Zora Neale Hurston was born on January 7, 1891, in Notasulga, Alabama. Hurston became one of the most successful and acclaimed African American female writers of the 20th century. Over a career that spanned more than 30 years, she published four novels, two books of folklore, an autobiography, numerous short stories, essays, articles, and plays.
Sheyann Webb-Christburg was born on February 17, 1956, in Selma, Alabama. A voice for justice, equality, and self-achievement, Webb-Christburg is a humanitarian, civil rights activist, mentor, and youth advocate. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. named her the “Smallest Freedom Fighter”. She is the co-author of Selma, Lord, Selma: Girlhood Memories of the Civil Rights Days.
Sylvester Croom, Jr. was born on September 25, 1954 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home of the University of Alabama Crimson Tide. However, he made history when he led his football team onto Scott Field welcomed by ringing cowbells and the thundering roar of 50,000 maroon and white Bulldog fans yelling “Go Dogs!”
Dr. Herman Hodge Long, president of the United Negro College Fund from 1970-1975, adopted the tagline "A mind is a terrible thing to waste", one of the most famous and apropos mottos created for any institution. Dr. Long was a scholar, researcher, college administrator, and author of several pioneering studies dealing with race relations.
Dr. Juanakee Adams was born in Detroit, Michigan on September 25. She received an Advanced College Preparatory Diploma from John Carroll High School in Birmingham, Alabama and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana.
John Mitchell, Jr. was born in Mobile, Alabama on October 14, 1951. In 1971, he became the first African American to play varsity football for the University of Alabama. In his second season he became the team’s first African American co-captain.
Onnie Lee Logan was born in Marengo County, Alabama near the city of Sweet Water circa 1910. She was an extraordinary woman and midwife, who became a folk hero when her life story was published, Motherwit: An Alabama Midwife’s Story, in 1989.
Louis J. Willie, Jr. was born on August 22, 1923, in Fort Worth, Texas. Willie was a successful business executive who helped break the color barrier in business and sports circles. He was the first African American to be admitted to several segregated social and civic clubs in Birmingham, Alabama.
Dr. Shelley Stewart was born in the Rosedale section of Birmingham, Alabama on September 24, 1934. Stewart’s background can be understood in two words - obstacles overcome. Today he is a successful businessman, however as a child, his future was anything but bright.
J. Gary Cooper was born on October 2, 1936, in Lafayette, Louisiana. Cooper’s remarkable journey of service to our state and country began in 1958, when he was commissioned second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps.
Percy Sledge was born in Leighton, Alabama on November 25, 1940. Growing up in rural Alabama, Sledge never imagined that a simple melody he constantly hummed would eventually lead to his first single and cement his place in music history.
Fred David Gray, a native of Montgomery, Alabama, was born on December 14, 1930. He was a pivotal player in the civil rights movement, with a legal career spanning more than 59 years. One of Gray’s most notable cases was Williams v. Wallace.