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Lewis A. Jackson (1912-1994)

Lewis A. Jackson was a Black aviator, Tuskegee Airman Instructor, and later an HCBU president. Jackson was born on December 29, 1912, to unnamed parents in Angola, Indiana. At eight, Jackson started working to contribute to his family’s income. He also constructed model airplanes and … Read MoreLewis A. Jackson (1912-1994)

Janie Porter Barrett (1865-1948)

Educator Janie Porter Barrett was the founder of the first Black Settlement House in Virginia, the State Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs in Virginia, and the Virginia Industrial School for Colored Girls. Porter was born in Athens, Georgia, on August 9, 1865, the daughter of … Read MoreJanie Porter Barrett (1865-1948)

The Saga of James Lloydovich Patterson: Child Film Star, Naval Officer and Poet

In the following article, Amy Ballard, Senior Historic Preservation Specialist Emerita, Smithsonian Institution, describes the life of Russian-born James Lloydovich Patterson, who, at the age of three, was propelled to stardom in the 1936 Soviet classic film TSIRK (Circus). It was, in its own way, … Read MoreThe Saga of James Lloydovich Patterson: Child Film Star, Naval Officer and Poet

Sam Taylor (1896-1973)

The founder and long-time owner of Taylor Electric Company, Samuel “Sam” Taylor, was born in Montgomery, Alabama, on April 9, 1896, the son of Rufus and Martha Taylor. His father and two brothers, William and Martin, and later Sam himself, worked in the coal mines … Read MoreSam Taylor (1896-1973)

Edward Lee “Too Tall” Jones (1951- )

Edward Lee “Too Tall” Jones, is a former professional football player best known for playing for the Dallas Cowboys his entire career. Jones was born on February 23, 1951, to Abbie Jones and Jack Jones in Jackson, Tennessee. Growing up, Jones attended Merry High School … Read MoreEdward Lee “Too Tall” Jones (1951- )

George Tynes (1908-1982)

Soviet agricultural specialist and one of the first popularizers of turkey breeding in the USSR, George Tynes, was born in 1908 into a large African American family in Norfolk, Virginia. His father was a Methodist minister, and his mother was Native American. His cousin was … Read MoreGeorge Tynes (1908-1982)

Lorraine Graves (1957-2024)

Choreographer, dancer, and teacher Lorraine Graves was born Lorraine Elizabeth Graves on October 5, 1957, in Norfolk, Virginia, to Tommy E. Graves Jr., founder and CEO of Graves Funeral Home, and Mildred Odom Graves, a public school teacher. Lorraine had one brother, Tommy E. Graves … Read MoreLorraine Graves (1957-2024)

Benoni Wilfred Urey (1957- )

Politician, philanthropist, and investor Benoni Wilfred Urey is one of the wealthiest Liberians and the founder of Lonestar Cell Mobile Telecommunication Corporation (MTN), Liberia’s largest nationwide mobile network. Urey was born on June 22, 1957, in Careysburg Montserrado County, the Republic of Liberia, to Daniel … Read MoreBenoni Wilfred Urey (1957- )

Sie-A-Nyene Gyapay Yuoh (1956- )

Her Honor Chief Justice Sie-A-Nyene Gyapay Yuoh, Liberia’s first female Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, was appointed in 2013. Sie-A-Nyene Gyapay Yuoh was born on June 26, 1956, in Montserrado County, Liberia, to Anthony Kle Yuoh and Maromini Worbor Kollie. She has 21 siblings: … Read MoreSie-A-Nyene Gyapay Yuoh (1956- )