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African American Department Collection and State Library Resources

African American Marylanders

Compiled below is a listing of prominent Eighteenth, Nineteenth and Twentieth Century African Americans with ties to Maryland. For further information about these individuals, as well as other African Americans and their achievements, a select listing of reference sources is provided.

Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century African Americans

Aldridge, Ira Actor 1807 - 1867
Banneker, Benjamin Inventor, Mathematician 1731 - 1806
Blair, Henry Inventor 1804 - 1860
Coker, Daniel Activist, Colonizationist, Educator, Minister 1780 - 1846
Dorsey, Decatur Army Officer, Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient 1840 - 1914
Douglass, Frederick Abolitionist, Educator 1817 - 1895
Fleetwood, Christian Army Officer, Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient, Editor 1840 - 1914
Garnet, Henry Highland Minister 1815 - 1882
Harper, Francis Ellen Watkins Novelist, Poet, Abolitionist 1825 - 1911
Henson, Josiah Minister 1789 - 1883
Johns(t)on, Joshua Portrait Painter c.1765 - 1830
Lange, Mary Elizabeth Founder of the Oblate Sisters of Providence c.1784 - 1882
Myers, Isaac Businessman, Pioneer labor Leader 1835 - 1891
Payne, Daniel A. Clergyman, Church Historian, Educator 1811 - 1893
Pennington, James W.C. Abolitionist, Clergyman, Teacher 1807 - 1870
Smith, Amanda Berry Educator, Evangelist 1837 - 1915
Still, William Grant Composer 1895 - 1978
Tubman, Harriet Abolitionist, Nurse, Social Reformer, Spy c.1821 - 1913
Ward, Samuel Ringgold Abolitionist, Journalist c.1817 ‑ 1864
Watkins, William Sr. Abolitionist, Educator 1801 - 1858

Twentieth Century African Americans

Baines, Harold Athlete/Baseball 1959 -
Blake, Eubie Musician 1883 - 1983
Brown, Anne Wiggins Singer 1915 -
Calloway, Cab Band Leader, Entertainer 1908 - 1994
Carson, Benjamin Surgeon 1951 -
Chapman, Nathan A. Jr, Investor 1958 -
Clifton, Lucille Author/Poet 1936 -
Cummings, Elijah Politician 1951-
Curbeam, Robert Astronaut 1962 -
Dawes, Dominique Athlete/Gymnastics 1976 -
Day, Leon Athlete/Baseball 1916 - 1995
Du Bois, W.E.B. Educator 1868 - 1963
Dutton, Charles Actor 1951 -
Elder, Clarence L. Researcher, inventor 1935 -
Ennis, Ethel Musician 1932 -
Evans, Damon Actor 1950 -
Fax, Elton C. Artist, Author, Lecturer 1909 - 1993
Gans, Joe Athlete/Boxing 1874 - 1910
Henson, Matthew Explorer 1866 - 1955
Holiday, Billie Musician 1915 - 1959
Hrabowski, Freeman A. III Educator 1950 -
Jackson, Lillie M. Carroll Civil Rights Activist 1889 - 1975
Jackson, Reggie Athlete/Baseball 1946 -
Lacy, Sam Journalist 1903 - 2003
Larkins, Ellis Musician, Piano 1923 -
Leonard, Sugar Ray Athlete/Boxing 1956 -
Lewis, James E. Artist 1923 - 1997
Lewis, Reginald F. Entrepreneur, Philanthropist 1942 - 1993
Long, Avon Actor, Dancer, Singer 1910 - 1984
Marshall, Thurgood Attorney, Jurist 1908 - 1993
McKenzie, Vashti AME Bishop, Minister 1947 -
McMillan, Enolia P. Activist, Educator 1904 - 2006
McNeil, Claudia Actress, Singer 1917 - 1993
Mfume, Kwiesi Civil Rights Activist, Politician 1948 -
Mitchell, Parren Politician 1922 -
Mitchell, Clarence M. Jr. Politician 1911 - 1984
Mitchell, Juanita Jackson Attorney, Civil Rights Activist 1913 - 1992
Moore, Lenny Athlete/Football 1933 -
Murphy, Carl Journalist 1889 - 1967
Murray, Pauli Civil Rights Activist, Lawyer, Priest 1910 - 1985
Muse, Clarence Actor, Director, Singer 1889 - 1979
Peters, Cortez W. Sr. Typist, Founder of Business School 1906 - 1964
Porter, James Amos Artist, Author 1905 - 1970
Quarles, Benjamin A. Historian 1904 - 1996
Rollins, Howard Actor 1950 - 1996
Schmoke, Kurt L. Attorney, Politician 1949 -
Scott, Joyce Artist 1948 -
Smith, Mary Carter Griot 1919 -
Smith, Jada Pinkett Actress 1971 -
Unseld, Westley Athlete/Basketball 1946 -
Watkins, Levi, Jr. Physician, Surgeon 1944 -
Webb, Chick Musician 1909 - 1939
Welcome, Verda Politician 1907 - 1991
Williams, Montel Television Personality 1956? -
Winfrey, Oprah Television Personality 1954 -

 

Selected references for additional African American biographies

Burkett, Randall K., Nancy Hall Burkett and Henry Louis Gates Jr., eds. Black Biography 1970 - 1950: A Cumulative Index. 3 volumes. Alexandria: Chadwyck-Healey, 1991. (E185.96 B52 1990q)

Hine, Darlene Clark, ed. Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia. 2 vols. New York: Carlson Publishing Inc., 1993. (E185.86 .B542 1993Q)

Logan, Rayford W. and Michael R. Winston. Dictionary of American Negro Biography. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1982. (E185.96 .L6q 1982)

Smith, Jessie Carney, ed. Notable Black American Men. Detroit: Gale, 1998. (E185.86 .N68 1999q)

Smith, Jessie Carney, ed. Notable Black American Women. Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1991. (E185.96 .N68 1992q)

Smith, Jessie Carney, ed. Notable Black American Women Book II. Detroit: Gale Research, 1996. (E185.96 .N682 1996q)

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