28 Days of Black Excellence


28 Days of Black Excellence with G. Phillip Shoultz, III

VocalEssence is celebrating 28 Days of Black Excellence this February. VocalEssence will showcase Black achievement in the arts and beyond each day of Black History Month as part of its daily pandemic show, Take 5 with GPS.

Sponsor Black Excellence

Each episode and blog post take $250 to create and produce. Consider sponsoring a day or even a week of these amazing entrepreneurs. Episodes will be included in the FREE online WITNESS Portal for teachers around the world. Sponsors will be named in the blog posts on the VocalEssence website. You are encouraged to sponsor in honor of a loved one or a beloved organization. Just add their name in the Dedication section of the donation form.

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Alfred L. Cralle | 28 Days of Black Excellence

On this episode we celebrate Alfred L. Cralle, an African American businessman and inventor who was best known for inventing the ice cream scoop in 1897. Our musical pairing is “Do Lord,” a traditional Negro spiritual. Alfred L. Cralle (1866-1919) Notable Achievements: He did not become famous for his invention of his ice cream scoop.…  Read More

Alice H. Parker | 28 Days of Black Excellence

  On this episode we explore the contributions of inventor of central heating using natural gas, Alice H. Parker. Our musical pairing is “Heatwave” by Brian & Edward Holland, Lamont Dozier, made popular by Martha and the Vandellas. Alice H. Parker (1895-1920) Notable Achievements:Very little is known about Alice Parker’s life. She attended classes at…  Read More

Dr. Patricia Bath | 28 Days of Black Excellence

On this Monday episode we explore the contributions of Dr. Patricia Bath, Ophthalmologist, Inventor, Humanitarian, and educator, who invented the laser cataract surgery called the Lazerphaco Probe. Our musical pairing is “I’ll Be Seeing You,” by Sammy Fain and Irving Kahal. Dr. Patricia Bath (1942-2019) Notable Achievements: Dr. Patricia Bath discovered and invented a new…  Read More

George Washington Carver | 28 Days of Black Excellence

On this Sunday edition of Take 5, GPS continues our exploration of Black Excellence by highlighting the contributions of well-known figures. George Washington Carver is regarded is the most influential African American scientist of the early 20th century, with well over 100 inventions credited to his work. Gospel music icon, Rev. James Cleveland, inspires and…  Read More

George Crum | 28 Days of Black Excellence

On today’s episode of 28 Days of Black Excellence we feature inventor and chef George Crum (originally George Speck), credited with inventing the potato chip. Our musical pairing is “I Heard it Through the Grapevine,” by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, made popular by Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight, and the Pips. George Crum aka George…  Read More

Harriet Powers | 28 Days of Black Excellence

On today’s episode of 28 Days of Black Excellence we feature American folk artist and quilter, Harriet Powers, who weaved stories into her art to pass stories to future generations. Our musical pairing is “We are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder,” a traditional Negro Spiritual by a hidden figure. Harriet Powers (1837-1910) Notable Achievements: Although not recognized during…  Read More

Katherine Johnson | 28 Days of Black Excellence

  On today’s episode of 28 Days of Black Excellence we feature famous mathematician Katherine Johnson, whose mathematical calculations helped send Apollo 11 to the moon. Our musical pairing is “I Got a Robe,” a traditional Negro Spiritual. Katherine Johnson (1918-2020) Notable Achievements: Presidential Medal of Freedom, Silver Snoopy award, NASA Group Achievement Award, Congressional…  Read More

Dr. Percy Lavon Julian | 28 Days of Black Excellence

  On today’s episode of 28 Days of Black Excellence we feature Dr. Percy Lavon Julian. Despite considerable persecution due to segregation and racism throughout his life, Percy Julian became a steroid chemist and an entrepreneur who ingeniously figured out how to synthesize important medicinal compounds from abundant plant sources, making them more affordable to…  Read More

Frederick McKinley Jones | 28 Days of Black Excellence

On today’s episode of 28 Days of Black Excellence we feature local Minnesotan, Frederick McKinley Jones, an inventor best known for the development of refrigeration equipment used to transport food and blood during World War II. His invention radically altered American consumer’s eating habits; now people could eat eat fresh produce across the United States during…  Read More

Dr. Charles Drew | 28 Days of Black Excellence

  On this Valentine’s Day, GPS highlights the outstanding accomplishments of Dr. Charles Drew, who is responsible for the creation of what we’ve come to know as “blood banks.” We turn to Aretha Franklin for our musical inspiration which melds our faith in the Creator and love for each other in one classic song that…  Read More

Lloyd Agustus Hall | 28 Days of Black Excellence

Join GPS for the 13th installment in our series highlighting Black excellence. Today we honor the work of Lloyd Augustus Hall, a pioneer in the food preservation industry. The perfect musical pairing on this Valentine’s weekend–how about a little Four Tops and “Sugar Pie Honey Bunch (I can’t help myself)“? Join us! Lloyd Augustus Hall…  Read More

Mark E. Dean | 28 Days of Black Excellence

Happy Friday! Today marks the twelfth day of 28 Days of Black Excellence created by VocalEssence Associate Conductor G. Phillip Shoultz, III. Phillip highlights the work of Mark E. Dean, computer scientist and engineer, who helped develop a number of landmark technologies for IBM, including the color PC monitor and the first gigahertz chip. He…  Read More

James Edward Maceo West | 28 Days of Black Excellence

Today marks the eleventh day of 28 Days of Black Excellence created by VocalEssence Associate Conductor G. Phillip Shoultz, III. Phillip highlights the work of James Edward Maceo West, a research professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Mechanical Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University and member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame. West…  Read More

Gwendolyn Brooks | 28 Days of Black Excellence

Today marks the tenth day of 28 Days of Black Excellence created by VocalEssence Associate Conductor G. Phillip Shoultz, III. Phillip highlights the work of poet Gwendolyn Brooks, “one of the most highly regarded, influential, and widely read poets of 20th-century American poetry. She was a much-honored poet, even in her lifetime, with the distinction…  Read More