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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

Marie Van Brittan Brown | 28 Days of Black Excellence

On this twentieth day in our series honoring Black Excellence, GPS introduces us to the ground breaking invention of Marie Van Brittan Brown, who created something that many use each day either when leaving their house or heading to sleep. Speaking of sleep, our musical inspiration comes in the form of a song made popular…  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

Frequently Asked Questions

What devices work with the VocalEssence WITNESS Resource Portal?  VocalEssence videos can be accessed through the WITNESS Resource Portal and are streamed through a private Vimeo link. Anywhere you can play online videos—computer, tablet, smartphone, or smart TV—you can watch VocalEssence videos.  Can I watch videos on my television?  Yes, there are many options to…

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

Madam C.J. Walker | 28 Days of Black Excellence

Today marks the ninth day of 28 Days of Black Excellence created by VocalEssence Associate Conductor G. Phillip Shoultz, III. Phillip highlights the work of Madam C.J. Walker, who created specialized hair products for African American hair care and was one of the first American women to become a self-made millionaire. Our musical pairing is…  Read More

Lewis H. Latimer | 28 Days of Black Excellence

Today marks the eighth day of 28 Days of Black Excellence created by VocalEssence Associate Conductor G. Phillip Shoultz, III. Phillip highlights the work of Lewis Howard Latimer, who was responsible for many inventions, including the carbon filament in light bulbs which made electricity more efficient and cost effective. Stevie Wonder’s effervescent “You are the…  Read More