100 Outstanding African-Americans 2015

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The race to the top has never been to the swift; success is often a product of diligence, hard work, more work and extraordinary guts. These qualities reflect the unique characteristics of African Leadership Magazine’s 100 Leading African-Americans who have defied the odds and emerged tops in their chosen fields of endeavor. The honorees are drawn from all sectors of the economy, including Government, diplomacy, finance, ICT, Sports, and Entertainment.  Also covered are; Media & Communication, Education, Science and Technology, NGOs, Law, Entrepreneurship, Religion, Health & Medicine among others. This list is put together by the African Leadership Magazine’s Editorial board, made up of eminent Africans and African-Americans, with support from Global Political Solutions LLC – a Washington DC base consultancy. The editorial board in arriving at their decision took into cognizance, individual’s acceptability; influence; and contribution to the society. These three factors formed the basis for the selection.  This list is put together in line with African Leadership Magazine’s most cherished goal of celebrating the best of Africa.  It is instructive to note that the list presented is in no particular order, or claim to exhaustiveness, but a product of African Leadership Magazine’s Editorial board’s decision of the 100 most outstanding African Americans for the period 1 September 2014 – 31 August 2015.

Joh LewisJohn Lewis Often called  “one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced,” John Lewis has dedicated his life to protecting human rights, securing civil liberties, and building what he calls “The Beloved Community” in America.   His dedication to the highest ethical standards and moral principles has won him the admiration of many of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the United States Congress.  He has been called “the conscience of the U.S. Congress,” and Roll Call magazine has said, “John Lewis…is a genuine American hero and moral leader who commands widespread respect in the chamber.” He was born the son of sharecroppers on February 21, 1940, outside of Troy, Alabama.  He grew up on his family’s farm and attended segregated public schools in Pike County, Alabama.  As a young boy, he was inspired by the activism surrounding the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., which he heard on radio broadcasts.  In those pivotal moments, he made a decision to become a part of the Civil Rights Movement. Since then, he has remained at the vanguard of progressive social movements and the human rights struggle in the United States.  John Lewis is the recipient of numerous awards from eminent national and international institutions, including the highest civilian honor granted by President Barack Obama, the Medal of Freedom, the Lincoln Medal from the historic Ford’s Theatre, the Golden Plate Award given by the Academy of Excellence, the Preservation Hero award given by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Capital Award of the National Council of La Raza,  the Martin Luther King, Jr. Non-Violent Peace Prize, the President’s Medal of Georgetown University, the NAACP Spingarn Medal, the National Education Association Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Award, and the only John F. Kennedy “Profile in Courage Award” for Lifetime Achievement ever granted by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.
Yves DuroseauYves Duroseau Yves Duroseau, MD, MPH is the current Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital (LHH), NS/LIJ.  As Chair, Dr. Duroseau provides overall leadership of the department, with responsibility for strategic planning, development, clinical services, quality, professional performance, and medical education.  Dr. Duroseau is also the Co-Chair of the Performance Improvement Coordinating Group (PICG) for Lenox Hill Hospital. The PICG is responsible for overseeing all quality initiatives for the hospital.  Dr. Duroseau joins LHH from the Kings County Hospital Center in Brooklyn, NY, where he was the Director of Service in the Department of Emergency Medicine.  Prior to his post at Kings County Hospital Center, Dr. Duroseau served as the Medical Director of the Department of Emergency Medicine and as an Attending Physician at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York City.  Dr. Duroseau’s commitment to service is demonstrated through his founding of the mentorship programs, Doctors as Mentors at St. Vincent’s Hospital and Bridging the Gap at New York University and New York University Medical School, both intended to support minority students interested in or pursuing careers in medicine.  He serves on the board of EMEDEX International a non-for-profit organization committed to the advancement of sustainable emergency healthcare solutions world-wide.  Dr. Duroseau earned his medical degree and Master of Public Health degree as well as completed his residency in emergency medicine and internship in internal medicine at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, D.C.  He completed a postdoctoral research in Medical Informatics at The National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD.  He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Emergency Medicine.
Senator Edward BrookeEdward William Brooke III Edward William Brooke III (October 26, 1919 – January 3, 2015) was an American Republican politician. In 1966, he became the first African American popularly elected to the United States Senate.  No other senator of African heritage was elected until Democrat Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois in 1993. Brooke was also the last Black Republican to serve in the United States Senate until the 2012 appointment of Tim Scott in South Carolina. As of 2014 Brooke was the only African-American Senator to serve multiple terms. He was elected to the Senate as a Republican from Massachusetts, defeating former Massachusetts governor Democrat Endicott Peabody in a landslide. He served for two terms, and was defeated by Paul Tsongas in the 1978 senate election.  Brooke was the last Republican Senator elected from Massachusetts until Scott Brown was elected to fill the unexpired term of Brooke’s former colleague Ted Kennedy in 2010. He was the oldest living former Senator from July 30, 2013 (after Harry F. Byrd, Jr.’s death) until January 3, 2015, when he died. At the time he was one of eleven living ex-Senators that were at least ninety years old and was one of only thirty ever to have reached ninety-five years of age.  In 1967, Brooke was awarded the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP.
DeDe LeaMs. Dede Lea Ms. Lea returns to the Company after having served as Vice President of Government Affairs for Viacom from 1997 to 2004. During her time away from Viacom, she was Vice President of Government Affairs at Belo Corp. Prior to that, she held a variety of positions with the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), beginning as a legal intern in 1991 and ultimately serving as Senior Vice President of Government Relations from 1996 to 1997. Prior to joining the NAB, Ms. Lea held sales and account executive positions with television and radio stations in Washington, D.C., including WTTG-TV, WDJY and WRQX radio. Ms. Lea received a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University in 1993, and she graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in broadcast management from Howard University in 1985.
Charles OgletreeCharles Ogletree Charles Ogletree, the Harvard Law School Jesse Climenko Professor of Law, and Founding and Executive Director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, is a prominent legal theorist who has made an international reputation by taking a hard look at complex issues of law and by working to secure the rights guaranteed by the Constitution for everyone equally under the law. Professor Ogletree opened the offices of The Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice www.charleshamiltonhouston.org in September 2005 as a tribute to the legendary civil rights lawyer and mentor and teacher of such great civil rights lawyers as Thurgood Marshall and Oliver Hill. The Institute has engaged in a wide range of important educational, legal, and policy issues over the past 6 years.Professor Ogletree is the author of several important books on race and justice. His most recent publication is a book co-edited with Professor Austin Sarat of Amherst College entitled Life without Parole: America’s New Death Penalty? (NYU Press, 2012). Other publications include The Presumption of Guilt: The Arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Race, Class, and Crime in America (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).In November 2009, NYU Press published Professor Ogletree’s book, co-edited with Professor Austin Sarat, The Road to Abolition: The Future of Capital Punishment in the United States. Also edited with Austin Sarat, When Law Fails: Making Sense of Miscarriages of Justice and From Lynch Mobs to the Killing State: Race and the Death Penalty in America were published by NYU Press in January of 2009 and May of 2006 respectively. His historical memoir, All Deliberate Speed: Reflections on the First Half-Century of Brown v. Board of Education, was published by W.W. Norton & Company in April 2004. Professor Ogletree also co-authored Beyond the Rodney King Story: An Investigation of Police Conduct in Minority Communities (Northeastern University Press 1995).
Gene WadeGene Wade Gene has spent most of his adult life focused on helping to ensure that everyone has access to high quality education. He believes education is the solution to many of the biggest challenges facing people and societies around the world.Prior to founding UniversityNow, he was co-founder & CEO of Platform Learning, a tutoring company that served tens of thousands of low-income students throughout the United States. He was also co-founder & CEO of LearnNow, a school management company that was sold to Edison Schools where he was an Executive Vice President. Prior to becoming an education entrepreneur, he was a corporate bankruptcy attorney. Gene has an MBA from The Wharton School, a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.A. from Morehouse College.

As a serial education entrepreneur, Gene has been profiled by media, including Fast Company. In 2011, Gene shared his personal story and vision for UniversityNow as a speaker at TEDx San Francisco’s Salon on Higher Education. His TED Talk, “Building the World’s Most Affordable and Accessible Private University” can be found here:

Dr. Mae JamisonMae Carol Jemison Mae Carol Jemison (born October 17, 1956) is an American physician and NASA astronaut. She became the first African American woman to travel in space when she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992. After her medical education and a brief general practice, Jemison served in the Peace Corps from 1985 to 1987, when she was selected by NASA to join the astronaut corps. She resigned from NASA in 1993 to form a company researching the application of technology to daily life. She has appeared on television several times, including as an actress in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. She is a dancer, and holds nine honorary doctorates in science, engineering, letters, and the humanities. She is the current principal of the 100 Year Starship organization.
Marc MorialMarc Haydel Morial Marc Haydel Morial (born January 3, 1958) is an American political and civic leader and the current president of the National Urban League. Morial served as mayor of New Orleans, Louisiana, from 1994 to 2002.[1] He is married to Michelle Miller, who has won awards as a CBS News Correspondent. Morial was mentioned as a possible candidate for Governor of Louisiana in the 2011 election. He did not run for the seat.  Morial served as a member of the Debt Reduction Task Force at the Bipartisan Policy Center.  In 2012, Morial was appointed to the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability.  Morial serves as an Executive Committee member of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights,[17] the Black Leadership Forum, and Leadership 18, and is a Board Member of the Muhammad Ali Center, and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.
Ronald MachenMr. Ronald Machen Mr. Machen began his career in U.S. government as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia under then U.S. Attorney Eric Holder in January 1997. He held this position for 5 years before returning to private practice in white-collar criminal defense, corporate internal investigations, and civil litigation until 2010.  On December 23, 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Machen to serve as the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on February 11, 2010.  Machen has prosecuted numerous corruption cases involving Jesse Jackson Jr., and the administration of D.C. mayor Vincent C. Gray.  On September 12, 2014 Machen set up the first federal unit in the nation to identify and investigate cases that ended in wrongful convictions.  The unit will review cases in which defendants convicted of violent felonies can offer new evidence, such as DNA testing, that may establish innocence. A number of prosecutors’ offices have established similar units in recent years, including the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office in Texas.  Machen resigned and, on April 1, 2015, was succeeded by Vincent H. Cohen, Jr., as Acting United States Attorney for the District of Columbia.
Pastor Marvin J. OwensMarvin J. Owens, Jr. Pastor Owens Senior PastorPastor Owens serves as senior pastor of Michigan Park Christian Church. Reverend Owens is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), having served as the Co-Pastor of the Lake Shore Christian Church in Euclid, OH., Senior Pastor of the Williamsburg Christian Church in Brooklyn, NY for 14 years, associate minister of the St. Phillip’s Christian Church in Brooklyn, NY, General Board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Homeland Ministries Board, Trustee of the National Convocation, and Chair, Northeast Region Commission on Ministry. Reverend and Mrs. Barbara Owens are leaders of “Kingdom Couples” a national marriage support and couples ministry. Reverend Marvin Owens earned his Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Jarvis Christian College, Hawkins, Texas and his Masters of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and his Pastoral Counseling Certification from the Blanton-Peale Institute in New York City
Lisa OpokuLisa Opoku Named one of Black Enterprise’s “40 Rising Stars Under 40″ and one of “75 Most Powerful Women in Business” Opoku has served as COO for Goldman Sachs‘ securities division for the Asia Pacific region. A University of Minnesota and Harvard Law School alumna, Opoku has had a diversity of career experiences that have led to major boss moves in corporate America, all as a young professional.
William E.WardWilliam E. “Kip” Ward William E. “Kip” Ward (born March 6, 1949), is a retired United States Army four-star general who previously served as Commander, U.S. Africa Command from October 1, 2007 to March 8, 2011. Prior to that, Ward previously served as Deputy Commander, U.S. European Command. After he left U.S. Africa Command, Ward reverted to his permanent rank of major general and served as a special assistant to the Army’s vice chief of staff after the Department of Defense concluded he had misused taxpayer money. Ward then retired with the rank of lieutenant general in November 2012.
Congressman Greg MeeksGregory Weldon Meeks Gregory Weldon Meeks (born September 25, 1953) is the U.S. Representative for New York’s 5th congressional district, formerly in the 6th District since 1998. He is a member of the Democratic Party. Meeks is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, the International Conservation Caucus and the New Democrat Coalition.  On the U.S. Federal Budget, Meeks supports Social Security and Medicare and wants to balance the budget, lower the national debt while sending money to education, environment and national defense. He is also against the privatization of Social Security. On Homeland Security, Gregory Meeks has unwavering support of on-ground troops, and a large supporter of veterans and emergency responders.  Finally, Gregory Meeks is a strong supporter of the Health Care plan and is currently working to promote the extension and expansion of the State’s Children’s Health Insurance Program. He has also worked hard to increase the federal funding to research fields to speed cures.
Ken ChenaultKen Chenault He joined American Express in 1981, working in the Strategic Planning Group. He became president and chief operating officer in 1997.  He became CEO of American Express in 2001. He is currently co-chair of the Business Roundtable, a director at IBM, and a member at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a member of the Executive Committee of The Business Council for 2011 and 2012.  In 1995, Ebony listed him as one of 50 “living pioneers” in the African-American community. Chenault was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2008, he gave the commencement address at Howard University.  In May 2010, he gave the commencement speech at Wake Forest University and Northeastern University.
Prakazrel S. MichelPras born Praskazrel Samuel Michel Pras born Praskazrel Samuel Michel on October 19, 1972) is a two-time Grammy-winning American rapper, best known as one of the founding members of the critically acclaimed hip hop group, the Fugees, which included his cousin Wyclef Jean and recording artist Lauryn Hill. After his cameo debut in the 1999 film, Mystery Men, Pras gained an interest in Hollywood. In 2000, Pras starred in the New Line film, Turn It Up. In early 2002, he appeared in the Sony and Urban World release Higher Ed, and Go for Broke in which he starred and produced. He also co-starred in three 20th Century Fox films in 2007. These included The Mutant Chronicles.  In 2006, Pras created Skid Row, Los Angeles, a documentary account of his nine-day experience posing as a homeless person living in downtown Los Angeles. Using a hidden camera, Pras captured the reality of homelessness. The film was produced by Teryn Fogel. Skid Row was released on August 24, 2007 to widespread critical acclaim.  In 2009, Pras travelled to Somalia to film a documentary entitled Paper Dreams to highlight piracy off the African coast. During filming pirates invaded the ship he was on, the MV Maersk Alabama and took the Captain of the ship hostage. Due to be released in 2014, the documentary remains unfinished due to a legal dispute.  In 2015, Pras completed a documentary entitled Sweet Mickey For President. The documentary chronicled the rise of Haitian musician Michel Martelly, through his election to fight corruption as President of Haiti, an election campaign that was strongly endorsed by Pras. The film had its World premiere at the 2015 Slamdance Film Festival.
Serena WilliamsSerena Jameka Williams Serena Jameka Williams (born September 26, 1981) is an American professional tennis player who is ranked No. 1 in women’s singles tennis. The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has ranked her world No. 1 in singles on six separate occasions. She became the world No. 1 for the first time on July 8, 2002, and achieved this ranking for the sixth time on February 18, 2013.[4] Williams has spent 256 weeks overall as the WTA ranked #1 as of August 30, 2015, placing her 4th on the List of WTA number 1 ranked players. On July 13, 2015 she marked the first time in WTA history that the No. 1 player had more than twice as many points as No. 2. She is the reigning champion of the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, U.S. Open, WTA Tour Championships and Olympic women’s singles and doubles. Williams is regarded by some commentators, sports writers, and current and former players as the greatest female tennis player of all-time.  Williams holds the most major singles, doubles, and mixed doubles titles combined amongst active players, male or female. Her record of 36 major titles puts her fifth on the all-time list and second in the open era with: 21 in singles, 13 in women’s doubles, and two in mixed doubles. She is the most recent player, male or female, to have held all four major singles titles simultaneously (2002–03 and 2014–15), the fifth woman ever to do so and only the second player (first female player), male or female, to achieve this record twice after Rod Laver of Australia. She is also the most recent player, together with her sister Venus Williams, to have held all four Grand Slam women’s doubles titles simultaneously (2009–10).

See below the full list of African Leadership Magazine’s 100 personalities.

President Barack Obama, Emeritus Award

–              Congressman John Lewis Emeritus Award


–              DeDe Lea, Executive VP, Government Affairs, VIACOM

–              Don Lemon, CNN Anchor

–              Alfred C. Liggins III, Radio One, CEO

–              Angela Hill, ABC News

–              Armstrong Williams,  CEO, Right Side Media

–              Deborah Lee, CEO, Black Entertainment Television

–              Earl “Butch” Graves, Jr., Black Enterprise Magazine

–              Jerry Fenner, Production & Image Director WCFB-STAR 94.5fm (Orlando)

–              Mark Walton, President One Caribbean Television

–              Mignon Clyburn- Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chair

–              Roland Martin- TV One Anchor


–              Dr. Thomas Stewart, President Patten University

–              Dr. Cornel West – Professor

–              James  H. Shelton, Fmr. Deputy Secretary U.S Dept. of Education

–              Charles Ogletree, Law Professor Harvard University

–              Gerard Robinson, Education Policy-AEI

–              Hon. Rod Paige, Fmr. Secretary of Education

–              John S. Wilson, President Morehouse College

–              Jonathan Foy,Eagle Academy

–              Mary Schmidt Campbell, President Spelman College


–              Gene Wade, Chairman-UNOW

–              Jair Lynch –  Developer

–              Jamal Simmons, CEO-CRVii

–              Les Hollis, CEO-IGM (IL Grown Medicine)

–              Raymond Cooper- CEO RHEMA Motors


–              Nicole Isaacs, Economic Graph Policy Partnerships

–              Dr. Mae Jamison, Fmr.  NASA Astronaut

–              Moses Boyd, Founder, US Renewable Energy Group

–              Shirley Ann Jackson, President Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

–              Ursula Burns, Chairman/CEO Xerox

–              Victor Parker, President V-Tech

–              Wanda M. Austin, President,CEO Aerospace Corp.


–              Brendan Marcano, Exec Dir.  Council of Urban Professionals

–              Craig Kirby, Founder – Golf My Future

–              Executive Leadership Council (ELC) Ron Parker

–              Marc Morial

–              Marcus Mason, President, Washington Government Relations Group

–              Martin Luther King III, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Center

–              National Association of Black Bankers

–              Niger Innis, National Spokesman, Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)

–              Ron Busby, CEO, US Black Chamber of Commerce

–              Spencer Overton, CEO, Joint Center

–              BIG


–              Janaii Nelson, NAACP Legal Defense Fund

–              John A. Robotham, Partner, Cooke Robotham

–              Ben Tucker, First Deputy Commissioner, New York City Police Department

–              Ronald Machen, Fmr. US Attorney for the District of Columbia

–              Sha Shana- Crichton, Law Professor Howard University Law School

–              Thamarr Harrington, Legal Counsel Embassy of Haiti

–              Vincere N. Japal, Fuji Films, USA

–              Wayne Golding, Golding Law Group


–              Bishop Harry Jackson

–              Bishop TD Jakes

–              Minister Conrad Tillard

–              Reverend Dr. Alveda King

–              Reverend Jamal Bryant

–              Reverend Marvin Owens


–              Janice Williams, President Williams Capital

–              Kevin Chavers, Managing Director- Blackrock Financial Advisory Group

–              Kneeland Youngblood, Managing Partner- Pharos Capital Group

–              Roger Ferguson, CEO, TIAA CREF

–              Terry L. Jones, Managing Partner Syncom Venture Partners

–              Terry Lyon, VP AXA Advisors


–              Yves Duroseau, Chair Dept. Emergency Medicine Lenox Hospital-NY

–              Dr. Ben Carson (Brain Surgeon)

–              Dr. Michael Parks, Hospital for Specialty Surgery/Orthopedics

–              Gary Little, Medical Dir. GW Hospital

–              Maurice Scholas


–              Corey Booker, US Senator-NJ

–              General William “Kip” Ward, Fmr. Cmder U.S. Africa Command (Govt)

–              Greg Meeks, Congressman-NY (Politics)

–              James Clyburn, Congressman -SC

–              Jamie Harrison

–              Maxine Waters, Congresswoman-CA

–              Mia Love, Congresswoman-UT

–              Paul Williams, Fmr. President Dormitory Authority State of NY

–              Tim Scott, US Senator-SC

–              Michael Steele


–              Arnold W. Donald, Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc.

–              Ken Chenault, CEO American Express

–              Kenneth Frasier, CEO Merck

–              Richard Bailey- Keller Williams-Real Estate/Mid-Atlantic

–              Rodney O’Neal, Delphi

–              Roslind Brewer, President/CEO Sam’s Club

–              Sean “Diddy” Combs, CEO, Sean John

–              Tracey Mckibbon, President MAC Energy Advisors

–              Zed Smith, Managing Director Cordish Group


–              John King- Kingdom World, Inc

–              Mason Ashe, Entertainment Attorney

–              Prakazrel S. Michel (Pras) FUGEES

–              Raheem Devon

–              Shonda Rhymes, Shonda World Entertainment

–              Spike Lee, CEO Forty Acres & Mule

–              Tanaya Greig-Perara, SVP Universal Pictures

–              Lebron James

–              Serena Williams


–              Senator Edward Brooke

–              Chairman Julian Bond

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