Black History Month is a celebration of African American heritage. This is only a small portion of the African Americans who broke down barriers, opened doors, made a difference and earned the distinguished “Famous First” title.
A Tribute to Famous Firsts - Part II
50 photos Launch gallery
1. 1964: First movie with an African-American interracial marriage: "One Potato, Two Potato" starring actors Bernie Hamilton and Barbara Barrie, written by Orville H. Hampton, Raphael Hayes, directed by Larry Peerce.
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2. 1965: First African-American nationally syndicated cartoonist: Morrie Turner (Wee Pals).
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3. 1965: First African-American star of a network television drama: Bill Cosby, I Spy (co-star with Robert Culp).
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4. 1965: First African-American cast member of a daytime soap opera: Micki Grant who played Peggy Nolan Harris on Another World until 1972.
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5. 1965: First African-American Playboy Playmate centerfold: Jennifer Jackson (March issue).
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6. 1965: First African-American U.S. Air Force general: Benjamin Oliver Davis, Jr. (three-star lieutenant general).
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7. 1965: First African-American female Ambassador of the United States: Patricia Roberts Harris, ambassador to Luxembourg.
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8. 1965: First African-American NFL official: Burl Toler, field judge/head linesman.
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9. 1965: First African-American to win a national chess championship: Frank Street, Jr. (U.S. Amateur Championship).
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10. 1965: First African-American United States Solicitor General: Thurgood Marshall and in 1967, he was the first African American appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States.
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11. 1966: First African American male to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award and first African American to win a Primetime Emmy Award: Bill Cosby, I Spy.
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12. 1966: First African-American coach in the National Basketball Association: Bill Russell (Boston Celtics) and in 1968, he was the first African-American coach to win NBA Championship.
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13. 1966: First African-American model on the cover of a Vogue (British Vogue) magazine: Donyale Luna.
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14. 1967: First African-American interracial kiss on network television: entertainers Nancy Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr. on Sinatra's variety special Movin' With Nancy, aired December 11 on NBC.
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15. 1968: First African-American interracial kiss on a network television drama: Uhura, played by Nichelle Nichols and Captain Kirk, played by William Shatner: Star Trek: "Plato's Stepchildren"
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16. 1968: First African-American man to win a Grand Slam tennis event: Arthur Ashe (US Open).
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17. 1968: First African American to start as quarterback in the modern era of professional football: Marlin Briscoe (Denver Broncos, AFL).
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18. 1968: First African-American woman elected to U.S. House of Representatives: Shirley Chisholm (Democrat; New York).
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19. 1968: First African-American actress to star in her own television series where she did not play a domestic worker: Diahann Carroll in Julia.
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20. 1968: First African-American woman reporter for The New York Times: Nancy Hicks Maynard.
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21. 1969: First African-American superhero: The Falcon, Marvel Comics' Captain America #117.
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22. 1969: First African-American woman to get a Business degree from Harvard University: Lillian Lincoln.
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23. 1969: First African-American director of a major Hollywood motion picture: Gordon Parks (The Learning Tree).
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24. 1969: First African-American founder of a classical training school and company of ballet: Arthur Mitchell, Dance Theatre of Harlem.
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25. 1969: First African-American woman to appear on the Grand Ole Opry: Linda Martell.
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26. 1970: First African-American member of the New York Stock Exchange: Joseph L. Searles III.
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27. 1971: First African-American pitcher to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame: Satchel Paige.
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28. 1973: First African-American Bond villain: Yaphet Kotto, playing Mr. Big/Dr. Kananga, Live and Let Die.
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29. 1973: First African-American Bond Girl in a James Bond movie: Gloria Hendry (playing Rosie Carver), Live and Let Die.
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30. 1973: First African American elected mayor of Los Angeles, California: Tom Bradley.
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31. 1974: First African-American woman to win a Primetime Emmy Award: Cicely Tyson, for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie, for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.
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32. 1974: First African-American model on the cover of American Vogue magazine: Beverly Johnson.
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33. 1975: First African-American game show host: Adam Wade (CBS' Musical Chairs).
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34. 1975: First African-American interracial couple in a TV-series cast: The Jeffersons, actors Franklin Cover and Roxie Roker as Tom & Helen Willis.
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35. 1975: First African-American four-star general: Daniel James, Jr.
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36. 1975: First African American inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player: Bill Russell.
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37. 1975: First African-American woman named as Time magazine's, Person of the Year: Barbara Jordan.
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38. 1976: First African-American woman and trailblazer Addie Wyatt was the 1st to hold a senior office in an American labor union—at both the local and international level and 1st elected President of her local meat-packing union in Chicago in the '50s and rose to the rank of International V.P. of the United Food and Commercial Workers.
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39. 1978: First African-American broadcast network news anchor: Max Robinson.
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40. 1979: First African American and first person to win the Emmy Award Best Supporting Actress in a Miniseries: Esther Rolle.
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41. 1979: First African-American U.S. Marine Corps general officer: Frank E. Petersen.
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42. 1979: First African-American to win a Daytime Emmy Award for lead actor in a soap opera: Al Freeman, Jr. (Ed Hall in One Life to Live).
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43. 1980: First African-American-oriented cable channel: Black Entertainment Television.
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44. 1982: First African American to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Drama: Charles Fuller for A Soldier's Play.
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45. 1983: First African-American astronaut: Guion Stewart "Guy" Bluford, Jr. (Challenger mission STS-8).
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46. 1983: First African-American mayor of Chicago: Harold Washington.
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47. 1983: First African-American Miss America: Vanessa L. Williams.
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48. 1983: First African-American owners of a major metropolitan newspaper: Robert C. and Nancy Hicks Maynard, (Oakland Tribune)
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49. 1986: Regina Taylor, a Golden Globe-winning actress and playwright was the first black woman to play Juliet in William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” on Broadway.
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50. 1986: First African-American musicians inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in the inaugural class: Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, and Little Richard.
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