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Famous Wilberforce University Alumni

Updated June 14, 2019 10.2k views35 items

List RulesPeople on this list must have gone to Wilberforce University and be of some renown.

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

Examples include Bayard Rustin and Leontyne Price.

This list answers the questions “Which famous people went to Wilberforce University?” and “Which celebrities are Wilberforce University alumni?”
  • 1
    Bayard Rustin (; March 17, 1912 – August 24, 1987) was an American leader in social movements for civil rights, socialism, nonviolence, and gay rights. Rustin worked with A. Philip Randolph on the...  more
  • 2

    AgeDec. at 70 (1901-1972)

    BirthplaceOklahoma City, Oklahoma

    NationalityUnited States of America

    James Andrew Rushing (August 26, 1901 – June 8, 1972) was an American blues and jazz singer, and pianist from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, best known as the featured vocalist of Count Basie's Orchestra...  more
  • 3
    Jazz Pianist, Musician

    AgeDec. at 86 (1923-2009)

    BirthplaceCincinnati, Ohio, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    George Allen Russell (June 23, 1923 – July 27, 2009) was an American jazz pianist, composer, arranger and theorist. He is considered one of the first jazz musicians to contribute to general music...  more
  • 4
    Conductor, Musician

    AgeDec. at 83 (1895-1978)

    BirthplaceWoodville, Mississippi

    NationalityUnited States of America

    William Grant Still (May 11, 1895 – December 3, 1978) was an American composer of more than 150 works, including five symphonies and eight operas. Often referred to as "the Dean" of African-American...  more
  • 5
    Sociologist, Professor



    NationalityUnited States of America

    William Julius Wilson (born December 20, 1935) is an American sociologist. He taught at the University of Chicago from 1972 to 1996 before moving to Harvard University. Wilson is Lewis P. and Linda...  more
  • 6
    Bandleader, Singer

    AgeDec. at 51 (1907-1958)

    BirthplaceYoungstown, Ohio

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Myron Carlton "Tiny" Bradshaw (September 23, 1907 – November 26, 1958) was an American jazz and rhythm and blues bandleader, singer, composer, pianist, and drummer. His biggest hit was "Well Oh...  more
  • 7
    Politician, Investor


    BirthplaceLos Angeles, California, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Floyd Harold Flake (born January 30, 1945) is the senior pastor of the 23,000 member Greater Allen African Methodist Episcopal Cathedral in Jamaica, Queens, New York, and former president of...  more
  • 8

    AgeDec. at 64 (1895-1960)

    BirthplaceBartow, Florida

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Ossian Sweet ( OSH-ən; October 30, 1895 – March 20, 1960) was an African-American physician in Detroit, Michigan known for being charged with murder in 1925 after he and friends used armed...  more
  • 9

    AgeDec. at 61 (1825-1887)

    BirthplaceWest Virginia, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Richard Harvey Cain (April 12, 1825 – January 18, 1887) was a minister, abolitionist, and United States Representative from South Carolina from 1873–1875 and 1877-1879. After the Civil War, he was...  more
  • 10
    Chaplain, Author

    AgeDec. at 80 (1843-1924)

    BirthplaceGouldtown, New Jersey

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Theophilus Gould Steward (April 17, 1843 – January 11, 1924) was an American author, educator, and clergyman. He was a U.S. Army chaplain and Buffalo Soldier of 25th U.S. Colored Infantry....  more
  • 11

    AgeDec. at 71 (1874-1946)

    BirthplacePotosi, 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 as...  more
  • 12
    Actor, Singer


    BirthplaceLaurel, Mississippi, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Mary Violet Leontyne Price (born February 10, 1927) is an American soprano. Born and raised in Laurel, Mississippi, she rose to international acclaim in the 1950s and 1960s, and was the first African...  more

    #5 of 297 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years#29 of 656 The Best Singers Of All Time#1 of 79 The Greatest Living Opera Singers

  • 13
    Writer, Playwright

    AgeDec. at 91 (1901-1993)

    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Regina M. Anderson (May 21, 1901 – February 5, 1993) was an African-American playwright and librarian. She was of Native American, Jewish, East Indian, Swedish, and other European ancestry...  more
  • 14
    Politician, U.S. Diplomat


    BirthplaceAlabama, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Helen Elsie Austin (May 10, 1908– Oct 26, 2004) was an American attorney, member of the Bahá'í National Spiritual Assemblies in the United States and for what was then the regional assembly of North...  more
  • 15
    Benjamin Francis Webster (March 27, 1909 – September 20, 1973) was an American jazz tenor saxophonist. He is considered one of the three most important "swing tenors" along with Coleman Hawkins and...  more

    The Best Ben Webster Albums of All Time#337 of 525 Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?#14 of 190 The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

  • 16
    Educator, Writer

    AgeDec. at 100 (1849-1949)

    BirthplacePittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Hallie Quinn Brown (March 10, 1849 – September 16, 1949) was an African-American educator, writer and activist.Originally of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, while quite young, her parents moved to a farm...  more
  • 17
    Jazz Pianist

    AgeDec. at 75 (1904-1979)

    BirthplaceLexington, Kentucky

    Edgar Junius Hayes (May 23, 1902 – June 28, 1979) was an American jazz pianist and bandleader. Born in Lexington, Kentucky, Hayes attended Wilberforce University, where he graduated with a degree in...  more
  • 18
    John Robert Fox (May 18, 1915 – December 26, 1944) was a United States Army first lieutenant who was killed in action after calling in artillery fire on the enemy during World War II. In 1997, he was...  more
  • 19
    Actor, Singer

    AgeDec. at 72 (1922-1994)

    BirthplaceBaltimore, USA, Maryland

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Lillian Irene Hayman (July 17, 1922 – October 25, 1994) was an American actress and singer....  more
  • 20
    Reverdy Cassius Ransom (January 4, 1861 – April 22, 1959) was a United States African American Christian socialist, civil rights activist, and he was ordained and served in the African Methodist...  more
  • 21
    For other persons named Frank Foster, see Frank Foster (disambiguation)Frank Benjamin Foster III (September 23, 1928 – July 26, 2011) was an American tenor and soprano saxophonist, flautist,...  more
  • 22
    Charity Adams Earley (1918–2002) was the first African-American woman to be an officer in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (later WACS) and was the commanding officer of the first battalion of...  more
  • 23
    Physician, Writer

    AgeDec. at 93 (1902-1995)

    BirthplaceWoodsdale, Ohio

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Leonidas Harris Berry (20 July 1902 – 4 December 1995) was an American and pioneer in gastroscopy and endoscopy. He served as the president of the National Medical Association from 1965 to 1966....  more
  • 24
    Basketball player, Songwriter

    AgeDec. at 71 (1943-2014)

    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Lonnie Lynn, nicknamed "Pops" (May 24, 1943 – September 12, 2014) was an American basketball player....  more
  • 25
    Victoria Jackson Gray Adams (November 5, 1926 – August 12, 2006) was an American civil rights activist from Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She was one of the founding members of the influential...  more