Black History at Home

Imani Sherrod

        A lot of popular African American figures are known to be from the deep south, Los Angeles, or even New York.  Here in Chicago most people are widely known to be famous for being rappers or musicians, but really there is a large variety of  entertainers who come from Chicago.  From comedians, actors, actresses and even politicians.  Chicago has been a very popular place for many years and has given us some of the most iconic people in history.     

       Michelle LaVaughn Robinson born on January 17 of 1964, in Chicago, Illinois.  Grew up on the south side living in a small apartment with her father Fraser Robinson, mother Marian Robinson and older brother Craig Robinson.  Michelle first caught the attention of Americans in 2004 at the Democratic National Convention while standing next to her husband Barack who had been elected U.S. Senator from Illinois that November.  She later appeared in 2007 where her husband was running for Democratic presidential nomination.  On January 20, 2009 Michelle became the first black First Lady.  While in this position she gave numerous speeches on various topics concerning Americans, including the meals being provided to children in schools.  On January 13 of 2017, Michelle gave her final speech as First lady.  During this time while in the White House she released many books. In 2018 she published her first autobiography called “Becoming” which has now sold over 14 million copies.  Michelle was recently seen at the 2021 inauguration of President Joe Biden and Madam Vice President Kamala Harris turning heads in a fashionable red piece that had people all over America talking about it.  Michelle is only one of the greatest people in history to come out of Chicago and hope to see a lot more of her in 2021.

     Bernard Jeffrery McCullough, mostly known for his stage name Bernie Mac was born on October 5, 1957.  He grew up in a large family and went to a baptist church where his grandfather was a deacon on the South Side of Chicago. He performed his first ever standup routine at 8 years old  impersonating his grandparents at dinner at a church congregation.  This is when he learned the healing power of laughter and used it to cope during this hard time in his life.  Eventually he had his own weekly comedy show at the Chicago Regal Theatre and joined the comedy club circuit in  1977.  In ‘92 Bernie earned his first acting role as a club doorman in the comedy movie Mo’ Money and his second role as Pastor Clever in the ‘95 film Friday. Mac had frequent appearances on HBO’s Def Comedy Jam in the early 90’s, this helped put him on the map. Mac was made to create a comedy sitcom of his own.  He began making appearances on shows like Moesha (1996) and getting a role in Spike Lee’s The Original Kings of Comedy (2000).  In 2001 Mac had a sitcom show based on the essence of family called The Bernie Mac Show which premiered on Fox, the show was about Mac being a reluctant father to three adopted children. The show went on for five years being nominated for Golden Globes and Emmys along the way.  His acting career also took off in 2001 when he earned the role of a smooth con-artist who assisted co-stars Brad Pitt and George Clooney in a large high-profile heist.  He also co-starred next to Chris Rock in the film Head of State and in 2003 appeared in Charlies Angel’s: Full Throttle and Bad Santa. In ‘04 Mac got a lead role in Mr. 3000 as well as Ocean’s Twelve. ‘05 he was in Guess Who? and in 07’ starred in Ocean’s Thirteen. Beside being in the spotlight a lot and starring in major films Mac had authored two books called ‘I ain’t scared of you’ and ‘Maybe you never cry again’. These books talked about Mac’s life as a child and how he coped with his traumas.  He was married to his highschool sweetheart and had a daughter and granddaughter. Sadly on August 9 2008, Bernie Mac passed away from pneumonia. He had more than 6,000 people at his memorial and left people all over the comedy and film industry saddened by his sudden passing.


While these were only a couple of iconic people to come from Chicago there is much more to them then just what we’ve seen the years they’ve been in the spotlight.