December 27, 2018 

LAWT News Service 


Rev. Dr. James H. Hargett (July 24, 1930-January 1, 2018)


Reverend Dr. James Hester Hargett, community advocate and civil rights activist, spent over forty years as a United Church of Christ pastor in churches located in the states of California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and New York. His ministry focused on the recruitment of African Americans in Christian service and activities in the areas of community advocacy, education, human relations, mental health, and social justice.





Dorothy Cotton (January 5, 1930-June 10, 2018


Dorothy Cotton worked closely with the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. She taught non-violence to demonstrators before marches and sometimes calmed tensions by singing church hymns. A key focus of Cotton’s work was voter education, and teaching people how to read ballots, how to vote and the importance of voting.







Floyd Carter, Sr. (1923-March 8, 2018)


Tuskegee airman and NYPD veteran Floyd Carter Sr., passed away at the age of 95. Carter served in three wars including World War II, Korea, and Vietnam and spent 27 years with the NYPD. Additionally, he led the first squadron of supply-laden planes to Berlin during the Cold War from 1948-1949.In 2007, former President George Bush honored him with a congressional gold medal for defying the color barrier in Tuskegee.







Dr. Clyde A. Luck, Jr. (March 3, 1929-September 9, 2018)


Dr. Clyde A. Luck, Jr. Born in Danville, Virginia on March 3, 1929. He received most of his education in Washington D.C. After graduating from Howard University College of Medicine in 1959, Dr. Luck did his internship at Detroit Receiving Hospital, followed by a residency in General Surgery at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital and Detroit Receiving Hospital in the state of Michigan. Retiring in 2007 gave him time to demonstrate his passion for every member of his vast family, immediate and extended alike. He found domestic and international travel enlightening and sought to travel routinely.







Michael Ajakwe, Jr. (October12, 1965-May 31, 2018)


Michael Ajakwe founded LAWEBFEST, the ‘Sundance of Web Series Festivals,’ in 2010. He was a part of festivals around the world including France, Brazil, South Korea, Australia, Hong Kong, Atlanta, South Florida, Canada, Italy, Mexico and Spain. He is a four-time NAACP Image Award-winning producer and playwright.








Linda Brown (February 20, 1942-March 15, 2018)


A father tried to enroll his young daughter, Linda Brown in an all-White school in Topeka, Kansas.  He and several black families were turned away, sparking the Brown v. Board of Education case that challenged segregation in public schools. In March of this year, Brown, the central figure of the Brown v. Board of Education, passed away at the age of 76. Her cause of death was not released. Arrangements were pending at Peaceful Rest Funeral Chapel.






Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy AKA XXX Tentacion (January 23, 1998- June 18, 2018)


XXX Tentacion started his music career on SoundCloud in 2013. The Florida-native released his first debut studio album “17” in August 2017 which charted at number two on the US Billboard 200. His second album reached number one on the Billboard 200.






Edwin Hawkins (August 19, 1943 – January 15, 2018)


Edwin Hawkins, the four-time Grammy® Award-winning leader of The Edwin Hawkins Singers’ 1969 million-seller, “Oh Happy Day,” died January 15 at his home in the Bay area after a bout with pancreatic cancer. He was 74-years-old. Hawkins often toured with his younger and equally successful singing brother, Walter, and Walter’s then-wife, Tramaine, as The Hawkins Family in the 1970s. Their energetic stage show filled civic centers and concert halls across the world, including D.A.R. Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. Haw­kins, with his group and as a soloist, continued to make gospel radio hits throughout the next two decades including, “Worship The Lord,” “God Will Take Care of You,” “Give Me A Star” and “To My Father’s House.” In recent years, Hawkins recorded occasionally and toured largely in Europe. He also sponsored the Edwin Hawkins Music & Arts Seminar to teach the next generation of musicians the business of music.








Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (September 26, 1936- April 2, 2018)


One of South Africa’s greatest icons, anti-apartheid campaign­er, and former wife of late President Nelson Mandela, Winne Madikizela-Mandela, passed away at the age of 81 after a long battle with an illness. Her death was confirmed on Monday, April 2.  Although “Mother of the Nation” has passed away, her inspiring words still fill the country of South Africa.







John Mack (January 6, 1937 – June 21, 2018)


John Mack was a Civil rights legend, notable public servant, and social justice warrior. He was president of the Los Angeles Police Com­mission and led a range of LAPD advancements to improve the relationship between police and minorities. Mack was known for being a stronghold in the African American community







Christine Martin (May 12, 19??-July 7, 2018)


Former Los Angeles Sentinel production manager, Christine Martin, passed away on July 7 of this year. The news of her passing was shared on social media in a post stating, “It was a great run for a great woman of God, Christine Brooks Martin. Sunset 7/7/2018 6:20pm PST.” Outside of her decades of service in the production department of the Sentinel, Martin was a Christian and believed in sharing the Word of God with everyone. Her three spiritual books topped the bestseller’s lists which included, “Pray What God Says,” “Talk to God with Affirmations of Faith,” and “Christine’s Short-Shorts.”







Rev. Rocellia Johnson (December 17, 1922- September 19, 2018)


Pastor Johnson was born in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma on Dec. 17, 1922. Pastor Johnson drew thousands of people to the Lord by organizing Bethany Baptist Church of West Los Angeles in 1958, founding Bethany Christian Bible College (BCBC) in 1978 and serving 27 years as executive director of the National Evangelism Movement (NEM). He went on to earn an Associate of Arts degree at Los Angeles Business College, a Bachelor of Theology degree at the Preachers and Teachers Training School, a Master’s degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary, a second Master’s Degree in pastoral psychotherapy at the American Institute of Family Relations as well as a Master’s degree in family counseling at University of LaVerne.







Nancy Wilson (February 20, 1937- December 13, 2018)


Grammy-winning “song stylist” Nancy Wilson passed away at the age of 81 on December 14 after a long illness at her home in Pioneertown, a California. Wilson’s dozens of albums included a celebrated collaboration with Cannonball Adderley, “Nancy Wilson/Cannonball Adderley,” a small group setting which understandably could be called jazz; “Broadway — My Way”; “Lush Life”; and “The Nancy Wilson Show!” a best-selling concert recording. However, “How Glad I Am” brought her a Grammy in 1965 for best R&B performance, and she later won Grammys for best jazz vocal album in 2005 for the intimate “R.S.V.P (Rare Songs, Very Personal)” and in 2007 for “Turned to Blue,” a showcase for the relaxed, confident swing she mastered later in life. Off the stage, Wilson was a Civil Rights activist having marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with other entertainers such as Sammy Davis, Jr., Harry Belafonte, Ozzie Davis and Ruby Dee. Her philanthropy also includes supporting health, education and financial literacy.







Joe Jackson (July 26, 1928 – June 27, 2018)


Father of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, Joe Jackson played an integral role in the inception of the Jackson 5 singing group. Joe was a boxer, doo woop group member, crane worker among other jobs. He governed the singing group was rigid and strict.





Bennie Cunningham (December 23, 1954- April 23, 2018)


Former Pittsburg Steelers tight end, Bennie Cunningham, died at age 63 from cancer at the Cleveland Clinic.  Cunningham won two Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Additionally, he played 10 seasons and caught more than 200 passes. He retired after the 1985 season and returned to Clemson, where he earned a master’s degree in secondary education and served as a guidance counselor in Westminster, South Carolina.





Lois Catherine Banks Richard (July 31, 1931-February 2018)


Lois started her teaching career in the Compton School District but soon worked in the Pasadena Unified School District at Jackson and Washington Elementary Schools. In 1966, Lois led the initial growth and development of the Pasadena Head Start program for underprivileged pre-school children and their families as a part of President Lyndon Johnson’s War On Poverty. Richard’s innovation at Pasadena Head Start led her to be elected as state president – Association of Head Start Administrators and appointed to the National Executive Board.  Throughout her life, she was active on many civic, educational, community service and social justice organizations. During over 30 years of service, Lois received numerous awards including California State Assembly – Woman of the Year in 1988 and recognition from National Head Start Association.







Aubry Stone (August 10, 1944- November 28, 2018)


Stone was founding member of the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. Aubry Stone, founder and CEO of the California Black Chamber of Commerce. In his honor, the USBC created the Aubry Stone Advocate of the Year award, through which individuals such as Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Senator Corey Booker, Governor John Kasich, Congressman G. K. Butterfield have received this recognition. Stone championed issues facing the Black community ranging from redlining practices to African American procurement of contracts and recently spoke out about the inequities of legalized marijuana as it relates to African Americans and African American business owners. Throughout the years, Stone stacked up countless accolades and awards, including being recognized by several California governors, the California Legislature and most recently, the California Legislative Black Caucus, who honored him in June.




Leon Ndugu Chanceler (July 1, 1952 – February 3, 2018)


Leon Ndugu Chaneler was a well-known drummer, percussionist, producer, songwriter, author and educator, was born in Shreveport, Louisiana where he began teaching himself to play drums when he was just 13 years old. He played on many jazz, pop, funk, disco, and country session. At 19 years old, he was asked to join Miles Davis’ group. He also toured with Santana and was one of the songwriters and producers on their album. He has a humble yet rich history having recorded with the likes of Lionel Richie, James Brown, Eric Clapton, Tina Turner, Frank Sinatra, Donna Summers, Kenny Rogers, John Lee Hooker, LeAnn Rimes, DeBarge and Fantasia, just to name a few.






Lerone Bennett, Jr. (October 17, 1928-February 14, 2018)


Perhaps no other voice—or pen—captured the real life of Africans and African Americans like Lerone Bennett Jr., the former editor of EBONY and Jet magazines. Among his many hard-hitting and compelling works was the exposé, “Before the Mayflower: A History of Black America,” in which Bennett traces Black history from its origins in western Africa, through the transatlantic journey and slavery, the Reconstruction period, the Jim Crow era, and the Civil Rights Movement. Bennett would go on to pen at least 10 books, including the eye-opening, 2000 book titled “Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln’s White Dream,” which, for some, shattered centuries-old myths about America’s 16th president’s involvement in the freedom of slaves. Bennett’s footprints are cemented at the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame in Atlanta and he once served on President Bill Clinton’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. The veteran journalist and historian also served as an early adviser to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.







Kofi Annan (April 8 1938–August 18, 2018)


Kofi Annan was the first Black African to become United Nations secretary-general and served at that position from 1997 to 2006. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001. When he departed from his position, he left behind a global organization far more aggressively engaged in peacekeeping and fighting poverty. He continued to work for the U.N. in special roles after his terms were finished, he was the U.N.-Arab League’s special envoy to Syria in 2012.





Doris Davis (born circa- 1935-February 19, 2018)


Doris A. Davis earned a place in Black History and American History when she became the first African American woman mayor of a metropolitan city in the United States in Compton in 1965. The then 33-year-old Davis defeated incumbent Clyde Harland to become Compton’s first black city clerk for her first major achievement.  Then, eight years later she challenged and defeated another incumbent, Compton Mayor Douglas Dollarhide. By doing so, she became the first female African American mayor of a major metropolitan city. However, after four years as mayor she did not seek re-election.





Ensa Cosby (April 8, 1973- February 23, 2018)


Bill Cosby’s 44-year-old daughter Ensa Cosby died in Massachusetts from kidney disease. Ensa Cosby spoke out on her father’s behalf before his trial last year on charges he drugged and molested a woman at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. He has pleaded not guilty and remained free on bail ahead of his retrial scheduled for April 2. His first trial ended with a hung jury last year. Ensa Cosby and her sister, Erinn, recorded statements that aired on New York hip-hop radio station Power 105. Ensa Cosby said she strongly believed in her father’s innocence and believed that racism played a big role in aspects of the scandal. Ensa Cosby largely stayed out of the public spotlight during her life, though she did appear in 1989 in a single episode of her father’s popular sitcom “The Cosby Show,” which ran from 1984-1992.







Aretha Franklin (March 25, 1942-August 16, 2018)


Aretha Franklin, the undisputed “Queen of Soul” who sang with matchless style on such classics as “Think,” “I Say a Little Prayer” and her signature song, “Respect,” and stood as a cultural icon around the globe, died at age 76 from pancreatic cancer. Franklin, had been battling undisclosed health issues in recent years, and in 2017, she announced her retirement from touring. Franklin recorded hundreds of tracks and had dozens of hits over the span of a half century, including 20 that reached No. 1 on the R&B charts. But her reputation was defined by an extraordinary run of top 10 smashes in the late 1960s, from the morning-after bliss of “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” to the wised-up “Chain of Fools” to her unstoppable call for “Respect.” Her records sold millions of copies and she won 18 Grammy awards.






Louis Farrakhan, Jr. (1958 - June 2, 2018)


The Nation of Islam, announced the passing of Brother Louis Farrakhan, Jr., the eldest son of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and Mother Khadijah Farrakhan. The family was aware of a previous heart condition and it appears that Louis, Jr., passed peacefully in his sleep at the family home in Phoenix, Ariz. He was 60-years-old.  The Muslim burial service was held on Friday, June 8, 2018 at 3:00 P.M. at Mosque Maryam.








Abraham McDonald (February 17, 1977-March 10, 2018)


Abraham McDonald broke out into stardom after his appearance on “Oprah’s Karaoke Challenge.” Soon after, he was signed to Def Jam Records, where he had the opportunity to work with singer/ songwriter Diane Warren for the hit song “Miracle.” McDonald did not produce an album but he did continue to push singles throughout his career and travel around the world performing






Bishop James Donald Carrington (September 25, 1933-November 15, 2018)


Bishop James Donald Carrington was the founding pastor and pastor emeritus of Friendship Baptist Church in Yorba Linda. Carrington was instrumental in establishing the first African American church in North Orange County in May 1964. Starting out with 22 charter members, Friendship grew over the years to a congregation exceeding 3,000.






Joe Adams (April 11, 1922-July 3, 2018)


Joe Adams was a longtime manager of musician Ray Charles and former chairman of the board of The Ray Charles Foundation. Raised in Watts and born in Los Angeles, Adams was the first African American deejay at the Santa Monica based radio station KOWL-AM.






Johnny Morris (1948-September 2018)


Johnny Morris the first Black chief engineer in Southern Cali­fornia Radio and an inductee in the Radio Hall of Fame. Morris is an award-winning radio broadcaster and program director. He designed, built and installed every transmission-related item at the Leimert Park podcast hub.








Bishop Gentry Richardson (June 1, 1930-July 15, 2018)


Bishop Richardson served Pentecostal Assemblies of the World (PAW) as district elder and Suffragan Bishop. At Bethlehem Temple, he implemented a youth department, deaf ministry, outreach programs, building renovations and the 5-Star Child Care Center. Known for his love of God’s Word, Bishop Richardson was a masterful Sunday School teacher and superintendent. After earning his Doctor of Divinity degree from Pentecostal Bible College in 1988, he taught more than 20 years at Aenon Bible College and was later awarded an honorary doctorate from the institution.





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