Has Martin Luther King's Dream Come True, Today?

Famous Influential African Americans Since Martin Luther King's Lifetime

"I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal.' "

Since Martin Luther King's lifetime, there have been many famous, successful and influential African Americans in the United States. Throughout history, African Americans have been referred to as "Colored", "Negro", and Black". Only in the last 20+ years have they been referred to as "African Americans". African Americans were always considered inferior to the white race and less than human. They were brought over from Africa as slaves. Until President Abraham Lincoln, they never would have even thought about being free and living for themselves. President Lincoln issued the The Emancipation Proclamation during the Civil War which freed the slaves in 1862-1863. However, were they really free? Were they really as free as the white race?

In the 1950's and 1960's during the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King was instrumental in helping give African Americans certain unalienable rights according to the Declaration of Independence. Martin Luther King helped African Americans realize that they too could walk the same streets, eat in the same restaurants, ride on the same buses and vote in the same elections as the white race. However, in Lincoln's life time and Martin Luther King's lifetime were the African Americans really able to accomplish success, wealth and self sufficiency?

As the decades have progressed, African Americans have moved up from the depiction of mammies, butlers, drivers and slaves. They are now successful doctors, lawyers, and entrepreneurs largely due to the actions of Martin Luther King and many of his constituents. Life for African Americans has vastly improved since Martin Luther Kings' lifetime. There are 100's of extremely important, successful and influential African Americans that have made a difference in America and even around the world. They range from Doctors, Inventors, Scientists, Entertainers, Actors, Athletes, Musicians, the list is endless. Some of the more famous, influential and successful African Americans are as follows:

Oprah Winfrey (1954-    )

An American television host, actress, producer, and philanthropist, best known for her self-titled, multi-award winning talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, which is in its 25th and final year. Her show has become the highest-rated program of its kind in history. She has been ranked the richest African American of the 20th century, the greatest black philanthropist in American history, and was once the world's only black billionaire. She is also, according to some assessments, the most influential woman in the world. Some of her most noted achievements are:
  • *In 1987, Oprah won her first Emmy award for best talk/service show host and best show.
  • *In 1988, Harpo Productions, Inc. is established. It is the only television studio in the world that is owned by an African American woman.
  • *In 1989, Oprah received the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Entertainer of the year award .
  • *In 1991, Oprah testified before the US congress and initiated the National Child Protection Act.
  • *In 1995 Oprah not only won an Emmy for Best Talk Show and Best Host for the second year in a row but also kick started Oprah Online on AOL (American Online) in partnership with ABC. Oprah became the first woman and the only African American on Forbes list of 400 richest Americans in the same year.
  • *In 1997 Oprah’s Angel Network was formed which encouraged people to make charitable contributions and volunteer work.
*In 1998, becomes co-founder of Oxygen Media, diversified media company with cable television and web services.
*In 2000, O, The Oprah Magazine is launched. It is reported as the most successful magazine launch in recent history.
*In 2005, Oprah was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the year. She also ranked in 9th place in public poll of the greatest Americans.
*Oprah Winfrey was also the first black person listed by Business Week as one of America’s top 50 most generous philanthropists.
*in 2007, Oprah invested $40 million and much of her time creating the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls near Johannesburg in South Africa, which started that January.
*2011 is the launch date for the OWN Network, The Oprah Winfrey Network.

Tyra Banks (1973-    )

An American model, media personality, actress, occasional singer, and businesswoman. She first became famous as a model in Paris, Milan, London, Tokyo and New York, but television appearances were her commercial breakthrough. Banks is the creator and host of the UPN/The CW reality television show America's Next Top Model, co-creator of True Beauty, and host of her own talk show, The Tyra Banks Show. Some of her many achievements include:

*When Tyra started modeling, within her first week in Paris, other designers were so entranced by her presence on the runway that she was booked for an unprecedented 25 shows--a record in for a  newcomer in the modeling industry.
*First African American model to appear on the cover of GQ and Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition
*Received the Michael Award for "Supermodel of the Year."
*In 1997, she received the VH1 award for Supermodel of the Year.
*In 1997 Tyra also became the first-ever African American chosen for the cover of the Victoria's Secret catalog.
In 1998, Banks authored a book entitled Tyra's Beauty, Inside and Out. The book was advertised as a resource for helping women to make the most out of their natural beauty.
*In 199, the TZONE camp was born. It was a camp that helped inspire girls to believe in themselves and take control of their lives. While TZONE is no longer a camp, it remains committed to its cause. The Tyra Banks TZONE Foundation continues to honor what Tyra is fiercely passionate about – encouraging girls to be leaders, not followers; in control, not out of control; powerful, not powerless.
*One of only four African Americans and seven women to have repeatedly ranked among the world's most influential people by Time magazine.
*In 2000, named "Woman of the Year" by Sports Illustrated.
*In 2003, Bankable Productions was established. Its operating units include Bankable Digital, Bankable Studios, and Bankable Books.,
*In 2005, Banks retired from modeling to concentrate on her television career. She walked the runway for the final time at the 2005 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.

Russell Simmons ( 1957-     )

An American entrepreneur, the co-founder, with Rick Rubin, of the pioneering hip-hop label Def Jam, and creator of the clothing fashion lines Phat Farm, Argyleculture, and American Classics. Under his umbrella company Rush Communications, Simmons has had his hands in several non-music related projects over the years, including his clothing line Phat Farm, which he sold in 2004 for a rumored $140 million, a TV and movie production company, an advertising agency and a new athletics line called Run Athletics. In 2007, Forbes listed Simmons as the fourth richest figure in hip-hop, with an estimated net worth of $340 million.

The music industry was exceedingly slow to recognize the potential of hip hop, viewing it as niche music for a niche market. Simmons effectively changed all of that. Although not everyone was on board with The Beastie Boys, their radio friendly, crossover, rock influenced version of hip hop was instrumental in introducing a new audience to rap music. The collaboration between Run D.M.C. and Aerosmith on Walk This Way, while admittedly cringe-worthy to some was another road to reaching a wider audience. The major, mainstream success of hip hop owes much to these early moves by Simmons.

Simmons now devotes a great deal of time to his philanthropic outlets, including Upliftment Jamaica, a fund supporting poor communities in the Caribbean and PETA's campaigns to improve animal welfare. He has also been involved with a campaign to remove the words he views as derogatory from hip hop radio edits, but so far has been unable to drum up much support.

Sean "Puffy" Combs (1969-    )

An American record producer, rapper, actor, and mens fashion designer. He has won three Grammy Awards and two MTV Video Music Awards, and his clothing line earned a Council of Fashion Designers of America award.

His business interests under the umbrella of Bad Boy Entertainment Worldwide include Bad Boy Records; the clothing lines Sean John & Sean by Sean Combs; a movie production company; and two restaurants. He has taken the roles of recording executive, performer, producer of MTV's Making the Band, writer, arranger, clothing designer, and Broadway actor. In 2006, Combs' net worth was estimated at $346 million. Some of his many acheivements are:

*In 1997 and '98, Diddy won MTV Music Video Awards for "I'll Be Missing You" (Best R&B Video) and "All About the Benjamins (Rock Remix)" (Viewer's Choice).
*In 1998, won a Grammy for No Way Out and "I'll Be Missing You,".
*in 2000, His Sean John apparel line was nominated for the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Award for Menswear Designer of the Year. It won the award in 2004.
*In 2002, Combs was featured on Fortune magazine's "40 Richest People Under 40" list and was number one on its list of the 10 richest people in hip-hop. Forbes estimates his annual income at $30 million.
*In 2004  won a Grammy for "Shake Ya Tailfeather."
*In 2004, Combs headed the "Vote or Die" campaign, a nonpartisan attempt to raise awareness of that year's presidential election among young voters. The effort later paid off in the groundswell of young voters who supported Barack Obama's campaign in 2008.
*In 2006, the mayor of Chicago, Richard M. Daley, gave Combs the key to the city and a pair of cufflinks to commemorate the first annual "Diddy Day" in appreciation of his charitable work in the city.
*In 2009, Combs received an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special for his performance in A Raisin in the Sun.
*In December 2009, Diddy made his first appearance on the Home Shopping Network, pitching his line of Sean John perfumes and colognes. Combs became the first person ever to sell out his entire stock of merchandise withing 15 minutes of his apparance.
*Three Combs-produced albums were on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time: Notorious B.I.G.'s Ready to Die (#133), Mary J. Blige's My Life (#279) and B.I.G.'s Life After Death (#483).

Jay-Z (1969-    )

Also known as Shawn Carter, an American rapper and businessman. He is one of the most financially successful hip hop artists and entrepreneurs in America having had a net worth of $547 million in 2007, according to Forbes. He has sold approximately 50 million albums worldwide, while receiving ten Grammy Awards for his musical work, and numerous additional nominations. Jay-Z co-owns The 40/40 Club, is part-owner of the NBA's New Jersey Nets and is also the creator of the clothing line Rocawear. He is the former CEO of Def Jam Recordings, one of the three founders of Roc-A-Fella Records, and the founder of Roc Nation. As an artist, he holds the record for most number one albums by a solo artist on the Billboard 200. Jay-Z also has had four number ones on the Billboard Hot 100, one as lead artist. Some of his achievements are as follows:

*In 2007, Rocawear and its parent company, Iconix Brand Group, inked a licensing agreement with Elizabeth Arden to produce and distribute a line of mens and womens fragrances, cosmetics and skin-care products, all creatively overseen by Jay-Z himself. ? *In 2008, Led Forbes magazine's Celebrity 100 List.
* Jay-Z was selected as British GQ's Man of the Year.
*He stared in a public service announcement, denouncing anti-Semitism, with Russell Simmons.
*He was invited to speak at the United Nations; pledged to raise awareness of the world's water crisis.
*Along with Sean "Puffy" Combs, pledged $1 million to the American Red Cross effort to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina.
*Endorsed Barack Obama for president and led numerous get-out-the-vote efforts resulting in record youth-voter turnout, a key factor in Obama's victory.

Beyonce Knowles (1981-    )

An American Pop/R&B singer, songwriter, actress and fashion designer. Knowles rose to fame in the late 1990's as the lead singer of the R&B girl group Destiny's Child, one of the world's best-selling girl groups of all time. A film star as well as a singer/songwriter, Beyonce is one of the most-recognized women of this era. She started her own fashion line in 2005, giving it her grandmother's last name, Dereon. Her mother, who has long designed Beyonce's costumes, created the line, which sells in such stores as Macy's and Dillard's.

Her latest deal, still in the works, could earn her roughly $100 million for a standing gig at one of Steve Wynn's super-glitzy properties in Las Vegas. This year, Beyoncé will bring in an estimated $87 million from publishing and music sales, touring and other performances, film work, her fashion collection and endorsement deals.

Knowles and Kelly Rowland, along with the Knowles family, founded the Survivor Foundation to provide transitional housing for 2005 Hurricane Katrina victims and storm evacuees. Knowles also donated $100,000 to help victims of Hurricane Ike. She has contributed financial and other support to promote cancer awareness and hunger relief, and to fight substance abuse. Beyonce has a long list of achievements. Some of the most noted are:

*In 2004, Knowles launched her own perfume with Tommy Hilfiger, True Star. To help market it, she sang a cover version of "Wishing on a Star," for which she earned $250,000. In 2005, she launched Hilfiger's True Star Gold, and in 2007 she endorsed Emporio Armani's Diamonds. Coty inked a deal with Knowles in 2009, whereby she'll introduce a new fragrance designed specifically for her.
*In 2007, She won International Artist of the Year, at the American Music Awards, the first woman to have been given the honor.
*In 2007, Knowles was featured on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, the first female non-model and non-athlete to pose for the issue and the second African-American, after Tyra Banks.
*In 2009, Beyoncé beat out Britney Spears, Madonna, Pink and Kylie Minogue and was named "The World's Greatest Pop Star" by Rimmel London (an online petition in partnership with 4Music).
*Starting in spring 2009, Knowles' "I Am . . . Tour" became the year's top concert attraction, thanks to record attendance and an unprecedented multi-leg itinerary.
*In 2009, Knowles was named Outstanding Female Artist at the NAACP Image Awards.
*In 2009, she was named Best R&B Artist at the Teen Choice Awards.
*In January 2009, she performed at the Lincoln Memorial festivities in honor of the inauguration of Barack Obama. Knowles also serenaded the couple as they had their first dance as president and first lady.

Michael Jackson (1958-2009)

An American recording artist, dancer, singer-songwriter, and philanthropist. Referred to as the King of Pop, Jackson is recognized as the most successful entertainer of all time by Guinness World Records. His contribution to music, dance and fashion, along with a much-publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades. The eighth child of the Jackson family, he debuted on the professional music scene along with his brothers as a member of The Jackson 5 in the mid-1960's, and began his solo career in 1971.

In the early 1980's, Jackson became a dominant figure in popular music. The music videos for his songs including "Beat It", "Billie Jean" and "Thriller", were credited with transforming the medium into an art form and a promotional tool, and the popularity of these videos helped to bring the relatively new television channel MTV to fame. Videos such as "Black or White" and "Scream" made him a staple on MTV in the 1990's. Through stage performances and music videos, Jackson popularized a number of dance techniques, such as the robot and the moonwalk. His distinctive musical sound and vocal style have influenced numerous hip hop, pop, contemporary R&B and rock artists.

Jackson's 1982 album Thriller is the best-selling album of all time. Jackson is one of the few artists to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. He was also inducted into the Dance Hall of Fame as the first (and currently only) dancer from the world of pop and rock 'n' roll. Jackson won hundreds of awards, which have made him the most-awarded recording artist in the history of music. He was also a notable humanitarian and philanthropist, donating and raising hundreds of millions of dollars for beneficial causes and supporting more than 39 charities. Jackson was once one of the wealthiest entertainers in the world, with an estimated fortune of more than $750 million. In 2007, the Jackson estate's assets were calculated to be $1,360,839,979, with 85% of that total being Jackson's stake in the song catalog that includes most of the Beatles' songs. Following his death, Jackson became the first artist to sell more than 2 million downloads in a week. According to Nokia's Ovi Music Store, Jackson is recognized as the most downloaded artist of all time. Some of his other achievements include:

*Multiple Guinness World Records
*13 Grammy Awards (as well as the Grammy Legend Award and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award)
*26 American Music Awards (more than any other artist, including the "Artist of the Century")
*13 number-one singles in the United States in his solo career (more than any other male artist in the Hot 100 era); and the estimated sale of over 750 million records worldwide. Jackson won hundreds of awards, which have made him the most-awarded recording artist in the history of music.

Michael Jordan (1963-     )

The greatest player to ever play in the NBA and a former American professional basketball player. Jordan's contract with the Chicago Bulls paid him $33 million a year. Jordan is an active businessman, and majority owner and head of basketball operations for the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats. His biography on the 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 1980's and 1990's.

Jordan is also noted for his product endorsements. He earns $33 million from commercial endorsements for such companies as Nike, MCI WorldCom, Gatorade, McDonald's and Hanes, making him the world's highest-paid sports pitchman. He fueled the success of Nike's Air Jordan sneakers, which were introduced in 1985 and remain popular today. Michael Jordan cologne from glitzy designer Bijan has generated sweet revenues of $155 million. A Hanes line of Michael Jordan underwear, valued at $10 million a year, adds even more to the athlete's empire. Jordan also starred in the 1996 feature film Space Jam as himself. The movie grossed $230 million. In 1999, Jordan was named by ESPN as "the greatest athlete of the 20th century."

Jordan retired from the NBA after 15 seasons, during which he established a number of prestigious records. His 30.12 points per game average is the highest ever in NBA history. He also won six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls and was the MVP of the NBA Finals every time they claimed the championship. In addition, Jordan has been the NBA's leading scorer for 10 straight seasons and was the league's Most Valuable Player five times. He was also selected to the All-NBA First Team 10 times, the All-Defensive First Team nine times aside from leading the NBA in steals in three years. The Associated Press also ranked him as second only to Babe Ruth as top athlete of the century.

LeBron James (1984-    )

An American professional basketball player for the Miami Heat of the NBA. Nicknamed "King James", he was a three-time "Mr. Basketball" of Ohio in high school, and was highly promoted in the national media as a future NBA superstar while a sophomore at St. Vincent – St. Mary High School. At just 18, he was selected with the number one pick in the 2003 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers and signed a $90 million shoe contract with Nike before his professional debut.

Listed as a small forward, James has set numerous youngest player records since joining the league. He was named the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2003–04, NBA Most Valuable Player in 2008–09 and 2009–10, and has been both All-NBA selection and an All-Star every season since 2005.

In 2010, a much-publicized free agency process ended with James going to the Miami Heat. He became the third reigning NBA MVP to change teams and the first since Moses Malone in 1982.

Venus and Serena Williams (1980-    ), (1981-    )

The Williams sisters are two professional American tennis players: Venus Williams born 1980, seven-time Grand Slam title winner (singles), and Serena Williams born 1981, thirteen-time Grand Slam title winner (singles). They are the only women during the open era to have played each other in four consecutive Grand Slam singles finals. They have met in a total of eight Grand Slam finals. Both were coached from an early age by their father.

Venus Williams: ranked World No. 5 in singles and World No. 5 in doubles. Considered to be one of the greatest womens tennis players of all time, she has been ranked World No. 1 in singles by the Women's Tennis Association on three separate occasions. She became the World No. 1 for the first time on February 25, 2002, becoming the first African American woman to achieve the feat during the open era. She has won more Olympic gold medals than any other female tennis player. In professional women's tennis, Venus has played her sister Serena 23 times, accumulating a 10–13 record in the series. Some of her notable achievements are:

*In 2001, Williams was named one of the 30 most powerful women in America by the Ladies Home Journal.
*In 2007, Williams received her associate degree in Fashion Design from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale with Cum Laude honors and a 3.5 GPA. Williams is the chief executive officer of her interior design firm "V Starr Interiors" located in Jupiter, Florida. Williams's company designed the set of the Tavis Smiley Show on PBS, the Olympic athletes' apartments as part of the U.S. bid package for New York City to host the 2012 Olympic Games, and residences and businesses in the Palm Beach, Florida area.
*In 2007, Williams teamed with retailer Steve & Barry's to launch her own fashion line EleVen.
*In June 2009, Venus was named 77th in the Top 100 Most Powerful Celebrities compiled by Forbes magazine.
*In August 2009, Venus Williams became part-owners of the Miami Dolphins with sister Serena Williams.

Serena Williams: a former World No. 1 and currently ranked World No. 4 in singles and No. 5 in doubles with sister Venus Williams. The Women's Tennis Association has ranked her World No. 1 in singles on five separate occasions. She is considered to be one of the greatest women's tennis players of all-time in a career hampered by numerous injuries. She regained this ranking for the fifth time on November 2, 2009. She became the World No. 1 for the first time on July 8, 2002. Some of her achievements are:

*In 2003, She received a Celebrity Role Model Award from Avon Foundation for her work in breast cancer.
*In 2003, She won the "Young Heroes Award" from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater L.A. and Inland
*In 2004, she won the "Family Circle and Prudential Financial Player Who Makes a Difference Award"
*In 2004, Serena signed the deal with Nike for a worth of$40 million.
*Since 2004, she has also been running her own line of designer apparel called "Aneres"—her first name spelled backward.
*In 2008 Williams helped to fund the construction of the Serena Williams Secondary School in Matooni, Kenya.
*In 2009 she launched a signature collection of handbags and jewelry. The collection, called Signature Statement, is sold mainly on the Home Shopping Network (HSN).
*In early 2010, Williams became a certified nail technician in preparation for her upcoming nail collection with a company called HairTech.


Muhammad Ali (1942-    )

Formally known as Cassius Clay, the first heavyweight boxing champion to regain the title three times, and  a civil rights activist. Nicknamed "The Greatest", Ali was involved in several historic boxing matches. Notable among these were one with George Foreman and three with rival Joe Frazier.

In one of the biggest upsets in boxing history, Ali regained his title on October 30, 1974 by defeating champion George Foreman in their bout in Kinshasa, Zaire. Hyped as "The Rumble In The Jungle", the fight was promoted by Don King. On October 1, 1975, Ali fought Joe Frazier for the third time. The bout was promoted as the Thrilla in Manila by Don King. Regarding the fight, Ali famously remarked, "It will be a killa... and a chilla... and a thrilla... when I get the gorilla in Manila." 

Ali was well known for his unorthodox fighting style, which he described as "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee", and employing techniques such as the rope-a-dope. He was also known for his pre-match hype, where he would "trash talk" opponents on television and in person some time before the match, often with rhymes. These personality quips and idioms, along with an unorthodox fighting technique, made him a cultural icon.

In 1984, Ali developed Parkinson's disease. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990, and in 1996 he was awarded the honor of lighting the Olympic torch in Atlanta, Georgia, to mark the beginning of the Summer Olympic Games. Muhammad Ali defeated every top heavyweight in his era, which has been called the golden age of heavyweight boxing. Ali was named "Fighter of the Year" by Ring Magazine more times than any other fighter, and was involved in more Ring Magazine "Fight of the Year" bouts than any other fighter. He is also one of only three boxers to be named "Sportsman of the Year" by Sports Illustrated. He was the recipient of the 1997 Arthur Ashe Courage Award.

Ali has devoted himself to humanitarian endeavors around the globe. He is a devout Muslim, and travels the world over, lending his name and presence to hunger and poverty relief, supporting education efforts of all kinds, promoting adoption and encouraging people to respect and better understand one another. It is estimated that he has helped to provide more than 22 million meals to feed the hungry.

Bill Cosby (1937-    )

An American comedian, actor, author, television producer, educator, musician and activist. A veteran stand-up performer, he got his start at various clubs, then landed a starring role in the 1960s action show, I Spy. In 1969, he later starred in his own series, The Bill Cosby Show. He was one of the major characters on the The Electric Company for its first two seasons, and created the educational cartoon comedy series Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.

In 1976, Cosby earned a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Massachusetts. For his doctoral research, he wrote a dissertation entitled, "An Integration of the Visual Media Via 'Fat Albert And The Cosby Kids' Into the Elementary School Curriculum as a Teaching Aid and Vehicle to Achieve Increased Learning".

During the 1980s, Cosby produced and starred in what is considered to be one of the decade's defining sitcoms, The Cosby Show, which aired eight seasons from 1984 to 1992. The sitcom highlighted the experiences and growth of an upper-middle-class African-American family. He also produced the spin-off sitcom A Different World, which became second to The Cosby Show in ratings. He starred in the sitcom Cosby from 1996 to 2000 and hosted Kids Say the Darndest Things for two seasons.

He has been a sought-after spokesman, and has endorsed a number of products, including Jell-O, Kodak film, Ford, Texas Instruments, and Coca-Cola, including New Coke. In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante included him in his book, the 100 Greatest African Americans.

Barack Obama (1961-    )

The 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned after his election to the presidency in November 2008. A native of Honolulu, Hawaii, Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was the president of the Harvard Law Review. He was a community organizer in Chicago before earning his law degree. He worked as a civil rights attorney in Chicago and taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004. In 2009, Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples".

Myself, Myles Adams (1994-     )

I was born in Michigan City, Indiana on November 13th. I lived in Michigan City until I moved to Bloomington in 2007 when my mom passed away. My mom was a beautiful, strong, independent woman who would want me to move on and I am. I'm getting better about my mom's death everyday and so is my grandmother who is the glue that holds my family together, but it still hurts.

My mom worked for the mayor of Michigan City for 28 years. She was the type of person that never met a stranger. She was never afraid to meet new people and do new things and she encouraged me to be the same. Her dream for me was to go further in life than she did. She always said she wanted me to have a great education and she always told me to never be afraid to meet new people, experience new things, and see new places. She passed away from a disease called Sarcoidosis, the same disease that the actor/comedian Bernie Mac died from. My goal in life is to carry on and fulfill the dream that she had for me.

While being in Bloomington with my Uncle and Aunt I have done some amazing things and met some amazing people. The sports I love and play are basketball and football and running track. Out of the three, football is my passion. I have never been on an organized team before my 8th grade year.  Everyone says that I play like a natural football player. My positions are running back, linebacker and special teams.

Something that is special about me is that I wasn't suppose to be here. My Uncle tells me the story all the time about how my mom wasn't able to have a baby but she did. The doctor told my mom that she wouldn't have a baby but God said she would. That's one thing that is special about me. 

Currently, I am a sophomore at Bloomington High School North in Bloomington, Indiana. I am taking honors and college courses and I have a solid "A" average. I play football on the Varsity team and we recently became the regional champs in our division. We made it all the way to the Semi-state playoffs. Our 2010 football team made school history in that this was the first year ever that the Varsity football team had ever made it that far in the championship tournament. It was definitely a highlight in my life that I will never forget as long as I live. I am excited for next year's season where we will hopefully make it all the way and become the State champions. I will also be an intern at two of my local Optometrist's offices this spring.

My ultimate goal in life is to become an NFL player. I would love to play for my favorite team the Indianapolis Colts. If I don't become an NFL player, my backup plan is to go to college and become an Optometrist. The disease my mom had made her blind in one eye and I know that when I become an Optometrist, I can hopefully find a cure for the disease that took her away from me too soon.

Although I have not made my first million yet, it is in my sights.  I intend to make it big in my lifetime and become as famous and influential an African American as the others I have illustrated on this page. I intend to make sure that I also do my part as a humanitarian and give back to my community as much as possible. I feel that I am truly living proof of Martin Luther King's "Dream". Some of my most recent accomplishments are:

*In 2007, volunteered by giving out food to the homeless during Thanksgiving, Bethel AME Church, The Cry of the Children Organization, Bloomington, IN.

*In 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 helped collect and deliver donations of clothing to the Salvation Army and Goodwill, Bloomington, IN.

*In 2008, volunteered for The Roland Williams Football and Life Skills Camp, St. Louis, MO. Helped supervise the younger groups of kids who were invited to a Rams game. (2008)

*In 2008, an Indiana University Visitor’s Center Shadowing Program participant

*In 2008, helped raise money for Children’s Diabetes, Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.

*In 2008, volunteered at a Barack Obama rally, The Students for Obama Organization, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.

*In 2008, 2009, participated in  junior high football, basketball and track teams

*A member of the 21st Century Scholars Program- A program that provides scholarships for students who maintain a high GPA from 7th to 12th grade

*A member of the National Junior Honor Society

*In 2009, Served as a Page at the Indiana State House for Senator Vi Simpson

*In 2009, participated in the National Junior Honor Society Reading Program. Read books to preschool students

*In 2009, was selected to give Martin Luther King, Jr. Speech- Tri North Middle School Obama Inauguration Convocation/Martin Luther King, Jr. Convocation

*A Student Ambassador for the People to People program. Traveled to Australia, England, France and Italy. In 2011, will travel to China

*In 2009, 2010, traveled to New Orleans, LA -hand delivered provisions to Common Ground Relief, a local relief program for Hurricane Katrina victims

*In 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, helped collect and deliver donations of clothing to the Salvation Army and Goodwill, Bloomington, IN.

*In 2009, 2010 participated in high school football and basketball teams (football- Freshman and Varsity team 2009, Varsity and JV team 2010

*In 2009, participated in basketball – Freshman

*In 2009, a member of Student Council

Some of the awards I have received are:

*In 2007, 2008, became Captain of the football and basketball teams

*In 2008, received Outstanding Student Athlete Award -football

*In 2009, received Athletic Excellence Award in football and track

*In 2009, received Outstanding Student Athlete Award- 4.0 GPA- Basketball

*In 2009, received Most Valuable Player Award- football

*In 2009, made All-Star Academic team in football

*In 2010, Varsity football Sectional Champs

*In 2010, Varsity football Regional Champs