• December 27 1941 Nolan Richardson, basketball coach, was born in El Paso, Texas. Richardson played collegiate basketball at the University of Texas – El Paso and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1964. He began his coaching career in 1968. In 1978, he moved to Western Texas Junior College where he won the 1980 National Junior College championship. In 1981, he moved to the University of Tulsa and won the 1981 NIT championship. In 1985, he was hired by the University of Arkansas and over his 17 year tenure led them to the Final Four three times. In 1994, Richardson led Arkansas to the NCAA National Championship, becoming the second Black head coach to win the NCAA Basketball Tournament, and he was named the National Coach of the Year. Richardson is the only head coach to win a Junior College National Championship, the NIT, and the NCAA Tournament. In 2008, he was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. In October, 2009, Richardson was named head coach of the Tulsa franchise (formerly the Detroit Shock) in the Women’s National Basketball Association.

• December 27, 1950 Varnette Patricia Honeywood, painter, writer and businesswoman, was born in Los Angeles, California. Honeywood earned her bachelor’s degree in art from Spellman College in 1972 and her master’s degree in education from the University of Southern California in 1974. As part of a community outreach program at USC, she taught multicultural arts and crafts programs to minority children in the public schools. Honeywood and her sister founded the Black Lifestyles Greeting Card Company with cards showing Honeywood’s brightly colored portraits depicting the daily life of African Americans, the first such company specializing in black themes. Camille Cosby discovered Honeywood’s work on the greeting cards and she and her husband Bill began to collect Honeywood’s art. After that, Honeywood’s work appeared on the interior settings for “The Bill Cosby Show,” “A Different World,” “Amen,” and “227.” These included “Birthday” (1974), “Club Alabam: Down at the Dunbar” (1981), and “The Groundbreaking” (1991). A recurring theme in her work is the vibrancy of black culture despite barriers of racial oppression. Honeywood died September 12, 2010.

• December 27, 1959 Andre Bernard Tippett, hall of fame football player, was born in Birmingham, Alabama. Tippett played collegiate football at the University of Iowa from 1979 to 1982 and was an All-American defensive end. He was selected by the New England Patriots in the 1982 NFL Draft. Over his 12 season professional career, Tippett was a five-time Pro Bowl selection and the 1985 AFC Defensive Player of the Year. He retired after the 1993 season and was selected to the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team and in 2008 was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He is currently Executive Director of Community Affairs for the Patriots.

• December 27, 1997 James M. Nabrit, Jr., civil rights lawyer, college president, and deputy ambassador, died. Nabrit was born September 7, 1900 in Atlanta, Georgia. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1923 from Morehouse College and a doctorate in law from Northwestern University in 1927. In 1936, Nabrit joined the faculty of Howard University Law School and established the first civil rights course for a United States law school. During his time at Howard, he also successfully argued a number of significant civil rights cases, including Lane v. Wilson (1939), concerning the registration of black voters in Oklahoma, and Terry v. Adams (1953), concerning the right of African Americans to participate in primary elections in Texas. In 1958, Nabrit became dean of the Howard University Law School and two years later he was appointed president of the university, a position held until 1969. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson appointed him U. S. Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations.

• December 27, 2003 Vincent Dacosta Smith, figurative painter, died. Smith was born December 12, 1929 in New York City. At the age of 15, he dropped out of high school and became a hobo working odd jobs and spending a year in the army. In 1953, he discovered his love of art and became a full-time artist. His first solo show was held at the Brooklyn Museum Art School Gallery in 1955. In a career that spanned a half a century, Smith documented in brilliant color some of the most compelling events of the 20th century, including 1940s Harlem jazz clubs, civil rights workers confronting hate, and the creative militancy of the Black Arts Movement. One of his works, “Rootin Tootin Blues,” was presented to President William Clinton during his first inaugural ceremony.