We are highlighting examples of Black excellence throughout the year! Feel free to send suggestions to Rachel at rstoler@frcog.org.


Black Excellence: Korva Coleman

https://www.witf.org/2022/11/10/nprs-newscaster-korva-coleman-shares-her-story-and-the-inner-workings-of-npr/ Korva Coleman, award winning newscaster for NPR, from Phoenix, Arizona is known for writing, producing, and delivering daily national newscasts airing during NPR’s news magazines, All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Weekend Edition.

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Black Excellence: Kristen Welker

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kristen_Welker Kristen Welker (born July 1, 1976[1]) is an American television journalist working for NBC News. She serves as a White House correspondent based in Washington, D.C.,[2] and served as co-anchor of Weekend Today, the Saturday edition of Today, alongside Peter Alexander from 2020 to 2023. She took over hosting…

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Black Excellence: Arturo Schomburg

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/arturo-schomburg-cookbook The story that Arturo Schomburg would often tell went something like this: When he was a child in late 19th-century Puerto Rico, his 5th-grade teacher told him that Black people had no history, no heroes, and no great moments. The remark filled him with fury. He’d been born to…

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Black Excellence: Marion Turner

https://www.therainbowtimesmass.com/stories-of-our-lgbtqi-ancestors-marion-turner-of-florence-massachusetts-1898-1903/ https://www.masslive.com/news/2012/10/sexual_minority_archives_uncov.html A century before same-sex marriage, the Gay Pride March and RuPaul’s Drag Race reality TV show, Marion Turner walked the streets of Northampton—dressed as a woman.

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Black Excellence: Pauline Black

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pauline_Black Belinda Magnus OBE DL (born 23 October 1953), better known as Pauline Black (Listenⓘ), is an English singer, actress and author. In a music career spanning over 40 years, Black came to prominence in the late 1970s as the lead singer of the 2 Tone ska revival band the…

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Black Excellence: Ebony Williams

https://www.broadwaydancecenter.com/faculty/ebony-williams Boradway Dance Center Teacher Bio Ebony Williams comes from Boston, Massachusetts, where she trained with the Boston Ballet from age eight through high school. She also attended the Roxbury Center for the Performing Arts. She is a May 2005 graduate of the Boston Conservatory with a Bachelor of Fine…

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Black Excellence: Chae Campbell

https://spectrumlocalnews.com/tx/dallas-fort-worth/news/2023/04/18/four-time-all-american-chae-campbell-reflects-on-her-journey-to-become-a-bruin Chae Campbell is a four-time All-American gymnast for the UCLA Bruins She is a Carrollton, Texas, native and grew up watching the 2010 UCLA national championship team, which inspired her to compete for the Bruins herselfCampbell was a main contributor to UCLA’s success this season, reaching the national stage…

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Black Excellence: Leyla McCalla

https://www.npr.org/2022/10/20/1128713485/leyla-mccalla-tiny-desk-concert?ft=nprml&f=1002 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leyla_McCalla Leyla Sarah McCalla[1] (born October 3,[2] 1985)[3] is an American classical and folk musician.[4] She was a cellist with the Grammy Award-winning[5] string band Carolina Chocolate Drops,[6] but left to focus on her solo career.[7]

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Black Excellence: Freddie Taylor

https://sankofaclub.com/bios/ Founder and CEO of Urban Intellectuals and Sankofa Club Visionary, entrepreneur and philanthropist; just a few words that describe, Freddie E. Taylor, founder and CEO of Urban Intellectuals(UI). Spurred by the lack of Black history instruction that his sons received in grammar school, Freddie knew the onus was on…

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Black Excellence: Kara Jackson

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kara_Jackson Kara Jackson is from Oak Park, Illinois and attended Oak Park River Forest High School, where she participated in spoken word.[1][2][3] Jackson also participated in a jazz ensemble at Merit School of Music, and was the Youth Poet Laureate of Chicago in 2018.[4][5][6] She performed at the Louder Than…

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Black Excellence: BLK ODYSSY

https://www.npr.org/2024/01/24/1226124818/tiny-desk-concert-blk-odyssy The BLK ODYSSY aesthetic ignites all of the human senses and it’s impossible to nail down exactly what type of music he makes after one, two or even three listens. When he arrived at NPR headquarters, Juwan Elcock, aka BLK ODYSSY, pulled out a lifelike severed human head made…

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Black Excellence: Chandler Hughes

https://local12.com/news/offbeat/six-year-old-texas-prodigy-joins-mensa-aiming-to-heal-future-doctor-smartest-kids-smart-human-intelligence-cincinnati-special-fraternity-essentially-geniuses-genius-second-grade-reading-level-two-percent-medical-field-exploration-future-society-amazing 6-year-old prodigy joins Mensa, aiming to heal as a future doctor

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Black Excellence: Abdulalim A. Shabazz

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdulalim_A._Shabazz Abdulalim Abdullah Shabazz (May 22, 1927 – June 25, 2014) was an African American Professor of Mathematics. He received the National Association of Mathematicians Distinguished Service Award for his years of mentoring and teaching excellence. President of the United States Bill Clinton awarded Shabazz a National Mentor award in…

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Black Excellence: April Ellis

https://www.usf.edu/marine-science/education/prospective-students/student-blogs-and-vignettes/april-ellis.aspx About my research My research interests primarily include combining marine science and public health. I received my Masters of Public Health in Environmental Health from Emory University in May of 2020. My research specifically focuses on the interaction between microplastics in the ocean and potential human health impacts.

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Black Excellence: Sister Judges

https://www.elle.com/culture/career-politics/a41589469/we-call-ourselves-sister-judges/ On a smothering hot summer day in 2018, 19 Texas women—all of them Black, all of them pillars in the legal community—got in formation for a photoshoot. Sharing knowing nods and confident smiles, they felt another very powerful figure in the room: Beyoncé was booming in the background.

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Black Excellence: Jason Fuller

https://wtop.com/author/jason-fuller/ Jason Fuller is a multifaceted storyteller from Detroit. He obtained his B.A. in communications and double majored in Africana Studies at the University of New Mexico. After graduation, Jason had a one-year fellowship experience rooted primarily in radio journalism and caught the journo bug!

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Black Excellence: Roseline Chukwu Chiuwa, Africana Bowl/Africana Villa in Springfield, MA

https://www.springfield-ma.gov/cos/news-story?tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Bnews%5D=16613&cHash=11c0d8d2ad8a871df589e89b25a24b4f https://africanabowl.com/about-us/ A culinary haven that embraces the soulful essence of Africa. 312 Locust Street, Springfield, MA 01108 413-707-0607

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Black Excellence: Madam C.J. Walker

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madam_C._J._Walker Madam C. J. Walker (born Sarah Breedlove; December 23, 1867 – May 25, 1919) was an African American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and political and social activist. She is recorded as the first female self-made millionaire in America in the Guinness Book of World Records.[1] Multiple sources mention that although other…

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Black Excellence: Dr. Kelechi R. Okoroha

https://www.mayoclinic.org/biographies/okoroha-kelechi-r-m-d/bio-20509737 Kelechi R. Okoroha, M.D., is a fellowship‐trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in Hip Arthroscopy and sports medicine. His clinical focus includes: Hip Arthroscopy Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) Hip Labral repair Shoulder Instability Shoulder Labral repair Cartilage & meniscus restoration surgery ACL reconstruction surgery shoulder replacement surgery Management of injuries in the…

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Black Excellence: Aja Monet

https://www.npr.org/2023/12/01/1215359803/aja-monet-tiny-desk-concert?ft=nprml&f=1039 Djembe. Drums. Piano and bass. A sweeping groove beckoned, welcoming us into the world of surrealist blues poet, Aja Monet. Transformed into a lush garden, the Tiny Desk blooms with the stanzas, sounds and legacy of jazz poetry.

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Black Excellence: Michal Worke

https://www.goodman-gallery.com/exhibitions/johannesburg-gallery-michal-worke-what-we-left-behind-2023 Worke is a Tel Aviv based artist who moved at age three from Ethiopia to Israel (via Sudan) as part of “Operation Moses”, a covert evacuation of Ethiopian Jews to Israel in the 1980s. This experience has profoundly shaped her studio practice. https://collection.africafirst.art/artists/artist/392305

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Black Excellence: Teyonah Parris

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teyonah_Parris Teyonah Parris (/tiˈɒnə/tee-ON-ə;[1] born September 22, 1987)[2] is an American actress. A graduate of Juilliard School, she began acting in 2010. Her first prominent role was playing secretary Dawn Chambers in the AMC drama series Mad Men (2012–2015) and starring in the 2014 independent film Dear White People.

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Black Excellence: Taraja Ramsess

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/movies/movie-news/taraja-ramsess-dead-marvel-stunt-performer-1235638289/ Taraja Ramsess, a stunt performer and set dresser with credits including Fast & Furious, Avengers and Black Panther movies, died on Halloween in a car crash in Atlanta that also claimed the lives of three of his children. He was 41.

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Black Excellence: Bill Withers

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Withers William Harrison Withers Jr. (July 4, 1938 – March 30, 2020) was an American singer and songwriter. He had several hits over a career spanning 18 years, including “Ain’t No Sunshine” (1971), “Grandma’s Hands” (1971), “Use Me” (1972), “Lean on Me” (1972), “Lovely Day” (1977) and “Just the Two…

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Black Excellence: Otherie Love

https://www.sesp.northwestern.edu/news-center/inquiry/2011-fall/alumni-profile.html In 1941 when Otherie Love did her student teaching as a Northwestern University education major, she became the first African American student teacher in the Evanston schools. She recalls that at the school where she taught all the children were black, but all the teachers were white.

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Black Excellence: Felicia W Shaw

https://www.sandiegoracc.org/committee Executive Director, San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition A seasoned professional in the field of nonprofit arts management, Felicia’s career has spanned more than 30 years and has included an executive leadership position with the Regional Arts Commission of St Louis, and director positions with the San Diego…

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