Black History Month 29 People to Celebrate (Leap Year Edition)


It’s that time again for me to celebrate the great African Americans who have paved, and still are paving, the way for myself and others to be happy, free and successful. It’s Black History month and here are just a few people I’d like to acknowledge.

  1. Glenda “Peggy” Pate-My beautiful, favorite and only sister who’s a strong woman, advocate, mother, daughter and grand-mother. She will retire this year with 44 years from Wright Patterson Air Force Base. Congrats sister, love you!
  2. Doris “Dorie” Miller-American sailor in the United States Navy. Manned anti-aircraft guns during Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 for which he had no training and tended to the wounded.
  3. David Paterson-The 55th Governor of New York State, first governor of African American heritage and the second legally blind governor of any U.S. state.
  4. Curtis Pride-A former Major League Baseball outfielder who’s deaf.
  5. Leslie Irby-The first African American women with a disability to receive a pilot’s license.
  6. Carolyn Knight-Executive Director of the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council. Strong woman and advocate who’s committed to enhancing lives of people with disabilities.
  7. Mary Beatrice Davidson-Because she created that product which would change a woman’s life forever. It was first rejected due to discrimination, but 30 years later, it was accepted in 1956 because of its importance.
  8. Letitia Perry-Morning and noon anchor for News Center 7.
  9. Lula O. Carter-My cousin who in 1960 received a U.S. patent for the “portable nursery chair”.
  10. Reverend De Soto Bass-Clergyman and teacher known in the Dayton, Ohio community for his good works who had the first public housing development named after him.
  11. Sidney Poitier-First black actor to win an Academy Award in the Best Actor category.
  12. Kim Adams-Long-time co-worker at Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley who’s also a bible study teacher. She always has a good word and whenever I see her, she brightens my day!  
  13. Thomas Bankston-Former Executive Director of United Cerebral Palsy of Dayton. First black man I ever seen who held an executive position and he influenced my life greatly.
  14. Richard Pryor-First African American stand-up comedian to host Saturday Night Live.
  15. Lena King-Part of 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, the first all -black Women’s Army Corp unit deployed to Europe during WWII.
  16. Wynton Marsalis-An American virtuous trumpeter, composer, teacher and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center.
  17. Misty Copeland-American ballet dancer. First African American female principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre.
  18. Daryl Mitchell-Actor who uses a wheelchair due to a motorcycle accident and is paralyzed. Currently has a role on the show, NCIS, New Orleans.
  19. Tyler Perry-Producer and actor who owns his own studios.
  20. Nia Franklin-Miss America 2019.
  21. Cheslie Kryst-Miss USA 2019.
  22. Kaliegh Garris-Miss Teen USA 2019.
  23. Zozibini Tunzi-Miss Universe 2019
  24. Danielle Outlaw-First African American woman to be Portland’s police chief.
  25. Don Barden-First African American to own a luxury hotel.
  26. Haben Girma-A Lawyer who’s deaf and blind. Advocates for inclusion in both education and Hollywood.
  27. Rap Hankins-Former Trotwood, Ohio Council Member, Member of Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley Board and a person with a disability.
  28. Bryan Stevenson-An American lawyer, social activist, founder/executive of the Equal Justice Initiative and a clinical professor at New York University School of Law. Stevenson’s focus was to help prove the innocence’s of many minorities in the criminal justice system in Alabama. He was depicted in the 2019 film, Just Mercy.
  29. Susie Hines-My beloved neighbor who gave me a valuable piece advice, “Shari, never take any wooden nickels”. Love you Mrs. Hines. Gone but not forgotten, rest in peace.

Hope you have enjoyed learning about these amazing people. Feel free to add to the list.


12 comments on “Black History Month 29 People to Celebrate (Leap Year Edition)

  1. Dave Burrows on

    Shari, I would put you on the list. You advocate for so many people. You speak and give a message that is motivating and encouraging. You make everyone you come in contact with better.
    Thank you Shari. I am so lucky to have met you and work with you.

  2. Kim on

    Of course, YOU, Shari Cooper should be on the list!
    And, I would also add my boss, our CEO here at Five Rivers Health Centers, Gina McFarlane-El. Years ago she had a vision to form a non-profit, federally-qualified health center here in the Dayton area that would provide high-quality, respectful healthcare to our community. Eight years later, she is still leading us toward the future, helping us grow and provide more opportunities to serve more patients, regardless of their financial situation. Creative, inspiring, determined, funny, refreshing, and smart as heck!
    Those who haven’t met her…should!!

    • Shari L Cooper on

      I met Gina McFarlane when she visited GESMV a year ago. She was a delight and I’m so glad her vision came into existence for she helping many people.

  3. Jerome Haney on

    Shari I rejoice in seeing the name of Rev. DeSoto Bass, whom was the pastor of First Wesleyan Methodist Church. This housing complex was originally for Army Families, and it just so happens that my family was of the United States Army. My mother siblings and I were residents, because my mother did want to consider us, as “Army Brats, and/or “Nomads.” Those were her terms. Also during this month of African American History, our church Zion Baptist is celebrating its 150th year, of which I have the honor of being Co-Chair of the Worship, Praise and Celebration. When I was a student at Belmont High School in my Sophomore year, former Mayor Rhine McLin was my “Negro History,” teacher. It was then that I learn more of my heritage outside of my family. I am eternal grateful to have been her student, Due to her diligence in facilitating the learning/instructional process, I attend Wilberforce University, and graduated with a degree in Teacher Education. You can not teach history of any kind, and not include the makers and shakers of all cultures, ethnicities, etc.
    I enjoyed reading this blog as I have enjoyed reading all of your blogs.

    • Shari L Cooper on

      Thanks for sharing. Your teachings are very informational and extraordinary. I’m sure you’re a great leader of the Zion’s Worship, Praise and Celebration!

  4. Tom Reed on

    I enjoy reading about the history of African heritage.
    I believe there is one human race, consisting of many different cultures, and I am excited to learn from the many contributors in this article.

  5. Kim Adams on

    Thank you Shari, you inspire me, you always have kind words with a big smile. thank you because i can look up to you, it feels good when you can look up to someone much younger, it does the heart good.


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