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Famous Fisk University Alumni

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List Rules People on this list must have gone to Fisk University and be of some renown.

List of famous alumni from Fisk University, with photos when available. Prominent graduates from Fisk University include celebrities, politicians, business people, athletes and more. This list of distinguished Fisk University alumni is loosely ordered by relevance, so the most recognizable celebrities who attended Fisk University are at the top of the list. This directory is not just composed of graduates of this school, as some of the famous people on this list didn't necessarily earn a degree from Fisk University.

The list you're viewing is made up of a variety of different graduates, including W.E.B. Du Bois and Marion Barry.

This list answers the questions “Which famous people went to Fisk University?” and “Which celebrities are Fisk University alumni?”
1
W.E.B. Du Bois is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Fisk University Alumni
W.E.B. Du Bois Editor, Journalist, Historian
William Edward Burghardt "W. E. B." Du Bois was an American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author and editor. Born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, ...more
2
Ida B. Wells is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Fisk University Alumni
Journalist, Women's rights activist
Ida Bell Wells-Barnett was an African-American journalist, newspaper editor, suffragist, sociologist, and an early leader in the civil rights movement. She documented lynching in the United ...more
3
Otis Boykin is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Fisk University Alumni
Inventor, Engineer
Otis Frank Boykin was an African-American inventor and engineer.
4
Charles Diggs is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Fisk University Alumni
Politician
Charles Coles Diggs, Jr. was an African-American politician from the U.S. state of Michigan. Diggs was an early member of the civil rights movement. He attended the trial of Emmett Till's ...more
5
Alcee Hastings is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Fisk University Alumni
Judge, Politician
Alcee Lamar Hastings is the U.S. Representative for Florida's 20th congressional district, serving in Congress since 1993. He is a member of the Democratic Party. He served as a Judge on the ...more
6
James Weldon Johnson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Fisk University Alumni
Poet, Novelist, Author
James Weldon Johnson was an American author, educator, lawyer, diplomat, songwriter, and civil rights activist. Johnson is best remembered for his leadership of the National Association for the ...more
7
Marion Barry is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Fisk University Alumni
Politician, Actor
Marion Shepilov Barry, Jr. was an American politician who served as the second Mayor of the District of Columbia from 1979 to 1991, and again as the fourth mayor from 1995 to 1999. A Democrat, ...more
8
Julius Lester is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Fisk University Alumni
Musician, Author, Writer
Julius Lester is an American author of books for children and adults, and taught for 32 years at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is also a photographer, as well as a musician who ...more
9
Nikki Giovanni is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Fisk University Alumni
Activist, Poet, Professor
Yolande Cornelia "Nikki" Giovanni Jr. is an American writer, commentator, activist, and educator. One of the world's most well-known African American poets, her work includes poetry ...more
10
John Hope Franklin is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Fisk University Alumni
Historian, Professor, Author
John Hope Franklin was an American historian of the United States and former president of Phi Beta Kappa, the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association, and the ...more
11
David Levering Lewis is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Fisk University Alumni
Biographer, Historian, Professor
David Levering Lewis is the Julius Silver University Professor and Professor of History at New York University. He is twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography, for part ...more
12
Mathew Knowles is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Fisk University Alumni
Record producer, Businessperson, Film Producer
Mathew Knowles is an American talent manager and businessman. He is best known for being the manager of the Grammy award winning multi-platinum R&B girl group, Destiny’s Child. He also ...more
13
Percy Lavon Julian is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Fisk University Alumni
Chemist, Professor, Scientist
Percy Lavon Julian was an American research chemist and a pioneer in the chemical synthesis of medicinal drugs from plants. He was the first to synthesize the natural product physostigmine, and ...more
14
Lil Hardin Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Fisk University Alumni
Arranger, Jazz Pianist, Musician
Lil Hardin Armstrong was a jazz pianist, composer, arranger, singer, and bandleader, and the second wife of Louis Armstrong with whom she collaborated on many recordings in the 1920s. Hardin's ...more
15
Victor O. Frazer is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Fisk University Alumni
Victor O. Frazer Politician
Victor O. Frazer was a Delegate from the United States Virgin Islands to the United States House of Representatives. He was born in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. He attended Fisk University and ...more
16
William L. Dawson is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Fisk University Alumni
Lawyer
William Levi Dawson was an African-American politician who represented Chicago, Illinois for more than 27 years in the United States House of Representatives. In the 1940s he was active in the ...more
17
Hazel R. O'Leary is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Fisk University Alumni
Politician
Hazel Reid O'Leary was the seventh United States Secretary of Energy, from 1993 to 1997, appointed by President Bill Clinton. As of 2012, she is the first and only woman and first and only ...more
18
Nella Larsen is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Fisk University Alumni
Nurse, Novelist, Writer
Nellallitea "Nella" Larsen, born Nellie Walker, was an American novelist of the Harlem Renaissance. First working as a nurse and a librarian, she published two novels—Quicksand and ...more
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Wade H. McCree is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Fisk University Alumni
Judge, Lawyer
Wade Hampton McCree, Jr. was an American attorney, judge, public official and law professor. He was the first African American appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and ...more
20
W. C. Handy is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Fisk University Alumni
Songwriter, Musician, Bandleader
William Christopher Handy was an American blues composer and musician. He was widely known as the "Father of the Blues". Handy remains among the most influential of American ...more
21
Constance Baker Motley is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Fisk University Alumni
Judge, Lawyer
Constance Baker Motley was an African-American civil rights activist, lawyer, judge, state senator, and Borough President of Manhattan, New York City.
22
Jimmie Lunceford is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Fisk University Alumni
Saxophonist, Musician, Bandleader
James Melvin "Jimmie" Lunceford was an American jazz alto saxophonist and bandleader in the swing era.
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Aaron Douglas is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Fisk University Alumni
Aaron Douglas Artist
Aaron Douglas was an African-American painter and a major figure in the Harlem Renaissance.
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Mandisa is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Fisk University Alumni
Music artist, Singer
Mandisa Lynn Hundley, known professionally as Mandisa, is an American gospel and contemporary Christian recording artist. Her career began in the fifth season of American Idol, in which she ...more
25
Etta Zuber Falconer is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Fisk University Alumni
Mathematician
Etta Zuber Falconer was an educator and mathematician who was one of the first African-American women to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics.