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Charles C. Stewart

Mauritanian religious leader and founder of a school, was the grandson of his namesake known as “Sidiyya the Elder” (Sidiyya al-Kabir) and was raised by his uncles in the scholarly setting of his father and grandfather’s camps in southwestern Mauritania. His father, Sidi Muhammad, died in 1869 during a cholera outbreak when Baba was seven years old only one year after the death of Sidiyya al Kabir This was a moment when his lineage the Ntisha it was one of the dominant ones within the larger Awlad Abyiri a clerical lineage group that during his grandfather s time had risen to be among the most influential political forces in the region of Trarza southwestern Mauritania Sidiyya the Elder had spent a dozen years in the Kunta campus of the Azaouad adjacent to Timbuktu in the early nineteenth century and he brought back to the village that he founded at ...


David B. Malone

Jonathan Blanchard would become an heir of the principles of the evangelical postmillennial Christianity exemplified in America's Benevolent Empire of the early 1800s, wherein activists sought to reform American society through education and religious missions. Blanchard was born the eleventh of fifteen children, near Rockingham, Vermont, to Polly Lovell and the farmer Jonathan Blanchard Sr. The young Jonathan was able to take advantage of a variety of educational opportunities, eventually graduating from Middlebury College, after which he enrolled in Andover Theological Seminary.

Blanchard left Andover in September 1836 because it failed to stand against slavery and became an abolitionist lecturer for the American Anti Slavery Society He was one of Theodore Dwight Weld s Seventy preaching the sin of slavery throughout Pennsylvania with the hopes that the consciences of slaveholders would be pierced over their treatment of those whom Blanchard echoing the words of Jesus lamented as the ...


Benjamin A. Jackson

research biologist, educator, and college administrator, was born in Chicago. Her mother, Carriebel Cole, was a physical education teacher who taught interpretive dance in the public schools. Her father, Frank Victor Plummer, a physician, graduated from Cornell University in 1908 and subsequently from Rush Medical School in Chicago. He was an early member of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first national Greek letter fraternity for black men.

The Plummer family strongly emphasized education Cobb s parents circle of friends included black writers historians and artists As a member of the upper middle class she enjoyed many more educational cultural and social advantages than did most African American children of that era She had access to a library in her home that included scientific texts belonging to her father Not surprisingly Cobb developed an early interest in science Her interest in biology developed when she was a high school sophomore ...


Stanton L. Wormley

The son of John Francis Cook, a pastor and former slave, George F. T. Cook was born in Washington, D.C., on June 18, 1835. John Cook, one of Washington's most prominent African Americans during the first half of the nineteenth century, operated a school for black children. It was at this school that young George received his early education. Later he studied at Oberlin College in Ohio, as did his brother, John F. Cook In 1855 George returned to Washington upon the death of his father. With his brother, George continued the school that John Cook, Sr., had conducted until his death. George and John, Jr., operated the school until its closing in 1867.

On May 21, 1862 about five years before the Cook school closed the Congress of the United States enacted a law calling for 10 percent of the taxes levied on the ...


Sterling Stuckey

educator, was born Vivian Elma Johnson in Colliersville, Tennessee, the daughter of Spencer Johnson, a farmer, and Caroline Alley, a teacher. One of eight children, Vivian grew up under the enterprising spirit of her parents, both of whom were born in slavery. That her mother was the first black schoolteacher in Fayette County, Tennessee, set a special standard of achievement for Vivian and her seven siblings. The family moved to Memphis when she was very young, and the decision was made to favor the girls with a higher education. All four were to graduate from college, but Vivian, thanks to the financial assistance of a brother, the inventor and railway postal clerk Thomas W. Johnson, was able to attend Howard University and later earn a master's degree in English from Columbia University.

In 1912 the year of her graduation from Howard Vivian accepted a post at ...


Marilyn Demarest Button

educator, administrator, writer, and activist, was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, the daughter of Thomas Cornelius Cuthbert and Victoria Means. She attended grammar and secondary school in her hometown and studied at the University of Minnesota before transferring to Boston University, where she completed her BA in 1920.

Following her graduation, Cuthbert moved to Florence, Alabama, and became an English teacher and assistant principal at Burrell Normal School. Promoted to principal in 1925, she began to lead students and faculty in bold new perspectives on gender equality and interracial harmony.

In 1927 Cuthbert left Burrell to become one of the first deans of Talladega College in Talladega, Alabama. In her essay, “The Dean of Women at Work,” published in the Journal of the National Association of College Women (Apr. 1928 she articulated her belief that covert sexism at the administrative level of black colleges limited their ...


Connie Park Rice

educator, administrator, and civil rights pioneer, was born in Milledgeville, Georgia. At the age of five, Davis was sent to live with distant relatives, Mr. and Mrs. Sylvannus Carter, in Americus, Georgia. An itinerant preacher, Carter instilled both moral values and a deep appreciation for education in the young Davis. Davis attended secondary school and college at the Atlanta Baptist College (Morehouse College), and worked summers in the Chicago stockyards of Swift & Company to raise money to pay for his education. He graduated from Morehouse College with a bachelor's degree in 1911. Encouraged and aided by John Hope, the president of Morehouse College, Davis enrolled as a graduate student in chemistry and physics at the University of Chicago. He then returned to Morehouse College in 1914, where he taught those subjects, served as the registrar, and was a part-time football assistant.

In ...


David Borsvold

architect, teacher. and education administrator, was born in Belvoir, Chatham County, North Carolina, one of six children of William Gaston Snipes, a white farmer, and Mary Foushee Edwards, a black homemaker and farm worker. Some uncertainty exists as to Edwards's precise year of birth, with contradictory U.S. Census records allowing for a birth date sometime between 1874 and 1879. Census records show that his parents were legally registered as living side by side on different land parcels, because interracial marriage was illegal in North Carolina during this time. Edwards's earliest education was given at home and at local schools, and he worked during the evenings as a barber and a farmhand to help support the family.

Edwards earned enough money to attend Agricultural & Mechanical College for the Colored Race (now known as North Carolina A&T State University) at Greensboro in 1896 After amassing sufficient ...


Denise Burrell-Stinson

writer and professor, was born Percival Leonard Everett II, the elder of the two children of Percival Leonard Everett, a dentist, and Dorothy (Stinson) Everett, who assisted her husband in his practice for thirty years. The younger Percival was born on a U.S. Army base in Fort Gordon, Georgia, while his father was assigned a post as a sergeant and communications specialist. Shortly after his birth, the family moved to Columbia, South Carolina, where he spent his childhood, eventually graduating from A. C. Flora High School in 1974.

The climate of Everett s youth was stimulating nurturing a strong intellect The senior Everett was part of a long family legacy in the field of medicine his own father and two brothers were all doctors and he was also a voracious reader filling the family home with books The younger Everett inherited his father s literary ...


Leslie T. Fenwick

educator, was born Mary Alice Franklin Hatwood in Altavista, Virginia. Born into a poor, working-class family, Futrell was raised by her mother, Josephine Austin, a factory worker and domestic. Futrell's parents divorced when she was young. Later, as an adult, she developed a relationship with her father, John Calloway, a construction worker. From the age of twelve, Futrell cleaned churches, homes, and businesses to help support her family.

In 1958, Futrell earned a high school diploma from Dunbar High School in Lynchburg, Virginia, where she was a member of the National Honor Society, Future Business Leaders of America, student government, and cheerleader squad. In 1962, Futrell graduated with a degree in business education from Virginia State College (later Virginia State University), a historically black college/university. While at Virginia State College, she was a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and a cheerleader.

From 1962 to ...


Rayford W. Logan

Born in Queens County, Long Island, New York, Garnet was the first of eleven children of Sylvanus and Annie (Springfield) Smith, both of mixed Native American and black ancestry. Her parents were landholders and successful farmers. During her childhood there were public schools in New York City, but there seem to have been none on Long Island. For that reason Sarah received her early education from her paternal grandmother, Sylvia Hobbs. At the age of fourteen Sarah began studying in and around New York City at normal schools (training schools for teachers), the first of which was established about 1853. She taught in an African Free School established by the Manumission Society in Williamsburgh, which later became a part of Brooklyn. On April 30, 1863, Garnet became the first black woman to be appointed principal in the New York public school system. Violinist Walter ...


Robert L. Harris

educator, diplomat, and administrator, was one of thirteen children born to Robert and Viola Bagsby Holland in Auburn, New York. Most of the children did not survive childhood. One of his younger siblings affectionately called him “Brudder,” later shortened to “Brud,” which he was called by relatives and friends throughout his life. His father was a gardener and handyman for several families in Auburn. “Brud” Holland began to work with his father at age eight to support their poor family. He determined early in life that education was the key to success.

Holland was a stellar basketball and football player. He played four years on the varsity football team for Auburn High School and twice earned statewide honors. His high school coach years later referred to him as the best all-around athlete ever to play for Auburn. Holland entered Cornell University's College of Agriculture in 1935 ...


Teresa A. Booker

slave, Union soldier, state legislator, teacher, and school superintendent, was one of three brothers born in Marshall, Texas, either to Emily and Jack Holland and later purchased by Captain “Bird” Holland, or to Captain “Bird” Holland himself and a slave.

Despite indeterminable origins, Holland's father purchased the freedom of the three men and sent them to Ohio in the 1850s, where each of them went to Albany Enterprise Academy, a school for blacks. In addition to reading and writing, students there were exposed to a range of subjects, including algebra, geometry, geography, history, chemistry, and astronomy. One of the school's first trustees was Thomas Jefferson Ferguson.

At the age of twenty-three, Holland fought on the side of the Union to end slavery by joining the 16th U.S. Colored Troop (USCT) on 22 October 1864 The 16th was a Tennessee contingent which opened ...


Frank R. Levstik

William H. Holland was born a slave in Marshall, Texas, the son of Captain Byrd “Bird” Holland, who later became secretary of state of Texas. In the late 1850s, while living in Panola County, Bird purchased William and his two brothers, Milton and James, and sent them to Ohio to attend school just prior to the Civil War. William and Milton attended the Albany Enterprise Academy, one of the early educational institutions in the northern United States that was conceived, owned, and operated by blacks.

On October 22, 1864, Holland enlisted in the Sixteenth U.S. Colored Troops. The regiment, organized in Nashville, Tennessee, included enlistees sent from Ohio. During the war, the regiment participated in the battles of Nashville and Overton Hill, the pursuit of Confederate brigadier general John Bell Hood to his defeat at the Tennessee River and garrison duty in Chattanooga as well as ...


George Yancy

philosopher and educator, was born in Fort Mott, South Carolina, to Bishop Joshua H. Jones and Elizabeth Martin Jones. Joshua H. Jones, who was remarried in 1888 to Augusta E. Clark, was a president of Ohio's Wilberforce University (1900–1908), a preacher of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church from age eighteen, and a bishop of the AME Church from 1912. The elder Jones was well educated, receiving a BA from Claflin University in South Carolina, studying at Howard University, and receiving both his bachelor of divinity and doctor of divinity degrees from Wilberforce University.

Gilbert Haven Jones was still young when his parents moved from South Carolina to Providence Rhode Island where he was educated in public schools Later the family moved to Columbus Ohio where he graduated from Central High School at age fifteen He then attended Ohio State University College of Arts ...


Crystal A. deGregory

physicist and university president, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, to Daniel LaMont and Daisy Harris Lawson. Lawson's father, a dean of Louisville's Simmons College, had attended Fisk University where he was a member of the world-renown Fisk Jubilee Singers. Although little is known of his early childhood and education, the younger Lawson followed in his father's footsteps, enrolling at Fisk in 1931. As a mathematics and physics major, Lawson sought the mentorship of Elmer S. Imes. A distinguished physicist, Imes had become the second African American to earn a doctorate in physics when he graduated from the University of Michigan in 1918. Imes had returned to teach at Fisk, his alma mater, in 1930, where he continued to pioneer infrared spectroscopy. Lawson proved a promising student, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1935 with a degree in physics the first ever Fisk student to ...


Yolanda L. Watson Spiva

educator and college president, was born Shirley Ann Redd in a coal mining camp in Winding Gulf, West Virginia, and largely reared by her father, Robert F. Redd, a high school teacher at Byrd Prilliman High School in the segregated school system, her grandmother Lottie Bell Redd, her great grandmother Eliza Yates, her paternal uncle “Uncle Bud” and another uncle, “Uncle Bruss.” She did not learn that Uncle Bruss was not really related to her by kinship, but instead by friendship and boarding ties, until she was an adult. All of these relatives resided together in Shirley's grandmother's home, a “company house” that she had acquired following the work-related death of her husband. Shirley's mother, Thelma Biggers Redd was born in Talcott West Virginia and worked as a housekeeper in the New York New Jersey area Shirley s parents divorced when she was ...


Stephen Truhon

educator and psychologist, was born in News Ferry, Virginia, to Annie Vassar and Thomas Long. During his childhood, his family moved to Richmond, where he attended and graduated from Wayland Academy, then part of Virginia Union University. He continued his education at Virginia Union University and transferred to Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he received Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Education degrees in 1915. He attended Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, as a University Fellow, where he received an M.A. in Psychology in 1916 under the direction of G. Stanley Hall, considered one of the founders of American psychology. Long was arguably the first black to receive a postgraduate degree in psychology in the United States.

He was accepted in the doctoral program in psychology at Clark University, which included a scholarship, but did not attend. He taught psychology at Howard University from 1916 ...


David Michel

educator and school administrator, was born in Jacksonville, Illinois, to James Edward and Mazy (Brooks) Mallory. Arenia and her older brother, Edward, were the only two children of this couple, although James Mallory had another daughter from a previous marriage. Mallory was raised in Jacksonville and attended local high school and Newton Baton College. The Mallorys were musical entertainers and their daughter learned how to play the piano and prepared to be a concert pianist at the Whipple Academy of Music (1918–1922) in Jacksonville. Mallory was saved at age sixteen while attending a local revival sponsored by the Church of God in Christ (COGIC), also called the Sanctified Church, in 1920 Her decision to join the Sanctified Church mostly composed of poor and uneducated people vexed her mother who told her to choose between her and the COGIC Mallory chose to leave home and told ...


Floyd Ogburn

educator and activist, was born in Lexington, Virginia, the son of William Richardson and Ellen Brice. Though his grandparents were slaves and freedmen, his parents were born free. At an early age William Richardson worked for hire, buying food and clothing and attending public school until third grade. After marriage the Richardsons sustained a modest living as day laborers.

Archie Richardson entered public school in Lexington at age eight several weeks after school had begun Initially this late entry caused him much humiliation and trepidation but he soon became acclimated and advanced with his classmates Doctors however advised his parents to withdraw him temporarily from grade five because he appeared nervous and studied too hard Shortly after Richardson returned to school an older bully struck him in the stomach with a baseball the blow rendered him unconscious and caused him to shy away from baseball and other sports ...