Archive for July 2011

Sugar Ray Robinson

Jul 31st, 2011 | By
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1920?-1988  Sugar Ray Robinson is widely regarded as the best boxer in the history of the sport. After winning a Golden Gloves amateur title in his teens, he went on to enjoy a storied professional career during which he won, in succession, the world lightweight, welterweight, and middleweight championships. At his peak, he had an
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Satchel Paige

Jul 30th, 2011 | By
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1906?-1982  Satchel Paige was the top pitcher in baseball’s Negro League.  He became one of the first African Americans to play major league baseball and continued pitching for over a span of 40 years. He was named the first black player in the Baseball Hall of Fame, and is famously remembered for saying, “Don’t look
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Thurgood Marshall

Jul 29th, 2011 | By
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1908-1993  Thurgood Marshall devoted his life to the advancement of equal rights for all Americans. As a leading attorney for the NAACP, member of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Solicitor General for the United States, and ultimately as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, he held fast to his principles and won hugely
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Langston Hughes

Jul 28th, 2011 | By
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1902-1967  Langston Hughes was an accomplished writer in almost every form and genre, and one of the first African Americans to earn a living from writing professionally. He captured the essential voice of jazz and the blues in his poetry, and used it to express the anguish, joy, and exhilaration of black life in America.
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Josh Gibson

Jul 27th, 2011 | By
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1911-1947  Josh Gibson was widely believed to be the greatest home run hitter of his time, and possibly of all time. Tragically, he was unable to participate in major league baseball due to discrimination against African Americans. He died just three months before the sport’s integration. Sandlot Star Gibson was born in Buena Vista, Georgia,
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Ethel L. Payne

Jul 26th, 2011 | By
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1911-1991  Ethel L. Payne combined a passionate concern for the rights of black people in all parts of the world with a talent for investigative reporting and writing. She became the leading African American journalist of her time, and a tireless supporter of civil rights. With the Help of a Diary Payne was born in
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Jelly Roll Morton

Jul 25th, 2011 | By
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1890-1941  Jelly Roll Morton brewed a gumbo of musical styles including New Orleans traditional, ragtime, blues, minstrel shows, hymns, spirituals, and classical genres to help create jazz. He was a prolific composer and one of the first to capitalize on the growing market for sheet music, and to master the art of creating music for
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Charlie “Bird” Parker

Jul 24th, 2011 | By
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1920 – 1955  Charlie Parker, widely known as “Bird” (both for his free lifestyle and affinity for chicken), was one of the creators of the jazz genre “bebop.” Along with Dizzy Gillespie and other musical pioneers, he created a new style of improvisation and composition that altered the entire jazz form, and inspired a generation
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Patricia Roberts Harris

Jul 23rd, 2011 | By
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1924-1985  Patricia Harris worked her way up from modest origins to become a trail-blazer for African Americans and women in the federal government at the highest levels. She served two Presidents in numerous roles, and achieved notable results in striving for improvements in housing and services for poor people and equitable treatment for women. Early
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John W. Coltrane

Jul 22nd, 2011 | By
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1926 – 1967  John Coltrane, widely known as “Trane,” was the finest tenor saxophonist of his era, a superb composer, and the leading experimentalist among the “free jazz” avant garde. His stunning innovations, infused with spiritual urgency, changed the direction of music and have inspired legions of fans, critics, and musicians to this day. Early
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