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Chandra M. Miller

dentist and politician, was born into slavery in North Carolina and was known as Samuel Nixon before his escape from bondage in 1855. Nothing is known about his parents. He was sold several times before being purchased by C. F. Martin, a dentist in Norfolk, Virginia. As Martin's slave, Nixon learned sufficient dentistry to serve as the doctor's assistant and to make dental house calls. He also developed bookkeeping skills and monitored the doctor's accounts.

In Norfolk, Nixon became involved with the Underground Railroad. Befriending the captains of many of the schooners sailing in and out of Norfolk, he often convinced them to hide fugitive slaves aboard ship and carry them north, usually to Philadelphia or to New Bedford, Massachusetts. After conducting many other slaves through the Underground Railroad, Nixon decided to become a passenger himself in March 1855 He and three other slaves disguised themselves and ...

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Chandra M. Miller

Bayne, Thomas (1824–1889), dentist and politician, was born into slavery in North Carolina and was known as Samuel Nixon before his escape from bondage in 1855. He was sold several times before being purchased by C. F. Martin, a dentist in Norfolk, Virginia. As the slave of Martin, Bayne learned sufficient dentistry to serve as the doctor’s assistant and to make dental house calls. Bayne also developed bookkeeping skills and monitored the doctor’s accounts.

In Norfolk Bayne became involved with the Underground Railroad Befriending the captains of many of the schooners sailing in and out of Norfolk he often convinced them to hide fugitive slaves aboard ship and carry them north usually to Philadelphia or to New Bedford Massachusetts After conducting many other slaves through the Underground Railroad Bayne decided to become a passenger himself in March 1855 He and three other slaves disguised themselves and hid on ...

Article

Laura M. Calkins

dentist, was born in Clarkesville, Tennessee. To escape continuing antiblack discrimination and poverty after the Civil War, her family moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, when Gray was a youngster. She attended Cincinnati's racially segregated public schools, including Gaines High School, Ohio's first public high school for black students. Opened in 1866 the school was named for the black educator John I. Gaines and was administered by his nephew, the political activist and educator Peter Humphries Clark. Gaines High School provided classical as well as vocational instruction, and teacher training was added to the curriculum in 1868. The school gained a national reputation for academic excellence, and during the mid-1880s it produced scores of qualified black teachers annually.

Gray was determined to study dentistry. She found a willing and powerful mentor in Jonathan Taft, dean of the College of Dental Surgery at the University of Michigan. Until 1875 ...

Article

J. D. Bowers

civil rights activist, religious pioneer, dentist, and investor, was born in Kingston, Jamaica, the youngest son of Thomas Gustavius Somerville, an Anglican minister. Little is known about his mother. He was educated in the Jamaican public schools, where he learned that social status and racial attitudes often triumphed over equality, and between 1897 and 1900 he attended and graduated from Mico College in Kingston with a teaching degree.

Rather than strain against the prevailing practices, Somerville left home for the United States in December 1901 at age nineteen in the company of a childhood friend seeking both adventure and a future devoid of racial intolerance Arriving in San Francisco with some money from his father Somerville quickly settled in Los Angeles a city whose prospects he considered promising Even in Los Angeles however he felt the pangs of America s racial prejudice He was ...

Article

Charles Rosenberg

dentist, church leader, and founder of a local NAACP chapter, was born in Newport, Rhode Island, the second child and oldest son of Mahlon Van Horne, the pastor of Union Congregational Church, and Rachel Ann Huston Van Horne. The newborn was named for his grandfather, from Princeton, New Jersey, where Mahlon Van Horne was born and later attended the state's Livingston College.

Mathias Van Horne graduated from public school in 1885, which at the time meant finishing the eighth grade. Many young people in the nineteenth century went directly to work after that, at the ages of fourteen or fifteen. Van Horne attended Rogers High School in Newport for two years, then, at the age of sixteen, began work as a mailing clerk in the local post office, while remaining in his parents’ home at 47 John Street. In 1889 he graduated from Bryant ...