High Achievers: 6 Black Celebrities Who Finished At The Top of Their Class

Portrait of Paul Robeson Smiling for Camera 1926Paul Robeson

Class of: 1919

Where: Rutgers University

Paul Robeson was a well-known singer and actor in his time, but many people don’t know that he was an excellent athlete and standout student at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Robeson was only the third African-American to attend the school, and the only one during his time. Robeson didn’t let that stop him from rising to the top of his class and being named the valedictorian in 1919.

Robin Roberts

Class of: 1979

Where: Pass Christian High School

The Good Morning America host is an inspiration to many people — not just for being an awesome example of success in the TV world for young Black girls but also for beating cancer twice and being an inspiration for survivors and those battling the disease. Before Roberts excelled on TV, she was a high-achiever at Mississippi’s Pass Christian High School, where she was valedictorian.

Norris Cole

Class of 2007

Where: Dunbar High School

The Miami Heat point guard may be known for winning championships with NBA superstar teammates LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, but he’s more than just a jock. Cole made his name in basketball for being a tough and hardworking player, and he exuded the same qualities in high school when it came to the books. Cole graduated salutatorian of his senior class at Dunbar High School in Dayton, Ohio, and was a member of the National Honor Society.

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