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In 1950, Gwendolyn Brooks became the first African-American to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize. Hers was a Pulitzer in poetry, specifically for a volume titled Annie Allen that chronicled the life of an ordinary black girl growing up in the Bronzeville neighborhood on Chicago's famous South Side.

Brooks was in her living room when she learned she had won, she recalled in a Library of Congress interview, and it was growing dark. She didn't turn on the lights, because she knew what would happen. Money was tight, and the bill hadn't been paid.

Known for his work with Weather Report, Joni Mitchell and Pat Metheny, Jaco Pastorius was one of the most inventive bass players in music history. He is the only electric bassist in DownBeat magazine's Jazz Hall of Fame.

In a rush to get the holiday weekend rolling? Here are some quick facts about last night's Eastern Conference championship game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics:

  • The Cavaliers ended the Celtics post-season — winning the game, 135-102.
  • The win sets up a third consecutive match-up with Western Conference champion Golden State in the Finals.
  • LeBron James scored 35 points to become the NBA's all-time playoff scoring leader — surpassing Michael Jordan.

The time was right to revisit the Buena Vista Social Club. The blockbuster 1997 album and 1999 documentary, chronicling the recording sessions of an ad-hoc group of remarkable Cuban musicians, set off a global wave of appreciation for Son cubano music in the late '90s. The principal players, many of whom had begun their musical careers before the Communist revolution and had been retired for years before making the album, became overnight celebrities.

Tennis queen Serena Williams is serious about trying new things this year. In addition to becoming engaged and being pregnant, La Serena has taken on the challenge of helping to diversify Silicon Valley — a task that might be hardest of all. Williams has joined the board of SurveyMonkey.

George Foreman at 25 years old was a fearsome champion: 6 foot 4, biceps thick and gnarled as oak, a permanent scowl on his face and a right hand that flattened every opponent he faced.

So when Muhammad Ali challenged him in 1974 for a championship fight dubbed the Rumble in the Jungle in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), most bets were on Foreman.

Ali was seven years older and past his prime. He'd had his title stripped after refusing the Vietnam draft in 1967 and was struggling to become a contender again.

As a TV critic who keeps an eye on social issues, I've long been critical of ABC's The Bachelor and The Bachelorette franchises. They urge viewers to believe completely contrived events are somehow spontaneous. They also support an unhealthy princess fantasy in which romance is conflated with an upper-middle class wonderland filled with reality TV fame and luxury resort getaways.

The music of the late Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda, the wife of the jazz giant John Coltrane, has always rested somewhat in the shadows. It didn't help that she gave her career up — to become a spiritual leader.

The NAACP, America's oldest civil rights group, is replacing its president, Cornell William Brooks, and planning a "transformational retooling," according to the group's board of directors.

Brooks, who has been the president of the NAACP for three years, will not be retained once his contract is up at the end of June, the chairman and vice chair of the board of directors say.

The NAACP says the change is part of "an organization-wide refresh."

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A painting of a skull by Jean-Michel Basquiat broke records at Sotheby's last night. The work sold for more than $110 million. As NPR's Elizabeth Blair reports, that is the most ever for an American artist's work at auction.

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