Emile Griffith

Emile Griffith (February 3, 1938 – July 23, 2013) was a professional boxer from the U.S. Virgin Islands who won world titles in three weight divisions. He held the world light middleweight, undisputed welterweight, and middleweight titles. His best-known contest was a 1962 title match with Benny Paret. Griffith won the bout by knockout; Paret never recovered consciousness and died in the hospital 10 days later. In 1963 and 1964, Griffith was voted Fighter of the Year by The Ring magazine and the Boxing Writers Association of America. In 2002, he was listed #33 on Ring Magazine’s list of 80 greatest fighters of the past 80 years. Griffith currently ranks #127 in BoxRec’s ranking of the greatest pound for pound boxers of all time. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in the inaugural class of 1990.

Luovi Halling

Luovi Halling (August 7, 1867 – March 22, 1928), Medal of Honor recipient was a United States Navy sailor and a recipient of the United States military’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for attempting to rescue a shipmate from drowning during a storm on 15 September 1904.

Scott Joplin

Scott Joplin (November 24, 1868 – April 1, 1917) was an American composer and pianist. Dubbed the “King of Ragtime”, He composed more than 40 ragtime pieces, one ragtime ballet, and two operas. One of his first and most popular pieces, the “Maple Leaf Rag”, became the genre’s first and most influential hit, later being recognized as the quintessential rag. Joplin considered ragtime to be a form of classical music meant to be played in concert halls and largely disdained the performance of ragtime as honky tonk music most common in saloons. Although he and his music were largely forgotten after his death, the ragtime revival of the 1970s brought Joplin renewed attention. In January 1972, his opera Treemonisha (1910), which he had been unable to stage during his lifetime, premiered in Atlanta. When his 1902 rag The Entertainer became the cornerstone for the soundtrack of the 1973 film The Sting, the popularity of ragtime soared.

George Low Evatt

George Low Evatt (1847–1912), Peacetime Medal of Honor Recipient
Born in about 1847 in Canada, Low immigrated to the United States and joined the Navy from New York. By February 15, 1881, he was serving as a seaman on the USS Tennessee. On that day, while Tennessee was at New Orleans, Louisiana, Gunner’s Mate N.P. Petersen fell overboard. Low jumped into the water and kept the man afloat until they were both picked up by a boat. For this action, he was awarded the Medal of Honor three and a half years later, on October 18, 1884.

Charles Moore

Charles Moore (1847–1891), Civil War Medal of Honor Recipient.
Served on board the U.S. steam gunboat Marblehead off Legareville, Stono River, 25 December 1863, during an engagement with the enemy on John’s Island. Wounded in the fierce battle, Moore returned to his quarters until so exhausted by loss of blood that he had to be taken below. This engagement resulted in the enemy’s abandonment of his positions, leaving a caisson and one gun behind.

John Ruhl

John Ruhl (April 14, 1873 – November 19, 1940) was an American sculptor of German descent, best known for his contributions to American public art and his influence on antique bookend designs. When he left the New York public school system, his father made him take a job with an insurance company as a clerk. He hated the work and longed for a career in the art field. In 1888 he enrolled in the Metropolitan Museum of Art School.

Yomo Toro

Yomo Toro (26 July 1933 – 30 June 2012) Victor Guillermo “Yomo Toro” was a Puerto Rican left-handed guitarist and cuatro player. Known internationally as “The King of the Cuatro,” Toro recorded over 150 albums including 20 solo albums, throughout a 60-year musical career.

Granville Tailer Woods

Granville Tailer Woods (April 23, 1856 – January 30, 1910) was an American inventor who held more than 50 patents in the United States. He was the first African American mechanical and electrical engineer after the Civil War. Self-taught, he concentrated most of his work on trains and streetcars. One of his inventions is the Synchronous Multiplex Railway Telegraph, a variation of the induction telegraph that relied on ambient static electricity from existing telegraph lines to send messages between train stations and moving trains.

Timothy James Keller

Timothy James Keller (September 23, 1950 – May 19, 2023) was an American Calvinist pastor, preacher, theologian, and Christian apologist. He was the chairman and co-founder of Redeemer City to City, which trains pastors for service around the world. He was also the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City and the author of several of The New York Times bestselling books.

Benjamin Ward

Benjamin Ward (August 10, 1926 – June 10, 2002) was the first African American New York City Police Commissioner. Ward entered the NYPD on June 1, 1951, as a patrolman officer assigned to Brooklyn’s 80th Precinct. Ward was sworn in by Mayor Koch as the city’s thirty-fourth Police Commissioner on January 5, 1984. He was the first African American to hold that position. Ward oversaw the nation’s largest police department during increased drug use and a sharp increase in related crime, including drug related murders.

Theodore Moses Tobani

Theodore Moses Tobani (2 May 1855 − 12 December 1933) was a composer of popular music. He was born in Hamburg, Germany, and began studying violin when he was five years old. Theodore was a musical prodigy and was a concert violinist by the time he was 10. His best known composition was “Hearts and Flowers”, which he composed in half an hour in 1893, and which continued to sell more than 100,000 copies annually until the end of his life.

Valentina Pereyaslavec

Valentina Pereyaslavec (Feb 10, 1907- Jan 4, 1997)
Prima Ballerina. She received notoriety as a talented ballerina, who was an American naturalized citizen originally from the Ukraine. Born February 10, 1907, in Yalta in the Republic of Crimea, she was accepted at the age of nine at the Imperial School of Ballet in Moscow. Upon completing her training and education in 1926, she was engaged by the Kharkiv Ballet and embarked on a 15-year career as a prima ballerina in Kharkiv, Kyiv and Odesa. With the outbreak of World War II, she was sent at the order of Nazi forces to work in a factory, and by the end of the war, she was in a camp for displaced people, where she taught children, forming a free dance group. This group gave numerous performances under the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Agency. In 1945 with $11 with her, she arrived in the United States and found a low-paying job in a factory in Philadelphia, cleaning peaches and then packing cigarettes. In 1949 she relocated to New York City where she accepted a teaching position at Tatyana Semyonova’s Studio at Carnegie Hall. In 1951 she was invited to the newly formed American Ballet School to teach, under the direction of Lucila Chase. She taught there for over 30 years. On her diamond jubilee the Ukrainian community honored her at an event organized by her former students. Her classes contained some of the world’s greatest dancers attended including; Margot Fonteyn, Carla Fracci, Anton Dolin, Rudolf Nureyev, Erik Bruhn and Alicia Alonso.

George Onorato

George Onorato (Nov 5, 1928- Feb 21, 2015) was a Member of the US State Senate. State Senator George Onorato was a full-time legislator and lifelong resident of the Queens district he represented since 1983.  Prior to his election to the Senate, he served as Secretary/Treasurer of Bricklayer’s Local #41 for 15 years.  He was a member of New York State Senate Democratic Puerto Rican and Hispanic Task Force, the Senate Minority Task Force on Vietnam Veterans, and the Senate Minority Task Force on Waterfront Development.

Throughout his Senate career, Senator Onorato has been a strong advocate for New York’s working families, consumers, senior citizens, veterans and young people.  He was particularly interested in ensuring better access to health care for all New Yorkers, improving educational opportunities for children and college students in New York City and throughout the state, spurring job creation, developing more equitable tax policies, and reforming energy laws to ensure adequate power supplies, greater air quality protection, and enhanced conservation measures.  In addition, Senator Onorato, having served as a member of the Senate Minority Task Force on Legislative and Government Reform, had long championed efforts to make New York State government operations more open and accountable to the public.

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Fernando Gonzalez