Think About It, This could have been...
At one time in our history, this could have happened to some of the most influential African Americans of our lifetime!
Barack Hussein Obama II ( born August 4, 1961) is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama was the junior United States Senator from Illinois from January 2005 until November 2008, when he resigned after his election to the presidency.
|Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., January 17, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.) is a retired American boxer and three-time World Heavyweight Champion. As an amateur, he won a gold medal in the light heavyweight division at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. As a professional, he was the youngest boxer ever to take the heavyweight title from a reigning champ (a record that stood until 1986), and later became the first to win the lineal heavyweight championship three times. In 1999, Ali was crowned "Sportsman of the Century" by Sports Illustrated and "Sports Personality of the Century" by the BBC.|
|Denzel Washington Denzel Hayes Washington, Jr. (born December 28, 1954) is an American actor, screenwriter, director and film producer. He has garnered much critical acclaim for his work in film since the 1990s, including for his portrayals of real-life figures, such as Steve Biko, Malcolm X, Rubin Carter, Melvin B. Tolson, Frank Lucas and Herman Boone. Washington has been awarded three Golden Globe awards and two Academy Awards for his work. He is notable as the second African American man (after Sidney Poitier) to win the Academy Award for Best Actor, which he received for his role in the 2001 film Training Day.|
|Micheal Jordan Michael Jeffrey Jordan (born February 17, 1963) is a retired American professional basketball player and active businessman. His biography on the National Basketball Association (NBA) website states, "By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time." Jordan was one of the most effectively marketed athletes of his generation and was instrumental in popularizing the NBA around the world in the 1980s and 1990s.|
|Kobe Bryant (born August 23, 1978(1978-08-23)), frequently referred to simply as Kobe, is an American All-Star shooting guard who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Bryant enjoyed a successful high school basketball career and made instant headlines when he decided to go directly into the NBA upon graduation. Bryant and then-teammate Shaquille O'Neal led the Lakers to three consecutive|
Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Jr. (born August 14, 1959) is a retired American professional basketball player who was a point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). After winning championships in high school and college, Johnson was selected first overall in the 1979 NBA Draft by the Lakers. He won a championship and an NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award in his rookie season, and won four more championships with the Lakers during the 1980s. Johnson retired abruptly in 1991 after announcing that he had HIV, but returned to play in the 1992 All-Star Game, winning the All-Star MVP Award. After protests from his fellow players, he retired again for four years, but returned in 1996 to play 32 games for the Lakers before retiring for the third and final time.
Johnson's career achievements include three NBA MVP Awards, nine NBA Finals appearances, twelve All-Star games, and ten All-NBA First and Second Team nominations. He led the league in regular-season assists four times, and is the NBA's all-time leader in assists per game with an average of
11.2. Johnson was also a member of the "Dream Team", the U.S. basketball team that won the Olympic gold medal in 1992.
Johnson was honored as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996, and enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002. He was rated the greatest NBA point guard of all time by ESPN in 2007
|Tiger Woods Eldrick Tont "Tiger" Woods (born December 30, 1975) is an American professional golfer whose achievements to date rank him among the most successful golfers of all time. Currently the World No. 1, he was the highest-paid professional athlete in 2008, having earned an estimated $110 million from winnings and endorsements. Woods has won fourteen professional major golf championships, the second highest of any male player, and 67 PGA Tour events, third all time. He has more career major wins and career PGA Tour wins than any other active golfer. He is the youngest player to achieve the career Grand Slam, and the youngest and fastest to win 50 tournaments on tour. Woods has held the number one position in the world rankings for the most consecutive weeks and for the greatest total number of weeks. He has been awarded PGA Player of the Year a record nine times, the Byron Nelson Award for lowest adjusted scoring average a record eight times, and has tied Jack Nicklaus' record of leading the money list in eight different seasons. He has been named Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year a record-tying four times, and is the only person to be named Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year more than once. Since his record-breaking win at the 1997 Masters Tournament, golf's increased popularity is attributed to Woods' presence. He is credited for dramatically increasing prize money in golf, generating interest in new audiences as the first person of African American descent to win the Masters, and for drawing the largest TV audiences in golf history.|
|Jim Brown James Nathaniel "Jim" Brown (born February 17, 1936) is an American former professional football player who has also made his mark as an actor and social activist. He is best known for his exceptional and record-setting nine-year career as a running back for the NFL Cleveland Browns from 1957 to 1965. In 2002, he was named by The Sporting News as the greatest professional football player ever.|
|Jackie Robinson Jack Roosevelt "Jackie" Robinson (January 31, 1919 – October 24, 1972) was the first African-American Major League Baseball player of the modern era. While not the first African-American player in major league history, Robinson broke the baseball color line when he debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers organization in the mid-1940s. This ended a nearly sixty-year era of segregation in professional baseball, in which African-Americans were prohibited from competing in Major League Baseball and its affiliated minor league systems, and were thus relegated to the Negro Leagues. Since segregation dominated most aspects of American life at the time, Robinson's baseball career had a major cultural impact beyond sports, and was a significant precursor to the subsequent Civil Rights Movement.Apart from his cultural impact, Robinson had an exceptional baseball career. In ten seasons, he played in six World Series, contributing to a World Championship for the Dodgers in 1955. He was selected for six consecutive All-Star Games from 1949 to 1954, was the recipient of the inaugural MLB Rookie of the Year Award in 1947, and won the National League MVP Award in 1949 – the first black player so honored. Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. In 1997, Major League Baseball conferred a unique honor upon Robinson by retiring number 42, his uniform number, across all major league teams.Robinson was also known for his pursuits outside the baseball diamond. He was the first African-American television analyst in Major League Baseball, and the first African-American vice-president of a major American corporation In the 1960s, he helped to establish the Freedom National Bank, an African-American-owned and -controlled entity based in Harlem, New York. In recognition of his on- and off-field achievements, Robinson was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.|
|Malcolm X (born Malcolm Little; May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965), also known as El-Hajj Malik was an African-American Muslim minister, public speaker, and human rights activist. To his admirers, he was a courageous advocate for the rights of African Americans, a man who indicted white America in the harshest terms for its crimes against black Americans. His detractors accused him of preaching racism and violence. He has been described as one of the greatest and most influential African Americans in history.|
|Spike Lee Shelton Jackson "Spike" Lee (born March 20, 1957) is an American film director, producer, writer, and actor. He also teaches film at New York University and Columbia University. His production company, 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks, has produced over 35 films since 1983. Lee's movies have examined race relations, the role of media in contemporary life, urban crime and poverty, and other political issues. Lee has won an Emmy Award and was nominated for an Academy Award.|
|Ben Carson Benjamin S. Carson, Sr. (born 18 September, 1951) is an American Neurosurgeon and the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008.Benjamin Solomon Carson was born in Detroit, Michigan. His mother, Sonya Carson, had dropped out of school in the third grade and married Robert Solomon Carson, a much older Baptist minister from Tennessee, when she was only thirteen. When Carson was only eight, his parents divorced, and Mrs. Carson was left to raise Benjamin and his older brother, Curtis, on her own. She worked at two, sometimes three, jobs at a time to provide for her boys. Early on Carson experienced difficulty in school, eventually falling to the bottom of his class. He became the object of name calling and subsequently developed a violent, uncontrollable temper. Determined to turn her son’s life around, Carson’s mother limited his television watching and refused to let him go outside to play until he had finished his homework each day. She required him to read two library books a week and to give her written reports on his reading, even though, with her own poor education, she could barely read what he had written. Soon Carson was amazing his instructors and classmates with his improvement. "It was at that moment that I realized I wasn't stupid," he recalled later. Carson continued to amaze his classmates with his newfound knowledge and within a year he was at the top of his class. After determining that he wanted to be a psychiatrist, Carson graduated with honors from high school and attended Yale University, where he earned a degree in Psychology. From Yale, he went to the Medical School of the University of Michigan, where his interest shifted from psychiatry to neurosurgery. His excellent hand-eye coordination and three-dimensional reasoning skills made him a superior surgeon. After medical school he became a neurosurgery resident at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. At the age of 33, he became the hospital's professor and director of Pediatric Neurosurgery.|
|Jack Johnson Arthur John Johnson (March 31, 1878 – June 10, 1946), better known as Jack Johnson and nicknamed the “Galveston Giant”, was an American boxer and arguably the best heavyweight of his generation. He was the first black world heavyweight boxing champion (1908-1915). In a documentary about his life, Ken Burns notes: "For more than thirteen years, Jack Johnson was the most famous and the most notorious African-American on Earth.|
|Martin Luther King Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American clergyman, activist and prominent leader in the African-American civil rights movement. His main legacy was to secure progress on civil rights in the United States and he is frequently referenced as a human rights icon today. King is recognized as a martyr by two Christian churches. A Baptist minister, King became a civil rights activist early in his career. He led the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957, serving as its first president. King's efforts led to the 1963 March on Washington, where King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. There, he raised public consciousness of the civil rights movement and established himself as one of the greatest orators in U.S. history. In 1964, King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end racial segregation and racial discrimination through civil disobedience and other non-violent means. By the time of his death in 1968, he had refocused his efforts on ending poverty and opposing the Vietnam War, both from a religious perspective. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and Congressional Gold Medal in 2004; Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was established as a U.S. national holiday in 1986.|
|Will Smith Willard Christopher "Will" Smith, Jr. (born September 25, 1968) is an American actor, film producer and rapper. He has enjoyed success in music, television and film. Newsweek has called him the most powerful actor on the planet. Smith has been nominated for four Golden Globes, two Academy Awards, and has won multiple Grammys. Smith rose to fame as a rapper under the name The Fresh Prince in the late 1980s and his role in the television series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. His most notable films include Bad Boys and its sequel; Men in Black and its sequel; Independence Day; I, Robot; Ali; The Pursuit of Happyness; I Am Legend; Hancock; and Seven Pounds. He is the only actor in history to have eight consecutive films gross over $100 million in the domestic box office as well as being the only actor to have eight consecutive films open at #1 on the domestic box office as a Lead Actor.|