African-American Regina Carter began studying violin at the age of 4, but could play the piano by ear at the age of 2. She also studied tap and ballet.
As a teenager, she played in the youth division of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. In high school, Carter performed with the Detroit Civic Orchestra and played in a pop-funk group named Brainstorm.
In addition to taking violin lessons, she also took viola, oboe, and choir lessons.
In December 2001, Regina Carter became the first non-classical musician to play Niccolo Paganini’s highly guarded, handcrafted Guarneri violin , an instrument that dates back to 1743 and is counted among the most precious items in classical music history. Carter was invited to play after the incidents of the September 11 attacks as a gesture of solidarity.
She was both the first jazz musician and first African-American to play the instrument. She used it to record 2003’s ‘Paganini: After a Dream’, an homage to the musician who first owned it that incorporated bop and Latin-inspired arrangements reflecting the violin’s 260-year-old history.
Regina Carter was awarded a MacArthur Fellows Program grant, also known as a “genius grant,” in September 2006. The award includes a grant of $500,000 over five years.
Her latest album, ‘Southern Comfort‘ has her taking her audience on a journey through her family history as it explores the folk music of the south.
African-American Jeanette Jo Epps is an engineer, an CIA intelligence officer, and current NASA astronaut.
After graduating, Epps worked in research at Ford Motor Company, then as a Technical Intelligence Officer with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). She was selected in July 2009 as 1 of 14 members of the 20th NASA astronaut class. She graduated from Astronaut Candidate Training that included intensive instruction in International Space Station systems, Extravehicular Activity (EVA), robotics, physiological training, T-38 flight training and water and wilderness survival training.
Epps earned a Bachelor of Science in Physics from LeMoyne College in 1992, as well as a Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland in 1994 and 2000, respectively. She is the author of several highly cited journal articles describing her research involving extensive testing of composite swept-tip beams, comparative analysis of analytical models and experimental data for shape memory alloys, and the application of shape memory alloy actuators for helicopter rotor blade tracking.
At Ford Motor Company she developed magnetostrictive actuators to reduce vibrations that enter a vehicle via the suspension control arms. Dr. Epps also investigated automobile collision location detection and countermeasure systems, which resulted in the granting of a U.S. Patent.
She was a three time recipient of the Exceptional Performance Award (2003, 2004 and 2008) while she was at the CIA. Dr. Epps is a member of AIAA and the Society for Science and the Public. Dr. Epps is the first Ph.D. graduate of the University of Maryland’s Dept. of Aerospace Engineering to become a NASA Astronaut.
Kenyan-American Edi Gathegi, a graduate of New York University’s acting program, is making a name for himself in movie circles. He has been featured in ‘House, M.D.’ and, from what we’ve seen, this brother is going to have a great career.
Gathegi is a film, stage and television actor. He appeared as recurring character Dr. Jeffrey Cole (aka “Big Love“) in the television series House, as Cheese in the 2007 film Gone Baby Gone and as Laurent in the films Twilight, its sequel The Twilight Saga: New Moon and Darwin in X-Men: First Class. He portrays Eddie Willers in Atlas Shrugged (2011), based on Ayn Rand’s novel of the same name.
He had a recurring role as Cole in House and has been a guest star in Lincoln Heights as Boa. These are pretty heavyweight roles and he does a great job. In addition to these, he has also been in CSI: Miami, Justified, Red Widow, Family Tools, Beauty and the Beast, Into The Badlands, Proof, and Red Widow.
More recently, he plays the part of Mr. Solomon, a twisted, diabolical clean-up man for the Cabal in ‘Blacklist‘. He is described as an unassuming and soft-spoken man, on the surface, with a hidden (and terrifying) capacity for violence, Mr. Solomon is a monster in gentleman’s clothing. Executive producer John Elisendrath told TV Guide that Mr. Solomon will put someone close to Red in a position that would compromise the safety of others. He is definitely a dangerous enemy of Red and Liz. Gathegi is a recurring character on the show.
He also stars opposite John Travolta in the recently released movie, ‘Criminal Activities‘.
African-American Mark E. Dean is one of the top engineering minds at the International Business Machines (IBM) Corporation.
He made his first mark in the industry in the early 1980s, when he and a colleague developed a system that allowed computers to communicate with printers and other devices. Every time you print something, you can thank Dean. In all, Dean holds 20 patents (he holds three of IBM’s original nine PC patents), and was honored as one of the “50 Most Important African Americans in Technology” by the California African-American Museum in 2000.
In 1996, he was named an IBM fellow, the first African-American ever to receive the honor. A year later, he was honored with the Black Engineer of the Year President’s Award and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. In 2001, he was tapped to be a member of the National Academy of Engineers. Dean feels the need to increase awareness of the contributions of African American engineers to the African American community and the engineering industry in general.
He is currently the John Fisher Distinguished Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Tennessee, was previously Chief Techology Officer (CTO) for IBM Middle East and Africa, and was an IBM Vice President overseeing the company’s Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California prior to that.
Meet African-American Jonathan Strickland, a 21-year-old pilot from Compton, California who has been flying since he was 8-years-old.
On June 29nd, 2006, during a trip from Compton to Canada at age 14, he became the youngest black pilot to solo an airplane and a helicopter on the same day, the youngest black pilot to fly a helicopter internationally and the youngest black pilot to fly a helicopter on an international round-trip.
He set a record at 16 when he became the youngest person to solo a helicopter and airplane on the same day, as well as the youngest African-American to solo a helicopter, fly a helicopter round-trip internationally and solo six airplanes and one helicopter in the same day.
Total World Records – 6
Youngest person to solo both a helicopter and airplane on the same day
Youngest African-American to solo a helicopter
Youngest African-American to fly a helicopter round-trip internationally
Youngest African American to solo six airplanes and one helicopter in the same day
In 2012 he graduated with a BA in Aviation Business Administration and went on to complete an around the world flight in 2013 a the age of 21.
African-American Diamond Shakoor started playing chess when she was 7 years old. At age 8, she was the youngest African-American female to go undefeated in a Chess National competition.
By 12 she had played 250 matches. In 2011 her peak rating was 1416.
She currently ranks 71st percentile nationwide and 73rd percentile in the state of Missouri. When it comes to female players, she has a high ranking and sits in the 90th percentile area.
Diamond is a straight A student. She held her first annual Diamond Shakoor Chess Festival in 2003. The Festival is free, and is open to players from kindergarten to high school. Kudos to her for reaching back and helping others discover a love of chess.