100 Influential HBCU Alumni

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Written by Dominique Burns

61. Thurgood Marshall

College: Howard University

Date Graduated: 1933

Major: Law

The first African-American Associate Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall served from 1967 to 1991. He retired during the George H. W. Bush administration and was succeeded by Clarence Thomas. In Brown v. Board of Education, Marshall argued successfully that racial segregation in public education was illegal. He did his undergrad at Lincoln University, and initially did not take his studies seriously, getting suspended twice for hazing and pranks against fellow students. He went on to study law at Howard University School of Law and graduated first in his class. Marshall died in 1993.

62. Colbert King

College: Howard University

Date Graduated: 1961

Major: Government

Colbert Isaiah King is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Washington Post and the deputy editor of the Post’s editorial page. He won the award for commentary and “his against-the-grain columns that speak to people in power with ferocity and wisdom”. King still writes as a columnist for Post. He speaks extensively on politics in the Washington, D.C. area.

63. Evelynn H. Hammonds

College: Spelman College

Date Graduated: 1976

Major: Double major in physics and electrical engineering

A feminist and scholar, Hammond is a professor of history of science, African and African-American studies at Harvard University. She’s the former Dean of Harvard College and the first African-American and the first woman to head the college. She earned a Ph.D. in the history of science at Harvard University.

https://www.pinterest.com/HBCULifestyle/hbcu-alumni-spotlight/

64. Herman Cain

College: Morehouse College

Date Graduated: 1967

Major: Math

Sometimes called the Hermanator, Herman Cain was a Tea Party activist from Georgia and a candidate for the 2012 U.S. Republican Party presidential nomination. He is an author, business executive (he’s credited with successfully reviving the Godfather’s Pizza chain), a radio host, and syndicated columnist. In 2010, Cain addressed more than 40 Tea Party rallies. He has said that he believes Trump is heading in the right direction. Cain is still involved in politics and has spoken about the Supreme Court in 2018.

65. Pam Oliver

College: Florida A&M University

Date Graduated: 1984

Major: Broadcast journalism

A sportscaster known for her work on the sidelines of NBA and NFL games, Pam Oliver was the 2018 Gracie Awards Winner for exemplary contributions in sports. The Gracies recognize programming created by women, for women and about women. Oliver won for Best On-Air Talent in Sports/Entertainment from the Alliance for Women in Media. She is considered one of the most recognizable TV journalists covering the NFL and works as senior correspondent for FOX NFL. A former Florida A&M track star, Oliver faced racism and sexism in the male-dominated field of sports broadcasting. She said she endured name-calling and vulgar insults from coaches.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/28/honda-18-famous-historically_n_1929134.html?slideshow=true#gallery/253526/11

66. Leon Dash

College: Howard University

Date Graduated: 1968

Major: History

Leon Dash is a former reporter of the Washington Post. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1995 for Explanatory Journalism for his eight-part series, “Rosa Lee’s Story,” on a woman and her family’s struggle in the projects of Washington, D.C. Dash is also a founder of the National Association of Black Journalists. He is a professor of journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

https://www.pinterest.com/HBCULifestyle/hbcu-alumni-spotlight/

67. Francena McCoroy

College: Hampton University

Date Graduated: 2010

Major: Psychology

McCoroy is an American track and field athlete. She is known primarily for running the 400 metres, and is the NCAA and American indoor record holder in that event.

https://www.pinterest.com/HBCULifestyle/hbcu-alumni-spotlight/

68. Kellie Wells

College: Hampton University

Date Graduated: 2005

Major: Sports Managementt

 Wells is a track and field athlete who specialises in the 100-metre hurdles. She won an Olympic bronze medal in 2012 at the London Games, setting a personal best in the process.

https://www.pinterest.com/HBCULifestyle/hbcu-alumni-spotlight/

69. Shelby Jenkins

College: Kentucky State University

Date Graduated: 2012

Shelby Jenkins was named Miss Black Kentucky in 2012. Adopted out of foster care when she was an infant, she advocates for foster children. In 2016, she teamed up with Adoption-Share and Warner Brother’s animated film “Storks,” to raise awareness about adoption.

https://www.pinterest.com/HBCULifestyle/hbcu-alumni-spotlight/

70. Alexander Haley

College: Alcorn State University

Date Graduated:

Major:

An author and historical fiction writer, Alex Haley is best known for “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” the 1976 book, “Roots: The Saga of an American Family.” The 1977 “Roots” miniseries was one of the most popular of all time. Haley died February 10, 1992.

https://www.pinterest.com/HBCULifestyle/hbcu-alumni-spotlight/

71. LaSalle D. Leffal Jr.

College: Howard University College of Medicine

Date Graduated: 1952

Major: MD

Leffal is the first black president of the American Cancer Society. He works as a surgeon, oncologist, and medical educator.

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72. Ed Bradley

College: Cheyney University of Pennsylvania

Date Graduated:

Major:

Bradley was a journalist for 26 years, known for his award-winning work on the CBS News TV program “60 Minutes”. He covered the fall of Saigon. Bradley died Nov. 9, 2006.

https://www.pinterest.com/HBCULifestyle/hbcu-alumni-spotlight/

73. Esther Rolle

College: Spelman College

Date Graduated:

Major:

Esther Rolle was an actress best known for her role as Florida Evans on the CBS television sitcom “Maude”, and its spin-off series, “Good Times”. Rolle died Nov. 17, 1998.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/sydneyscott/40-awesome-celebrities-who-attended-hbcus?utm_term=.qoeBBBa6e#.qtqKKKMme

74. Garrett Morris

College: Dillard University

Date Graduated:

Major: Voice and composition

Garrett Morris is a comedian, actor, and singer who was part of the original cast of the sketch comedy program Saturday Night Live, appearing from 1975 to 1980. Morris still performs at comedy shows. He starred in the CBS series, “2 Broke Girls”.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/sydneyscott/40-awesome-celebrities-who-attended-hbcus?utm_term=.qoeBBBa6e#.qtqKKKMme

75. Will Packer

College: Florida A&M University

Date Graduated: 1996

Major: Electrical Engineering

Film producer Will Packer is the founder of Will Packer Productions and Will Packer Media. He produced “Girls Trip”, “Ride Along” and “Think Like a Man” — three films that earned $1 billion combined at the box office. He has been named on several “powerful people” lists.

76. Jacque Reid

College: Clark Atlanta University

Date Graduated:

A journalist, TV and radio personality, Reid is an NBC TV host and co-hosts WNBC’s “New York Live”. She works as a Tom Joyner Morning Show Correspondent and co-hosts the @ReidThisReidThat podcast with her cousin, Joy Reid. She spends her free time as a lifestyle blogger.

https://www.pinterest.com/HBCULifestyle/hbcu-alumni-spotlight/

77. Nikki Giovanni

College: Fisk University

Date Graduated: 1967

Major: History

One of the world’s best-known U.S. poets, Nikki Giovanni has won numerous awards including the Langston Hughes Medal and the NAACP Image Award. She was nominated for a Grammy Award for her poetry album, “The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection” and Oprah named her one of 25 “Living Legends”.

78. Tom Joyner

College: Tuskegee University

Date Graduated:

Major: Sociology

A radio host, Joyner hosts the nationally syndicated “The Tom Joyner Morning Show”. He foudned Reach Media Inc., the Tom Joyner Foundation, and BlackAmericaWeb.com. He still works daily at his radio morning show.https://blackamericaweb.com/playlist/celebs-representing-hbcus/item/494649/

79. Shaun Robinson

College: Spelman College

Date Graduated:

Major:

Robinson is an Emmy award-winning journalist. She hosted “Access Hollywood”, the daily entertainment newsmagazine show, from 1999 to 2015. She was also the host of “TV One Access”, a show on the TV One network. In 2018 she’s hosting fundraisers, producing a film on Lifetime, and was recently part of the tribute to Debra Lee of BET.

80. Cab Calloway

College: Morehouse College

Calloway was a master scat singer, a bandleader, and a regular performer at the Cotton Club in Harlem, New York City. He led one of the most popular big bands in the U.S. in the 1930s to the late 1940s. He continued to perform until his death in 1994 at the age of 86.