Bobby Womack (1944-2014)

Image Ownership: Public domain Bobby Womack, American musician and soul singer, was born on March 4, 1944, to Friendly and Naomi Womack in Cleveland, Ohio. Bobby was the middle child of five siblings who were all boys: Friendly Jr., Curtis, Bobby, Harry, and Cecil. Bobby … Read MoreBobby Womack (1944-2014)

Lucille Hegamin (1894–1970)

"Image Ownership: Public Domain" A musical pioneer who was among America’s first wave of jazz and blues recording artists in the 1920s, Lucille Hegamin was born Lucille Nelson in Macon, Georgia, on November 29, 1894. She grew up singing in church and at the age … Read MoreLucille Hegamin (1894–1970)

Gladys Knight (1944– )

"Image Ownership: Public Domain" Gladys Maria Knight is an American Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, actress, and humanitarian. She was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 28, 1944, to Sarah and Merald Knight Sr. and began singing in church as a child. At age seven, she … Read MoreGladys Knight (1944– )

Mabel Alice Wadham Mercer (1900-1984)

“Image Ownership: Public Domain” Mabel Mercer was one of the most important jazz cabaret singers of the 20th Century. Her personal singing style emphasizing interpretation, diction, lyrics, and projection over vocal proficiency influenced numerous leading singers including Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Nat “King” Cole, Lena … Read MoreMabel Alice Wadham Mercer (1900-1984)

Robert “Bobby” Waltrip Short (1924-2005)

“Image Ownership: Public Domain” Recording artist and three-time Grammy award nominee Bobby Short, a self-taught piano prodigy during his childhood, was regarded as the quintessential sophisticated cabaret and supper-club vocalist and piano player of his time.  Short, who learned to play piano by ear at … Read MoreRobert “Bobby” Waltrip Short (1924-2005)

From Memphis and Mogadishu: The History of African Americans in Martin Luther King County, Washington, 1858-2014

In the extended article that appears below historians Daudi Abe and Quintard Taylor explore the history of African Americans in Martin Luther King County from 1858 to 2014.  They analyze the forces which encouraged people of African ancestry to settle in the county and discuss … Read MoreFrom Memphis and Mogadishu: The History of African Americans in Martin Luther King County, Washington, 1858-2014

Charles Edward Anderson “Chuck” Berry (1926-2017)

Image Ownership: Public domain Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Charles Edward Anderson “Chuck” Berry was considered a pioneer of rock and roll and a major influence on 20th century popular music. His songs such as “Johnny B. Goode” and “Roll Over Beethoven” are rock and roll … Read MoreCharles Edward Anderson “Chuck” Berry (1926-2017)

Beyoncé Giselle Knowles (1981- )

Image Ownership: Public Domain Beyoncé Giselle Knowles, one of the most successful African American women artists in today’s music industry, was born on September 4, 1981 in Houston, Texas, to Mathew and Célestine Ann Knowles. Her father was a salesman and her mother owned a … Read MoreBeyoncé Giselle Knowles (1981- )

Robert Louis Johnson (1946 – )

  Image Ownership: Public Domain Robert Louis Johnson, founder, chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Black Entertainment Television (BET), is also the majority owner of the Charlotte (North Carolina) Bobcats of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the first African American billionaire. He was … Read MoreRobert Louis Johnson (1946 – )

Black Swan Records (1921-1923)

Black Swan Record Label, 1922, Image Ownership: Public Domain Black Swan Records was the first black-owned recording company that sold popular music to black audiences. Black Swan Records specialized in jazz and blues recordings but it also became the first company to record black classical … Read MoreBlack Swan Records (1921-1923)