68 THE QUEENS COURIER • BLACK HISTORY MONTH • FEBRUARY 21, 2019 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Notable fi gures in Black History who lived in Queens
BY MADELINE NELSON
firstname.lastname@example.org / @QNS
Th e nation marks Black History Month
in February, and what better way is there to
celebrate than acknowledge the internationally
iconic African-Americans who called,
and in some cases still call, Queens home.
Here are just some of the notable
African-Americans from our borough
who’ve made a profound impact on our
nation and world.
Al Roker, raised in St. Albans, is a
13-time Emmy-winning “Today Show”
host and weatherman. Born in 1954, Al
Roker went to the State University of New
York at Oswego and studied communications.
He worked for WNBC-TV in 1983
doing high-profi le reports until joining
“Th e Today Show” as an anchor in 1996.
Roker has also hosted a morning show for
Th e Weather Channel, founded a company
and authored best-selling books.
Gwen Ifi ll was the “PBS Newshour”
co-anchor and managing editor and the
“Washington Week” editor and moderator.
She is one of the most successful
African-American journalists of all time,
receiving a Peabody award for her work.
She worked for Th e Washington Post and
Th e New York Times before switching to
broadcast news for NBC News and later
PBS. She passed away from cancer complications
Marie M. Daly, born and raised in
Jamaica, is best known for being the fi rst
African-American woman to receive a
Ph.D. in chemistry in the United States.
In 1955, Daly worked closely with Dr.
Quentin B. Deming on the causes of
heart attacks. Th eir groundbreaking work
found a link between diet and the health
of the heart and the circulatory system.
Daly died in 2003.
Reverend Run, birth name Joseph
Simmons, is Russell Simmons’ brother.
Simmons formed the pioneering rap
group Run-DMC with Darryl “DMC”
McDaniels and Jam Master Jay. In
1983, the group was one of the first to
bring hip-hop onto mainstream radio
and into mainstream culture. Their
1986 platinum-selling album “Raising
Hell” changed hip-hop forever. The
album featured the highly touted single,
“Walk This Way,” a rap version of
Aerosmith’s 1975 iconic hit of the same
name. The song soared up the charts,
and the band quickly became a household
Superstar rapper Nicki Minaj, birth
name Onika Tanya Maraj, is the fi rst and
only female solo artist to have seven singles
simultaneously on the Billboard 100
chart. She skyrocketed to fame with tracks
like “Super Bass” in 2010 and “Anaconda”
in 2014. Born in Trinidad and Tobago,
she moved to South Jamaica as a toddler.
She overcame a diffi cult childhood
to become one of the most successful rappers
Nas, otherwise known as Nasir
Jones, made a huge impact in the early
1990s with Illmatic, widely regarded
as one of the greatest, if not the greatest,
rap albums of all time. He has sold
25 million records and has received
worldwide praise for his many projects.
He still hangs out in Queens
and can be spotted on the St. John’s
University Queens Campus from time
Curtis Jackson, known as 50 Cent, is
a producer, director and former rapper
from South Jamaica. His grandmother
who raised him still resides in Hollis. 50
Cent rose to fame because of his street
credibility as a musician and businessman.
He became famous for his ragsto
riches life story. Aft er an early life of
crime, he turned to rap, rising to stardom
with his 2003 album “Get Rich or
Louis Armstrong was born in 1901
in New Orleans but lived in Queens
for almost three decades. He came to
prominence in the 1920s, influencing
countless musicians with both
his daring trumpet style and unique
vocals. Armstrong and his wife
Lucille moved to a home in Corona
for retirement. Armstrong’s stage
presence impressed not only the jazz
world but the global music industry.
He recorded several songs throughout
his career, including “What a
Wonderful World.” Armstrong died
at his home in 1971.
* * *
Th ree particularly notable individuals
in American history resided in Addisleigh
Park. Originally built by white developers
and having race-based housing restrictions,
African-Americans who wanted to
live in Addisleigh Park sued the developers.
Th rough litigation, they were able to
buy homes in the community and quickly
Among Addisleigh Park’s most famous
residents was Ella Fitzgerald, who was
born in Queens. In 1958, Fitzgerald made
history as the fi rst African-American
woman to win a Grammy Award. Th e
singer would go on to win 13 Grammys
and sell more than 40 million albums.
Fitzgerald recorded more than 200
albums and 2,000 songs in her lifetime.
Her total record sales exceeded 40 million,
which would be worth hundreds of million
today. She also won the Presidential
Medal of Freedom. Fitzgerald passed
away from a stroke and diabetes complications
Jackie Robinson, who also resided in
Addisleigh Park, became the fi rst black athlete
to play Major League Baseball when he
took the fi eld for the Brooklyn Dodgers in
1947. Th roughout his decade-long career,
Robinson distinguished himself as one of
the game’s most talented and exciting players.
He was also a vocal civil rights activist.
He died in Connecticut in 1972 from heart
problems and diabetes complications.
Finally, psychologist, scholar and activist
W.E.B. DuBois resided in the historic
district aft er moving out of Harlem toward
the end of the Harlem Renaissance. DuBois
co-founded the National Association for
the Advancement of Colored People
(NAACP) in 1909, the central organization
responsible for the Civil Rights Movement.
Before moving to New York, DuBois lived
in Massachusetts where he received his
secondary education before attending Fisk
and Harvard Universities respectively.
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