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African American Achievers

February is Black History Month!

Here you can learn about some prominent figures in Black History.
Click on the name to learn a little bit about that person.

(listed in alphabetical order by last name)

Alvin Ailey, Jr. Langston Hughes
Marian Anderson Michael Jackson
Maya Angelou Mae Jemison
Louis Armstrong James Earl Jones
Crispus Attucks Michael Jordan
James Baldwin Percy Julian
Benjamin Banneker Ernst Just
James P. Beckwourth Martin Luther King, Jr.
Mary McLoed Bethune Sam E. Langford
Guion Stewart Bluford, Jr. Lewis Howard Latimer
Carol Brice Nat Love
B. K. Bruce Thurgood Marshall
Ralph J. Bunche Jan Ernst Matzeliger
Dr. Mary Elizabeth Carnegie Robert C. Maynard
George Washington Carver Elijah McCoy
Wilt Chamberlain Garrett A. Morgan
Ray Charles Barack Obama
Shirley Chisholm Jesse Owens
Nat King Cole Gordon Parks
Bessie Coleman Rosa Parks
Bill Cosby Charles "Rich" Patterson
Gen. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. Colin Powell
Sammy Davis, Jr. Condoleezza Rice
Frederick Douglass Norbert Rillieux
Charles Drew Jackie Robinson
W. E. B. DuBois Wilma Rudolph
Jean DuSable Mary Church Terrell
Ralph Ellison Sojourner Truth
Julius Erving Harriet Tubman
Dr. Andrew J. Foster Madam C. J. Walker
Sarah E. Goode Maggie Lena Walker
Dick Gregory Booker T. Washington
Matthew A. Henson Ida Wells
Jimi Hendrix Dr. Daniel Hale Williams
Billie Holiday Granville Woods

 

Alvin Ailey, Jr.   1931 - 1989
Modern dancer and choreographer known for his theatrical, energetic dances that combine modern, jazz and African dance elements. He studied dance with Martha Graham and Charles Weidman before forming his Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1958. His dances include Blue Swan (1958), Night Creature (1975) and Precipice (1983).
Marian Anderson   1897 - 1993
Many African American operatic and concert singers have credited Marian Anderson as their inspiration to seek professional vocal careers.  She received numerous awards and honors during her life. She was given the NAACP's Spingarn Award by Roosevelt in 1938 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Lyndon Johnson in 1963. She received honorary doctorates from over two dozen universities.
Maya Angelou   1928 -
A remarkable Renaissance woman who is hailed as one of the great voices of contemporary literature.  As a poet, educator, historian, best-selling author, actress, playwright, civil-rights activist, producer and director, she continues to travel the world, spreading her legendary wisdom.
Louis Armstrong   1901 - 1971
A great jazz trumpet player, composer, and singer. Armstrong was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, and soon became a well-known cornet player in clubs and on riverboats along the Mississippi River. He became world famous for his incredible musical talent, especially his improvised solos. Armstrong also sang "scat," a style in which nonsense words are used in a song. Armstrong was featured in many recordings, television shows, and movies.
Crispus Attucks   1723 - 1770
Heroic Patriot, American Revolution
Merchant seaman who challenged the British soldiers and was first to be killed in the Boston Massacre, the event which is cited as the beginning of the War of Independence.  A Boston Commons monument was erected in his memory.
James Baldwin   1924 - 1987
American author who wrote about the struggle of being black in America. He spent much of his youth reading. James' mother was a domestic worker (a maid) and his strict, cruel stepfather was a factory worker and preacher. The author Richard Wright was James' early writing mentor. Baldwin's books are considered to be classic American novels. A pacifist, Baldwin participated in the Southern school desegregation struggle of the 1960s and marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. Baldwin wrote extensively about the Civil Rights Movement, and throughout his life, used his enormous writing talent to work for racial equality.
Benjamin Banneker   1731 - 1806
Mathematician, Astronomer
Inventor, scientist, engineer, and surveyor who assisted in developing plans for the city of Washington, D.C.  Made the first striking clock with all American parts and compiled one of the first almanacs in the United States.
James P. Beckwourth   1798 - 1866
An American explorer, he located a route through the Sierra Nevada Mountains, which later became an important path for pioneers and those on their way to mine for gold in California, known as Beckwourth Pass.
Mary McLoed Bethune   1875 - 1955
An American educator and civil rights leader, she is best known for opening a school in Florida in 1904, which grew to become Bethune-Cookman College. She was also an advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Guion Stewart Bluford, Jr.   1942 -
Astronaut
Aerospace engineer, one of the five man crew that flew the space shuttle Challenger into outer-space in 1983.  Deployed a weather and communication satellite in space.  Received "The Distinguished National Scientist Award"
Carol Brice   1918 - 1985
One of the first African American classical singers to record extensively. Born into a musical family in Sedalia, North Carolina, she attended high school at the historic Palmer Memorial Institute and then studied music at Talladega College in Alabama.
B. K. Bruce   1841 - 1898
Blanche Kelso Bruce was the first African-American who served a full term in the U.S. Senate. Senator Bruce was born a slave on the Farmville Plantation in Virginia. He was educated by his owner's son, and he later went to Oberlin College. Bruce was a Republican senator representing Mississippi; he served from March 5, 1875 until March 3, 1881. During his term, Bruce fought for the rights of minority groups, including African-Americans, Native Americans, and Asian immigrants. After his term as senator, Bruce was appointed registrar of the treasury.
Ralph J. Bunche   1904 - 1971
Diplomat, Nobel Prize for Peace
Political scientist, educator, and one of the significant American diplomats of the 20th century.  Worked out the "Four Armistice Agreements" which resulted in a cease-fire in the 1949 Arab/Israeli conflict.  Under-Secretary of the UN (1955 - 1971).
Dr. Mary Elizabeth Carnegie   1916 - 2008
Established the first nursing program for blacks after becoming the Assistant Director of Nursing at Hampton University.  A research center at Hampton, the M. Elizabeth Carnegie Nursing Archives, was named in her honor. In 1945, she became the first dean of the School of Nursing at Florida A. & M. University.  Her book The Path We Tread, Blacks in Nursing Worldwide, 1854-1984 is a seminal work on the history of black nurses around the world.
George Washington Carver   1864 - 1943
Scientist, Agricultural Chemist
One of the world's greatest scientists: Used scientific techniques to save Southern agriculture.  Developed over 600 different products from peanuts and sweet potatoes.  Created new Southern industries and thousands of new jobs.
Wilt Chamerlain   1936 - 1999
Few athletes have ever reached the level of domination that Wilt Chamberlain achieved throughout his basketball career. An offensive force second to none, "Wilt the Stilt" is one of only two players who have scored more than 30,000 points in an NBA career.  He holds many NBA records, including the record for points scored in one game - 100.
Ray Charles   1930 - 2004
Ray Charles lived the American Dream through music. He once said "Music is nothing separate from me. It is me."  Being born poor, and going blind by the age of 7, he lived through his music. He recorded 14 albums in his musical career, and received many awards including 12 Grammy Awards.
Shirley Chisholm   1924 - 2005
Born in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, she attended Brooklyn College on a scholarship and then earned a master's degree in education from Columbia University. After becoming an expert on early childhood education, Chisholm worked as a consultant to the New York City bureau of child welfare from 1959 to 1964.  Became the first black woman to serve in the House of Representatives in 1968.
Nat King Cole   1917 - 1965
A famous vocalist and known as "The man with the velvet voice".  By the age of 12 Nat was an accomplished pianist.  Nat formed his first jazz band in high school.  Nat said he had played piano in what he later remembered as every beer joint in Los Angeles.  Formed the King Cole Trio in 1939.  He became the first black jazz musician to have his own weekly radio show in 1948.
Bessie Coleman   1893 - 1926
An American civil aviator, she became known as "Queen Bess" for becoming the first African American to become a licensed airline pilot. She was also the first American of any race or gender to hold an international pilot license.
Bill Cosby   1937 -
With an amazing ability to touch the hearts of many, Bill Cosby is one of the nation's most influential stars.  Reaching many audiences through many forms of media, he makes us laugh and makes us think.  He has written books, many comedy routines, appeared in many films, recorded many audio albums and videos, and most notably was the star of "The Cosby Show".
General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.   1877 - 1970
First African American general in the U.S. Army. Born in Washington, D.C., he attended Howard University briefly and then enlisted in the army. During his fifty-year military career, General Davis fought in three wars, led an all-black cavalry unit, served as inspector general of the army, taught military science at Tuskegee Institute and the historic Wilberforce University, and served in Europe as a special advisor on race relations.
Sammy Davis, Jr.   1925 - 1990
One of the greatest entertainers the world has ever seen, Sammy Davis, Jr. was a very popular singer, dancer, and actor.  He recorded forty albums and made countless film, television and Las Vegas appearances in his lifetime.  He wrote three autobiographies in 1965, 1980, and 1989.
Frederick Douglass   1818 - 1895
Former slave turned abolitionist, Frederick Douglass was hired by the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society in 1841, and lectured throughout the North. He feared for his life after publishing a book, and in 1845 fled to England. There he spoke with such effect that the British and Americans contributed enough money for him to return to the United States in 1847 and buy his freedom.
Charles Drew   1904 - 1950
Scientist, Blood Plasma Pioneer
Doctor and scientist who developed a process for separation and perserving blood.  His blood banks helped save thousands of lives during World War II.  Served as the Chief Surgeon and Chief of Staff at Freedman's Hospital.
W. E. B. DuBois   1868 - 1963
DuBois was by spirited devotion and scholarly dedication, an attacker of injustice and a defender of freedom.  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote, "history cannot ignore W.E.B. DuBois because history has to reflect truth and Dr. DuBois was a tireless explorer and a gifted discoverer of social truths. His singular greatness lay in his quest for truth about his own people. There were very few scholars who concerned themselves with honest study of the black man and he sought to fill this immense void. The degree to which he succeeded disclosed the great dimensions of the man."
Jean DuSable   1748? - 1818
Jean-Baptiste-Point DuSable was a Haitian-French pioneer and trader; he founded the settlement that would later become Chicago. He left Haiti in the 1770s for the Great Lakes area of North America and managed a British trading post, called the Pinery, on the St. Clair River in what is now Michigan. In 1779, he settled in Fort Dearborn - the area at the mouth of the Chicago River on the shores of Lake Michigan. He was the first non-Indian resident of that area. He established the trading post of fur and grain, marking this area as vital to trade. The name of DuSable's settlement was changed from Fort Dearborn to Chicago in 1830 where there is now an African-American history museum named after him.
Ralph Ellison   1914 - 1994
A novelist, literary critic, scholar and writer. His novel The Invisible Man was published in 1952 and won the National Book Award in 1953. He also wrote Shadow and Act in 1964, and Going to the Territory in 1986.
Julius Erving   1950 -
"Dr. J" is one of only three players to score over 30,000 points in a professional basketball career.  He achieved many honors including championships, MVP awards, and scoring titles.  He holds many of those records still today.
Dr. Andrew J. Foster   1925 - 1987
Pioneer in education for deaf individuals, was instrumental in founding twenty-two schools and an equal number of religious programs for deaf children in more than twenty African countries. Foster was born in Birmingham, AL, and lost his hearing at age eleven after suffering from spinal meningitis. Drawn to a career in education, he attended the Alabama School for the Negro Deaf in Talladega and, in 1954, became the first African American to graduate from Gallaudet College in Washington, D.C.
Sarah E. Goode   1850 - 1918
Businesswoman and inventor, Goode invented the folding cabinet bed - a space-saving design that folded up against the wall into a cabinet. When folded up, it could be used as a desk, complete with compartments for stationery and writing supplies. She owned a furniture store in Chicago, Illinois, and invented the bed for people living in small apartments. Her patent was the first obtained by an African-American woman (patent #322,177, approved on July 14, 1885).
Dick Gregory   1932 -
African American comedian and civil rights activist whose social satire changed the way white Americans perceived African American comedians since he first performed in public.
Matthew A. Henson   1866 - 1955
Artic Explorer
Adventurer skilled in handling Eskimo Husky dogs.  In 1909 became the first person to place an American flag on the North Pole.  In 1945 wrote "A Negro Explorer at the North Pole."
Jimi Hendrix   1942 - 1970
After serving in the United States Army for 4 years, Hendrix began pursuing music in 1965. In mid-1966, Hendrix met Chas Chandler who convinced Hendrix to go to London where he then created The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Hendrix toured throughout Europe and the US in the late 60s, becoming a legendary rock superstar.
Billie Holiday   1915 - 1959
Holiday began singing in local clubs in the 1930s, and was discovered in 1933 by John Hammond, who helped her get recording work with bandleader Benny Goodman. Known for her distinctive phrasing and soulful, soft, yet strong voice, she went on to record with many other performers in the 30s, 40s and 50s.
Langston Hughes   1902 - 1967
One of the most important writers and thinkers of the Harlem Renaissance, which was the African American artistic movement in the 1920s that celebrated black life and culture. Hughes's creative genius was influenced by his life in New York City's Harlem, a primarily African American neighborhood. His literary works helped shape American literature and politics.
Michael Jackson   1958 - 2009
An American singer, dancer and entertainer. Referred to as the King of Pop, he is recognized as the most successful entertainer of all time, and one of the most influential. His contributions to music, dance and fashion, and a much publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture over five decades.
Dr. Mae C. Jemison   1956 -
After earning a Doctor of Medicine degree from Cornell University in 1981, she went on to serve in the Peace Corps during which she traveled to Cuba, Kenya, and Thailand, providing medical care to people living there.  In 1988, she completed her astronaut training program, and in 1992 became the first black woman in space aboard SPACELAB J on Mission STS-47.
James Earl Jones   1931 -
An African-American actor famous for his deep, resonant voice and powerful presence. He has acted in many movies, including Dr. Strangelove and Star Wars, and has appeared often on stage and television. In high school, he overcame a severe speech impediment. He studied at the University of Michigan, but left without a degree. He served in the military as a second lieutenant. He later began acting, eventually winning two Tony awards, three Emmys, a Grammy, and an Oscar nomination.
Michael Jordan   1963 -
Quite possibly the best player to ever play professional basketball.  His career included 6 championships with the Chicago Bulls, five NBA MVP awards, six NBA Finals MVP awards, thirteen All-Star Game appearances, and ten scoring titles.  He holds countless NBA records that still stand, and is third on the NBA all-time scoring list.
Percy Julian   1899 - 1975
Chemist - Glaucoma Treatment
Extracted an ingredient from the soybean to help relieve arthritis.  Formed his own Laboratories to produce cortisone at a price that millions of arthritis sufferers could afford.   Worked on 86 patents and developed a drug to treat an eye disease.
Ernst Just   1883 - 1941
Received numerous awards, grants, and fellowships during his prolific career--including, in 1915, the first-ever Spingarn Medal--for his groundbreaking research in biology and embryology. An outstanding student, Just completed his studies at a four-year preparatory school in three years. After receiving top honors in zoology and history at Dartmouth College, he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa for outstanding academic performance.
Martin Luther King, Jr.   1929 - 1968
Prominent figure in Black History and civil rights. His many achievements lead to segregation law changes, and ultimately the declaration of segregation being unconstitutional.
Sam E. Langford   1886 - 1956
A well-known and respected boxer in the early 1900s, Langford was considered one of the most punishing punchers in boxing history.  Langford ran away from home at the age of 12, and worked his way to Boston.  At the age of 16, he made his professional boxing debut and won his first fight. Eighteen months later, he fought and defeated Joe Gans, the world lightweight champion.
Lewis Howard Latimer   1848 - 1928
A pioneer in the electric lighting industry, Latimer and his inventions, in a sense, brought light to the world. Yet his legacy remains lost in the darkest chambers of history. In 1865, after being discharged from the navy, Latimer worked as an office boy in a patent law firm. He provided the firm with patent drawings of such high quality that he was soon promoted to chief draftsman.  He later assisted Alexander Graham Bell with the patenting of the telephone, and developed patents for Maxim-Weston (now Westinghouse) and Edison Electric (now General Electric).
Nat Love   1856 - 1900
Bronco Buster
Famous cowboy from Tennessee who helped open up the Western frontier.  Called "Deadwood Dick" after winning several roping and shooting contests at a 1876 rodeo in the Dakota Territory.   Wrote a full-length autobiography.
Thurgood Marshall   1908 - 1993
Thurgood Marshall is a well-known figure in the history of civil rights and justice in America. For 24 years a fixture on the United States Supreme Court, the first black Supreme Court Justice, Marshall did more through the legal system than anyone else to further the progress of the civil rights movement. His seat on the bench was eyed by conservatives for many years because he had the loudest voice in support of constitutionally supported individual rights.
Jan Ernst Matzeliger   1852 - 1889
Inventor - Shoe Lasting Machine
Revolutionized the shoe industry by inventing a machine which mechanically attached the "uppers" to the soles of shoes.   Greatly increased shoe production and saved the shoe industry millions of dollars.
Robert C. Maynard   1937 - 1993
After completing his studies at Harvard University, he became the first black national correspondent for the Washington Post. He stayed with the Post for eleven years, then established the Robert C Maynard Institute for Journalism Education in Berkeley, CA. By 1983, according to Maynard, it was "by far the single largest source of minorities entering the field of journalism." Maynard then became editor of the floundering Oakland Tribune in Oakland, CA, and subsequently astonished readers by purchasing the newspaper from the Gannett Company.
Elijah McCoy   1843 - 1929
Inventor - Automatic Machine Lubricators
Mechanical engineer who inved the Drip Cup ("The Real McCoy") which revolutionized engine lubrication.  Was granted patents for 57 inventions including one for a lawn sprinker.  Established a manufacturing company.
Garrett A. Morgan   1877 - 1963
His "safety helmet," which was patented in 1912, was used by the Allied Forces in World War I and is the prototype of the modern gas mask used by fire departments and emergency rescue squads. In 1923, he patented the three-color electric traffic signal that now stands on almost every street corner worldwide. He also invented an attachment that improved the efficiency of the sewing machine.
Barack Obama   1961 -
The 44th and current President of the United States of America, he is the first African American to hold the office. He previously served as the junior Senator from Illinois in the United States Senate from 2005 to 2008, and as a State Senator in Illinois from 1997 to 2004.
Jesse Owens   1913 - 1980
By tying the world record in the 100-yard dash twice as a senior in high school, Jesse became a track running star.  He went on to break several world records, including setting three new world records and tying a fourth, all in 45 minutes at the Big Ten track meet in Ann Arbor, MI on May 25, 1935.  In 1976, President Gerald R. Ford awarded him the Medal of Freedom. 
Gordon Parks   1912 - 2006
A photographer, writer, film director, composer, and musician. His works document the 20th century and have been seen by millions of people around the world. He was the first African-American photographer to work at Life magazine and Vogue magazine. He wrote twelve books, and produced many documentaries and Hollywood films. He produced, directed, and scored a major Hollywood film, The Learning Tree, in 1960. He wrote a ballet about Martin Luther King, and composed other music including a symphony, a concerto, and blues music.
Rosa Parks   1913 - 2005
By refusing to relinquish her seat on a bus, and standing up for her civil rights, She ultimately accomplished changing the discriminatory laws in Montgomery, Alabama.  Rosa later became a recipient of the United States Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Charles "Rich" Patterson   1833 - ?
Patterson became a master blacksmith and gained his freedom by reaching Greenfield, OH, a station on the Underground Railroad. There, Patterson worked for the Dines and Simpson Carriage and Coach Makers Company. Later, in partnership with J.P. Lowe, he formed a company that became known for its expertly crafted horse-drawn carriages; soon he had bought out his partner and formed the highly successful C.R. Patterson and Sons Carriage Company.
Colin Powell   1937 -
Powell is an American statesman and a retired four-star general in the United States Army. He was the 65th United States Secretary of State, serving under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005. He was the first African American to serve in that position. During his military career, Powell also served as National Security Advisor (19871989), as Commander of the U.S. Army Forces Command (1989) and as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (19891993), holding the latter position during the Gulf War. He was the first, and so far the only, African American to serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Condoleezza Rice   1954 -
Rice served as the 66th United States Secretary of State, and was the second person to hold that office in the administration of President George W. Bush. Rice was the first female African-American secretary of state, as well as the second African American (after Colin Powell), and the second woman (after Madeleine Albright). Rice was President Bush's National Security Advisor during his first term, making her the first woman to serve in that position. Before joining the Bush administration, she was a professor of political science at Stanford University where she served as Provost from 1993 to 1999. Rice also served on the National Security Council as the Soviet and East European Affairs Advisor to President George H.W. Bush during the dissolution of the Soviet Union and German reunification.
Norbert Rillieux   1806 - 1894
Scientist - Suger Refining Process
World famous engineer and inventor: Developed a vacuum pan that revolutionized the method of refining sugar.  Reduced the time, cost, and safety risk involved in producing granulated sugar while improving its quality.
Jackie Robinson   1919 - 1972
After serving as a second lieutenant in the United States Army for 2 years, Jackie Robinson played baseball professionally in the Negro Leagues. In 1945 he joined the Montreal Royals, then a farm team for the Brooklyn Dodgers. And on April 15, 1947 he broke the color barrier by being the first African American player in Major League Baseball when he played his first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Wilma Rudolph   1940 - 1994
The first female American runner to win three gold medals in the Olympic Games.  She was so fast she earned the title "World's Fastest Woman".  After her retirement as a runner, Rudolph served as assistant director of a Chicago youth foundation, helping to develop girls' track and field teams, and went on to promote running nationally. Considered one of the greatest female athletes in history, Rudolph was inducted in the U.S. National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1974.
Mary Church Terrell   1863 - 1954
She was a champion of human rights, particularly women's rights, throughout most of her life. In 1954, the year Brown vs. Board of Education declared segregation unconstitutional, she could still be seen marching with her cane at the head of picket lines at the age of ninety. Her father's influence coupled with her educational experiences gave Mary a broad, well rounded perspective on the world and on the problems confronted by women and people of color.
Sojourner Truth   1797 - 1883
Sojourner Truth was the self-given name, from 1843 onward, of Isabella Baumfree, an African-American abolitionist and women's rights activist. She was born a slave in New York State, but was freed in 1827. After becoming a preacher, she campaigned for the abolition of slavery and for women's rights. During the Civil War in the United States, she helped black Union soldiers obtain supplies and also worked as a counselor for the National Freedom Relief Association.
Harriet Tubman   1819 - 1913
Born into slavery, she was subject to very harsh surroundings.  At the age of 25, she married John Tubman, a free African American, and five years later made her escape into freedom.  In 1857, she returned to her hometown in Maryland, and was provided a two-story home, and shortly thereafter she purchased it.  In 1896, she purchased the 26-acre parcel on which the home stands.  Throughout her life she helped others with their escape to freedom, assisting over 300 other African Americans gain their freedom.
Madam C. J. Walker   1867 - 1919
An inventor, hair care entrepreneur and philanthropist. Born Sarah Breedlove, she was an African-American who developed many beauty and hair care products. Beginning in 1905, her first product was a scalp treatment that used petrolatum and sulfur. Starting with door-to-door sales, she soon began selling her "Walker System" through the country. She began to teach and train other black women in order to help them build their own businesses. She also gave other lectures on political, economic and social issues at conventions sponsored by powerful black institutions. The Guinness Book of Records cites Walker as the first woman to become a millionaire by her own achievements.
Maggie Lena Walker   1867 - 1934
The first woman in the United States to become a local bank president. Throughout her life, she worked for civil rights and other humanitarian causes. She worked first as a teacher, and then as an agent for the Woman's Union Insurance Company, quickly rising to become the executive secretary/treasurer of the company. She founded the newspaper the St. Luke Herald in 1902. In 1903, she started the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank and was its president. In 1929, at the start of the economic depression, her bank bought all the local black-owned banks in town and renamed itself the Consolidated Bank and Trust Company.
Booker T. Washington   1856 - 1915
Washington became principal of the new school Tuskegee Institute in 1881, and led it to become world famous.  His view of seeking to improve the economic skills and quality of character became very popular even with whites.  In 1901, he became an advisor to President Theodore Roosevelt, and became the first black ever to dine at the White House with the President.
Ida Wells   1862 - 1931
Journalist, Anti-Lynching Crusader
Investigative reporter; publisher of "The Red Record"; editor of the Memphis "Free Speech";  Crusaded against organized violence and effectively used the press to expose the harsh injustices faced by African-Americans.  Worked to organize the Negro Fellowship League and the NAACP.
Dr. Daniel Hale Williams   1856 - 1931
Pioneer - Open Heart Surgery
Surgeon who performed the first successful open heart operation. Repaired a severely damaged heart without the use of drugs or blood transfusions.  Founded The Provident Hospital in Chicago and organized a training center for Black nurses.
Granville Woods   1856 - 1910
Inventor - Induction Telegraph
Invented a steam boiler furnance, an incubator, an automatic air brake, and over 15 devices critical for electic railway systems.  Most famous for a telegraph system which reduced train collisions by allowing moving trains to transmit message to each other.