In honor of Black History Month, FOX 2 celebrates the men and women whose imagination, talent, courage, and vision make our world a better place. We’re shining a light on African Americans who serve our communities with compassion. Our honorees stand out in the worlds of business, education, engineering, entertainment, the arts, sports, and many more.
Mary McLeod Bethune
An educator, Mary McLeod Bethune is the founder of NCNW and civil rights activist. She started a private school for African American students in Daytona Beach, FL and was the national adviser to President Franklin D. Roosevelt as part of what was known as his Black Cabinet.
An American abolitionist and political activist, Harriet Tubman was born into slavery. She escaped in 1849 and made thirteen missions to rescue other slaves through the Underground Railroad. In her later years, Tubman was an activist for women’s suffrage.
Born in St. Louis, SZA has won 12 awards from 46 nominations including 9 Grammy nominated songwriter and an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song “All the Stars” from the “Black Panther” soundtrack.
The Bosman Twins
Identical twins trained under the late St. Louis born singer Fontella Bass. Masters of several woodwind instruments, the Emmy Award winning duo are true ambassadors of music.
Marquise hails from St. Louis and a musical family deeply rooted in Blues, mentored under the late great Blues legend Henry James Townsend and nominated for a Blues Music Award for his debut Album.
Dr. Allison C. Nash
This pediatrician is a Navy veteran. She graduated from Northwest High School in 1973. After getting her medical degree, she practiced medicine in the Navy and has been practicing in St. Louis since 1989. Her father, Home Nash, was also a pediatrician who treated many patients of color in St. Louis.
Working towards racial unity and justice as Executive Director of Better Family Life Cultural Educational Business Center, Deborah has received many awards for her efforts in the community, including the “Rosa L. Parks Memorial Community Service Award” at WashU’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration.
Rev. Traci Blackmon
Initially ordained in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Rev. Blackmon served in various ministry capacities for nine years prior to becoming ordained in the United Church of Christ and installed as the first woman and 18th pastor in the 159-year history of Christ The King United Church of Christ.
Daytime Emmy award-winner Sherri Shepherd’s hilarious sense of humor has had audiences laughing out loud for over 20 years. From starring in her own sitcom SHERRI for Lifetime to guest starring in the Emmy award-winning series 30 ROCK, Sherri has brought joy through her comedic voice.
Charles Dickerson III
The founder and conductor of one of the nation’s preeminent youth orchestra’s, Charles holds important compositional and arranging credits. His best-known work is “I Have A Dream,” a choral and orchestral setting of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s landmark speech.
Brehanna Daniels is changing the face of NASCAR as the first black woman to work on a NASCAR pit crew. During college at Norfolk State, she was approached by a NASCAR recruiter for their drive for diversity program to attract women and other underrepresented identities to the sport.
Dr. Wanda Austin
The Interim President of USC and a barrier breaker who is internationally recognized for her work in aeronautics and systems engineering. She is the co-founder of MakingSpace, Inc, a systems engineering and leadership development consultant and motivational speaker, and also led the brain trust for the space program.
Major League Baseball is celebrating the 100th anniversary of an athletic and civil rights icon. Jackie Robinson would have turned 100 on Thursday.
In 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first person of color to play Major League Baseball. He had a decade-long career with a .311 batting average. Jackie’s middle name was Roosevelt, in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt.
Eugene B. Redmond
East St. Louis Poet Laureate Eugene B. Redmond is the Emeritus Professor of English at SIUE. He became the Poet Laureate in 1976.
During Black History Month, we celebrate a former St. Louis Cardinal, outfielder Curt Flood in 1970. Flood helped pave the way for baseball players to become free agents.
The Black Repertory Theatre Company
Ron Himes founded the Black Rep in 1976 and is the producing director to this day. The Theater Company is now featuring plays at the Edison Theater at Washington University. Black Actors from Broadway and the big screen have performed on the Black Rep’s stage.
“Milk Like Sugar” opens tomorrow, February 13th, and runs through March 3rd. Learn more at theblackrep.org.
Hall of Famer Frank Robinson
Major League Baseball announced the death of Hall of Famer Frank Robinson. He died Thursday, February 7th, of bone cancer.
Robinson was the first African American Manager in the Big Leagues with Cleveland. The player-manager led by example, hitting a home run in the first game he managed. To this day, Robinson ranks in the top 10 of players for the most home runs at 586.
Annie Malone was one of America’s first black millionaries.
Born in Metropolis, Illinois, Malone developed a product to straighten black women’s hair while minimizing damage. She moved to St. Louis and founded several locations of Poro Beauty College. She also donated to the St. Louis colored orphans home.
Fox 2 and KPLR 11 are proud media sponsors of the annual Annie Malone Day Parade Fundraiser. This year, it is in downtown St. Louis on May 19th.
Astronaut Ronald McNair
Ronald Erwin McNair was the second black astronaut in space. McNair flew on the space shuttle Challenger in 1984 and again in 1986. In 1986, the Challenger exploded just minutes after liftoff, leaving no survivors.
The families of the fallen astronauts later opened Challenger learning centers across the country, including one in Ferguson.