In Memorium

Addison “Barry” Rand, one of the first black CEOs of a Fortune 500 company

Addison “Barry” Rand became one of the first black CEOs  to head a Fortune 500 company when he assumed leadership at AVIS, the car rental firm, in 1999.  Prior to working at AVIS, Rand spent most of his career at Xerox from the time he graduated from American University. He was a part of the company’s sales team  until he[Read More…]


Nancy Wilson

Nancy Wilson  a three-time Grammy Award-winning singer whose precise intonation and jazz and pop vocals made her one of the country’s most popular performers for the five decades of her musical career died November 29th.  She was 81. Wilson  had a strong following in Europe and also in Japan, where she recorded at least five live albums. At the encouragement of[Read More…]

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin was laid to rest Friday, and the number of individuals who paid tribute in either speech or song was long as they showed their respect in a joyous ceremony  to the “Queen of Soul.” The star-studded celebration began at 10 a.m./EDT Thursday and went late into the afternoon, ending some nine hours later. The funeral was held at[Read More…]

Raven Wilkinson, pioneer ballet dancer

Raven Wilkinson, a classical dancer, was the first African-American woman to perform with a major ballet company, the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, a company she first saw perform when she was five, died December 17. She was 83. Wilkinson began ballet lessons at the age of nine.  At nineteen, she auditioned twice for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo[Read More…]

Kofi Annan, United Nations Secretary General

Kofi Annan, the first black African to serve as United Nations Secretary General, died August 18 at hospital in Bern, Switzerland, following a brief undisclosed illness, the Kofi Annan Foundation reported. Mr. Annan, who was 80, was surrounded by his wife, Nane, and their children, Ama, Kojo and Nina, at the time of his death. He lived in Geneva, Switzerland.[Read More…]

Winnie Mandela

Winifred Madikizela-Mandela, ex-wife of Nelson Mandela, died April 2, Al Jazeera and several other news outlets reported from Johannesburg, South Africa,  near where she lived. Winifred Mandela was 81 years old. “She died after a long illness, for which she had been in and out of the hospital since the start of the year,” Victor Diamini, a family spokesman said[Read More…]

Federal Judge George N. Leighton

Federal Judge George N. Leighton Judge George Leighton, senior judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago, died June 6 in his native Bedford, Massachusetts. Judge Leighton,  was 105 years old. He also served as judge in Cook County, Illinois, and he became the first African American appointed to Illinois Appellate Court. The[Read More…]

The first person to use a computer to design a U.S. Naval ship

Raye Jean Jordan Montague, who revolutionized naval ship design by using a computer, died October 10th at Baptist Medical Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. She suffered from congestive heart failure. Montague is credited with the first computer design of a U.S. Navy Frigate, a type of warship, in 1971. Although computers are ubiquitous today, in the early 1970s, they weren’t.[Read More…]