Check out our list of noteworthy African-American professionals and pioneers that have helped to pave the way for us to achieve anything we set our hearts and minds to accomplish in life. Be sure to listen to the Maddhouse and look over this list in order to answer their trivia questions throughout the month of February for Black History Month!
Count Basie and Ella Fitzgerald are jazz musicians and vocalists who are the first African-Americans to win Grammys
Patricia Bath’s patent was for a method for removing cataract lenses that transformed eye surgery by using a laser device making the procedure more accurate.
Sarah Boone’s ironing board was designed to be effective in ironing the sleeves and bodies of ladies’ garments.
Julius Chambers is an North Carolina lawyer, civil rights leader, and educator and was an intrical part in the Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education case.
Kenneth Chenault is the CEO of American Express since 2001 and the 3rd African-American CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
Ernie Davis is the first African-American to win the coveted Heisman Trophy while playing running back at Syracuse University.
Ronald Demon was issued US patent for a “shoe sole with an adjustable support pattern.
Tony Dungy became the first black NFL Coach to win the Super Bowl in 2007 when his Colts defeated the Bears. Plus, he set a consecutive record of making it to the NFL Playoffs ten times!
Thomas Elkins improved refrigerator design was patented by African American inventor. One unusual fact about Thomas Elkins’ refrigerator was that it was also designed to chill human corpses.
Augustus Jackson was a candy confectioner from Philadelphia who created several ice cream recipes and invented an improved method of manufacturing ice cream around 1832.
Christina Jenkins invented the hair weaving process in the nineteen fifties. She received a patent in 1951 for this process of hair weaving.
Spike Lee is one of the highest paid independent film makers of our time. His movies have been known to delve into race relations and urban/poverty life, while his most famous film, Do The Right Thing, remains a classic in cinematic history.
Earl Lloyd on Oct. 31, 1950 a member of the Washington Capitols, became the first African-American to play in an NBA game when he entered a game against the Rochester Royals.
Hattie McDaniels is the first African-American to win an Academy Award. She won the award for Best Supporting Actress for her role of “Mammy” in Gone with the Wind.
Garret Augustus Morgan, Sr. invented the hair relaxer in 1971.
Clarence Otis Jr. is an American businessman and the CEO of Darden Restaurants, which is known mostly for having Red Lobster chains.
Will Smith became the first ever recipient of a Grammy in the Rap category. He remains one of the highest paid actors both in movies and television.
Mike Tomlin became the youngest head coach in 2009 to lead a team to a victory in the Super Bowl and is the tenth African-American to coach a NFL team.
Phillis Wheatley is the first known African-American woman to publish a book.