A legendary country singer, he’s one of the few African American men to gain mainstream success in a predominantly white music category. On RCA records, his sales are only second to Elvis Presley. Oh yea, and he’s a minority owner of the Texas Rangers Baseball Team.
An inventor, ex-slave, and ex-railroad worker, this innovator patented a few devices. This includes an improvement on the railroad coupler, which automated the very dangerous job of hooking railroad cars together, a lesson he learned as he lost a leg from a previous coupling accident. His invention would save many railroad workers’ lives & limbs.
A trailblazer in her time, she was the youngest American playwright to win a New York Critics’ Circle award (while being the first African-American to do so). You may recognize her work, as she was the writer of the Broadway hit, “A Raisin in the Sun”.