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Jessica Falconi

Angolan anthropologist, writer, and political activist, was born Mário de Carvalho Moutinho in Lisbon on 29 September 1932. Portuguese by birth and Angolan by nationality, Henrique Abranches also used the pseudonyms “Mwene Kalungo” and “Mwene Kalungo-Lungo.” In 1947 he and his family left Portugal to settle in Luanda, where he attended the Liceu Salvador Correia, a pioneering institution of secondary education in Angola whose students included several names that were later important in Angolan literature. After five years in Luanda, Abranches moved to the city of Sá de Bandeira (now Lubango) in the Huíla Plateau in southern Angola, where he became interested in the customs and traditions of the people of the region. He returned briefly to Portugal, where he finished secondary school and attended the Society of Fine Arts. He returned to Lubango on his own and began working for the Bank of Angola. In 1952 he ...


Juan Navarrete

was born in Arica, Chile, to an Afro-Chilean family that traces its roots to the slave community in the Azapa Valley. His early education took place in the public schools of Arica, and he later studied business administration at the Corporación Santo Tomás in the same city. Báez has received numerous postgraduate certificates in community organization, leadership, and human rights in Chile and abroad. He has been one of the most outstanding leaders and organizers of the black community of Arica, particularly through his rediscovery and promotion of the African roots of this northern Chilean city.

In 2003 Báez formed Lumbanga a community group that derives its name from a neighborhood on the northern fringes of the city and the scene for much of the culture and many of the customs of the Afro Chilean population which include dress styles dances and music reminiscent of Africa Lumbanga holds weekly ...


Carlos Agudelo

was born on 20 February 1945 in Barranco, a community of Toledo District in southern Belize, to Eugenio P. Cayetano, a primary school teacher, and his wife, Manuela (Marin) Cayetano, a homemaker. Cayetano received his primary education at several schools, because his father, as a teacher, was posted in various communities across Belize, including St. Joseph Primary School in Barranco, Douglas Roman Catholic School in Rio Hondo of Orange Walk district, and San Miguel Roman Catholic School in San Miguel of Toledo district.

As his parents could not afford to send Roy to high school, he availed himself of the pupil–teacher system that existed in those days and became an apprentice teacher before ending up at the Belize Teachers’ College between 1965 and 1968. Cayetano then pursued advanced teacher training at the University of Leeds in England in 1969 and 1970 followed by an A B and M ...


Robert Fay

William Montague Cobb was born in Washington, D.C., the son of William Elmer and Alexzine Montague Cobb. After earning an A.B. degree from Amherst College in Massachusetts in 1925, Cobb entered Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C., graduating in 1929. He then earned a Ph.D. degree in anatomy and physical anthropology from Western Reserve University in Ohio in 1932. Cobb taught at Howard University from 1932 to 1973, chairing the Department of Anatomy from 1947 to 1969. In 1969 he was awarded Howard's first distinguished professorship.

Cobb was an authority on physical anthropology and published over 600 related articles in professional journals. He contributed to E. V. Cowdry's Problems of Aging: Biological and Medical Aspects, Gray's Anatomy, Henry's Anatomy, and Cunningham's Manual of Practical Anatomy Cobb also dispelled myths about African American biological inferiority in the ...


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 ...


David A. Spatz

anthropologist. St. Clair Drake Jr. was born in Suffolk, Virginia, moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at the age of seven with his father, a Barbados-born Baptist minister, and then to Staunton, Virginia, with his mother at thirteen. While Drake attended a segregated high school, his father traveled as an international organizer for Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association. Drake's early life was shaped by his family's religious fervor, and by his experiences in a racially integrated section of Pittsburgh contrasted with the stark racial inequality in Virginia. According to Drake, a visit to the West Indies with his father and motivated high school teachers awakened his interest in African and African American culture.

Drake graduated with honors from the Hampton Institute in 1931 While there he participated in student strikes and criticized Hampton s white administration in his work for the school newspaper After college Drake taught high school ...


Frank A. Salamone

dancer, anthropologist, and activist. Katherine Dunham, born in Joliet, Illinois, was an innovator in dance. She was the Queen Mother of Black Dance, basing her understanding of dance and her innovations in it on anthropological principles and fieldwork in Haiti. Her father, an African American dry cleaner, owned his own business. Her mother was French Canadian and American Indian. Dunham began her dance training in her late teens.

Dunham majored in social anthropology at the University of Chicago, where she earned her BA in 1936. The ideas of the anthropologists Melville Herskovits and Robert Redfield inspired her work in dance, and she applied these ideas to her work with young children in her dance company, Ballet Nègre, which she started in 1931. Her combination of dance and anthropology earned her a Rosenwald Travel Fellowship in 1936 Dunham traveled to the West Indies combining her ...


Michelle Gueraldi

Lélia de Almeida Gonzales obtained several academic degrees, including a bachelor's degree in history and philosophy at the Rio de Janeiro State University, a master's degree in communications at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and a doctorate in social anthropology at the University of São Paulo. She also directed the Department of Sociology at Rio de Janeiro Catholic University.

Gonzales figured prominently in post-1950s intellectual life in Brazil. She was one of the first black women to teach at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and in 1978 was one of the founders of the Movimento Negro Unificado (Unified Black Movement). In 1979 Gonzales was also one of the founders of the Working Group on Themes and Problems of the Black Population in Brazil at Candido Mendes University in Rio de Janeiro The group has produced various unique essays on Afro Brazilian issues A strong ...


Chris Saunders

South African anthropologist, teacher, educational administrator, and politician, was born near Kimberley in 1901 of Tswana Christian parents. He was educated at the United Mission School in Kimberley and then in the Eastern Cape at Lovedale Missionary Institution and the University College of Fort Hare, where he met his future wife, Frieda Bokwe, daughter of one of the most distinguished Africans of his generation, the Reverend John Knox Bokwe. Matthews taught in Natal at Adams College and there earned a law degree through private study with the University of South Africa. He won a Phelps-Stokes scholarship to go to Yale University, where he completed a master’s thesis in 1934 on Bantu Law and Western Civilization in South Africa A Study in the Clash of Cultures In this he criticized indirect rule and implicitly the racial segregation system in South Africa He turned down the idea of studying for a ...


Thomas Zitelmann

Ethiopian intellectual, patriot, and politician in post-Italian Ethiopia, as well as the first university-educated anthropologist of Ethiopia, was born in the province of Gojjam. During the 1950s he engaged briefly as a filmmaker. He held the imperial title of dejazmach.

During the 1920s he went to the Teferi Makonnen School at Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. He continued his studies at the American University of Beirut (Lebanon). He then became one of a dozen Ethiopian students who were directly chosen by Emperor Haile Selassie to continue their studies in the United States. He came to Harvard to study medicine, but he soon switched to anthropology (against the wishes of the emperor). Mekonnen Desta returned to Ethiopia in 1935 as a research assistant to the American anthropologist Carleton Coon, who featured him under the pseudonym of “Gabri Zaudu.”

Following the Italian occupation of Ethiopia in 1936 ...


Alan West

Fernando Ortiz's intellectual legacy is one of astonishing breadth and erudition. Cuban scholar Juan Marinello has likened him to a third discoverer of Cuba, after Columbus and Humboldt. A Cuban-American critic has called him “Mr. Cuba.” The claim is no exaggeration: he is one of a great line of Caribbean intellectual figures such as Eugenio María de Hostos, José Martí, Pedro Henríquez Ureña, Frantz Fanon, and C. L. R. James.

Along with the work of Lydia Cabrera Ortiz s seminal works deal with the African traditions that have uniquely shaped the identity of Cuban music religion society and culture His major theoretical contribution is in coining the concept of transculturation a term used to describe the rich textured and sometimes bloody encounter between two or more cultures that mutually transforms them It provides a refined framework for understanding the complexity ...


Sibyl Collins Wilson

anthropologist, university professor, and diplomat, was born in Trinidad and Tobago (then in the British West Indies) to Ettice Francis and Joseph McDonald Skinner. His parents’ professions are not recorded. One of five children—two girls and three boys—Skinner was raised by an aunt from Barbados. Although he was not raised to recognize personal limitations in his ability to learn and was exposed to many different cultures, he recognized that his color limited his economic opportunities in the British Caribbean. His family life also prefigured his scholarly interest in class differences, with his mother's family regarded as more modest in achievements and means than his father's Barbadian forebears, who were landowners and merchants. In 1943 he moved to the United States to live with his father in Harlem New York but instead of finding a job Skinner decided to enlist in the Army as the U S ...


Margaret Wade-Lewis

linguist, anthropologist, and activist, was born in Kansas City, Kansas, to Mack Spears Sr. and C. R. Spears. Both his parents were from enterprising, educated, upper-middle-class families. Mack Spears Sr. taught at Lincoln University at Sumner High School and at the black branch of the segregated Kansas City Kansas Community College He received a master s degree in Business at the University of Kansas in the early 1930s and was active in bringing the AFL Teachers Union to the public schools in Kansas City Kansas and in managing his father s estate and other businesses in the twin cities of Kansas City Kansas and Kansas City Missouri Becoming one of the key business leaders in the black community he initiated various projects including the first black housing development the eponymous Spears Crest built on a portion of a tract of property he owned Mack Spears ...