Three Blacks inducted into state Hall of Fame

From California Black Media

SACRAMENTO — Former Assembly Speaker and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown and three other African Americans were among 10 luminaries inducted into the 2024 Class of the California Hall of Fame Feb. 8.

The 17th annual California Hall of Fame ceremony was held at the California Museum.

“The California Hall of Fame is one of our families’ favorite traditions as it is a time to come together to celebrate remarkable Californians as well as their loved ones because we know that it is about partnerships,” Siebel Newsom said. “The governor likes to say that California is a dream factory because it doesn’t matter what zip code or background you come from, the California dream is alive and well to everyone who calls this state home.”

The other Black honorees were filmmaker Ava DuVernay, federal Judge Thelton Henderson and basketball Hall of Fame player and broadcaster Cheryl Miller.

“It’s what I’ve been waiting for and to be among a great group of individuals that also deserve the honor,” Brown told California Black Media on the event’s red carpet before the ceremony began. “No, I never thought someone from Texas would be recognized this way. But here I am, and it all happened in the great state of California. It’s a fantastic feeling.”

“It’s just a humbling experience,” said Miller, who starred at USC. “I want to thank the governor and first partner. Who would have thought 100 years ago (that I would be inducted?) It’s incredible.” 

During his acceptance speech, Henderson said he was deeply honored.

“You know, it really would have been a really big deal to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in the area where I grew up, for example, South Central Hall of Fame, or the Watts Hall of Fame, or the Straight Out of Compton Hall of Fame,” he said. “But being inducted into the California Hall of Fame, Hall of Fame of the greatest state in the country in this great nation is something else.”

Other 2024 inductees were: master chef and “mother of fusion cuisine” Helene An; computer scientist and “father of the internet” Vincent A. Cerf; all-female pop punk band the Go-Gos; Chicano Rock band Los Lobos; former U.S. Secretary of Defense and Congressman Leon E. Panetta; and artistic director and choreographer Brenda Way.

This year’s honorees join a history-making club with more than 150 inspirational Californians previously inducted for their groundbreaking achievements and personifying the state’s innovative spirit.