Vernie Merze Tate (1905-1996)

Merze Tate, a historian, political author, world traveler, and philanthropist, was the first African American to graduate from Oxford University.  She was born during a terrible blizzard in rural Blanchard, Michigan on February 6, 1905 to Charles and Myrtle Tate, both farmers. Her grandparents were … Read MoreVernie Merze Tate (1905-1996)

Earl G. Graves (1935- )

Earl G. Graves, the founder of Black Enterprise, a nationally recognized black business magazine, was born on January 9, 1935, in Brooklyn, New York. Both his mother, Winifred Sealy, and his father, Earl Godwyn Graves, influenced their son’s successful career. His mother led many community activities, and his father was … Read MoreEarl G. Graves (1935- )

Anton de Kom (1898-1945)

Anton de Kom (Cornelis Gerhard Anton de Kom) was a Surinamese author, anti-colonial activist, trade unionist, and World War II resistance fighter. De Kom was born in Paramaribo, Suriname, a colony of the Netherlands, on February 22, 1898 to a former slave and farmer Adolf de Kom and a free woman Judith … Read MoreAnton de Kom (1898-1945)

Clarence E. “Big House” Gaines, (1923-2005)

College Basketball has had many legendary coaches that have become household names through their success on the court. For Coach Clarence Edward Gaines, known as “Big House” for his large frame, winning was a habit that led him to the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 1982. While … Read MoreClarence E. “Big House” Gaines, (1923-2005)

Keith M. Ellison (1963- )

Keith Ellison is an American politician and lawyer, who is currently the Attorney General-elect of Minnesota. Ellison was born on August 4, 1963 in Detroit, Michigan.  He is the third of five sons born to Leonard and Clida (Martinez). Since childhood Ellison was involved with the civil rightsmovement and briefly worked … Read MoreKeith M. Ellison (1963- )

Kendrick Meek (1966- )

Kendrick Meek, former highway patrolman, Florida state representative, and state senator, served in the United States House of Representatives as a Democratic representative from Florida’s 17th District from 2003 to 2011. Meek was born on September 6, 1966 in Miami, Florida. He is the youngest of three children of Harold and former … Read MoreKendrick Meek (1966- )

Saít Sökmen (1942– )

Afro-Turkish choreographer, dancer, instructor, and talent agent Saít Sökmen was born in Conakry, the capital city of Guinea, Africa, the sixth child of Mehmet Cemil Sökmen, a successful merchant, and Fatuma Mamady, a resident of Conakry. His father operated a bakery and winery in Conakry until political instability … Read MoreSaít Sökmen (1942– )

Paulette Shange Ntozake Williams (1948- )

The author, poet, and playwright Paulette Williams was born on October 18, 1948 in Trenton, New Jersey.  Until she was eight, she lived in a racially diverse community among well educated upper middle class black and white families.  She socialized with prominent musicians and performers such as Dizzy Gillespie, Chuck Berry, Charlie Parker, Miles … Read MorePaulette Shange Ntozake Williams (1948- )