February 4, 2001 James Louis “J. J.” Johnson, jazz trombonist, composer and arranger, died. Johnson was born January 22, 1924 in Indianapolis, Indiana. At the age of nine, he started studying the piano, but decided to play the trombone at the age of 14. In 1941, Johnson started his professional career.
February 20, 1913 Thomas Kilgore, one of the few men to lead two major national Baptist organizations, was born in Woodruff, South Carolina. Kilgore earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Morehouse College in 1935 and earned his Bachelor of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in 1957.
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- Wilson Pickett – March 18th in African American History
- November 10th in African American History – Augustus Freeman Hawkins
- March 1st in African American History – Ralph Waldo Ellison
- February 19th in African American History – William “Smokey” Robinson, Jr.
- February 20th in African American History – Nancy Wilson