Virginia Changemakers
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Strong Men & Women in Virginia History 2015

Jamelle Smith Wilson

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Jamelle Smith Wilson is the first woman and first African American to lead the Hanover County Public School Division.

Alonzo Harding "Zo" Mourning Jr.

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Hall of Fame basketball player Alonzo Mourning Jr. is a champion of charitable causes and persevered against kidney disease.

Beth Anne Brown

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An astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Beth A. Brown worked to inspire women and minorities to pursue careers in science.

Sheila R. Baxter

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Brigadier General Sheila Baxter was the first female and the second African-American brigadier general in the Army Medical Service Corps.

Lott Cary

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Born into slavery, Lott Cary purchased his own freedom and became an early leader in the new West African colony of Liberia.

William Harvey Carney

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For his bravery during battle in the American Civil War, Sergeant William H. Carney was the first African American to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

Earl Francis Lloyd

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Earl Lloyd was the first African American to play in the NBA and the league’s first African-American assistant coach.

James "Plunky" Branch

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For decades, multi-talented saxophonist and bandleader James “Plunky” Branch has promoted the cultural importance of music at home and abroad.