Culture | February 20th, 2024

Black History Figures Who Graduated from FAMU

By: Brianna Leonard | Staff Writer
Black History Figures Who Graduated from FAMU

Black History Month is a time of education and appreciation. It is an entire month dedicated to learning more about how Black Americans have contributed to society despite systemic obstacles.  

It is also a time for society to shine a light on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the impressive graduates they produce.  

Florida A&M is a University that has had an abundance of reputable alumni. Many have made an impact not only on Black culture but on American culture in general. When asked, countless FAMU students think of alumni like Ben Crump, Will Packer,  Keisha Lance Bottoms and Tiffany Greene, who have made a name for themselves in areas like politics, art, and journalism. 


Jesse McCrary Jr || Photo Courtesy: Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame

Jesse McCrary Jr. 

Jesse McCrary Jr. was responsible for many “firsts” in the South. 

The 1960 FAMU graduate was the first Black American to serve as Secretary of State in the Florida Cabinet since reconstruction, the first Black American to be assistant attorney general and the first Black American in the South appointed to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.  

While studying political science at FAMU, McCrary also organized sit-ins in Tallahassee to fight for civil rights.  

He was the first Black lawyer to argue a case before the Supreme Court on behalf of a Southern state. McCray argued in many cases that benefited Black Americans, including Neil v. State, which prohibited the dismissal of jurors based on race. 


Anika Noni Rose || Photo Courtesy: Getty Images

Anika Noni Rose

Anika Noni Rose is a well-known name, along with her education at the number one public HBCU. Rose majored in Theatre and graduated in 1994. The actress is best known for her roles in “Dreamgirls,” “For Colored Girls” and “Caroline, or Change,” for which she won a Tony.  

Her most known role, however, is “The Princess and the Frog,” where she voices Tiana, the first Black Disney princess. 

When asked by Build Series why she chose FAMU, Rose said that she was drawn to the school because the theatre department was small as that would grant her easier access to one-on-one relationships with the professors. Rose also said she wanted to attend an HBCU because she wanted to experience higher learning while being surrounded by her own culture.  

“Because once you finish and you get out into the world, you’re really not going to have that experience again,” Rose said.


Ibram X Kendi || Photo Courtesy: New York Times

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi is a name you may have seen in your class syllabus before. 

This award-winning author has published 16 books, both for adults and children, 10 New York Times bestsellers and five were number one New York Times bestsellers. Dr. Kendi has also published 14 academic essays in academic journals and books.  

He graduated from FAMU with two bachelors in Journalism and African American Studies in 2004. 

 Some of Kendi’s most notable books include “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America,” “The Black Campus Movement” and  “How to Be an Antiracist.” In 2016, he made history by becoming the youngest National Book Award for Nonfiction winner at 34. 

While these three are not the only accomplished FAMU alumni, they are prime examples of the excellence that this school produces. HBCU graduates not only contribute to Black history, but they are Black history.