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Famous Fisk University Alumni

Updated June 14, 2019 19.6k views90 items

List RulesPeople 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

    W.E.B. Du Bois

    Editor, Journalist

    AgeDec. at 95 (1868-1963)

    BirthplaceGreat Barrington, Massachusetts

    William Edward Burghardt Du Bois ( doo-BOYSS; February 23, 1868 – August 27, 1963) was an... more on Wikipedia
  • 2
    Ida B. Wells

    Ida B. Wells

    Journalist, Women's rights activist

    AgeDec. at 69 (1862-1931)

    BirthplaceHolly Springs, Mississippi

    Ida Bell Wells-Barnett (July 16, 1862 – March 25, 1931) was an African-American investigative... more on Wikipedia
  • 3

    Otis Boykin

    Inventor, Engineer

    AgeDec. at 62 (1920-1982)

    BirthplaceDallas, Texas

    Otis Frank Boykin (August 29, 1920, Dallas, Texas – March 13, 1982, Chicago, Illinois) was an... more on Wikipedia
  • 4
    Charles Diggs

    Charles Diggs


    AgeDec. at 76 (1922-1998)

    BirthplaceDetroit, Michigan, United States of America

    Charles Coles Diggs Jr. (December 2, 1922 – August 24, 1998) was an African-American... more on Wikipedia
  • 5
    Alcee Hastings

    Alcee Hastings

    Judge, Politician


    BirthplaceAltamonte Springs, Florida, United States of America

    Alcee Lamar Hastings (born September 5, 1936) is the U.S. Representative for Florida's 20th... more on Wikipedia

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    #2 of 45 Corrupt Democrats#1 of 31 Corrupt Reagan era Politicians

  • 6
    James Weldon Johnson

    James Weldon Johnson

    Poet, Novelist

    AgeDec. at 67 (1871-1938)

    BirthplaceJacksonville, Florida

    James Weldon Johnson (June 17, 1871 – June 26, 1938) was an American author, educator, lawyer,... more on Wikipedia
  • 7
    Marion Barry

    Marion Barry

    Politician, Actor


    BirthplaceItta Bena, Mississippi, United States of America

    Marion Shepilov Barry (born Marion Barry Jr.; March 6, 1936 – November 23, 2014) was an... more on Wikipedia

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    #141 of 211 200+ Celebrities Who Went to Rehab#8 of 12 12 Politicians Busted for Drug Possession

  • 8
    Julius Lester

    Julius Lester

    Musician, Author


    BirthplaceSt. Louis, Missouri

    Julius Bernard Lester (January 27, 1939 – January 18, 2018) was an American writer of books... more on Wikipedia
  • 9
    Nikki Giovanni

    Nikki Giovanni

    Activist, Poet


    BirthplaceKnoxville, Tennessee

    Yolande Cornelia "Nikki" Giovanni Jr. (born June 7, 1943) is an American poet, writer,... more on Wikipedia

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    #102 of 168 The Best Poets of the 20th Century#74 of 369 The Greatest Poets of All Time

  • 10
    John Hope Franklin

    John Hope Franklin

    Historian, Professor

    AgeDec. at 94 (1915-2009)

    BirthplaceRentiesville, Oklahoma, United States of America

    John Hope Franklin (January 2, 1915 – March 25, 2009) was an American historian of the United... more on Wikipedia
  • 11
    David Levering Lewis

    David Levering Lewis

    Biographer, Historian


    BirthplaceLittle Rock, Arkansas

    David Levering Lewis (born May 25, 1936) is an American historian, a Julius Silver University... more on Wikipedia
  • 12
    Mathew Knowles

    Mathew Knowles

    Record producer, Businessperson


    BirthplaceGadsden, Alabama

    Mathew Knowles (born January 9, 1952) is an American record executive, talent manager, and... more on Wikipedia
  • 13
    Percy Lavon Julian

    Percy Lavon Julian

    Chemist, Professor

    AgeDec. at 76 (1899-1975)

    BirthplaceMontgomery, Alabama

    Percy Lavon Julian (April 11, 1899 – April 19, 1975) was a research chemist and a pioneer in... more on Wikipedia

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    #1074 of 1,357 The Greatest Minds of All Time#559 of 1,276 Every Person Who Has Been Immortalized in a Google Doodle

  • 14
    Lil Hardin Armstrong

    Lil Hardin Armstrong

    Arranger, Jazz Pianist

    AgeDec. at 73 (1898-1971)

    BirthplaceMemphis, Tennessee

    Lillian "Lil" Hardin Armstrong (née Hardin; February 3, 1898 – August 27, 1971) was a jazz... more on Wikipedia

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    #1045 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time#436 of 603 The Best Rock Vocalists

  • 15
    Victor O. Frazer

    Victor O. Frazer



    BirthplaceCharlotte Amalie, United States Virgin Islands

    Victor O. Frazer (born May 24, 1943) was a Delegate from the United States Virgin Islands to... more on Wikipedia
  • 16
    William L. Dawson

    AgeDec. at 84 (1886-1970)

    BirthplaceDougherty County, United States of America, Albany, United States, with Territories

    William Levi Dawson (April 26, 1886 – November 9, 1970) was an American politician who... more on Wikipedia
  • 17
    Hazel R. O'Leary


    BirthplaceVirginia, United States of America

    Hazel Reid O'Leary (born May 17, 1937) was the seventh United States Secretary of Energy, from... more on Wikipedia
  • 18
    Nella Larsen

    Nella Larsen

    Nurse, Novelist

    AgeDec. at 73 (1891-1964)

    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois

    Nellallitea "Nella" Larsen, born Nellie Walker (April 13, 1891 – March 30, 1964), was an... more on Wikipedia

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    #124 of 250 The Best Gay Authors#35 of 48 The Greatest Black Female Authors in the History of Literature

  • 19
    Wade H. McCree

    Wade H. McCree

    Judge, Lawyer

    AgeDec. at 67 (1920-1987)

    BirthplaceDes Moines, Iowa, United States of America

    This article is about Wade McCree Jr (d. 1987). The "Shirtless Selfie Judge" from Detroit... more on Wikipedia
  • 20
    W. C. Handy

    W. C. Handy

    Songwriter, Musician

    AgeDec. at 85 (1873-1958)

    BirthplaceFlorence, Alabama, United States of America

    William Christopher Handy (November 16, 1873 – March 28, 1958) was a composer and musician,... more on Wikipedia

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    #1618 of 2,443 The Most Influential People of All Time#121 of 225 The Best Blues Artists of All Time

  • 21
    Constance Baker Motley

    AgeDec. at 84 (1921-2005)

    BirthplaceNew Haven, Connecticut, United States of America

    Constance Baker Motley (September 14, 1921 – September 28, 2005) was an African-American civil... more on Wikipedia
  • 22

    Jimmie Lunceford

    Saxophonist, Musician

    AgeDec. at 45 (1902-1947)

    BirthplaceFulton, Mississippi

    James Melvin Lunceford (June 6, 1902 – July 12, 1947) was an American jazz alto saxophonist... more on Wikipedia
  • 23
    Aaron Douglas

    AgeDec. at 81 (1898-1979)

    BirthplaceTopeka, Kansas, United States of America

    Aaron Douglas (May 26, 1899 – February 3, 1979) was an American painter, illustrator and... more on Wikipedia
  • 24


    Music artist, Singer


    BirthplaceCitrus Heights, California, United States of America

    Mandisa Lynn Hundley (born October 2, 1976), known professionally as Mandisa, is an American... more on Wikipedia

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    #12 of 135 The Best American Idol Contestants Ever#26 of 50 The Greatest Female Gospel Singers

  • 25

    Etta Zuber Falconer


    AgeDec. at 69 (1933-2002)

    BirthplaceTupelo, Mississippi

    Etta Zuber Falconer (21 November 1933 – 19 September 2002) was an educator and mathematician... more on Wikipedia