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Notable deaths in 2020




Kobe Bryant

Pre-pandemic, on January 1, Nick Gordon, 30 died from a suspected overdose. Gordon was involved with Bobbi Kristina Brown prior to her death five years ago.

Ben Watkins, 14 of Master Chef Jr. fame was the youngest notable Black person to die in 2020 and Earl Cameron, Britain’s first Black movie star, the oldest at 102.

Kobi Bryant, 41, his daughter and others died in a helicopter crash on January 26.  Other sports figures who passed in 2020 include Fred “Curly” Neal, 77; Cliff Robinson, 53; Wes Unseld, 74; Bob Gibson, 84, Lou Brock, 81; Gayle Sayers, 77; John Thompson, 78; and Rafer Johnson, 86.

In the world of music we lost Andre Harrel, 59; Little Richard, 87; Pamela Hutchinson, 61 of the Emotions; Erick Morillo, 49; Esther Scott, 66; Bill Withers, 81; Betty Wright, 66; Bonnie Pointer, 69; Ronald Bell, 68; Bruce Williamson, 49; Toots Hibbert, 77; Georgia Dobbins, 78, of the Marvalettes, coo-wrote “Please Mr. Postman”; John “Ectasy” Fletcher, 56; and Malik B, 47, The Roots.

Ty, 47; Ellis Marsalis, 85, and Charley Pride, 86, all passed from COVID-19.

Thespians who passed in 2020 include Nikita Pearl Waligwa,15; Chadwick Boseman, 43; Naya Rivera, 33; Paula Kelly, 77; Ja’Net DuBois, 74; Tommy “Tiny” Lister, 62; Natalie Desselle Reid, 53; Bert Belasco, 38; and Gregory Tyree Boyce, 30.

Others in the arts and entertainment industry include Stanley Crouch, 83; B. Smith, 70; Jas Waters, 39; Chi Chi DeVayne, 34, of Ru Paul’s Drag Race;  Ashley “Ms. Minnie” Ross, 34; and Jeremy Hutchins, 37.

In mathematics, Katherine Johnson, 101, no longer a “Hidden Figure”.

In civil rights and politics we lost Herman Cain 74; Rev. Joseph Lowery, 78; C.T. Vivian, 95; Charles Evers, 97; David Dinkins, 93; Bruce Boynton, 83; and John Lewis, 80.

Alfred Thomas Farrar, 99, a former Tuskegee Airman passed.

The most notable Black deaths of 2020 were of course, those of George Floyd, 46, and Breonna Taylor, 26, but two of the numerous murders by police.

The deaths and subsequent protests following solidified the #BLM movement, #Defundthe Police, and acknowledgment of systemic racism world- wide and the need for healing., Soul TV, The Wall Street Journal, and Wikipedia were sources for this report.


East Oakland Organizer Needed

The East Oakland Stadium Alliance (EOSA) is seeking an Oakland-based grassroots organizer for a short-term engagement to help grow and mobilize our coalition! Comprised of local businesses, workers, labor organizations, and community members, we are deeply concerned about the Oakland A’s proposal to leave the Coliseum site in East Oakland and build a new stadium at the port. An ideal candidate has on-the-ground campaign field experience, a strong awareness of Oakland and Alameda County political figures, and deep ties to East and West Oakland communities. Being a local resident of Oakland is a plus.

Employment with EOSA is a part-time role and will last for a minimum of four months with an opportunity to extend longer. Transportation and cell phone use would be reimbursed and candidates of color are strongly encouraged to apply.

If interested, please send a cover letter and resume to Emily Penrod, For more info about EOSA, visit our website and check us out on Twitter @AllianceOakland.


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