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)

Clarence E. “Big House” Gaines, (1923-2005)

College Basketball has had many legendary coaches that have become household names through their success on the court. For Coach Clarence Edward Gaines, known as “Big House” for his large frame, winning was a habit that led him to the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 1982. While … Read MoreClarence E. “Big House” Gaines, (1923-2005)

Julia Pearl Hughes (1873-1950)

Julia Pearl Hughes (Coleman-Robinson) was the first African American woman to successfully own and operate her own drugstore. Hughes was born to John and Mary Hughes in Melville Township, Alamance County, North Carolina. She attended the local schools and graduated in 1893 from Scotia Seminary (now Barber-Scotia College) … Read MoreJulia Pearl Hughes (1873-1950)

William McBryar (1861-1941)

William McBryar was a biracial buffalo soldier whose received the Medal of Honor for his participation in the 1890 Cherry Creek Campaign in Arizona Territory. McBryar was born on February 14, 1861 in Elizabethtown, North Carolina to Rose McBryar, an African American, and a white father whose name is unknown. McBryar attended … Read MoreWilliam McBryar (1861-1941)

Robert Louis Shepard (1947- )

Image Courtesy of Dr. Robert Shepard Robert Louis Shepard, PhD. is an author and chemist.  He is best known for opening doors of opportunity for faculty and students in science-related fields at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Beginning in 1983 he became an advocate for inclusion of … Read MoreRobert Louis Shepard (1947- )

Thomas Day (1801—ca.1861)

Image Ownership: Public domain Thomas Day, master cabinetmaker and entrepreneur, was born in 1801 in Dinwiddie County in southern Virginia to free African American parents. He had an outstanding career and achieved remarkable social standing during the state’s antebellum period. By 1850, he operated the largest furniture business … Read MoreThomas Day (1801—ca.1861)

John Lovelle Withers, II (1948- )

In 2007, Ambassador John L. Withers II, a second generation diplomat, was appointed by President George H.W. Bush to serve as ambassador to Albania. Withers was born in 1948 in Guilford, North Carolina, to John L. Withers, Sr. and Daisy P. Withers. His father had briefly worked as a political science professor … Read MoreJohn Lovelle Withers, II (1948- )

Vincent K. Brooks (1958- )

Vincent K. Brooks is a distinguished general in the US Army and is currently the commander of the UN Command, Combined Forces Command, and US Forces Korea. He was born on October 24, 1958, in Anchorage, Alaska, to Leo Brooks Sr., an army general, and … Read MoreVincent K. Brooks (1958- )