Martha and the Vandellas (1960-1974)

Martha Reeves, one of Ruby and Elijah Reeves’s eleven children, was born in Eufaula, Alabama on July 18, 1941. Before her first birthday, they moved to Detroit, Michigan. She grew up performing at her father’s Methodist church, and was vocally trained by Abraham Silver while … Read MoreMartha and the Vandellas (1960-1974)

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)

Hank Ballard and the Midnighters (1950-1965); (Hank Ballard 1927-2003)

Hank Ballard and the Midnighters was a rhythm and blues band that were a major influence on the rock and roll genre beginning in the 1950s. They recorded a number of hugely popular songs and were known as the most risqué R&B group of their … Read MoreHank Ballard and the Midnighters (1950-1965); (Hank Ballard 1927-2003)

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- )

Alyne Dumas Lee (1903-1970)

Lyric soprano soloist Alyne Dumas Lee was born on March 22, 1903, in Knoxville, Tennessee, to Joseph and Clora Dumas. She spent her childhood in Cincinnati, Ohio and Chicago, Illinois developing her musical abilities. At age eight, Lee was her local church’s organist, and by thirteen she had obtained a musical diploma … Read MoreAlyne Dumas Lee (1903-1970)