Willis Lester Young (“Pres”) (1909-1959)

Lester (Willis) Young, known as “Pres,” was born in Woodville, Mississippi and died in New York City. Named Willis Lester at birth, he dropped “Willis” at an early age. Young developed a light tone and swinging style as a member of “territory bands,” such as … Read MoreWillis Lester Young (“Pres”) (1909-1959)

Margaret Walker (1915-1998)

Dr. Margaret Abigail Walker Alexander’s contributions to American letters—four volumes of poetry, a novel, a biography, and numerous critical essays—mark her as one of this country’s most gifted black intellectuals. These accomplishments are even more remarkable given that she achieved most of them after 1943 … Read MoreMargaret Walker (1915-1998)

Jane Ellen McAllister (1899-1996)

Dr. Jane McAllister was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, on October 24, 1899. Born into a time of overt racism that severely limited black opportunity, McAllister’s family managed to escape poverty’s grip and join the small percentage of middle-class African American families in early 20th century … Read MoreJane Ellen McAllister (1899-1996)