28 People to Celebrate (Black History Month)

February is Black History Month. In honor of this month, I chose 28 African-Americans to honor and celebrate.  I believe that they have changed the world by their advocacy and impacted the world for the better.

  1. Erma S. Cooper (my mom)- Erma Cooper was tasked and successfully completed raising six children after her beloved husband (my veteran and hard-working father Sam) of 28 years passed away. She is our rock, strongest woman, Christian, friend, motivator and advocate.
  2. Barak Obama- The first African-American President of the United States.
  3. Michelle Obama-America’s first African-American first lady.
  4. Oprah Winfrey- Philanthropist, talk show host, actress and much more. Oprah’s talk show was highest ranked to date.  
  5. Simone Biles- An Ohioian and advocate. She was the first African-American Olympian gymnast winning gold in the all-around women’s competition. Simone was diagnosed with ADHD and her mother suffered with substance abuse.  She overcame many obstacles to be who she is now.
  6. Paul Roberson- An American known for his great bass baritone and spiritual singer.
  7. Shonda Rhines- Shonda who I share a birthdate with on January 13th, is the television producer of highly watched shows including; How to Get Away with Murder, Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy.
  8. Steve Harvey- Steve was once homeless, but now an author, comedian, and talk show host of the hilarious game show Family Feud. He Supports outreach for mentoring fatherless youth.
  9. Beyonce- In 2014 became the highest-paid black musician in history.
  10. Floyd Mayweather Jr.- Boxer and 1996 Olympian. Retired with an impressive undefeated record of 50-0.
  11. Toni Braxton- A international star and Grammy award winner. Toni’s son Diezel has autism and she’s a spokesperson for the organization, Autism Speaks.
  12. Queen Latifha- First female hip-hop recording artist to get nominated for a an Oscar.
  13. Kevin Hart- Comedian and actor who donated $250.000 to the Philadelphia School District.
  14. Tracce Ellis Ross- In 2016 nominated for best performance by an actress for a Golden Globe. This nominations for an African-American woman has been in 30 years.
  15. Tarji P. Henson- Actress, author, and star of the television show Empire. Tarji plays the flamboyant Cookie in the show which was her nickname in college. She’s also the spokesperson for MAC Cosmetics Viva Glam Campaign which raises funds for HIV/Aids.
  16. Anthony Anderson- Actor and served as executive director on the sitcom, Black-ish. Anderson suffers with Type 2 Diabetes and is very active in diabetes awareness.
  17. Sterling K. Pirece- Plays Randall Pearson on the television drama This Is Us. Pirece, became the first African-American actor to win a Golden Globe in the best actor in a TV drama category.
  18. LeBron James- Akron, Ohio Native; was the first-round NBA draft pick in 2003 to the Cleveland Cavaliers. James formed his own foundation the LeBron James Family which is based in Akron. It supports scholarships to the University of Akron;  I Promise is a program that helps children to retain information easily and stay in school.
  19. Muhammad Ali- Boxing legend (The Greatest)! Ali created the Ali Care Program that helps people suffering from Parkinson’s disease that cannot afford treatment.
  20. Tiffany Haddish- Made her breakthrough in the 2017 blockbuster film, Girls Trip and was the first black female stand-up comedian to host Saturday Night Live.
  21. Cam Newton- Quarterback for NFL’s Carolina Panthers and only player in modern era to win the Heisman Trophy. He is a national championship and become the number one draft pick in the NFL.
  22. Kim Kimble- Celebrity stylist. Clients include; Beyonce, Halle Berry and Mary J. Blige.
  23. Kerry Washington- Actress/activist who gave a stirring speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Washington also supports the rights of the LBGT community and Women’s Cancer Programs.
  24. The Rich Boys- Amir and Ace are kid designers and co-owners of their company. Their focus is to design clothes that are “fly” and affordable.
  25. The Wade Quads Brothers- The Ohio brothers, all were accepted to Ivy League colleges including Yale and Harvard.
  26. Samuel L. Jackson- Overcame stuttering to become one oft the most sought after actor in Hollywood.
  27. John Lewis- Congressmen of Georgia’s 5th district and integral part of the Civil Rights Movement.
  28. Debra L. Lee- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Black Entertainment Television (BET).

Feel free to comment and add to the list.  Happy Black History Month!


4 comments on “28 People to Celebrate (Black History Month)

  1. Dave Burrows on

    Great list Shari, here are a few more:
    Martin Luther King
    Paul Lawrence Dunbar (Dayton Ohio native)
    Rosa Parks
    George Washington Carver
    Jackie Robinson

      • Donald Bush on

        Great list, Shari. Indeed, Morher Cooper warrants being listed first. Here are a few other individuals who helped change Dayton’s history to celebrate:

        – Rev. Desoto Bass, who among being a minister of the Gospel, led a group of singing parties to sing spirituals throughout the halls of Dayton hospitals every Sunday for 27 years.

        – Ms. Mabel Evens who was the first black female to serve on the YWCA Board of Directors

        – Mrs. Lelia Iles Frances who ran against CJ Mclin for the 88th District seat and forced him to have a Sidewalk Debate when she arrived at his office with a hammer to ‘nail his voting record to his office door.’ She also was the first black realtor in Dayton and the second in the nation. Mrs. Frances also was arrested for leading a demonstration against Rike-Kumler to hire individuals who were black.

        – Mr. Russell Carter who served as the first black Prosecutor and Judge in Dayton. He also sued the Biltmire Hotel for preventing Ederal Judge William Hastie (who later became the first black to serve as Governor of the US Virgin Islands) to register as a guest at the hotel.

        – Dr. Edward Bennett who was the first black Surgeon at Miami Valley Hosputal

        – Dr. Roger Taylor who was the first black Intern at Miami Valley Hospital

        – Ms. Idotha “ Bootsie” Neal who was the first black woman elected to the Dayton City Commission.

        There are so many individuals, including one Ms. Shari Cooper (advocate and activist) of the black race whose contributions to Dayton and the world go forgotten and unnoticed.



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