Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are cornerstones of the African-American community and their graduates have shaped national politics, entertainment, business and academia. There are 106 HBCUs across the United States and each one provides a culturally rich and exemplary academic experience for their diverse and highly motivated students.

In this photo gallery, NewsOne recognizes HBCU graduates who have been successful leaders and trailblazers in their respective fields. While this list is by no means comprehensive, it is an eclectic sampling of the greatness that our HBCUs produce.

1. Taraji P. Henson

Taraji P. Henson Source:Getty

Academy Award-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson graduated from Howard University (Washington, DC) in 1995 with a Bachelor’s degree in theatre arts.

(Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage)

2. David Banner

David Banner Source:Getty

Rapper and political activist David Banner (real name Lavell Crump) graduated from Southern University (Baton Rouge, LA) with a Bachelor’s degree in business.

(Photo by Bennett Raglin/BET/Getty Images for BET)

3. Ed Bradley

Ed Bradley, famed journalist, White House correspondent and long-time anchor of “60 Minutes,” graduated from Pennsylvania’s Cheyney State College (now Cheyney University) in 1964 with a Bachelor’s degree in education.

4. Wanda Sykes

Wanda Sykes Source:Triumph Awards

Comedian and actress Wanda Sykes graduated from Hampton University (Hampton, VA) in 1986 with a Bachelor’s degree in marketing.

5. Phylicia Rashad

Phylicia Rashad Wins People's Choice Award Source:Getty

Tony Award-winning actress, singer and stage director, Phylicia Rashad, best known for her role as attorney Clair Huxtable on “The Cosby Show,” graduated from Howard University (Washington, DC) in 1970 with a Bachelor’s degree in fine arts.

(Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

6. Spike Lee

Spike Lee Source:Getty

Legendary filmmaker Spike Lee graduated from Morehouse College (Atlanta, GA) in 1979 with a Bachelor’s degree in mass communication.

(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

7. Keshia Knight Pulliam

#TheRecipe Hosted By Angela Simmons & Terrence J Source:Getty

An Emmy-nominated actress and Cosby Kid, Keshia Knight Pulliam graduated from Spelman College (Atlanta, GA) in 2001 with a Bachelor’s degree in sociology.

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9. Common

Grammy Award-winning rapper Common (real name Lonnie Lynn, Jr.) graduated from Florida A&M University (Tallahassee, FL) with a Bachelor’s degree in business administration.

10. Barbara Jordan

Attorney Barbara Jordan, former U.S. Representative and legendary civil rights leader, graduated from Texas Southern University (Houston, TX) in 1956 with a Bachelor’s degree in political science.

11. Esther Rolle

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Renowned actress Esther Rolle, best known for her role as Florida Evans on “Good Times,” graduated from Spelman College in 1942.

12. Thurgood Marshall

Portrait of Thurgood Marshall with His Family Source:Getty

The Honorable Thurgood Marshall, the 96th justice and first African-American on the United States Supreme Court (serving from October 1967 until October 1991), graduated from Pennsylvania’s Lincoln University in 1930 with a Bachelor’s degree in American literature and philosophy.

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