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

List of famous alumni from Shaw University, with photos when available. Prominent graduates from Shaw University include celebrities, politicians, business people, athletes and more. This list of distinguished Shaw University alumni is loosely ordered by relevance, so the most recognizable celebrities who attended Shaw 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 Shaw University.

List ranges from Gladys Knight to Ella Baker and more.

This list answers the questions “Which famous people went to Shaw University?” and “Which celebrities are Shaw University alumni?”
Ella Baker is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Photo: Freebase/CC-BY

Ella Josephine Baker was an African-American civil rights and human rights activist. She was a largely behind-the-scenes organizer whose career spanned over five decades. She worked alongside some of the most famous civil rights leaders of the 20th century, including W. E. B. Du Bois, Thurgood Marshall, A. Philip Randolph, and Martin Luther King, Jr. She also mentored many emerging activists such as Diane Nash, Stokely Carmichael, Rosa Parks, and Bob Moses. She was a critic of professionalized, charismatic leadership and a promoter of grassroots organizing and radical democracy. She has been called "One of the most important African American leaders of the twentieth century and perhaps the ...more

Age: Died at 83 (1903-1986)

Birthplace: Virginia, United States of America

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John A. Lankford is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Photo: Freebase/Public domain

John A. Lankford was an American architect. He was the first professionally licensed African American architect in Virginia in 1922 and in the District of Columbia in 1924. He has been regarded as the "dean of black architecture". ...more

Age: Died at 72 (1874-1946)

Birthplace: Potosi, Missouri, United States of America

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Henry P. Cheatham is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Photo: Freebase/Public domain

Henry Plummer Cheatham was an educator, farmer and politician, elected as a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from 1889 to 1893 from North Carolina. He was one of only five African Americans elected to Congress from the South in the Jim Crow era of the last decade of the nineteenth century, as disfranchisement reduced black voting. After that, no African Americans would be elected from the South until 1972 and none from North Carolina until 1992. ...more

Age: Died at 78 (1857-1935)

Birthplace: North Carolina, United States of America

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Gladys Knight is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Photo:  Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Gladys Maria Knight, known as the "Empress of Soul", is an American recording artist, songwriter, businesswoman, humanitarian and author. A four-time Grammy Award-winner, she is best known for the hits she recorded during the 1960s and 1970s, for both the Motown and Buddah Records labels, with her group Gladys Knight & the Pips, which also included her brother Merald "Bubba" Knight and her cousins Edward Patten and William Guest. ...more

Age: 73

Birthplace: Georgia, USA, Oglethorpe

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