Cousins Joe and Odell Thompson were natives to the Mebane-Efland area of Orange County and grew up in the tradition of string band music. Joe was most notable for his fiddle playing while Odell would often accompany him on the banjo.
John William “Johnny” Bristol was a musician, songwriter, and record producer after joining Motown he teamed with Harvey Fuqua to write and produce some of their biggest hits, including Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (1967), Edwin Starr’s “Twenty – Five Miles” (1969), Jr. Walker & the All-Stars’ “What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)” (1969), and Gladys Knight & the Pips’ “I Don’t Want to Do Wrong” (1971)
Billy Strayhorn- Innovative Composer And Jazz Pianist-he came to the world of music with a sophisticated knowledge of chromatic harmony; this gave jazz performers and listeners classic melodies unlike any created before him
Shirley Ann Caesar-Williams, known professionally as Shirley Caesar (born October 13, 1938 in Durham, North Carolina), is an American Gospel music singer, songwriter and recording artist whose career has spanned seven decades. A multi-award-winning artist, with 12 Grammy Awards along with Dove Awards and Stellar Awards to her credit, she is known as the "First Lady of Gospel Music" and "The Queen of Gospel Music
The Friends of John Coltrane Officially formed during the summer of 2009. The committee is an outgrowth of the individuals who worked for several years to raise funds to commission the John Coltrane statue that was erected in 2006 along with a kiosk in 2008. In 2009 the group decided to work towards the creation of an annual International John Coltrane Jazz and Blues Festival.
Richard Lewis Spencer is also the owner of the famous "Amen break" featuring a drum solo by G.C. Coleman. There are some who claim that this piece of music helped to launch hip-hop and the electronic subcultures.
The Young Men’s Institute (YMI) is one of the nation’s oldest African American institutions. The Young Men's Institute in Asheville, backed by businessman and philanthropist George W. Vanderbilt, opened in 1893 as a community center for black construction workers at his Biltmore House and Asheville's increasingly segregated African American citizens.
With segregation laws enforced in Durham, the North Carolina Mutual became a clearinghouse for black clubs creating a Glee Club, supporting a women's flower club, being a place for black politics, education, and philanthropy in the Upper South.
Ben E. King embarked on a solo career in 1961 with the song “Spanish Harlem.” Later that year, he released “Stand by Me,” the hit for which he is best known. King’s feelings for his soon-to-be-wife Betty inspired the words and his performance.
Contralto Carol Brice was a concert singer, opera performer, and recording artist. She broke many racial barriers for African American musicians, and performed at the inauguration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Eunice Kathleen Waymon, known professionally as Nina Simone, was an American singer, songwriter, musician, arranger, and civil rights activist. Her music spanned a broad range of musical styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop.
Fuller was famous for playing a steel-bodied National guitar that was a natural resonator before amplification. Along with Reverend Gary Davis, Fuller dominated the Bull City’s blues scene, attracting and influencing many musicians.