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Eric Gardner

politician and activist, was born into slavery in North Carolina. Both he and his mother, Susan, were owned by the wealthy Thomas Burke Burton, who moved to Fort Bend County, Texas, from Halifax County, North Carolina, in the 1850s. Most accounts claim that the slaveholder favored Burton, taught him to read and write, and, after the Civil War, sold land to him; some accounts claim that Burton supported his former owner's wife when she was widowed during Reconstruction.

On 28 September 1868 Burton married Abba Jones (sometimes listed as Abby and sometimes as Hattie). The couple had three children, Horace J., Hattie M., and an unnamed child who died in infancy. Susan Burton lived with the young family until her death c. 1890.

Propertied, literate, and articulate, Burton quickly became active in the local Republican Party, the local Union League, and larger Reconstruction efforts. In 1869 ...

Article

Tom W. Dillard

Joseph Carter Corbin was born in Chillicothe, Ohio, on March 26, 1833, of free parents, William and Susan Corbin. By attending several small schools he secured a basic education, and in 1850 he entered Ohio University, of Athens, Ohio. He received his bachelor's degree in 1853 and his master's in 1856. Before receiving his graduate degree, Corbin had accepted employment with a bank in Cincinnati, Ohio. Later, he taught at a school in Louisville, Kentucky. During the Civil War (1861–1865) Corbin edited a Cincinnati newspaper, the Colored Citizen. In 1866 he married Mary Jane Ward. The couple had six children, only two of whom survived their father.

Corbin and his family moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1872, where he worked as a reporter for the Republican Party newspaper, the Daily Republican Like many other African Americans of that day ...

Article

Delano Greenidge-Copprue

Oliver Otis Howard was born in Leeds, Maine, to a farming couple, Rowland and Eliza Otis Howard. In 1850 he graduated from Bowdoin College and went on to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he graduated in 1854 and was ranked fourth in his class. A year later Howard married Elizabeth Ann Waite, with whom he had seven children. After tours of duty in New York, Maine, and Florida, Howard returned to West Point in 1857 to teach mathematics.

In the Civil War, Howard proved himself an able commander, moving up in rank from first lieutenant to colonel of the Third Maine in 1861. In July 1861 he led troops at Bull Run and two months later was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. In the spring of 1862 he was severely wounded and most of his right arm was amputated By August ...

Article

Pamela Roberts

Lawson’s ancestry traces back to his great-grandmother, Sara Price, a slave who bought her freedom in 1834 when she “signed” her manumission papers with her thumbprint. Lawson’s parents, Jesse Lawson and Charlotte Price, migrated to Washington from Maryland.

Lawson attended Howard University in Washington D.C. He obtained his B.A. degree, graduating cum laude in 1881 and from their Law Department in 1884, the same year he married Rosetta Evelyn Coakley. He resided with his family within the enclave of the Washington Black elite, a group of people described for their lineage and social and financial status, at 2011 Vermont Avenue in the historic LeDroit Park, a neighborhood of Washington lying southeast of Howard University.

Lawson worked as a legal examiner at the Bureau of Pensions in Washington D C a tenure that would last forty four years He was a socially active campaigner for improvement in the working and ...

Article

Pamela Roberts

was born in Virginia to Margaret Dischman, a midwife. Her father had left the family when she was five years old. She had a younger brother, Edward. At the age of five years old, her mother brought her to Washington D.C.

In 1870 Coakley was among the first forty-five students to enroll at the Preparatory High School for Negro Youth, in Washington, D.C. The school was renamed the M Street School in 1891, and finally Dunbar High School, named after the poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, in 1916.

The M Street School had a reputation as the best Black high school in the country coupled with the ability and reputation for attracting the best teachers The roll call of its first teachers included some of the great pioneers of education at the time Among them were Richard Greener the first Black graduate of Harvard University Carter G Woodson the ...

Article

Raymond Pierre Hylton

college administrator, entrepreneur, and first and sixth president of Liberia, was born either in Norfolk, Portsmouth, or Petersburg, Virginia, the son of James Roberts and Amelia (maiden name unknown). A persistent rumor that his father was an unidentified white man remains no more than mere speculation. James Roberts and his wife were freed people and had seven surviving children. The family ran a boat and trading business that plied the James River. The Robertses probably lived for a while in Norfolk and later moved to Petersburg, where Joseph alternately worked for his father and in a barbershop owned by the Reverend William Nelson Colson, an African American minister and businessman. The Colson business was located at Wythe and Sycamore streets—an historical marker indicates the actual site.

By 1829 James Roberts had died leaving considerable financial assets and property in Petersburg Joseph as the eldest child ...