Black History Month

Join us in recognizing and appreciating the contributions and achievements of Black Americans throughout our history in this annual celebration, the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month.

2024 Notable Figures

Rod Brewer

Rod Brewer

Vice Mayor, City of Elk Grove

Rod Brewer was elected to the Elk Grove City Council in November 2022, serving District 2, and became the City’s Vice Mayor in December 2023. With over a decade of experience in high-level staff positions for elected leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives and the California State Legislature, Rod brings valuable expertise to the Council. Rod is a Government Relations Advisor for Southern California Edison and holds a B.A. in Political Science - Public Service from the University of California, Davis.  

Before joining the City Council, Rod served on the Cosumnes Community Services District (CCSD) Board of Directors.  

Photo source: District 2


Tina Lee-Vogt

Tina Lee-Vogt

Chair of the City of Elk Grove’s Diversity and Inclusion Commission 

Elk Grove resident Tina Lee-Vogt is the Chair of the City of Elk Grove’s Diversity and Inclusion Commission, of which she’s served since 2021. She is also the first and current Nighttime Economy Manager for the City of Sacramento, responsible for overseeing the Office of Nighttime Economy. Appointed in October 2022, she serves as a liaison between the nightlife industry, the community, and city agencies to ensure that Sacramento has a safe and vibrant nightlife.  

Photo source: Nighttime Economy Manager - Sacramento Office of Innovation & Economic Development  


2023 Notable Figures

Ketanji Brown Jackson

Ketanji Brown Jackson


Ketanji Brown Jackson is the first African American woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court. She was nominated to the Supreme Court in 2022 by President Biden. Jackson is a Harvard alumnus, former federal judge, and public defender.She is the first former federal public defender to serve on the Supreme Court.

Learn more about Ketanji Brown Jackson

Photo source: Creative Commons


Maya Angelou

Kobe Bryant


Kobe Bryant was a star basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers from 1996 to 2016. He won five NBA championships, was an 18-time All-Star, and consecutive U.S. Olympic teams gold medalist. Kobe had a heart for charity and through the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation, he provided life-changing experiences for youth designed to broaden their global perspectives. Bryant died tragically in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020.

Learn more about Kobe Bryant

Photo source: Creative Commons


Bessie Coleman

Bessie Coleman


Bessie Coleman was the first African American woman to earn her pilot’s license in the United States. In the 1920’s, access to aviation training was impossible for African Americans in the United States, so Coleman applied and was accepted to the Caudron Brothers School of Aviation in France where she was licensed in 1921. On September 3, 1922, in a borrowed plane, Bessie made the first public flight by an African American woman in the United States. Sadly, on April 30, 1926, Coleman died in a plane crash while on a practice flight for an upcoming performance. Her life has inspired other female aviators.

Learn more about Bessie Coleman

Photo source: Creative Commons


Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson


Neil deGrasse Tyson is an American astrophysicist and planetary scientist fondly known as “American’s Science Educator.” He encourages science and space exploration through his books and media appearances. Tyson earned his doctorate from Columbia University and became the Director of the Hayden Planetarium in 1996. He gained national attention in 2006 after persuading the International Astronomical Union to classify Pluto as a dwarf planet. In addition to scholarly exploits, Tyson served as a presidential adviser to President Bush on aerospace matters. Neil deGrasse Tyson continues to further scientific development through books, television, podcasts and speaking engagements.

Learn more about Neil deGrasse Tyson

Photo source: Creative Commons


Bobby Davis

Bobby Davis

Bobby Davis began his career in public service in May of 1996 with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, where he served as a Deputy, Sergeant, Lieutenant and Captain. In March of 2020, he joined the City of Elk Grove as the Assistant Chief of Police. Bobby Davis was sworn in as Elk Grove’s Chief of Police on March 23, 2022, becoming the first African American head of the department. Chief Davis holds a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the Union Institute and University and has had several executive trainings. Chief Davis is committed to officer wellness, collaborative policing, policing with technology, and serving his community members with dignity, respect, and fairness.

Learn more about Bobby Davis


Jim Cooper

Jim Cooper

Jim Cooper was a four-term Elk Grove City Council member and its first mayor. Jim represented California’s 9th Assembly District, which spans Sacramento to Lodi, including Elk Grove for 8 years. Jim Cooper had a successful 30-year law enforcement career and made history in 2022, when he was elected as the Sacramento County Sheriff Department’s first African American Sheriff.

Learn more about Jim Cooper

Photo source:


2022 Notable Figures

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou


Civil rights activist, poet and award-winning author known for her acclaimed 1969 memoir, 'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,' and her numerous poetry and essay collections.

Maya Angelou was an American author, actress, screenwriter, dancer, poet and civil rights activist best known for her 1969 memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which made literary history as the first nonfiction bestseller by an African American woman. Angelou received several honors throughout her career, including two NAACP Image Awards in the outstanding literary work (nonfiction) category, in 2005 and 2009.

Learn more about Maya Angelou

Photo source: Creative Commons

arthur as he

Arthur Ashe


First African American to win the men's singles titles at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, and the first African American man to be ranked No. 1 in the world.

Arthur Ashe became the first (and remains the only) African American male tennis player to win the U.S. Open and Wimbledon singles titles. He was also the first African American man to earn the No. 1 ranking in the world and the first to earn induction into the Tennis Hall of Fame. Always an activist, when Ashe learned that he had contracted AIDS via a blood transfusion, he turned his efforts to raising awareness about the disease, before finally succumbing to it on February 6, 1993.

Learn more about Arthur Ashe

Photo source: National Archive

patricia bath

Patricia Bath


First African American to complete a residency in ophthalmology and the first African American female doctor to receive a medical patent. She invented the Laserphaco Probe for cataract treatment in 1986.

Patricia Bath was the first African American to complete a residency in ophthalmology in 1973. Two years later, she became the first female faculty member in the Department of Ophthalmology at UCLA's Jules Stein Eye Institute. In 1976, Bath co-founded the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness, which established that "eyesight is a basic human right." In 1986, Bath invented the Laserphaco Probe, improving treatment for cataract patients. She patented the device in 1988, becoming the first African American female doctor to receive a medical patent.

Learn more about Patricia Bath

Photo source: National Library of Medicine

misty copeland

Misty Copeland


First African American performer to be appointed as a principal dancer for American Ballet Theatre.

Misty Copeland endured a tumultuous home life to find her way to dance, eventually studying under California ballet instructor Cynthia Bradley. Copeland joined the studio company of American Ballet Theatre in 2000, becoming a soloist several years later and starring in an array of productions such as The Nutcracker and Firebird. An icon whose star shines beyond the world of classical dance, in 2015 Copeland became the first African American performer to be appointed as an ABT principal dancer in the company's decades-long history.

Learn more about Misty Copeland

Photo source: Creative Commons

michael dyson

Michael Eric Dyson


Academic, author, ordained minister, radio host, and Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University.

Dyson is a Georgetown University sociology professor, a New York Times contributing opinion writer, and a contributing editor of The New Republic and of ESPN's The Undefeated website. Dyson's extensive academics has spanned a wide range of topics including race, religion, politics, hip-hop, popular culture and contemporary issues in the African American community. He is a noted author of more than 20 books.

Learn more about Michael Eric Dyson

Photo source: Jean Song/MEDILL

lonnie johnson

Lonnie George Johnson


Former Air Force and NASA engineer who invented the massively popular Super Soaker water gun.

African American engineer and inventor Lonnie G. Johnson earned his master's degree in nuclear engineering from Tuskegee University and went on to work for the U.S. Air Force and the NASA space program. After tinkering with the invention of a high-powered water gun, Johnson's Super Soaker became a top-selling item by the early 1990s. He has since been developing the Johnson Thermoelectric Energy Converter (JTEC), an engine that converts heat directly into electricity, which Johnson's sees as the path to low-cost solar power. Currently, Mr. Johnson holds over 100 patents, with over 20 more pending, and is the author of several publications on spacecraft power systems.

Learn more about Lonnie George Johnson

Photo source: Creative Commons

marjorie joyner

Marjorie Joyner


American Businesswomen

Marjorie Joyner was an American businesswoman, hair care entrepreneur, philanthropist, educator and activist. Joyner is noted for being the first African-American woman to create and patent a permanent hair-wave machine.

Learn more about Marjorie Joyner

Photo source: dailykos

meshed ndegeocello

Meshell Ndegeocello

(1968-Present )

American singer-songwriter, rapper, and bassist.

Ndegeocello was born Michelle Lynn Johnson in Berlin, Germany, to army Sergeant Major and saxophonist father Jacques Johnson and health care worker mother Helen. She was raised in Washington, D.C. where she attended Duke Ellington School of the Arts and Oxon Hill High School. Her music incorporates a wide variety of influences, including funk, soul, jazz, hip hop, reggae and rock. She has received significant critical acclaim throughout her career and although she has never won a Grammy Award, she has been nominated ten times. She has been credited for helping to have "sparked the neo-soul movement."

Learn more about Meshell Ndegeocello

Photo source: Bones Jones Music