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Anthon Davis

music producer, record-label founder, manager, publisher, promoter, restaurateur, and entrepreneur, was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, but raised in Chicago. Little is known about his early years. He later studied at the University of Illinois. After attending college, he served in the army and played football on a team that traveled throughout Europe.

In the late 1950s, he moved to New York and began his entry in the music business by opening a soul food restaurant, “Sapphire's,” which he claimed was “the first black-owned club south of 110th Street.” (New York Times, 2012) After the opening of Sapphire's, Sims formed a promotions company, Hemisphere, and booked the top black stars of the day, including singers Aretha Franklin and Brook Benton, and civil rights activist Malcolm X. When the singer Dinah Washington died Sims absorbed the license for her booking ...

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Richard Carlin

ragtime pianist, composer, and bar owner, was born Thomas Milton J. Turpin in Savannah, Georgia, the son of John L. “Jack” Turpin, a bar owner and amateur wrestler, and Lulu Waters. The Turpin family was prominent in Savannah's African American community, but by 1880 they had relocated to St. Louis, Missouri, where John Turpin opened the Silver Dollar Saloon. Young Tom began playing piano at an early age and was employed at one of the best-known bars in the city, the Castle Club, by the early 1890s. By 1893 he had opened his own saloon, which eventually became known as the Rosebud Bar, with Turpin grandly proclaiming himself “President of the Rosebud Club.” The bar became a meeting place for local pianists, including Louis Chauvin.

Along with his brother Charles Turpin performed locally at the bar and in tent shows The duo became ...

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professional cook, singer, and entrepreneur, was born Ernestine Caroline Williams in Nicodemus, Kansas, the seventh of thirteen children of Charles and Elizabeth Williams. The members of the Williams family were descendants of Tom Johnson, a former slave of Vice President Richard M. Johnson of Georgetown, Kentucky. In 1877 the Johnson family migrated and settled in the historic all–African American town of Nicodemus. The tradition of cooks in the Johnson and Williams families dates back to days of slave kitchens, when Vice President Johnson hosted a large barbecue for the French general the Marquis de Lafayette in 1824. His slaves prepared over fifteen hundred pounds of barbecue meat for the event.

Ernestine grew up assisting her mother in the kitchen and learned to cook pies in a wood burning stove Her favorite pie to make as well as to eat was lemon meringue The recipe ...