What’s New on BlackPast

Bettye Swann (1944- )

Bettye Swann is a popular American soul singer known for the hit song “Make Me Yours.” Born Bettye Jean Champion in Shreveport, Louisiana, on October 24, 1944, she was one of 14 children. As a teen Champion sang in a local group. At the age … Read MoreBettye Swann (1944- )

Ma$e/Mason Derelle Betha (1975- )

Mason Derelle Betha is an American pastor, author, and former rapper born on August 27, 1975, as a fraternal twin with sister Stason. Better known by his stage name, Ma$e, Betha was born almost two months premature to Mason and P.K. Betha in Jacksonville, Florida. … Read MoreMa$e/Mason Derelle Betha (1975- )

Slick Rick/Richard Walters (1965- )

The rapper and record producer best known by his stage name, Slick Rick, was born Richard Martin Lloyd Walters on January 14, 1965, in London, England. His parents were immigrants from Jamaica. His mother’s name is Veronica but his father’s name is unknown.  Walters was … Read MoreSlick Rick/Richard Walters (1965- )

Kirk Franklin (1970- )

Gospel singer, songwriter, and choir director Kirk Dewayne Franklin was born Kirk Smith in Fort Worth, Dallas, Texas, on January 26, 1970. His parents were teenagers, and his mother abandoned him at the age of 3, leaving him with his great Aunt Gertrude Franklin. Gertrude … Read MoreKirk Franklin (1970- )

Bobby McFerrin Jr. (1950- )

Bobby McFerrin is a popular folk-jazz vocalist known for his vocal percussion and a cappella singing, as well as his hit song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” He was born Robert Keith McFerrin Jr. in Manhattan, New York, on March 11, 1950, to Robert McFerrin Sr., … Read MoreBobby McFerrin Jr. (1950- )

William H. Herrington (1950- )

The first African American mayor of Lawrenceville, Virginia, William H. Herrington, was born on August 15, 1950, in Hartsville, South Carolina, to Henry Herrington, a transportation worker from Darlington County, South Carolina, and Carrie Boyd Herrington, a housekeeper from Chester County, South Carolina. Herrington started … Read MoreWilliam H. Herrington (1950- )

Johnny Kemp (1959-2015)

Johnny Kemp was an R&B singer best known for his 1988 song “Just Got Paid.” He was born in Nassau, Bahamas, on August 2, 1959. His earliest musical experiences came in 1972 when Kemp began performing in local Nassau nightclubs. In 1979, Kemp moved to … Read MoreJohnny Kemp (1959-2015)

Fred Parris & the Satins (1953- )

The doo-wop ensemble Fred Parris & the Satins was founded by baritone Fredericke Lee Parris in 1953 in New Haven, Connecticut. Originally called the Scarlets, the name was changed in 1954. It initially was composed of Parris, tenors Sylvester Hopkins and Nathaniel Mosely Jr., baritone … Read MoreFred Parris & the Satins (1953- )

James Hill (1837?-1903)

James “Jim” Hill was born into slavery in the late 1830s on the J. Hill Salem Road Plantation in Marshall County, Mississippi. He was a leader of the Reconstruction Era Republican Party, chairman of the Republican state executive committee, and national committeeman of the Republican … Read MoreJames Hill (1837?-1903)