January 5, 1931 Alvin Ailey, Jr., choreographer and activist, was born in Rogers, Texas. Ailey did not become serious about dance until he was 18. In 1953, he joined the Lester Horton Dance Company and when Horton died later that year, Ailey assumed the role of artistic director. In 1958, he formed the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and over the years created 79 works for his dancers, including “Blues Suite” (1958), “Revelations” (1960), “The River” (1970), and “Cry” (1971). In 1976, Ailey was awarded the NAACP Spingarn Medal. Ailey died December 1, 1989 and was posthumously inducted into the National Museum of Dance and Hall of Fame in 1992.