Nat "King" Cole (1919)
Nathaniel Adams Coles (he later dropped the "s") was the son of a Baptist minister and was born in Montgomery, Alabama. His mother taught him to play the piano, and by age 12, he was playing organ and singing in his father's church. When his family moved to Chicago, he became interested in jazz music and formed the group "Royal Dukes" in 1935. After signing with Capital Records, he became the first black man to top the record charts as an independent vocalist. By the 1950s, his popularity had crossed racial boundaries, and he became the first black man to have a weekly television series--"St. Louis Blues."
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Looking for a famous American?
This page presents short biographies of more than 200 famous Americans drawn from our unit, "The 50 States." These personalities are arranged by theme.
Just click a theme at the top of the page to view a selection list for that theme.
|Gutzon Borglum||Walt Disney||Jabez Gorham|
|Matt Groening||William Hanna||Marsden Hartley|
|Winslow Homer||Peter Hurd||Hank Ketcham|
|Bill Mauldin||Jackson Pollock||Howard Pyle|
|Norman Rockwell||Charles Schulz||Gilbert Stuart|
|Frank Lloyd Wright||Andrew Wyeth|
|Phineas Taylor "P.T." Barnum||Clyde Barrow||John Wilkes Booth|
|Butch Cassidy||William "Buffalo Bill" Cody||Davy Crockett|
|Jesse James||Evel Knievel||Harland David "Colonel" Sanders|
|Jefferson R. "Soapy" Smith|
|Benny Benson||Sitting Bull||Cesar Chavez|
|John Dewey||Geronimo||Crazy Horse|
|Jesse Jackson||Chief Joseph||Martin Luther King, Jr.|
|Queen Lydia Liliuokalani||Russell Means||Osceola|
|Elizabeth Peratrovich||Sacagawea||Chief Washakie|
|Booker T. Washington||Jack Wilson Wovoka|
Pioneers and "Firsts":
Politicians & Activists:
|Hank Aaron||Andre Agassi||Danny Ainge|
|Johnny Bench||Yogi Berra||Paul "Bear" Bryant|
|Dale Earnhart||Lou Gehrig||Eric Heiden|
|Michael Jordan||Evel Knievel||Phil Knight|
|Joe Reddington||Mary Lou Retton||Picabo Street|
|Jesse Ventura||Jerry West|
Writers & Poets: