodically visited by Nurse Elizabeth Fritz, who checked up on them. Hazel admired “Miss Fritz” greatly and aspired to become a nurse herself one day. Despite her academic success and resolve, the obstacles for an ambitious young African-American woman in the 1940s were formidable. As her sister Gloria conveys, when Hazel approached the Chester County Hospital to enter their nursing program, she was abruptly told that they “never have and never will” allow black women into the program. Undeterred, Hazel approached Miss Fritz with her dilemma. After a phone call from the well-connected nurse to a friend, she was accepted to Harlem Hospital’s School of Nursing program in New York. Hazel enrolled in 1947 and graduated in 1950. Starting as a beginning level staff nurse in Harlem Hospital’s emergency ward, Hazel quickly rose up the ranks. In 1955, she entered the Army Nurse Corp as a staff nurse at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Over the next twelve years, she held a variety of positions at various medical centers, including the 8169 Hospital in Japan and Valley Forge General Hospital. Throughout her career, Hazel continued to excel academically. She earned her B.S. in 1959 from Villanova, M.S. in 1963 from Columbia University, and Ph.D. in 1978 from Catholic University. She taught health care and health administration at such august institutions as the University of Maryland, Georgetown University, and George Mason University. Shortly before receiving her Ph.D., she was appointed director of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Nursing. A key to Hazel’s success was her well-rounded personality and intellect. Throughout her career, destiny appeared to play a part as well. In the 1960s, while at Valley Forge General Hospital, Hazel was slated to go to Vietnam but became very ill and stayed home. The unit she would have gone with was attacked shortly after arriving in Vietnam. The nurse who took her place was killed in the attack along with numerous others killed or wounded in the incident. Her career reached its pinnacle in 1979, when President Carter nominated her as Chief, Army Nurse Corps, and as such, promoted her to the rank of Brigadier General. She was confirmed later that year by the Senate and officially took her post on September 1, 1979. Not only was she the first black woman general, but she was only the third female general in the Army and the first Army Nurse Corps Chief with an earned Ph.D. She retired in 1983 from the post, but continued to be active as an academic leader in the nursing field through the 1980s and 1990s.

Ben Vereen, bornBenjamin Augustus Middleton, October 10 1946, in Miami, Florida, becomes an actor, dancerand singer who appeared in numerous Broadway theatre shows. While still an infant, Vereen and his family relocated to the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. He was adopted by James Vereen, a paint-factory worker, and his wife, Pauline, who worked as a maid and theatre wardrobe mistress. He discovered he was adopted when he applied for a passport to join Sammy Davis, Jr. on a tour of “Golden Boy” to London when he was 25. He was raised Pentecostal. During his pre-teen years, he exhibited an innate talent for drama and dance and often performed in local variety shows. At the age of 14, Vereen enrolled at the High School of Performing Arts, where he studied under world-renowned choreographers Martha Graham, George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. Upon his graduation, he struggled to find suitable stage work and was often forced to take odd jobs to supplement his income. He was 18 years old when he made his New York stage bow off-off Broadway in “The Prodigal Son at the Greenwich Mews Theater. By the following year, Vereen was in Las Vegas performing in Bob Fosse’s’s production of “Sweet Charity,”, a show with which he toured in 1967–68. He returned to New York City to play Claude in “Hair” in the Broadway production, before joining the national touring company. In 1993 he appeared in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Interface”, as the father of Roots co-star LeVar Burton’s Geordi LaForge – fellow Roots star Madge Sinclair portrayed his wife (Geordi’s mother) as well. In Roots, Vereen had played Chicken George, the grandson of another Burton character, Kunta Kinte. He also appeared on the television series The Nanny episode “Pishke Business”. In 2010, he appeared on the television series How I Met Your Mother episodes “Cleaning House” and “False Positive” as Sam Gibbs, the long lost father of James Gibbs, Barney Stinson’s brother. He returned in 2013 and 2014 for another two episodes. (For more information go to www.wikipedia.org )

Jerome Whyatt Mondesire, born October 10, 1949, in possibly Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, (died October 4, 2015), becomes was a reporter at The Philadelphia Inquire during the early career. He now owns the Philadelphia Sunnewspaper, and was president of the Philadelphia branch of the NAACP for over a decade. During the early 70s, Mondesire wrote for the Baltimore Sun and later The Philadelphia Inquire where he became City Desk Editor. In 1980, Mondesire was chosen as Chief of Staff for Representative William Gray, where he worked until Rep. Gray resigned in 1991. Following this, he founded the Philadelphia Sunday Sun. In 1996 Mondesire was elected head of the NAACP’s Philadelphia branch. Membership increased substantially during his tenure.

Jonathan Butler, born October 10, 1961in Athlone, Cape Town, South Africa, during Apartheid, He becomes a gospel singer-songwriter and guitarist. His music is often classified as R&B, jazz fusion or worship music. Butler started singing and playing acoustic guitar as a child. Racial segregation and poverty during Apartheid has been the subject of many of his records. His first single was the first by a black artist played by white radio stations in the racially segregated South Africa and earned a Sarie Award, South Africa’s equivalent to the Grammy Awards. He began touring at the age of seven when he joined a travelling stage show, and was later signed up to perform on a string of hit recordings, turning him into a local teen idol. In 1975 his cover of “Please Stay” song by The Drifters reached number 2 in South Africa. (Information taken from www.wikipedia.org )

Crystal Waters, born October 10, 1964, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, becomes an American house music singer and songwriter, best known for her 1990s dance hits “Gypsy Woman” and “100% Pure Love”. Waters is the daughter of Betty and Junior Waters, a famed jazz musician; her great aunt, Ethel Waters, was one of the first black American vocalists to appear in mainstream Hollywood musicals. Her family moved to New Jersey for a while but they again moved to Washington D.C. At age eleven she began writing poetry and took her writing seriously enough to be inducted into the American Poetry Society when she was 14, the youngest person ever to receive that honor. She studied business and computer science at Howard University, but her creative work dropped off as she found less time for it. After earning her college degree in 1985, Waters secured a job as a computer technician with the Washington D.C. parole board, making a living that would support her two daughters. Waters first approached the music world in 1987 as a behind-the-scenes worker, writing demos for a production team known as the Basement Boys, securing a writing contract with Mercury Records in 1989 and began penning songs for recording artists. In one of her assignments Waters penned a song called “Gypsy Woman” for dance diva Ultra Nate and recorded a demo cut herself of the song. The producers were so taken by her rendition that they drew up a recording contract with her for that one song, never passing it on to Ultra Naté. The song became a worldwide hit, memorable for its “la da dee, la dee da” refrain and its often sampled keyboard riff. The track reached #8 on the Billboard hot 100, and found even more success in Europe, reaching #2 on the UK Singles Chart and #1 in the Netherlands and Switzerland. (For more information go to www.wikipedia.org ) Yinka Dare, born October 10, 1972, in Kano, Nigeria (died January 9, 2004, in Englewood, New Jersey) becomes a Nigerian professional basketball player. A 7’0″, 265 pound center, he played four seasons in the National Basketball Association. In 2004, Dare died at only 31 years of age after suffering a heart attack.

 Mýa Marie Harrison, born October 10, 1979, in Washington, DC, professionally referred to as Mýa, becomes an R&B and pop recording artist, entertainer, philanthropist, and occasional actress. As a young child, Harrison took ballet lessons from the age of two and added jazz and tap dancing lessons to her schedule two years later. As she entered her teens, Harrison began to shift her focus to music. Gifted and musically-inclined, with the help of her father she put together a demo tape when she was 15 and begin to scout around for a record deal while still attending high school. At the age of 16, she signed a recording contract with Interscope Records. Aside from her recording career, Harrison launched an acting career as well. She made her feature film debut in 1999’s thriller “In Too Deep,” starring LL Cool J and Omar Epps. Harrison continued to score supporting roles in films; with a supporting roles in “Chicago” (winning a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Ensemble Cast), “Dirty Dancing; Havana Nights” (2004), “Shall We Dance?” (2004), and “Cursed” (2005). As of October 2009, she has sold 3.2 million albums in the United States alone.

Janet Griffin can be contacted via Facebook

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