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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?”

1
Ella Baker is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
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 ...more

2
John A. Lankford is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Architect
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 ...more

3
Henry P. Cheatham is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Politician
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 ...more

4
Gladys Knight is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Businessperson, Singer-songwriter, Author
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 ...more

5
James E. Cheek is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Theologian, Teacher
James Edward Cheek, president emeritus of Howard University, was born in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. Despite suffering from severe cataracts, Cheek was an honor student at Washington Street ...more

6
Ronald Murray is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Basketball player
Ronald "Flip" Murray is an American professional basketball player who last played for Al Mouttahed Tripoli of the Lebanese Basketball League. He is a 6 ft 3 in, 200 lb point ...more

7
Benjamin Arthur Quarles is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Historian, Professor, Writer
Benjamin Arthur Quarles was an African-American historian, administrator, scholar, educator, and writer. Major books by Quarles include The Negro in the American Revolution, Lincoln and the ...more

8
Ida Van Smith is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Pilot
Ida Van Smith was an African-American pilot and flight instructor born in 1917 in Lumberton, North Carolina. She died on May 13, 2003, in Lumberton, North Carolina.

9
Lenard Moore is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Lenard Moore
Lenard Duane Moore in Jacksonville, North Carolina. He is a writer of more than 20 forms of poetry, drama, essays and literary criticism, and has been writing and publishing haiku for over 20 ...more

10
Rita Walters is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Rita Walters Politician
Rita Walters currently serves on the Board of Library Commissioners for the Los Angeles Public Library. Prior to this position, she served on the Los Angeles City Council representing the 9th ...more

11
Shirley Caesar is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Songwriter, Actor, Pastor
Shirley Ann Caesar-Williams, known professionally as Shirley Caesar is an American Gospel music singer, songwriter and recording artist whose career has spanned over six decades. A multi-award ...more

12
Willie E. Gary is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Willie E. Gary Lawyer
Willie E. Gary, is an attorney, motivational speaker and cable television executive. Gary has won suits against large corporations, such as Disneyland and Anheuser-Busch, on behalf of his ...more

13
James Smith is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
James Smith
James "Bonecrusher" Smith is an American former boxer who was, between December 1986 and March 1987, the WBA heavyweight champion, losing the title in his first defence. He was the ...more

14
Edward A. Johnson is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Edward A. Johnson Politician, Lawyer
Edward Austin Johnson was an attorney who became the first African-American member of the New York state legislature when he was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1917.

15
Vernon Malone is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Vernon Malone was a Democratic member of the North Carolina General Assembly representing the state's fourteenth Senate district from 2003 until his death in 2009. His district included ...more

16
Angie Brooks is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Angie Brooks
Angie Elizabeth Brooks was a Liberian diplomat and jurist. She is notable for being the only African female President of the United Nations General Assembly. She was also the second woman from ...more

17
Glenford Eckleton Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Glenford Eckleton Mitchell
Dr. Glenford Eckleton Mitchell served as a member of the Universal House of Justice, the supreme governing body of the Bahá'í Faith. He was elected in 1982, and served in this ...more

18
James H. Young is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
James H. Young Politician
James H. Young was an African American politician in North Carolina. Young was born in 1860 near Henderson, North Carolina to a slave woman and a prominent white man. Educated at Shaw ...more

19
Joe Garland is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Joseph Copeland "Joe" Garland was an American jazz saxophonist, composer, and arranger, best known for writing "In the Mood". Garland studied music at Shaw University and the ...more

20
Lucius Walker is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Lucius Walker
The Reverend Lucius Walker was an American Baptist minister who served as executive director of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization in the 1960s and was a persistent ...more

21
Luther Jordan is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Luther Jordan
Luther Henry Jordan, Jr. was a Democratic politician from North Carolina and a senior member of the North Carolina General Assembly. Jordan was born in New York City and moved to North Carolina ...more

22
Max Yergan is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Max Yergan
Max Yergan was an African-American activist notable for being a Baptist missionary for the YMCA, then a Communist working with Paul Robeson, and finally a staunch anti-Communist who complimented ...more

23
James B. Dudley is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
James B. Dudley
James Benson Dudley was President of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University from 1896 until his death in 1925. James B. Dudley High School in the town of Greensboro, North ...more

24
William Gaston Pearson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
William Gaston Pearson
William Gaston Pearson was an African-American educator and businessman in North Carolina.

25
James E. Shepard is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
James E. Shepard
James E. Shepard was a pharmacist, civil servant and educator, the founder of what became the North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina. He first established it as a private ...more