As the AFRO prepares to end the year, we also remember those who have died in 2022. This is a compiled list of individuals who made a great impact in the world. From Charles McGee, a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of the first African American fighter pilots which formed during World War II to Charlene Mitchell, the first Black woman to run for president.
Sidney Poitier, the world-renowned actor, died of heart failure on Jan. 6. He was 94 when he died.
Charles McGee died at 102 on Jan. 16. He was known as a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of African-American military pilots who fought in World War II. He passed away in his sleep.
Andre Leon Talley, an American fashion journalist, died from heart attack complications and COVID-19 on Jan. 18. The New York native was Vogue’s fashion news director in the mid 1980s before becoming the fashion and lifestyle magazine’s first African-American male creative director in 1988. A queer icon, Talley was 72 when he died.
Cheryl Hickmon had just taken the reins as national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority when it was announced that the Connecticut native had died of an unidentified illness on Jan. 20. Hickman, a graduate of South Carolina State University and supervisor of in vitro fertilization labs for andrology and endocrinology at Montefiore’s Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Health, was 60 at the time of her death.
Joe Gorham was a veteran broadcaster for more than 20 years. He mostly worked at WHUR 96.3, the Howard University radio station and made history by reestablishing and rebuilding their music library. Due to his contributions he was named Music Director of WHUR-WORLD 96.3. He died on Jan. 23 at 69.
Kenneth Ellerbe, former D.C. Fire and EMS Chief Kenneth Ellerbee died at his Southeast D.C. home on Feb. 27. He served in the department for 31 years and was the chief for three years before retiring from the position in 2014. He was 61 at the time of his passing.
Andrew Woolfolk, the Earth, Wind and Fire saxophonist, died on April 24 at 71.
Sam Gilliam made a name for himself in the world by putting brilliant abstract art on display for the masses. Gilliam was born on Nov. 30, 1933 and passed away on June 25.
Jaylon Ferguson was a Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker who died from the combined effects of fentanyl and cocaine on June 26. He was picked up by the Ravens in 2019.
William “Poogie” Hart was a native Washingtonian who died at the age of 77 on July 14. Hart spent decades in the spotlight as a lead singer and songwriter of The Delfonics. Some of his most well known songs include “La-La (Means I Love You),” “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time),” and “Ready or Not Here I Come (Can’t Hide From Love).”
Mary Alice was an actress who appeared in films such as “Sparkle” and “The Women of Brewster Place.” On TV she appeared on “A Different World.” She was 85 at the time of her death on July 27.
Nichelle Nichols inspired Black science fiction fans as an American actress, singer and dancer, widely known for her role as Nyota Uhura in Star Trek. She was born in Robbins, IL in 1932 and passed on July 30 in Silver City, NM.
Bill Russell, Celtics powerhouse, died at age 88 on July 31. The NBA center won two consecutive NCAA championships while playing at the University of San Francisco and went on to lead the Boston Celtics to the NBA Finals 12 times with 11 wins.. He was also the league’s first Black head coach.
Dr. Ruth J.K. Pratt was born on August 2, 1921 and lived to see 101. In her lifetime she was a chief educational officer of the Baltimore City Public Schools System, a president for the Baltimore Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and a deaconess at the Sharon Baptist Church. She passed just two days after her birthday on Aug. 4.
Bernard Shaw, a Chicago native, was a Black trailblazer in broadcast journalism and served. Shaw served as CNN’s chief anchor from 1980 to 2001, providing coverage of the Iran-Iraq War and the Gulf War. He died at 82 on Sep. 8.
Maury Wills, a D.C. native, died on Sept. 20 at the age of 89. The sports star once held the record for stolen bases in Major League Baseball. Wills stole a record-breaking 104 bases in 1962, which broke Ty Cobb’s record of 96 bases stolen in 1915.
Leon “Coolio” Ivey Jr. died of cardiac arrest on Sep. 28. Born in Los Angeles, the rapper is best known for his smash hit, “Gangsta’s Paradise,” which was the number one biggest-selling single of 1995 on the U.S. Billboard chart. He was 59.
Keith “Wonderboy” Johnson, 50, was an American gospel singer and songwriter who started his solo music career with his song “Through the Storm.” He was born in Brooklyn, Ny. in 1972 and passed on Sept. 30.
Jim Redmond showed the world what it meant to be a father when he helped his son limp to the finish of a 1992 Olympic Games track race. Redmond became a symbol of the Olympics spirit and carried the torch at the 2012 Olympic Games. He was 81 when he passed on Oct. 2.
Ezra Edward Hill was believed to be the oldest living U.S. veteran to serve in World War II. He lived from Dec. 19, 1910 to Oct. 4 making him 112 at the time of his passing. He was the former owner of the Avalon Shoe Store in Old Town Mall in East Baltimore and was described as a man of strength, generosity and love.
Louis Sylvester Diggs was a Black oral historian who contributed to the study of African-American history in Baltimore with books like “Holding on to Their Heritage” and “In Our Voices: Folk History in Legacy.” He passed away on Oct. 24 at the age of 90.
On Nov. 22, Cecilia “Cissy” Suyat Marshall, the widow of the late Justice Thurgood Marshall, passed away at the age of 94.
Melvin C. High died on Nov. 17 at the Washington Hospital Center after serving Prince George’s County, Md. residents as sheriff for nearly 20 years. High was a public servant for more than 50 years and was 78 at the time of his death.
Irene Cara, the esteemed actress and singer who appeared in the hit movie “Fame” and recorded the title song “Flashdance,” died on Nov. 25 at the age of 63.
Congressman Donald McEachin was a community leader with decades of community service commitments in Virginia and the U.S. Capitol. He served in congress from 2016 to the time of his death. He died on Nov. 28 at the age of 61 due to cancer.
Clarence Gilyard Jr. was an author, professor and actor who was best known for his roles in “Die Hard” and “Top Gun.” He was born in Moses Lake, Washington in 1955 and died on Nov. 28 at 66.
Brian Duane Morris died at age 51 on Dec. 6, leaving behind his three children. He was a businessman and a former head of the Baltimore City School Board.
Ronnie Turner, the son of singing legend Tina Turner, died at age 62. He was born in 1960 in Los Angeles, CA and died on Dec. 8 in Encino, Calif. He leaves behind his wife of 15 years, Afida Turner.
Stephen “tWitch” Boss, 40, shocked the world and put a burning spotlight on mental health in the Black community. Boss took his own life on Dec. 13, after rising to fame for his dance moves and electric personality.
Bertha Mae Pinder was a former president of the Women’s Civic League, died on Dec. 13. She was born in Rienzi, Miss., the former Social Security Administration supervisor. She was 98 at the time of her death.
Charlene Mitchell was the first Black woman to run for president. She died on Dec. 14 at the age of 92. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Mitchell was a freedom fighter who spent her life advocating for civil rights, and was instrumental in the campaign to free Angela Davis.
Sabrina Warren Bush died on Dec. 14 at 64. She passed away after a long battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease. She was a gifted speaker, discipleship leader and active member of St. Bernadine Catholic Church. She was also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
Franco Harris was noted for being the NFL Hall of Fame running back who scored a game-winning touchdown for the Pittsburgh Steelers with a deflected pass on the final play of a 1972 match. He died Dec. 20, three days before the 50th anniversary of the memorable play.
Malik Abdu Rahman served on the Maryland State Athletic Commission for nearly nine years. He also served as a senior consultant for the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs for four years and was a special advisor to Mayor Kurt Schmoke for 12. He died at 73 in December.
Minna Whittaker, a Baltimore native, was born on May 5, 1957. At a young age, she served as a mail carrier for the AFRO and won the Miss Black Baltimore Teen pageant and the Miss Black Maryland Teen pageant. She passed away on Dec. 22, due to a three-year battle with multiple illnesses.
Pharaoh Sanders was born on Oct. 13, 1940 in Little Rock, Ark. The musician was a jazz saxophonist known for being a leader in “free jazz.” Sanders later died on Sept. 24 in Los Angeles, Cali.
Betty Davis was 77 years old at the time of her death on Feb. 9. Davis was known for her hit singles, “They Say I’m Different,” and “Nasty Gal.”
Cheslie Kryst, 30, succumbed to mental health challenges on Jan. 31. The former Miss America pageant winner was an attorney and a new correspondent for Extra TV.
Ronnie Spector died on Jan. 12, 2022 at the age of 78. In March 2007, Spector was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Rev. Calvin O. Butts III was known for his roles as President of the State University of New York College at Old Westbury and pastor for the Abyssinian Baptist Church in the City of New York. The 73-year-old was in Harlem, N.Y. at the time of his death on Oct. 28.
Dorothy Pittman Hughes, 84, died on Dec. 1. She was known for her activism for the Black community and for the rights of women.
Lamont Dozier died at the age of 81 on Aug. 8. Dozier was a singer, producer and songwriter.
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