Paul Laurence Dunbar was the first African American to gain national eminence as a poet. Born in 1872 in Dayton, Ohio, he was the son of ex-slaves and classmate to Orville Wright of aviation fame. How many segregated high schools across the US were proudly named "Dunbar School"?
The first Black pianist to win national fame was Thomas Greene Bethune, [Blind Tom]. He was also the first black artist known to have performed at the White House. Then about ten years old, he played the piano for President James Buchanan. Born a slave near Columbus, Georgia, Bethune’s talent as a composer and a pianist was soon recognized by Colonel Bethune, who had purchased him in 1850.
Clark Gable was born on February 1, 1901, in Cadiz, Ohio. His mother died before Gable was one year old. He spent the next five years with his grandparents. When his father remarried in 1907, Gable moved back to his father's home. Gable graduated from high school and briefly attended Akron University in Akron, Ohio, where he studied medicine.
Ignas Semmelweis was the doctor who discovered that antisepsis saved lives during surgery. He forced doctors in his hospital to wash their hands between patients and was able to reduce patient deaths from infection by more than 90 percent. This was in the 1850s and years before Pasteur's Germ Theory. Most doctors at the time ridiculed him and they hounded him out of the medical profession and he went insane and ironically died of infection. He was one of the many pioneers who saw the future.
Minnie Freeman ~ teacher in 1888 who roped her students together and led them through a total white-out blizzard from the schoolhouse whose roof had collapsed to a farmhouse three-quarters of a mile away...
Dr. Christiaan BarnardDr. Christiaan Barnard, the famed South African surgeon who performed the first human heart transplant on 53-year-old Louis Washkansky in 1967, had health issues himself. Dr. Barnard had RA, which forced him to end his surgical career in 1983. He spent his last years on the lecture circuit, dividing his time between Europe and Cape Province in South Africa, where he had a farm. He died in Cyprus in 2001.