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Richard A. Bradshaw

pan-African political activist and author who worked with several African heads of state during the decolonization era, was born in the village of Bessou, near Fort de Possel (present-day Possel), in the French colony of Ubangi-Shari (present-day Central African Republic, CAR) on 16 December 1921. Her father, Pierre Gerbillat, was a French businessman from Lyon. Her mother, Joséphine Wouassimba, was the daughter of Gbanziri chief Zoumague of Kuango. Her father paid bridewealth to marry Zoumague’s daughter, but he then married a Belgian woman, after which Andrée, like many young métisse or Euro African mixed blood girls at that time was sent away to be raised and educated by nuns of the Order of St Joseph of Cluny in the Republic of the Congo Brazzaville where she was registered as number twenty two For the next fourteen years Andrée s education and upbringing was supervised by extremely strict and ...


Eleanor Hinton Hoytt

Widely recognized and honored as one of the great civil rights and women’s rights leaders of contemporary history, Dorothy Irene Height spent decades inspiring and leading countless organizations in the struggle for equality and human rights for all people. To mark her ninety-second birthday on 24 March 2004, Dorothy Irene Height was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President George W. Bush. The ceremony in the Capital Rotunda in Washington was to honor her lifetime of achievements and service to the country as one of the preeminent social justice and civil rights activists of her time.

In her memoir, Open Wide the Freedom Gates, Height chronicles her life and work for justice, equality, and opportunity for women and black families. In it, she recounts her close relationship with Eleanor Roosevelt and Mary McLeod Bethune, as well as her encounters with W. E. B. Du Bois ...


Stephanie Y. Evans

feminist theorist and author. Born Gloria Jean Watkins in 1952 in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, bell hooks was raised in the segregated South and was aware of racial, gender, and economic discrimination at an early age. Defying the odds, she earned a BA in 1973 from Stanford University in English, an MA in 1976 from the University of Wisconsin, and a PhD in 1983 from the University of California, Santa Cruz. hooks's dissertation explored the ideas of Toni Morrison.

hooks began writing her first book, Ain't I A Woman: Black Women and Feminism, when she was nineteen years old, and, after much revision, it was published in 1981 Since then her writing has explored themes including the experience of growing up black and female in America the creation of feminist ideals by which to evaluate culture observations on interracial relationships and race relations and discussions of love and spirituality ...


Gregory Mann

Malian political activist, women’s leader, and author, was born in Bamako, in the French colony of Soudan (now Mali) on 12 July 12 1912. An alternate form of her name is Awa Keita. Her father Karamogo Kéita, a Malinké veteran of the World War I from Guinea, worked for the colonial hygiene service. Her mother Mariam Coulibaly, a Dioula from Ivory Coast, gave her a strong traditional education. Unusually for a girl of her generation, Aoua Kéita was enrolled in Bamako’s newly established école de filles (school for girls) in 1923 by her father and against the wishes of her mother. In 1928 she graduated from Bamako’s foyer de métisses, a boarding school for mixed race girls that a small number of Africans were permitted to attend She then won admission to the École de Médecine de Dakar at that time the capital of the federation of French ...


Amanda J. Davis

writer, activist, editor, speaker, was born Barbara Smith in the central part of Cleveland, Ohio. Smith's mother died at age thirty-four, exactly one month before Smith's tenth birthday; her father, she writes, was a “total mystery” to her. Smith and her twin sister, Beverly, were reared in a modest, working-class home by their mother, maternal grandmother, and great-aunt Phoebe. When Smith was six years old she and her family moved into a two-family house that her aunt LaRue and uncle Bill had bought and she lived there until she was eighteen and went away to college It is this house that Smith most vividly remembers as home and from which she learned many of the fundamentals of black feminism before such a term even existed As Smith watched the women in her family struggle with dignity strength and perseverance against a segregated society marred ...


Shirley Walker Moore

Michele Faith Wallace was born in New York City to musician Robert Earland Wallace and artist Faith Jones. Wallace’s parents provided both Wallace and her younger sister Brenda a middle class upbringing in Harlem. Wallace’s poignant childhood remembrances in Invisibility Blues: From Pop to Culture include living in an apartment equipped with doormen, traveling by taxis to private schools, shopping in expensive department stores, and spending summers in Europe. On Sunday mornings their grandmother, Momma Jones, escorted Wallace and her sister to the magnificent Abyssinian Baptist Church. Childhood innocence, though, was not long lived for Wallace. Her parents divorced when Wallace was four years old. Her mother then remarried Burdette Ringgold in 1962. Three years later, Wallace’s father died of a drug overdose.

In Invisibility Blues Wallace traces her maternal family s penchant toward art and crafts back to her great great great grandmother who was ...