December 17

Reclining Nude by William Tolliver (December 17, 1951 - September 1, 2000)

Charles Vernon Bush (December 17, 1939 – November 5, 2012) was the first African American page of the Supreme Court of the United States (1954), and later was the first to graduate from the Air Force Academy (1963). He also earned an MA in International Relations from Georgetown University (1964) and an MBA from the Harvard Buusiness School (1972). He served in the Air Force until 1970 as an intelligence officer in Viet Nam and as an instructor at  American International College. He then worked in investment banking and as an executive at Max Factor and a number of telecommunication companies.


Barbara Sizemore (December 17, 1927 - June 24, 2004) was chosen as the Superintendent of the Washington DC public school system in 1972, the first African American woman to hold that position in any major school district. She later taught at the University of Pittsburgh and DePaul University, and conducted research on schools that served low-income African-American children. She was a member of NAACP and Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

Edward James Kendrick (December 17, 1939 – October 5, 1992), best known by the stage name Eddie Kendricks, was an American singer and songwriter. Noted for his distinctive falsetto singing style, Kendricks co-founded the Motown singing group The Temptations, and was one of their lead singers from 1960 until 1971. His was the lead voice on such famous songs as "The Way You Do The Things You Do", "Get Ready", and "Just My Imagination".

William Tolliver (December 17, 1951 - September 1, 2000) was a self-taught painter from Mississippi who studied art books from the public library as a child and was inspired by the work of Vincent Van Gogh. He worked in the construction trades most of his adult life, and while living in Lafayette,  Louisiana his wife submitted his paintings to a local gallery in 1983. They were sold immediately, and he soon build a national reputation. He created a poster used by the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta; his painting "Transcendence of the Blues," was featured at the New Orleans Jazz Festival and shown around the country.

Transcendent of the Blues by William Tolliver

Kenneth Carleton Frazier (born December 17, 1954) is an American business executive. He is the Chairman, President and CEO of the pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. After joining Merck as general counsel, he directed the company's defense against litigation over the anti-inflammatory drug Vioxx. Frazier is the first African-American to lead a major pharmaceutical company.

Marc Lamont Hill (born December 17, 1978) is an American academic, journalist, author, activist, and television personality. He currently serves as an Associate Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University. Hill is also an affiliated faculty member in African American Studies at the Institute for Research in African American Studies at Columbia University. He hosts the nationally syndicated television show Our World with Black Enterprise and online HuffPost Live.


Queen Anna Nzinga (c. 1583 – December 17, 1663), also known as Njinga Mbande or Ana de Sousa Nzinga Mbande, was a 17th-century queen (muchino a muhatu) of the Ndongo and Matamba Kingdoms of the Mbundu people in Angola. She came to power as an ambassador after demonstrating a proclivity to tactfully diffuse foreign crisis, as she regained control of the Portuguese fortress of Ambaca. Being the sister of the king, Ngola (King) Mbande, she naturally had an influence on political decisions, when the king assigned her to represent himself in peace negotiations with bordering countries. Nzinga assumed control as regent of his young son, Kaza. Today, she is remembered in Angola for her political and diplomatic acumen, as well as her brilliant military tactics.

On December 17, 2014 a South Carolina circuit court judge exonerated George Stinney of the 1944 murder of Mary Emma Thames and Betty June Binnicker after ten years of work by George Frierson, a local historian who grew up in Alcolu where Stinney lived and was convicted. Stinney was the youngest person ever to be legally executed in the United States.

Photo Gallery

Dec 17 1970: Saundra Brown, 28, the first black woman on the Oakland police force gets instructions on how to shoot a shotgun by police rangemaster Adolph Bischofberger. Saundra graduates Friday near the top of her class after 15 weeks of criminal law, report writing, first aid, firearms training and defensive tactics. 'I really feel very confident now,' she said, 'but before I was totally afraid. I didn't want to be around a gun.'"

U.S. boxing legend Muhammad Ali (top) smiles as he stands behind his Daughter Laila Ali, after her super-middleweight fight against Asa Sandell of Sweden in Berlin December 17, 2005

First Lady Michelle Obama sorting toys for the Toys For Tots program at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling December 17, 2010 in Washington, DC.


Count Basie Photographs Singer Toni Harper - Jet Magazine, December 17, 1959

Coretta, Marty and Yolanda King Persusing a Book - Jet Magazine, December 17, 1959


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