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Richard Pankhurst

Treasures looted by British troops from Emperor Tewodros of Ethiopia's mountain capital of Magdala (now Amba Mariam) on 13 April 1868. Most came from Tewodros's palace and the nearby church of Medhane Alem. The loot was transported, on fifteen elephants and 200 mules, to a nearby site, where a two‐day auction raised ‘prize money’ for the troops. Most of the booty was purchased by the British Museum's representative Sir Richard Holmes, who also secretly acquired an icon for himself. Over 400 manuscripts went to the British Museum (later British Library), while the finest were given to the Royal Library in Windsor Castle. The Victoria and Albert Museum received two crowns, one of solid gold, and the Museum of Mankind, two embroidered tents.

Tewodros's successor Emperor Yohannes IV in 1872 requested the return of the icon and a manuscript on the Queen of Sheba The Museum which had ...

Article

Museums  

Madge Dresser

Black British history was apparently little considered by British museums until pioneering campaigners in the 1970s and 1980s raised the subject, and it was not until the accession of the New Labour government in 1997 with its concerns about social inclusion that museums embraced black history to any significant ...

Article

Brian Purnell

librarian, community activist, and six-term member of the House of Representatives (1983–2007). Major Robert Odell Owens was born 28 June 1936 in Collierville, Tennessee, near Memphis. He was the second of eight children born to Edna Owens, a homemaker, and Ezekiel Owens a furniture factory worker During Major Owens s childhood Memphis was racially segregated and African Americans were forced to live in separate neighborhoods attend inferior schools and make do with other Jim Crow public facilities Despite these poor conditions the Owens parents nurtured in their children a belief that advancement would come through thrift diligence and academic success In the Owens household Ezekiel gave small monetary gifts when one of his children memorized a historic speech and Edna organized games that quizzed the children on their knowledge of state capitals and advanced spelling From an early age Major excelled in these academic ...

Article

Sowande' Mustakeem

Undoubtedly one of the few professors of history to have a second career as a singer-songwriter, Bernice Johnson Reagon continues to focus her work on sharing the historical legacy of the African American experience amid the relentless quest for freedom and justice within America.

Reagon was born in Albany, Georgia, one of eight children of Jessie Johnson, a carpenter, and Beatrice Johnson, a housekeeper. On days off from her housekeeping job, Beatrice Johnson picked cotton. Jessie Johnson served onSundays as minister at four different rural Baptist churches. Reagon’s musical foundation was largely shaped by the influence of the southwestern Georgia choral tradition in her father’s church, which was part of a tradition dating back to the nineteenth century. Reagon entered Albany State College in 1959 where she studied Italian arias and German lieder as a contralto soloist During this time she became active in the civil ...

Article

Barbara McCaskill

and muse and confidante to Harlem Renaissance intellectuals and literati. Anne Spencer was born inauspiciously on a Virginia plantation. Yet the combination of loving, though irreconcilable, parents and an unorthodox, isolated youth formed her extraordinary independence, introspection, and conviction.

Her father, Joel Cephus Bannister of African American white and Native American descent and her mother Sarah Louise Scales the mulatta daughter of a slaveholder separated when Spencer was six While her mother worked as an itinerant cook Spencer roomed with foster parents in Bramwell West Virginia where no other black children lived In insular and parochial Bramwell she was groomed for the African American bourgeoisie Her mother dressed her in the finest frocks she could afford and withheld her from an outlying school that enrolled working class children until she could attend Lynchburg s Virginia Seminary with socially suitable African American students Spencer entered the seminary at age eleven ...

Article

Barry T. Ryan

Spingarn, Arthur Barnett (28 March 1878–01 December 1971), lawyer, was born in New York City, the son of Elias Spingarn and Sarah Barnett. He received an A.B. from Columbia University in 1897, as well as an A.M. in 1899 and an LL.B. in 1900. Spingarn also received an LL.D. from Howard University in 1941 and an L.H.D. from Long Island University in 1966. In 1918 he married Marion Mayer, a social worker; they had no children.

Admitted to the New York bar in 1900 Spingarn began private practice in New York City He was soon associated with what later would be known as civil rights activism both in and out of the courtroom Consequently in 1911 he was appointed vice president and chairman of the national legal committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People NAACP a position he held until 1940 His work ...

Article

Carolyn Wedin

lawyer, NAACP official, and bibliophile. Arthur Barnett Spingarn was one of four sons born to Elias and Sarah Barnett Spingarn in New York City. His father, who had emigrated from Austria—his mother was from Hull, England—entered the wholesale tobacco business in 1861, and the family became wealthy and socially prominent in Manhattan. Spingarn received his BA from Columbia College in 1897, his MA from Columbia University in 1899, and his LLB from Columbia Law School in 1900, when he was also admitted to the New York bar. He married Marion Mayer, a social worker, on 27 January 1918; she died in 1958.

With his oldest brother, Joel Elias Spingarn, Arthur Spingarn joined the fledgling NAACP soon after its founding in 1909 and was made a vice president in 1911 and director of legal defense work separately incorporated as ...