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Arna Bontemps was born in Alexandria, Louisiana, to parents of Creole descent who eventually converted to the Seventh-Day Adventist faith. While Arna was young, the Bontemps family moved to Los Angeles, California. The childhood loss of his mother and the stern upbringing by his pragmatic father affected him deeply. His father hoped, mistakenly, that his son would make the family trade of masonry his life's work. Educated at Seventh-Day Adventist institutions, Bontemps graduated from Pacific Union College in 1923. In 1924 he took a teaching job at the Harlem Academy in New York City.

Literary notice and success came early to Bontemps. His creativity and social conscience were excited by the cultural vitality he found in New York in the 1920s. By 1926 his poetry had appeared in two of the most important journals of the period, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People ...

Article

Robert E. Fleming

writer, was born in Alexandria, Louisiana, the son of Paul Bismark Bontemps, a bricklayer, and Maria Carolina Pembroke, a schoolteacher. He was reared in Los Angeles, where his family moved when he was three. He graduated from Pacific Union College in Angwin, California, in 1923.Bontemps then moved to Harlem, New York, where the Harlem Renaissance had already attracted the attention of West Coast intellectuals. He found a teaching job at the Harlem Academy in 1924 and began to publish poetry. He won the Alexander Pushkin Prize from Opportunity, a journal published by the National Urban League, in 1926 and 1927 and The Crisis (official journal of the NAACP) Poetry Prize in 1926. His career soon intersected that of the poet Langston Hughes, with whom he became a close friend and sometime collaborator. In Harlem, Bontemps also came to know Countée Cullen, W ...

Article

David L. Dudley

Claude Brown was born in New York City on 23 February 1937 to Henry Lee and Ossie Brock Brown, South Carolinians who had come north in 1935 looking for economic opportunities unavailable in the South. Growing up in Harlem involved Claude Brown in crime and violence early in his life. By the time he was ten, he had joined the stealing division of a notorious street gang and had a history of truancy and expulsion from school. At eleven, Brown was sent to the Wiltwyck school for delinquent boys, where he came under the supervision of Dr. Ernest Papanek, whose positive influence in his life Brown would later acknowledge.

Back on the streets after two years at Wiltwyck at age thirteen Brown was shot during an attempted robbery A year later he was sent to the Warwick school for boys where he completed three terms before his final ...

Article

Claude Brown was born in New York City, the son of Ossie Brock Brown, a domestic worker, and Henry Lee, a railroad worker. In 1963 Brown began writing Manchild in the Promised Land; it was published in 1965. The book tells of his troubled childhood in Harlem, New York, where he ran with a gang and was in and out of reform schools.

Brown abandoned street life, resumed his education, and was awarded a grant to study government at Howard University. He graduated from Howard in 1965, studied law at Stanford University, and then studied at Rutgers University, which he left in 1968 without a degree. In 1976 he published The Children of Ham about struggling young blacks in Harlem Brown was working on a third book about the traumatic impact of violence on the young when he died of lung ...

Article

Jon-Christian Suggs and Dale Edwyna Smith

[This article contains three subentries, on Du Bois's life, on his historical writing, and on his literary writing.]

Article

Aaron Myers

Gilberto Freyre was born into an upper-class family in Brazil's northeastern state of Pernambuco. The son of a law professor, he was educated in his hometown, Recife, and studied social and political sciences at Baylor University in Texas and Columbia University in New York. At Columbia, Freyre was influenced by the pioneering anthropologist Franz Boas, who led the academic challenge against theories of racial determinism. After a brief imprisonment in 1930 on federal charges that he was “a leftist agitator,” Freyre traveled to Portugal and then back to the United States, where he taught a course on the development of Brazilian society at Stanford University. This led to his most famous book, Casa grande e senzala, published in 1933 (The Masters and the Slaves, 1946). In 1934 he helped organize the Primeiro Congresso Afro-Brasileiro First Afro Brazilian Congress in Recife A political conservative Freyre served ...

Article

Pero Gaglo Dagbovie

A scholar of national renown, Darlene Clark Hine has published pathbreaking scholarship; introduced and developed new and existing fields of scholarly inquiries; provided leadership for various groups of scholars; and mentored and trained several generations of historians. She served as president of the Organization of American Historians (2001-2002) and the Southern Historical Association (2002-2003). During her productive, decades-long career as a professional historian, Hine has taught at eight different universities, published several books, cowritten and coedited a dozen scholarly volumes, edited three major works, written more than fifty journal articles and chapters in anthologies, presented more than sixty papers in professional venues, lectured at universities all over the United States, and served on countless programming, advisory, and nominating committees and editorial boards. Since the mid-1980s, Hine has received numerous grants, awards, and honors, including honorary doctorates from Purdue University and Buffalo State College, the Detroit News ...

Article

Octávio Ianni was born in a small town, Itú, São Paulo, in southeastern Brazil. He was one of Brazil's most prestigious social scientists, expanding his work to the fields of sociology, anthropology, and economics. He completed his doctorate at the University of São Paulo (USP), where he also taught. He was also a visiting professor at several foreign universities, such as Columbia (United States), Oxford (England), Complutense (Spain), and UNAM (Mexico). He also taught at the Catholic University and at UNICAMP in Brazil. During the period of military dictatorship (1964–1985), Ianni was forcibly retired from teaching at USP for about ten years; the government considered racial studies to be subversive. According to Pierre-Michel Fontaine's Race, Class and Power in Brazil, Ianni “emphasized the adaptation of racism, having been engendered by the system of slavery, to the structural characteristics of capitalism.”

Some of Ianni s most ...

Article

SaFiya D. Hoskins

author, educator, and poet, was born Don Luther Lee, in Little Rock, Arkansas, to Maxine Lee and an unknown father. In 1943 his family migrated to Detroit, Michigan. Lee's father deserted the family before his baby sister was born. His mother began working as a janitor and barmaid to support her two children. Lee's mother introduced him to the Detroit Public Library, where he spent hours at a time reading. His mother, the person he credits with his interest in black arts, died of a drug overdose when he was sixteen. Upon her death he moved to Chicago, Illinois, and attended Dunbar Vocational High School. His love for reading continued to flourish as he explored works by authors such as Chester Himes, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Jean Toomer. Lee graduated in 1960 and began selling magazines when he could not ...

Article

Chouki El Hamel

Tunisian writer, novelist, and major contributor to colonial and postcolonial studies, was born in Tunis, Tunisia, to a Jewish family of modest means. His father earned a meager income as a saddler, which was barely sufficient to provide for a household of eight children. Identity politics, shaped by the dynamics of the intervention of a foreign political force in the form of the French colonizing occupation, created a radical shift among autochthonous diverse groups. Although Jews were a minority in Tunisia, under Islamic rule they were granted a special status called dhimmi because they were considered “People of the Book.” This status allowed Jews to hold land, practice their religion, and maintain their cultural distinctness in exchange for poll taxes paid to the Muslim state.

Memmi became aware of class ethnic status and colonial hierarchy at an early age when he mingled with socially and ethnically diverse children at a ...

Article

Marian Aguiar

Albert Memmi was born to a poor Jewish family in Tunis, the capital city of Tunisia. His position as a non-Muslim gave him some privilege in what was then a French protectorate, and as a young man he was educated at an exclusive French secondary school. Yet as a Jew from the ghetto and as a Tunisian, he suffered his own indignities. After Germany occupied Tunisia in 1942, Memmi was interned as a Jew in a forced-labor camp. Memmi used his intermediate position between the dominated majority and the dominating minority to gain insight into the social structure of colonization. “I know the colonizer from the inside almost as well as I know the colonized,” he would later write, reflecting on his background as a North African Jew.

In his autobiographical first novel La statue de sel 1953 The Pillar of Salt Memmi embarked on a discussion ...

Article

Karen Beasley Young

television and radio personality, political commentator, author, and social advocate, was born in Gulfport, Mississippi, the eldest of ten children, four of whom were adopted, to Emory G. Smiley, a noncommissioned officer in the United States Air Force, and Joyce M. Smiley, a missionary and apostolic Pentecostal minister. Smiley grew up in the Kokomo, Indiana, area and attended Indiana University in Bloomington. He was a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity and graduated in 1986 with a degree in law and public policy. While he was at Indiana University, a close friend of Smiley's was killed by local police, who claimed to have done so in self-defense. This act of violence changed the course of Smiley's life, and he began to lead protests against the police in defense of his friend, which set Smiley on a path of social advocacy.

During Smiley s ...

Article

Crystal Renée Sanders

college administrator, educator, and clinical psychologist, was born Beverly Daniel in Tallahassee, Florida, to Robert Daniel, who taught art at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, and Catherine Maxwell Daniel. Raised in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, Tatum is a fourth-generation college professor following in the footsteps of her paternal great-grandfather William Hazel, who was the first dean of Howard University's school of architecture; her paternal grandparents Victor and Constance Daniel, who led Maryland's Cardinal Gibbons Institute; and her father. Tatum earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Wesleyan University in 1975, graduating magna cum laude. She also received a Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the University of Michigan in 1976 and 1984, respectively. In 2000 Tatum earned a Master of Arts degree in Religious Studies from Hartford Seminary. While at the University of Michigan, she married Travis James Tatum ...