Wednesday, November 22, 2017
The Departed 2008
By Yussuf Simmonds (Managing Editor)
Published January 1, 2009

"They're gone but their memories still linger on"

JANUARY: ERNIE "ARROWHEAD" HOLMES–won two super bowls as anchor of Pittsburgh Steelers. (1/17)

FEBRUARY: JOHNNIE CARR–succeeded Dr. King as head of MIA in 1967 until her death. (02/22). She was 97.

BUDDY MILES–drummer for Jimi Hendrix and leader of the Buddy Miles Express. He was instrumental in setting the tone of the music culture during the turbulent sixties. (2/26)

KATOUCHA NIANA–first African woman to gain international stardom as a model. (2/?)

HENRIETTA BELL WELLS–the first Black woman on the debate team that was portrayed in "The Great Debaters." (2/27)

MARCH:  IVAN DIXON–Best known as Sgt. James Kinchloe in Hogan's Heroes and for his poignant performance in "Nothing But A Man," he was a prominent activist in Hollywood. (3/16)

ARBELLA P. EWING–When she died at 114 years old, she was the oldest person in Texas; the second oldest person in the United States and the third oldest person in the world. (3/22)

APRIL: AIME CESAIRE–a proponent of Black pride the stirred anti-colonialist sentiments throughout the world with his writings. His works were of particular significance in Africa and the Caribbean. (4/17)

WILL ROBINSON–the first Black Division I basketball coach and a Detroit Pistons scout. He discovered Dennis Rodman and Joe Dumars. He was 96. (4/28)

MAY: MILDRED LOVING–She was the plaintiff in a landmark case, Loving v Virginia where the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the state of Virginia that its anti-miscegenation laws were racist and had been enacted to perpetuate white supremacy. She was 68. (5/2)

CARDINAL BERNARDIN GANTIN–the highest-ranking Black African in the history of the Catholic Church who traveled extensively in Africa and Europe, and held several prominent posts in the Vatican. His name literally means "iron tree." He was 86. (5/13)

ZELMA HENDERSON–She was one of the original plaintiffs in the 1954 landmark desegregation case, "Brown vs Board of Education," the case that alter the course of discrimination in American society. She was 88 (5/20)

JIMMY MCGRIFF–Famous blues organist called the jazz king on the organ, who also played the saxophone and the bass, but who considered himself a bluesman. (5/24)

JUNE: BO DIDDLEY–The rock and roll hall of fame singer, songwriter and blues musician who referred to himself as the "Originator." He was 79 (6/2)

PATRICIA "PAT" TOBIN–She was the queen of public relations and a pioneering publicist; the go-to person at Pat Tobin & Associates opening doors for an A-list of clients. She was 65. (6/10)

JULY: LEE YOUNG–Young was the first African American hired for a staff position with a Hollywood studio orchestra. He played with some of jazz greats including Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington and Count Basie, and accompanied Nat King Cole, Ethel Waters and Billie Holiday. He was 94. (7/31)

AUGUST: BERNIE MAC–Born Bernard Jeffrey McCullough, he used comedy to fulfill his dreams in life: making people laugh. One of the Original Kings of Comedy, he went on to star in a host of movie and garnered his own television show, "the Bernie Mac Show." He was 50 (8/9)

ISAAC HAYES–He was the first Black man to win an academy award for best movie soundtrack: "Shaft" in 1971. He went on to parlay his rich baritone voice and musical genius to make several albums. In addition, he made about 60 movies and television shows, and connected with the Motherland in a significant way by building a school in Ghana. He was 65 (8/10).

DARREN "BO" TAYLOR–He was a former member of the notorious Crips street gang who changed the direction of his life by founding Unity One, an organization devoted to redirecting the lives of other young people from traveling down the same road he once traveled. He died of cancer at 42. (8/11).

STEPHANIE TUBBS JONES–She was the first Black congresswoman from Ohio. Considered a liberal Democrat, Jones was a strong critic of the invasion of Iraq, she opposed use of military force, and doubted the administration's assertion that Iraq was connected to the 9/11 attacks, and that it was an imminent threat to the United States. She was 58 (8/20).

GENE UPSHAW–He was a NFL Hall of Famer and one of the greatest offensive linesmen for the Oakland Raiders, who won two Super Bowl rings with the team. After retiring from football, Upshaw became one of the strongest advocates for the NFL players union. He was 63 (8/20).

JABIR HERBERT MUHAMMAD–Former business manager of three-time heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali; he took over the management of the champ in 1966 two years after Ali joined the Nation of Islam. He was the third son of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Siater Clara Muhammad. He managed Ali's boxing career for 25 years. He was 79 (8/25).

SEPTEMBER: WARITH DEEN MUHAMMAD–Leader of the American Muslim Mission and son of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Sister Clara Muhammad. He took over the Nation of Islam when his father passed and steered it towards Orthodox Islam. He was 75 (9/9).

TINA ALLEN–World-renowned sculptor who has left a body of work that includes Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Alex Haley, Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth. Allen was a classically trained artist who dedicated her work to the preservation of the African American contribution to American life. She was 52 (9/9).

NORMAN WHITFIELD–Songwriter and producer best known for his work with Berry Gordy's Motown during the 60s. His hits included "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," "Just My Imagination," "War," "Car Wash" and "Cloud Nine." He was an integral part of Motown's "hit factory" as well as one of the major figures in the sub-genre of psychedelic soul. He was 67/68 (9/16)

ROBERT "BOB" JONES–He was a longtime publicist and senior executive for Motown Records for nearly two decades where he left, in 1987, to work for Michael Jackson–MJJ Productions–with whom he had also worked at Motown. Eventually he wrote an unflattering book on the superstar, "The Man Behind the Mask."

OCTOBER: LEVI STUBBS–Lead singer and one of the original members of the legendary "Four Tops," a heavy hitter for Motown Records during the 60s. His soulful voice provided the lead for such tunes as "Baby I Need Your Loving" and "I Can't Help Myself." He was 72 (10/17).

NOVEMBER: JHERYL BUSBY–He was on his way to vote for Senator Barack Obama, who'd become the 44 th President of the United States. The first president of Motown Records after Berry Gordy sold the company. He has a long and stellar career promoting Black entertainers, and working with such labels as MCA, Stax, Casablanca, CBS, A&M and Atlantic Records. He was 59. (11/4).

MIRIAM MAKEBA–Born in Johannesburg in 1932 at the height of apartheid, she became an ambassador for her struggling people with her music. She was banned from returning to her homeland until the walls of oppression came tumbling down in 1994 via the first really free election. She was 73. (11/10)

ETHEL BRADLEY–She was the first lady of Los Angeles for 20 years as the wife of Mayor Thomas Bradley. Many have said that without her, there'd be no Mayor Bradley. She co-founded the Black Women's Forum along with Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Ruth Washington, former publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel. She was 89. (11/25)

DECEMBER: ODETTA–Born Odetta Holmes, her resume listed her as a singer, songwriter, guitarist, actress, and a human rights activist. So profound was her work that she was on of the few legends known only by her first name. Her tradition was folk music and she provided inspiration to a generation of folk singers including Harry Belafonte, Joan Baez and Tracy Chapman. She wanted badly to sing at Obama's inauguration. She was 77. (12/2)

JAMES BEVEL–He was one of Dr. Martin Luther King's most trusted and influential aides and was assisted King at the Southern Christian Conference (SCLC) and in organizing the 1963 March on Washington. He also helped in the Honorable Louis Farrakhan in organizing the Million Man March. He was 72. (12/19)

EARTHA KITT–She rose from a troubled childhood in the South leftto become a world famous entertainer. She was the daughter of a Black/Cherokee woman and a White father, who left the South to seek her fame and fortune–which she did. She made her mark specifically on Broadway. She was 81. (12/25)


Categories: Legends

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