CMG Proudly Represents Some of the Greatest Legends.
Join us by Celebrating Black History Month!
Roberto Clemente was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1954 and rose to become the greatest baseball player of his time. During this period, the struggle for social justice had reached every part of our country, and every ballpark. He and many other athletes had to bear the burdens of racial and cultural prejudices, no matter what their abilities were on the field. He faced those burdens with dignity, pride and an empathy for those less fortunate. As for his critics, he silenced them with his amazing bat and miraculous arm. In his 18-year career, he received every possible award given in Major League Baseball. Off the field, he built a reputation as a humanitarian, with a passion to help children through sports. Today he is as well known for his passion for helping others as he is for his passion for baseball.
Dr. Maya Angelou was an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist, best known for her series of seven autobiographies. Through her work, she collaborated with Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X during the Civil Rights Movement. In 1993, she recited her Poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration.
Malcolm X was a prominent African-American minister and nationalist leader, who served as a spokesman for the Nation of Islam during the 1950s and 1960s. Due largely to his efforts, the Nation of Islam grew from a mere 400 members to 40,000 by 1960. He was killed on February 21, 1965, at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan, where he had been preparing for his speech.
Rosa Parks was an activist in the United States’ Civil Rights Movement. She was primarily known for her refusal to give up her bus seat to a white passenger after the whites-only section was filled. U.S. Congress has referred to her as the “First Lady of Civil Rights” and “The Mother of the Freedom Movement.”
David Alexander Paterson is an American politician and member of the Democratic Party who was the 55th governor of New York, succeeding Eliot Spitzer and serving out nearly three years of Spitzer’s term from March 2008 to the end of 2010.
Born January 26, 1892, Bessie Coleman was an American aviator and the first woman of both African American and Native American descent to possess a pilot license. Saving up money to travel to France to become a pilot, she earned her international license in 1921 and later became a show pilot in the United States. Sadly, her career ended abruptly in 1926 when she perished in a plane crash.
Charles W. Follis was the first Black professional American football player. He played for the Shelby Blues of the “Ohio League” from 1902 through the 1906 season. On September 16, 1904, Follis signed a contract with Shelby, making him the first Black man contracted to play professional football on an integrated team. He was also the first Black catcher to move from college baseball into the Negro leagues. To honor Charles Follis, former governor of Ohio John Kasich proclaimed February 3rd, Charles Follis’ birthday, as “Charles Follis Day” each year across the state.
Born on June 23, 1940, in St. Bethlehem, Tennessee, Wilma Rudolph was a sickly child who had to wear a brace on her left leg. She overcame her disabilities to compete in the 1956 Summer Olympic Games, and in 1960, she became the first American woman to win three gold medals in track and field at a single Olympics. Later in life, she formed the Wilma Rudolph Foundation to promote amateur athletics.
Huey Percy Newton was born in Monroe, LA and later moved with his parents to Oakland, CA. Newton graduated from high school without having acquired literacy, but he later taught himself to read. He attended a variety of schools including Merritt College before eventually earning a Bachelor’s degree and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Santa Cruz. During his tenure at Merritt College, Newton joined the Afro-American Association and helped get the first African American History course adopted into the college’s curriculum. In October 1966, Newton and Bobby Seale co-founded the Black Panther Party for Self Defense (BPP) and crafted the Party's ten-point manifesto. They decided that Seale would be the Chairman and Newton would be the Minister of Defense. Many of the Party’s principles were inspired by Malcolm X and his views.
Toni Stone, born as Marcenia Lyle Stone in West Virginia, was the first of three women to play professional baseball full-time for the Indianapolis Clowns, in the previously all-male Negro leagues. This also made her the first woman to play as a regular on an American big-league professional baseball team. A baseball player from her early childhood, she went on to play for the San Francisco Sea Lions, the New Orleans Creoles, the Indianapolis Clowns, and the Kansas City Monarchs before retiring from baseball in 1954. Stone was taunted at times by teammates, once being told, “Go home and fix your husband some biscuits,” but she was undeterred. It has been widely reported that during an exhibition game in 1953, she hit a single off a fastball pitch delivered by legendary player Satchel Paige, although this is also disputed.
Archie Moore was the undisputed Light Heavyweight Champion of the World from December 1952 to May 1962. Moore’s post-boxing career may have been more impressive than his enormous accomplishments in the ring. His Any Boy Can program provided hope and direction to thousands of underprivileged youth in San Diego and all over the country. In 1981, his friend, President Ronald Reagan, asked him to replicate his program for the entire country under the title of Project Build. An important figure in the Black community, Moore was involved in African American causes throughout his life and had close relationships with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X among others. He also established himself as a successful character actor in television and film.
Born on July 10, 1943 in Richmond, Virginia, Arthur Ashe was an American professional tennis player. He became the first, and only, African-American male to win the U.S. Open and Wimbledon. He is also remembered for raising awareness about AIDS.
Born on May 13, 1914 in Alabama, Joe Louis was a professional American boxer. In 1937, he became boxing’s heavyweight champion after defeating James J. Braddock and, a year later, knocked out Max Schmeling in the first round of his match, which made him a national hero. After his retirement, he served as a referee for wrestling and boxing matches.
Born on May 3, 1921 in Ailey, Georgia, Sugar Ray Robinson was an American boxer. He began his professional career in 1940 and won his first 40 fights. By 1958, he became the first boxer to win a divisional world championship five times. He finished his career in 1965 with 175 victories.
Aaliyah Dana Haughton, widely known as Aaliyah, was a talented and influential American singer, actress, and model. Aaliyah's passion for music was evident from a young age, and she began singing at the age of five. Her parents recognized her exceptional talent and supported her aspirations in the entertainment industry. At the age of 12, Aaliyah signed a contract with Jive Records and released her debut album. Aaliyah's success extended beyond music, as she made her acting debut in the 2000 film "Romeo Must Die," alongside Jet Li. The movie's soundtrack featured her iconic song "Try Again," which topped the charts and earned her a Grammy nomination. Aaliyah's contributions to music and film left an indelible mark on the industry, solidifying her status as an icon. Her influence is seen in the work of many contemporary artists, and her music remains timeless, ensuring that her legacy will live on for generations to come.
Born on October 21, 1917, Dizzy Gillespie will always be remembered for his bent trumpet and his puffy cheeks while playing. Gillespie played in numerous styles of jazz, but is most remembered for his contributions to bebop and Afro-Cuban music. Though he tragically passed on January 6, 1993, he lives on as one of the most important jazz legends of the bebop era.
Josephine Baker was a trailblazing singer, dancer, and actress. Achieving fame in France in the 1920s, she became the first African-American woman to star in a major motion picture. Beyond her entertainment career, Baker was a fierce advocate for civil rights, refusing to perform for segregated audiences and later working as a spy for the French Resistance during World War II. Her legacy endures as a symbol of talent and courage, and she remains an inspiration in both the worlds of entertainment and activism.
Born February 27, 1897 in Philadelphia, Marian Anderson displayed vocal talent as a child, but her family could not afford to pay for formal training. Members of her church congregation raised funds for her to attend a music school for a year, and in 1955, she became the first African American singer to perform as a member of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.
Oscar Brown, Jr was an American singer, songwriter, playwright, poet, civil rights activist, and actor. He ran unsuccessfully for office in both the Illinois state legislature and the U.S. Congress. Brown wrote numerous songs (only 125 have been published), 12 albums, and more than a dozen musical plays.
Born on October 10, 1917, Thelonious Monk was an American jazz pianist and composer. Known for his unique improvisational style in jazz and his talent playing around the piano he was known for his music in the bebop era. Many would say he was one of the first to create the modern era of jazz. Unlike the jazz stereotype, Thelonious was a devoted father to his family. Monk is one of the most-recorded jazz composers of all time and he was the third musician to be on the cover of Time Magazine. He died of a stroke on February 17, 1982, and later awarded Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Fayard and Harold Nicholas constituted what was, without a doubt, the most talented and spectacular power tap-dancing duo in the history of show business. They grew up in Philadelphia where their parents played in the orchestra at the Standard Theatre, a vaudeville house for blacks. The brothers were soon in vaudeville themselves, billed initially as the Nicholas Kids. By 1932, they had graduated to the renowned Cotton Club in Harlem, where, for the next two years, they delighted the all-white audiences and rubbed shoulders with great black entertainers such as Ethel Waters, Duke Ellington, and Cab Calloway.
Dorothy Jean Dandridge was an American actress, singer, and dancer. She is the first African-American film star to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress, which was for her performance in Carmen Jones. Dandridge performed as a vocalist in venues such as the Cotton Club and the Apollo Theater.
Ossie Davis was born in Cogdell, Georgia. He graduated high school in Waycross, Georgia, and attended Howard University. In 1939, he began his career as a writer and actor with the Rose McClendon Players in Harlem. Mr. Davis received many honors and citations, including the N.Y. Urban League Frederick Douglass Award, the NAACP Image Award, the National Medal of Arts, and the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. In December 2004, Mr. Davis was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors.
An acclaimed actor and author, Ruby Dee graced the stage and screen for more than seventy years. Although born in Cleveland, Ohio, Ms. Dee considered herself a product of Harlem, where she grew up and began her career as a member of the American Negro Theatre. She received her B.A. from Hunter College, and later studied acting with Paul Mann, Lloyd Richards, and Morris Carnovsky. In 1988, Ms. Dee was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame. With Mr. Davis, she was inducted into the NAACP Image Award Hall of Fame, awarded the Silver Circle Award by the Academy of Television Arts and Science, the National Medal of Arts Award, and the Screen Actors Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In December 2004, Ms. Dee was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors.
Lady Chablis, also known as The Grand Empress and The Doll, was an American actress, author, and transgender club performer. Through exposure in the bestselling nonfiction book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and its 1997 film adaptation, she became one of the first trans performers to be introduced to a wide audience.
Notorious for his frank, tell-it-like-it-is style, Redd Foxx broke new ground for minorities and comedians alike. By joking about everything from sex to color barriers, he brought simmering and taboo issues out into the open. His candor onstage not only jump-started what is now considered a war with censors, but also inspired and enabled other comedians to achieve more than had ever been possible. Foxx was not only “The King of Comedy,” but also a talented artist. He took a sketchbook with him whenever possible, and enjoyed creating his own fantastic images or capturing the essence of those whom he loved or admired.
Clerow “Flip” Wilson might not be a household name to millennials, but to the generation that grew up with disco and the Beatles, Wilson is a fondly remembered comedian who broke social barriers and won the hearts of countless Americans along the way. Wilson’s legacy truly launched with Johnny Carson invited him to star on The Tonight Show. Continuing his prime-time ascension, he appeared on Laugh-In and The Ed Sullivan Show, where he captivated even more audiences and established a name for himself. As a black comedian in the sixties and seventies, he was a social trailblazer who helped tie the strands of a disparate culture.
Herbert Rogers Kent was “the longest-running DJ in the history of radio”, a radio personality in Chicago, Illinois, for more than seven decades. As a high school student, Kent began hosting a classical music program for Chicago’s WBEZ.
Those who helped make a difference
Benny Goodman was one of the first musicians to have an interacial band. He was instrumental in giving African-Americans a chance to shine as a performer in his band when nearly all music groups were segregated and did not perform together. Mr. Goodman chose African-American Teddy Wilson as his pianist in his jazz trio and from there, he added more and more African-Americans. This was groundbreaking not only in the music industry, but for the world in general. He knew that music is the universal language of the arts and nothing more than a musician’s talent was important. One of the most pivotal points in musical history was Benny Goodman’s 1938 Carnegie Hall performance which was unlike any other before. Jazz was brought to the main stage through the collaboration of black and white musicians playing together to create a historical performance and recording. Just like black and white keys on a piano, the black and white musicians played together in perfect harmony. Only the music mattered, not the color of skin.
Alan Freed was instrumental in getting African-Americans rhythm and blues records to be played on the airwaves of a major radio station, WJW in Cleveland. This opened the door to audiences who were not familiar with the music at the time.
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