Elissa Maxwell

Independent Historian

Elissa Maxwell was born and raised in Vancouver, Washington. She is an undergraduate at the University of Washington, double majoring in History and Cinema and Media Studies. She has been fascinated by history for as long as she can remember, and focuses on American and European history. After she graduates, Elissa plans to attend graduate school for a Master’s in Education. She intends to teach History in underserved high schools.

Patti LaBelle (1944- )

Patti LaBelle, a successful singer and author, was born Patricia Louise Holt on May 24, 1944 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Henry and Bertha Holt. Her father worked at Baldwin Locomotive and her mother was a waitress at St. Agnes Hospital. The couple had five children. … Read MorePatti LaBelle (1944- )

Xernona Clayton (1930- )

Xernona Clayton, a civil rights activist and the first woman to host a television show in the South, was born to James and Lillie Brewster in Muskogee, Oklahoma on August 30, 1930. Her father was a respected Baptist minister and both her parents managed Indian … Read MoreXernona Clayton (1930- )

The Shirelles (1956-1982)

The Shirelles, an all-girl singing pop and rhythm and blues group that was active from 1956 to 1982, was the first African American female group to top any charts. They were formed in 1956 at New Jersey’s Passaic High School. Shirley Owens, Beverly Lee, Doris Kenner, and Addi “Mickey” Harris … Read MoreThe Shirelles (1956-1982)

Harriet Redmond (1862-1952)

Harriet “Hattie” Redmond, a prominent black suffragette in Portland, Oregon, was born around 1862 in St. Louis, Missouri, to emancipated slaves Reuben and LaVinia (Vina) Crawford. She and her two brothers, along with her parents, had moved to Marysville, California by 1871. After a short time in Hood River, Oregon, the … Read MoreHarriet Redmond (1862-1952)

Donna Summer (1948-2012)

Donna Summer, a five-time Grammy winner, was born LaDonna Adrian Gaines on December 31, 1948, in Boston, Massachusetts, to Andrew and Mary Gaines. Her father, a butcher, and her mother, a schoolteacher, were parents to seven children. Her experience singing in a church choir was enough to convince … Read MoreDonna Summer (1948-2012)

Harry A. Cole (1921-1999)

Harry Cole, the first black justice on the Maryland Supreme Court, was born on January 1, 1921, in Washington, D.C., to a tailor and his wife. Shortly after his birth, Cole’s father died, and his mother moved him and his four siblings to her hometown, Baltimore, Maryland. Cole attended Douglass High School, … Read MoreHarry A. Cole (1921-1999)

Joseph Woodrow Hatchett (1932- )

Joseph W. Hatchett, the first African American Supreme Court Justice after Reconstruction in the South, was born on September 17, 1932, in Clearwater, Florida, to John and Lula Hatchett. He attended Florida A&M University, where he received a Bachelor’s of Political Science degree in 1954. Four years later in 1959, he … Read MoreJoseph Woodrow Hatchett (1932- )

Robert Davis Glass (1922-2001)

Robert Glass, the Connecticut Supreme Court’s first African American member, was born on November 28, 1922, to M.E. Jackson and Isiah Glass in Wetumpka, Alabama. His parents were young and quite poor when he was born so they were not able to pay for his schoolbooks, which was … Read MoreRobert Davis Glass (1922-2001)

Bernard Peter Randolph (1933- )

Bernard P. Randolph, the third black general in U.S. history, was born on July 10, 1933 to Phillip J. Randolph and Claudia Randolph, in New Orleans, Louisiana. He attended Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in 1954. In 1964, he earned … Read MoreBernard Peter Randolph (1933- )

Larry Rudell Ellis (1946- )

Larry R. Ellis served as a general in the United States military from 1969 to 2004. Ellis was the highest-ranking officer of African ancestry in the U.S. Army as of his retirement in 2004, and was the fourth black individual to become a four-star general. He was born in … Read MoreLarry Rudell Ellis (1946- )