Chicago's Black History Makers in the Making

By BJ Lutz
|  Monday, Feb 1, 2010  |  Updated 4:45 PM CDT
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Chicago's Black History Makers in the Making

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Six locals are among the top 100 "History Makers in the Making," as compiled by the African-American-centric news Web site, TheGrio.com.

As part of Black History Month, which began Monday, TheGrio.com set out to profile the next generation of African-American history makers and industry leaders.

The 100 individuals selected, each with their own path to success, are from ten fields - including business, education, sports, science and the environment, media, service and activism, politics, health, pop culture, and the arts.

The individuals, selected by theGrio's editorial team with input from a team of experts and NBC News, have the potential to make a difference in the lives of all Americans in the future.

Some of the names are familier.  Others are not.

Among the locals: 

Oprah Winfrey:  One of the most influential women in the world, the television host, producer and philanthropist has built a media empire and encourages viewers to live their best life.  Aside from her standing as number 6 on Fortune's list of the 50 Most Powerful Women, and in Forbes' top 250 world billionaires, Winfrey, more than anything, is her own brand.

Shonda Rimes:  The executive producer of ABC-TV's Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice grew up in University Park.  She was included in TIME magazine's 100 people who help shape the world in May 2007.

Shani Davis:  The 27-year-old speed skater grew up in Chicago and became the first black athlete to win a gold medal in an individual Winter Games sport and the fifth black Winter Olympi medalist. 

Roland Martin: A journalist, author, syndicated columnist and political commentator, Roland Martin was named by Ebony Magazine in 2008 and 2009 as one of the 150 most influential African Americans in the United States.  His numerous leadership roles within the "Black Press" include serving as the managing editor of the Houston Defender and Dallas Weekly in addition to helming the historic Chicago Defender as executive editor and general manager.

Tim King founded Chicago's Urban Prep Charter Academy for Young Men, the nation's first all-male public charter high school.  The school's first graduating class has already reached a 75 percent college admission rate (King is confident that will rise to 100 percent) and awarded $1.5 million in scholarships.   

Will Allen: is the CEO of Growing Power, Inc., a non-profit organization aiming to provide high-quality, safe, healthy, affordable food for all residents.  Based in Milwaukee, Growing Power works with other non-profits around the country, putting on workshops in urban communities to show residents sustainable ways to grow their own fresh fruits and vegetables in small spaces. Growing Power also operates other farms in Wisconsin and Illinois, including urban farms in Chicago's inner city.

TheGrio.com is owned by NBC Universal

Full Coverage:  TheGrio.com's 100 History Makers in the Making

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