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Famous Shaw University Alumni

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Updated June 14, 2019 10.6k views 28 items

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

Age: Dec. at 83 (1903-1986)

Birthplace: Virginia

Ella Josephine Baker (December 13, 1903 – December 13, 1986) was an African-American civil rights and human rights activist in the United States. She was a largely behind-the-scenes organizer ...more
2
John A. Lankford is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Architect

Age: Dec. at 72 (1874-1946)

Birthplace: Potosi, Missouri

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

Age: Dec. at 78 (1857-1935)

Birthplace: North Carolina, United States of America

Henry Plummer Cheatham (December 27, 1857 – November 29, 1935) was an educator, farmer and politician, elected as a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from 1889 to ...more
4
Gladys Knight is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Businessperson, Singer-songwriter, Author

Age: 74

Birthplace: Georgia, USA, Oglethorpe

Gladys Maria Knight (born May 28, 1944), known as the "Empress of Soul", is an American singer, songwriter, actress, businesswoman, and author. A seven-time Grammy Award-winner, Knight ...more

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5
James E. Cheek is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Theologian, Teacher

Age: Dec. at 78 (1932-2010)

Birthplace: Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina

James Edward Cheek (December 4, 1932 – January 8, 2010), president emeritus of Howard University, was born in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. Despite suffering from severe cataracts, Cheek was ...more
6
Ronald Murray is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Basketball player

Age: 39

Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Ronald Murray (born July 29, 1979) is a retired American professional basketball player who last played for Al Mouttahed Tripoli of the Lebanese Basketball League. He is a 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m), ...more
7
Benjamin Arthur Quarles ... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Historian, Professor, Writer

Age: Dec. at 92 (1904-1996)

Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts

Benjamin Arthur Quarles (January 23, 1904 – November 16, 1996) was an African-American historian, administrator, scholar, educator, and writer. Major books by Quarles include The Negro in the ...more
8
Ida Van Smith is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Pilot

Age: Dec. at 86 (1917-2003)

Birthplace: Lumberton, North Carolina

Ida Van Smith (1917 – May 13, 2003) was an African-American pilot and flight instructor born in 1917 in Lumberton, North Carolina and died in that very town on May 13, 2003.
9
Lenard Moore is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Lenard Moore

Age: 61

Birthplace: Jacksonville, North Carolina

Lenard Duane Moore (born February 13, 1958) 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 ...more
10
Rita Walters is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Rita Walters Politician

Age: 89

Rita Walters (born 1930) 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 ...more
11
Shirley Caesar is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Songwriter, Actor, Pastor

Age: 80

Birthplace: USA, North Carolina, Durham

Shirley Ann Caesar-Williams, known professionally as Shirley Caesar (born October 13, 1938 in Durham, North Carolina), is an American Gospel music singer, songwriter and recording artist whose ...more

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12
Willie E. Gary is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Willie E. Gary Lawyer

Age: 71

Birthplace: Eastman, Georgia

Willie E. Gary (born July 12, 1947), is an American attorney, motivational speaker and cable television executive. Gary has won suits against large corporations, such as Disneyland and ...more
13
James Smith is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
James Smith

Age: 65

Birthplace: Magnolia, North Carolina

' James "Bonecrusher" Smith (born April 3, 1953) is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1981 to 1999, and held the WBA heavyweight title from 1986 to 1987.
14
Edward A. Johnson is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Edward A. Johnson Politician, Lawyer

Age: Dec. at 84 (1860-1944)

For the Canadian ecologist, see E. A. Johnson. For people with similar names, see Edward Johnson (disambiguation). Edward Austin Johnson (1860–1944) was an attorney who became the first ...more
15
Vernon Malone is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni

Age: Dec. at 78 (1931-2009)

Birthplace: Wake Forest, North Carolina, United States of America

Vernon Malone (December 20, 1931 – April 18, 2009) was a Democratic member of the North Carolina General Assembly representing the state's fourteenth Senate district from 2003 until his death in ...more
16
Angie Brooks is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Angie Brooks

Age: Dec. at 79 (1928-2007)

Birthplace: Virginia, Liberia, Liberia

Angie Elizabeth Brooks (August 24, 1928 – September 9, 2007) was a Liberian diplomat and jurist. She is notable for being the only African female President of the United Nations General ...more
17
Glenford Eckleton Mitche... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Glenford Eckleton Mitchell

Age: 84

Birthplace: Caribbean

The Universal House of Justice (Persian: بیت‌العدل اعظم‎) is the nine-member supreme ruling body of the Bahá'í Faith. It was envisioned by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of ...more
18
James H. Young is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
James H. Young Politician

Age: Dec. at 61 (1860-1921)

James H. Young (1860–1921) 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 ...more
19
Joe Garland is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni

Age: Dec. at 74 (1903-1977)

Birthplace: Virginia

Joseph Copeland Garland (August 15, 1903, Norfolk, Virginia – April 21, 1977, Teaneck, New Jersey) was an American jazz saxophonist, composer, and arranger, best known for writing "In the ...more
20
Lucius Walker is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Lucius Walker

Age: Dec. at 80 (1930-2010)

Birthplace: Roselle, New Jersey

The Reverend Lucius Walker (August 3, 1930 – September 7, 2010) was an American Baptist minister who served as executive director of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization in ...more
21
Luther Jordan is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Luther Jordan

Age: Dec. at 52 (1950-2002)

Luther Henry Jordan, Jr. (1 June 1950 - 23 April 2002) was a Democratic politician from North Carolina and a senior member of the North Carolina General Assembly. Jordan was born in New York ...more
22
Max Yergan is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
Max Yergan

Age: Dec. at 83 (1892-1975)

Birthplace: Raleigh, North Carolina

Max Yergan (July 19, 1892 – April 11, 1975) was an African-American activist notable for being a Baptist missionary for the YMCA, then a Communist working with Paul Robeson, and finally a ...more
23
James B. Dudley is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
James B. Dudley

Age: Dec. at 66 (1859-1925)

Birthplace: Wilmington, North Carolina

James Benson Dudley (November 2, 1859 – April 4, 1925) was President of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University from 1896 until his death in 1925. James B. Dudley High School ...more
24
William Gaston Pearson ... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Shaw University Alumni
William Gaston Pearson

Age: Dec. at 89 (1858-1947)

William Gaston Pearson (1858–1947) 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

Age: Dec. at 72 (1875-1947)

Birthplace: Raleigh, North Carolina

James Edward Shepard (November 3, 1875 – October 6, 1947) was an American pharmacist, civil servant and educator, the founder of what became the North Carolina Central University in Durham, ...more