Howard University Notable Alumni

Discover the notable alumni of Howard University. The list includes people like Taraji P. Henson, Sean Combs, Chadwick Boseman, Thurgood Marshall & Phylicia Rashad. This list of notable alumni is loosely sorted by popularity and has people from different domains of life, such as writers, singers, musicians, intellectuals & academics and film & theater personalities etc.
Vote for Your Favourite Howard University Notable Alumni

Right IconThis ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

 1 
Thurgood Marshall
(Former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (1967 - 1991))
Thurgood Marshall
34
Listed In: Lawyers & Judges
Birthdate: July 2, 1908
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Died: January 24, 1993

The first African-American member of the US Supreme Court, Thurgood Marshall was an associate justice from 1967 to 1991. Earlier as an attorney, he fought for the abolishment of racial segregation in American public schools. He was also a strong proponent of individual rights. A symbol of black icon, there are numerous memorials in America to honour his legacy.

 2 
Chadwick Boseman
92
Birthdate: November 29, 1976
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Anderson, South Carolina, United States
Died: August 28, 2020

A versatile actor and an inspiration for a generation of black youths, Chadwick Boseman is best remembered for portraying notable real life black figures like Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall and James Brown in their biopics. His excellent performance in Black Panther, though, turned him into a household name.

 3 
Kamala Harris
(The First Female Vice President of the United States)
Kamala Harris
361
Listed In: Lawyers & Judges
Birthdate: October 20, 1964
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Oakland, California, United States

A Democrat politician and lawyer, Kamala Harris is the vice president-elect of the United States. She will assume the office on 20 January 2021, alongside President-elect Joe Biden.  Half-Indian, half-Jamaican, Harris is the first woman, the first Black person and the first Asian-American to be elected vice president.  

 4 
Thomas Sowell
(Economist)
Thomas Sowell
28
Birthdate: June 30, 1930
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Gastonia, North Carolina

One of the few personalities known for his disdain of self-promotion, Thomas Sowell is an important American social theorist and economist. Over the years, he has played a prominent role working as a faculty member of many prestigious universities, such as the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Cornell University

 5 
Sean Combs
(Rapper and Record Producer Known for His Albums: ‘No Way Out’ , ‘Forever’ and ‘Press Play’)
Sean Combs
46
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: November 4, 1969
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Harlem, New York, United States
Three-time Grammy-winning hip-hop legend Sean Combs, known to fans as Puffy, Puff Daddy, or Diddy, started off as a talent director with Uptown and then launched his own record label. His debut album, No Way Out, was certified 7Xplatinum, and his song I'll Be Missing You topped the Billboard charts. 
 6 
Toni Morrison
(Novelist)
Toni Morrison
46
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: February 18, 1931
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lorain, Ohio
Died: August 5, 2019
Author, editor, and Princeton professor Toni Morrison is best remembered for her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Beloved, part of a trilogy. Some of her other notable works include The Bluest Eye and Song of Solomon. She received the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature. She also wrote several children’s books and plays.
 7 
Taraji P. Henson
71
Birthdate: September 11, 1970
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
Taraji P. Henson is an American actress who became the first black woman to receive the Critics' Choice Television Award under the Best Actress in a Drama Series category for her portrayal of Cookie Lyon in the TV series Empire. Taraji P. Henson was named in Time magazine's list of 100 most influential people in the world in 2016. 
 8 
Nick Cannon
(TV Host, Actor and Rapper)
Nick Cannon
78
Birthdate: October 8, 1980
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: San Diego, California, United States

Nicholas Cannon is a comedian, rapper and television host. The Nick Cannon Show, America's Got Talent and The Masked Singer are some of his popular TV shows. He has also acted in films like Drumline, Love Don't Cost a Thing and Roll Bounce. Cannon has been accused of making racist and anti-Semitic remarks. He has called White people ‘savages’.

 9 
Phylicia Rashad
(Actress, Singer and Director Known for Her Role as ‘Clair Huxtable’ in the TV Sitcom ‘The Cosby Show’)
Phylicia Rashad
31
Birthdate: June 19, 1948
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States
Phylicia Rashad, the Mother of The Black Community, became the first Black lady to win the Tony Award for Best Actress, for her performance in A Raisin in the Sun. Known for her Emmy-nominated portrayal of Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show, she also appeared in Colored Girls and Creed. 
 10 
Zora Neale Hurston
(Folklorist, Anthropologist)
Zora Neale Hurston
21
Birthdate: January 7, 1891
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Notasulga
Died: January 28, 1960

Zora Neale Hurston was an author, anthropologist, and filmmaker. As an African American woman, she often depicted racial issues in the films she made. Her works also reflected her struggles as a black woman. In her early career, she conducted anthropological and ethnographic research and focused more on writing and film-making in her later years.

 11 
Ta-Nehisi Coates
(Author and Journalist Known for His Non-Fiction Books: ‘The Beautiful Struggle’ and ‘Between the World and Me’)
Ta-Nehisi Coates
11
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: September 30, 1975
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.

Author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates gained international prominence while serving as the national correspondent at The Atlantic. His writings on socio-political issues related to African Americans and white supremacy garnered him much appreciation. He is a recipient of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center Prize for Writing to Advance Social Justice. He also writes fiction and comics.

 12 
Debbie Allen
(Actress Best Known for Her Work in the Musical-Drama Television Series 'Fame')
Debbie Allen
19
Listed In: Dancers
Birthdate: January 16, 1950
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States

Debbie Allen is an actress, dancer, choreographer, and singer-songwriter.  She appeared in the musical-drama TV series Fame and also worked as the series’ principal choreographer. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including three Emmy Awards. She runs the Debbie Allen Dance Academy in Los Angeles and is a former member of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. 

 13 
Isaiah Washington
(Actor & TV Personality Known for His Role as ‘Dr. Preston Burke’ in the TV Series ‘Grey's Anatomy’)
Isaiah Washington
21
Birthdate: August 3, 1963
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States

Isaiah Washington is an American actor who achieved popularity after playing Dr. Preston Burke in the popular medical drama television series Grey's Anatomy. After learning about his African roots with the help of a genealogical DNA test, Isaiah Washington traveled to Sierra Leone where he touched the lives of many by building a school and donating supplies to a hospital.

 14 
Roxie Roker
(Best Known for Her Role as ‘Helen Willis’ in the TV Series ‘The Jeffersons’)
Roxie Roker
18
Birthdate: August 28, 1929
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Miami, Florida, United States
Died: December 2, 1995
Roxie Roker, mother of Lenny Kravitz, was best known for her portrayal of Helen Willis in the sitcom The Jeffersons. She and Franklin Cover played an interracial couple in the series, which was the first such instance on primetime TV. She was also associated with the Negro Ensemble Company.
 15 
Roberta Flack
12
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: February 10, 1939
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Black Mountain, North Carolina, United States
Height: 5'4" (163 cm)
 16 
Stokely Carmichael
(Key Leader of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States)
Stokely Carmichael
15
Listed In: Activists
Birthdate: January 29, 1941
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Died: November 15, 1998

Stokely Carmichael was a significant part of the American civil rights movement and the worldwide Pan-African movement. He was associated with the Black Panther Party and the All-African People's Revolutionary Party. The Black Power movement leader later adopted the name Kwame Ture and traveled extensively through Africa.

 17 
La La Anthony
(Television personality)
La La Anthony
14
Birthdate: June 25, 1979
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, USA
Height: 5'5" (165 cm)
 18 
Laz Alonso
(Best Known for His Role as ‘Tsu'tey’ in the Film ‘Avatar’)
Laz Alonso
7
Birthdate: March 25, 1974
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
Laz Alonso is best known as Mother's Milk from the Amazon series The Boys. The former investment banker with Merril Lynch has previously voiced Tsu'tey in Avatar and appeared as Fenix Calderon in Fast & Furious. He has also appeared in Breakout Kings, The Mysteries of Laura, and Deception.
 19 
Vernon Jordan
(Lawyer)
Vernon Jordan
5
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: August 15, 1935
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States
 20 
Jessye Norman
(Legendary American Opera Singer and 5-Time Grammy Winner)
Jessye Norman
3
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: September 15, 1945
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Augusta, Georgia, United States
Died: September 30, 2019

American opera singer and recitalist Jessye Norman was born into a family of musicians and made her opera debut with Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser in Berlin. A 5-time Grammy winner, she performed at iconic venues such as the Paris Opera and London’s Royal Opera, and also served as an ambassador to the UN.

 21 
Lynn Whitfield
(Actress)
Lynn Whitfield
11
Birthdate: May 6, 1953
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA
Height: 5'5" (165 cm)
 22 
Tracie Thoms
(Actress)
Tracie Thoms
12
Birthdate: August 19, 1975
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Height: 5'5" (165 cm)
 23 
Tami Roman
(Television Personality)
Tami Roman
7
Listed In: Fashion
Birthdate: April 17, 1970
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Mount Vernon, New York
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 24 
Susan Kelechi Watson
(Actress)
Susan Kelechi Watson
6
Birthdate: November 11, 1981
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York (state) New York, United States U.S.
 25 
Carla Hall
(Chef who appeared in the fifth and eighth seasons of Top Chef, Bravo's cooking competition show)
Carla Hall
10
Listed In: Food Experts
Birthdate: May 12, 1964
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Height: 5'11" (180 cm)
 26 
Rachel Dolezal
(Controversial Activist Known for Presenting Herself as a Black Woman Despite Having Been Born to White Parents)
Rachel Dolezal
35
Listed In: Activists
Birthdate: November 12, 1977
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lincoln County, Montana, United States

While she claimed she was a transracial Black woman, former NAACP branch president Rachel Dolezal was revealed to be a white woman passing off as Black when her parents spoke to the media. Following the mass protests after the revelation, she was fired from Eastern Washington University, her workplace.

 27 
Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe
(First President of Nigeria)
Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe
11
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: November 16, 1904
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Zungeru, Nigeria
Died: May 11, 1996

Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe was a Nigerian political leader and statesman. From 1963 to 1966, Azikiwe served as the first president of Nigeria. Often referred to as the Father of Nigerian Nationalism, Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe played an important role in Nigeria's struggle for independence. He is also credited with establishing the University of Nigeria (UNN).

 28 
Amiri Baraka
(Writer)
Amiri Baraka
5
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: October 7, 1934
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Newark
Died: January 9, 2014
 29 
Isabel Wilkerson
(Journalist)
Isabel Wilkerson
2
Birthdate: 1961 AD
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
 30 
Wendy Raquel Robinson
(Actress)
Wendy Raquel Robinson
4
Birthdate: July 25, 1967
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USA
Height: 5'6" (168 cm)
 31 
Paula Jai Parker
(Actress)
Paula Jai Parker
6
Birthdate: August 19, 1969
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Height: 5'2" (157 cm)
 32 
Elijah Cummings
(Member of the U.S. House of Representatives From Maryland's 7th District)
Elijah Cummings
19
Listed In: Activists
Birthdate: January 18, 1951
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Died: October 17, 2017

Elijah Cummings was an important and influential American politician and advocate of civil rights. Such was his impact on American politics that after his death, he became the first black lawmaker to be honored with a state funeral at the United States Capitol. His official funeral was attended by personalities like Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton.

 33 
Omarosa Manigault
(Writers)
Omarosa Manigault
18
Listed In: Activists
Birthdate: February 15, 1974
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Youngstown, Ohio, United States
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
 34 
Crystal Waters
(Singer)
Crystal Waters
1
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: October 10, 1964
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Camden, New Jersey Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
 35 
Meshell Ndegeocello
(German-born American Rapper, Singer-Songwriter, and Bassist)
Meshell Ndegeocello
5
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: August 29, 1968
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
 36 
Karen Malina White
(Actress)
Karen Malina White
7
Birthdate: July 7, 1965
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Height: 5'3" (160 cm)
 37 
David Dinkins
(American Politician, Lawyer and Author)
David Dinkins
2
Listed In: Lawyers & Judges
Birthdate: July 10, 1927
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Trenton, New Jersey, United States
Died: November 23, 2020
 38 
George Washington Williams
(American Soldier)
George Washington Williams
2
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: October 16, 1849
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bedford, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: August 2, 1891

A laborer’s son, George Washington Williams had been a Union Army soldier during the American Civil War, when he was barely 14. He had then been a Baptist minister, a politician, a lecturer, a lawyer, and a journalist, but is best remembered for being the first to write about Black history.

 39 
Fredricka Whitfield
(Journalist)
Fredricka Whitfield
2
Birthdate: May 31, 1965
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nairobi, Kenya
Height: 5'11" (180 cm)
 40 
Andrew Young Jr.
(55th Mayor of Atlanta (1982 - 1990))
Andrew Young Jr.
8
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: March 12, 1932
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

Andrew Young Jr. is an American activist, politician, and diplomat. Young is best known for his role in the civil rights movement; a close associate of Martin Luther King Jr., Andrew Young served as the executive director of a civil rights organization called Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Andrew Young is a recipient of the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom.

 41 
Ralph Bunche
(Political Scientist)
Ralph Bunche
3
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: August 7, 1904
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States
Died: December 9, 1971
 42 
Makur Maker
(South Sudanese-Australian Basketball Player Who Plays in the Center)
Makur Maker
2
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: November 4, 2000
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Nairobi, Kenya
Height: 6'11" (211 cm)
 43 
Michael Hyatt
(She has played Brianna Barksdale on The Wire, Dr. Noelle Akopian on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)
Michael Hyatt
1
Birthdate: February 17, 1970
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Birmingham, England
 44 
Edward Brooke
(Politician)
Edward Brooke
0
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: October 26, 1919
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States U.S.
Died: January 3, 2015
 45 
Pep Hamilton
(Coach, American football player)
Pep Hamilton
1
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: September 19, 1974
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Charlotte, North Carolina, United States
 46 
Kasim Reed
(59th Mayor of Atlanta)
Kasim Reed
0
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: June 10, 1969
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Plainfield, New Jersey, United States
 47 
Billy Eckstine
(Musician)
Billy Eckstine
3
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: July 8, 1914
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: March 8, 1993
 48 
Ayesha Rascoe
(American Journalist)
Ayesha Rascoe
16
Birthdate: June 20, 1986
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Durham, North Carolina
 49 
Rhadi Ferguson
(American Mixed Martial Artist)
Rhadi Ferguson
0
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: April 3, 1975
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Portland, Oregon, United States
 50 
Jeremiah Wright
(Theologian)
Jeremiah Wright
6
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: September 22, 1941
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Philadelphia

Dr. Jeremiah Wright had initially served the Marine Corps before joining the U.S. Navy as a cardiopulmonary technician. He has also been a professor, and his research interests include Black Sacred Music and African diaspora studies. He also led the Trinity United Church of Christ as a pastor.

Popularly known as HU or Howard, Howard University is essentially classified as a federally chartered, private research university and is home to various historical landmarks in Washington, D.C. With over 70 diverse undergraduate programs, Howard is ranked as a Tier 1 University. As per the 2015 Bloomberg Businessweek college rankings, HU is the only HBCU ranked in the top 75. With an enrollment of over 10,000 students, Howard covers over 120 fields of education that enrich the learning experience of every student. The University has academic programs in various verticals of education such as Engineering, Architecture, Health Sciences, Communication and Law, to name a few. What makes the university stand apart is its diversity in students, due to its nonsectarian approach to education. Howard University has produced four Rhodes Scholars, one Marshall Scholar, two Truman Scholars and twenty-two Fulbright scholars between 1986 and 2017. It has also been ranked as the top producer of African-American undergraduates (who later earn science and engineering doctoral degrees) by the National Science Foundation. Debbie Allen and Nnamdi Azikiwe are some of the notable alumni’s of HU, who have soared to great heights from different walks of life. The university is currently on the road to position itself as one of the top research universities in the United States of America. Here is a list of some of the distinguished achievers born out of Howard University.