Bertha Lee Pate Patton Joiner (1902–1975)

“Image Ownership: Public Domain” Bertha Lee Pate Patton was an African American blues singer from the Mississippi Delta who came to prominence during the 1920s and 1930s. She was born to Ella Johnson and Nels Pate on June 17, 1902, in Flora, Madison County, Mississippi, … Read MoreBertha Lee Pate Patton Joiner (1902–1975)

Rufus “Tee Tot” Payne (1884-1939)

Rufus “Tee Tot” Payne was an early twentieth century African American blues musician from Greenville, Alabama.  Payne was most famous as the older mentor of country music superstar Hank Williams. Rufus Payne was born on February 4, 1884, in Lowndes County, Alabama. His family moved … Read MoreRufus “Tee Tot” Payne (1884-1939)

Gladys Knight (1944- )

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 gained minor fame after … Read MoreGladys Knight (1944- )

Leonard H.O. Spearman (1929-2008)

"Image Ownership: Public Domain" Dr. Leonard Hall O’Connell Spearman was the U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda and Lesotho. A native of Tallahassee, Florida, Spearman was born July 8, 1929. In 1947 Spearman graduated from Florida A&M College (now Florida A&M University), in Tallahassee, Florida, with a … Read MoreLeonard H.O. Spearman (1929-2008)

From Memphis and Mogadishu: The History of African Americans in 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 King County from 1858 to 2014.  They analyze the forces which encouraged people of African ancestry to settle in the county and discuss the rapid … Read MoreFrom Memphis and Mogadishu: The History of African Americans in King County, Washington, 1858-2014

Rosetta Atkins [Sister Rosetta] Tharpe (1915-1973)

Sister Rosetta Tharpe was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist of gospel, jazz, blues, and rock-and-roll.  She was born on March 20, 1915 near Cotton Plant, Arkansas to Katie (née Harper) Bell Nubin and Willis B. Atkins.  Her mother, a mandolin-playing evangelist in the Church of … Read MoreRosetta Atkins [Sister Rosetta] Tharpe (1915-1973)