Della Reese (1931-2017)

Della Reese, born Delloresse Patricia Early on July 6, 1931 in the Black Bottom neighborhood of Detroit, Michigan, is best known for her work as a blues and gospel singer, minister, and later as an actress. Reese was born to Richard Thaddeus Early, an African American steelworker, and Nellie Mitchelle Early, a Cherokee cook. … Read MoreDella Reese (1931-2017)

Bill Duke (1943- )

Film director and actor (William) Bill Duke was born on February 26, 1943 in Poughkeepsie, New York to Ethel Douglas Duke and William Duke Sr. After earning his A.A. degree from Dutchess Community College, Duke became interested in the performing arts while attending Boston University in Massachusetts, although he initially enrolled … Read MoreBill Duke (1943- )

Donny Hathaway (1945-1979)

Donny Hathaway—singer, pianist, producer, composer, and one of R&B’s strongest talents—was born Donny Edward Pitts on October 1, 1945, in Chicago, Illinois. Hathaway was raised in the Carr Square Housing Projects of St. Louis, Missouri by his grandmother Martha Pitts. At the age of three, Hathaway began singing in … Read MoreDonny Hathaway (1945-1979)