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)

Amy Sherald (1973- )

Amy Sherald, a portrait artist, was the first African American woman to complete a presidential portrait for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery.  She is best known for painting the official portrait of former First Lady Michelle Obama. Sherald was born on August 30, 1973 in Columbus, Georgia, … Read MoreAmy Sherald (1973- )

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)

Katie Geneva Cannon (1950-2018)

Rev. Dr. Katie Cannon was the first African American female to be ordainedinto the United Presbyterian USA denomination. Rev. Cannon was ordained in Shelby, North Carolina, on April 24, 1974, by the Catawaba Presbytery, making her the first African American woman ordained in the United Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Katie … Read MoreKatie Geneva Cannon (1950-2018)

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)

George Moses Horton (1797-1880?)

George Moses Horton, the first African American to publish a collection of poetry in the South during the antebellum period, was the author of three collections of poetry: The Hope of Liberty (1829), The Poetical Works of George M. Horton (1845) and Naked Genius(1865). George Moses was born enslaved to William Horton on a plantation in North … Read MoreGeorge Moses Horton (1797-1880?)