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Famous North Carolinians

There are many famous people from North Carolina, journalists, athletes, entertainers, artists, writers, and public figures.

Athletes:



Michael Jordan- Even though he was born in Brooklyn, the man regarded by many as the greatest basketball player of all time moved to Wilmington, North Carolina, at a very early age, and spent his childhood there. He attended UNC-Chapel Hill, where his team won an NCAA tournament, and then was a part of two Olympic gold medal teams and 6 NBA championship teams with the Chicago Bulls



Dale Earnhardt Sr.- A native of Kannapolis, North Carolina, Earnhardt became one of the most popular race car drivers in NASCAR history. Known to fans as "The Intimidator" for his aggressive style, Earnhardt won seven Winston Cup Championships. He was killed in a crash on the last lap of the Daytona 500 race on February 18, 2001.



Sugar Ray Leonard- He was a world famous boxer, born in Wilmington. He won an Olympic gold medal and 5 world titles.



Richard Petty- North Carolina native gained fame as a NASCAR racing driver. Petty won 7 championships and holds the record for most consecutive race wins: 10.





Entertainers/Artists:



Clay Aiken- his Raleigh native became a national singing sensation as he competed for top honors in the television show "American Idol" in 2003. Aiken came in runner up in the competition, but he did win a recording contract and his single "This is the Night" went platinum.



Fantasia Barrino- A High Point native came to fame when she won the television show American Idol in 2004. After being crowned the American Idol, Fantasia's single I Believe won two Billboard Awards and her album Free Yourselfwent platinum in 2005.



Andy Griffith- The actor from Mount Airy, North Carolina is famous for his work on the long running television programs "The Andy Griffith Show" and "Matlock."  Andy lives in Manteo, North Carolina. 



James Taylor- Born in Boston and raised in Chapel Hill, Taylor was arguably the most famous singer/songwriter of the 1970s. Known for the introspective lyrics of songs like "Carolina in My Mind," "Fire and Rain" and "Sweet Baby James," Taylor is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.





Writers:



Maya Angelou- Born Marguerite Johnson in St. Louis and raised in rural Arkansas, Angelou has lived in North Carolina since the early 1980s, when she accepted a position as a professor at Wake Forest University. She has had a distinguished career as a novelist and poet. Among her most famous works is "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings."





Public Figures:



Elizabeth Dole: A native of Salisbury, Dole worked for six different presidents and served as president of the American Red Cross before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2002. She is also married to Bob Dole, a former senator and presidential candidate.



John Edwards- This Robbins native served one term in the United States Senate, and gained national attention as one of the contenders for the Democratic nomination in the 2004 presidential election. Edwards went on to become the running mate of unsuccessful Democratic presidential nominee, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts



Billy Graham- Perhaps the most famous evangelical preacher in the world, the Charlotte native has been voted 39 times to a list of the most admired men in the world. He has advised several presidents and has become famous for his "crusades" across the globe.



Andrew Jackson- Born in Western North Carolina, Jackson was the 7th President of the United States. He was known for his staunch defense of the rights of the people, and also for his frequent parties, which anyone in the country could attend!



Andrew Johnson- A Raleigh native and former tailor who rose to become Vice President of the United States, Johnson assumed the presidency after Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. In 1868 he became the first President ever to be impeached.



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