2019 Black History Month Honorees

In celebration of Black History Month, Governor Roy Cooper will honor African American musicians and artists from North Carolina at a reception in the Governor’s Executive Mansion beginning at 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14.

The event is hosted by the N.C. African American Heritage Commission and the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.



* Fantasia Barrino (Mecklenburg County, NC) | R & B singer and Broadway performer

* Pastor Shirley Caesar (Wake County, NC) | Renowned gospel artist

* Maestro William Henry Curry (Durham County, NC) | Conductor and arts advocate

* Carroll Dashiell (Pitt County, NC) | Jazz musician, composer, conductor and jazz educator

* Patrick “9th Wonder” Douthit (Durham County) | Rapper, producer and educator

* Roberta Flack (Buncombe County, NC) | Grammy Award-winning R & B artist

* Rhiannon Giddens (Guilford County, NC) | Grammy Award-winning vocalist and musician

* Dick Knight (Lenoir County, NC) | Musician and educator

* Bill Myers (Wilson County, NC) | Musician, bandleader and educator

* Sister Lena Mae Perry (Johnston County, NC) | Traditional gospel singer, member of the Branchettes

* Larry Reni Thomas (Orange County, NC) | Radio host, jazz writer and jazz scholar

* Joe Thompson—posthumous (Alamance County, NC) | Fiddler and old-time musician

* Mary D. Williams (Durham County, NC) | Singer, educator and scholar of Civil Rights-era songs


Visual Art

* Ernie Barnes—posthumous (born in Durham County, NC) | Acclaimed painter

* Endia Beale (Forsyth County, NC) | Award-winning photographer and Director, Diggs Gallery at WSSU

* Dare Coulter (Wake County, NC) | Muralist, sculptor and illustrator

* Dr. Linda Dallas (Wake County, NC) | Watercolor artist and food illustrator

* Olivia Gatewood (Durham County, NC) | Visual artist

* Vandorn Hinnant (Guilford County, NC) | Visual Artist, educator and poet

* Beverly McIver (Guilford County, NC) | Visual artist

* Antoine Williams (Mecklenburg County, NC) | Mixed-media artist and educator


Craft & Folk Traditions

* Jerome Bias (Alamance County, NC) | Craftsman and foodways preservationist

* Sharon Bryant (Craven County, NC) | Heritage practitioner critical to preserving ancestral African American music and dance traditions, specifically the Jonkonnu tradition

* Kisha Kinard (Pender County, NC) | Craftswoman renowned for preserving the Gullah-Geechee tradition of sweetgrass basketry

* Ben Watford (Craven County, NC) | Potter, storyteller and educator


Arts Advocacy

* Rep. Alma Adams (Mecklenburg County, NC) | Arts advocate

* Simona Atkins Allen (Forsyth County, NC) | Founder, Delta Arts Center

* Phyllis Coley (Wake County, NC) | Arts supporter

* Patrick and Dr. Judy Diamond (Mecklenburg County, NC) | Art collectors


Film & Television

* Shirlette Ammons (Durham County, NC) | Television producer, writer, musician and poet

* Natalie Bullock-Brown (Wake County, NC) | Filmmaker

* Lana Garland (Durham County, NC) | Documentarian, filmmaker and producer

* Deborah Holt-Noel (Wake County, NC) | Producer and host, UNC-TV

* Samm Art Williams (Forsyth County, NC) | Executive producer, “Martin” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”

* Kevin Wilson, Jr. (Durham County, NC) | Academy Award-nominated director, “My Nephew Emmett”



* Dasan Ahanu (Christopher Massenburg) (Durham County, NC) | Poet

* Gerald Barrax (Wake County, NC) | Poet and professor

* Jaki Shelton Green (Alamance County, NC) | Poet, writer and educator; 9th NC Poet Laureate

* Dr. Zelda Lockhart (Durham County, NC) | Writer and educator

* Lenard Moore (Onslow County, NC) | Writer, educator, poet and renowned haikuist



* Debra Austin (Forsyth County, NC) | Ballerina, Ballet Master, Carolina Ballet

* Baba Chuck Davis—posthumous (Durham County, NC) | Dancer, choreographer and dance preservationist

* Tommy DeFrantz (Durham County, NC) | Dancer, choreographer and dance scholar

* Cara Hagan Gelber (Watauga County, NC) | Choreographer and educator

* Mel Tomlinson (Mecklenburg County, NC) | Renowned dancer, choreographer and educator

* Wesley “Dr. Zulu” Williams (Guilford County, NC) | Breakdancer



* Jackie Alexander (Forsyth County, NC) | Director and playwright, Creative Director, NC Black Repertory Company

* Howard Craft (Durham County, NC) | Award-winning playwright

* JaMeeka Holloway Burrell (Durham County, NC) | Playwright and director

* Leon Hamlin and Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin (Forsyth County, NC) | National Black Theatre Festival