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Charles Orson Cook

one of the most prolific white scholars of African American history in the twentieth century. Herbert Aptheker was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1915 and was educated at Columbia University in the 1930s, where he took an undergraduate degree in geology and an MA and a PhD in history. His first important publication, American Negro Slave Revolts (1943), was based on his doctoral dissertation and challenged the prevailing wisdom that slaves were largely passive victims of white masters. In part an outgrowth of Aptheker's master's thesis on Nat Turner, American Negro Slave Revolts immediately became a controversial work and has remained so since. He was befriended by the influential African American historian Carter G. Woodson and the legendary black intellectual W. E. B. Du Bois, both of whom encouraged his interest in Negro history. Aptheker's other writings include a seven-volume Documentary History of the Negro People ...

Article

Sholomo B. Levy

writer and educator, was born in Petersburg, Virginia, to parents about whom little is known but who were only briefly married before Harold's father took his young son to New York City during the black migration to the North. The elder Cruse found work as a custodian with the Long Island Railroad; however, he soon realized the he could not care for a small child alone and placed Harold with a foster family in Queens. During the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s his foster mother, Aunt Henrietta, instilled a love for the black theater in the young Harold, frequently taking him to performances. With the coming of the Depression the family lost their home and was forced to move into an apartment in Harlem, where Cruse became more deeply immersed in black culture. There he would witness performances by Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Bill Robinson, and Florence ...

Article

Lawrie Balfour

Born in Petersburg, Virginia, Harold Wright Cruse moved with his father after his parents' separation to New York City, where he completed high school. After serving in the quartermaster division of the U.S. Army from 1941 to 1945, he enrolled at City College of New York on the G.I. Bill, although he dropped out in his first year. During the 1950s and early 1960s, Cruse worked at various part-time jobs and became an active participant in left-wing politics in Harlem, including joining the Communist Party, which he later rejected. He also wrote two plays and a musical during this period, and with Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), established the Black Arts Repertory Theater and School in 1965.

Cruse's book The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual: A Historical Analysis of the Failure of Black Leadership was hailed by the New York Times as a mind ...

Article

Steven Leikin

diplomat, preacher, and author, was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Sallie Montgomery. Nothing is known of his biological father. His mother, however, was an African American, and Dennis was of mixed race parentage. In 1897 he was adopted by Green Dennis, a contractor, and Cornelia Walker. During his youth Dennis was known as the “mulatto child evangelist,” and he preached to church congregations in the African American community of Atlanta before he was five years old. By the age of fifteen he had toured churches throughout the United States and England and addressed hundreds of thousands of people.

Despite his success as an evangelist Dennis had ambitions to move beyond this evangelical milieu. In 1913, unschooled but unquestionably bright, he applied to Phillips Exeter Academy and gained admission. He graduated within two years and in 1915 entered Harvard.

Dennis s decisions to ...

Article

Cecily Jones

Nickname of Rahasya Rudra Narayan (1938–1998), barrister and civil rights activist. He was born in British Guiana (now Guyana), the ninth of ten children of Indo‐Guianan parents. He arrived in Britain in 1953, and after a series of menial jobs enlisted in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, where he served until 1965, before leaving with the rank of sergeant. He then read for the Bar, at Lincoln's Inn, where he helped to found the Bar Students' Union, and later also became the Union's first president. He was called to the Bar in 1968, a year before his marriage to Dr Naseem Akbar, with whom he had two daughters.

When, in 1973, Narayan and Sighbat Kadric QC founded the Association of Commonwealth Lawyers (the predecessor to the Immigrant Lawyers' Group, which became the Society of Black Lawyers in 1981 the chairman of the ...

Article

Robert Fikes

surgeon and medical educator, was born Claude Harold Organ Jr. in Marshall, Texas, the second of three children born to Claude Harold Organ Sr., a postal worker, and Ottolena Pemberton, a schoolteacher. At age sixteen Claude Jr. graduated as valedictorian from Terrell High School in Denison, Texas, and followed his sister to Xavier University, a historically black Catholic school in New Orleans, from which he graduated cum laude in 1948.

Inspired by the achievements of the celebrated physician-inventor Charles Richard Drew and encouraged by two maternal uncles Organ chose to study medicine He was not allowed to enroll at the University of Texas because of his race His application to Creighton University in Omaha Nebraska however was accepted and he became only the second African American to be admitted into its medical school A focused hard driven student with a gift for public speaking Organ ...

Article

Larvester Gaither

economist. Born in the town of Gastonia in segregated North Carolina, Thomas Sowell grew up in Harlem, New York. Due to difficult circumstances, he dropped out of high school and worked toward achieving his equivalency diploma by attending night school. He later joined the U.S. Marine Corps, where he developed a passion for photography. After passing Howard University's entrance exam, he studied there for a year and a half, then transferred to Harvard University to study economics. Sowell graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in 1958, received a master's degree in economics at Columbia University in 1959, and completed his doctorate in economics at the University of Chicago in 1968.

Since the late 1960s he has taught economics at several universities including Howard University the University of California at Los Angeles Cornell University and Amherst College His most prestigious post however has been as the Rose ...

Article

Lisa C. Lakes

author, businessman, and inspirational speaker, was born Clifton LeMoure Taulbert in Glen Allan, Mississippi, the eldest child of Mary Esther Taulbert, a schoolteacher who later became a Head Start Center director, and Willie Jones, a Baptist preacher. Because his mother was unmarried at the time of his birth, Taulbert's great-grandparents, Joe and Pearl Young, raised him so his mother could continue her education. When his great-grandmother became too ill to care for him, Taulbert moved to live with his great-aunt, Mrs. Elna Peters Boose, or “Ma Ponk.”

Taulbert s childhood memories included patronizing the black minstrel show working with his uncle in an icehouse and being the first black hired to work in the white owned Hilton Food Store Before graduating from high school Taulbert worked the cash register in addition to his duties of stocking cleaning and delivering groceries A bright and ...

Article

Betty Winston Bayé

journalist, was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He was the third of John Trevillian and DeSylvia (Chase) Wickham's five children. John and DeSylvia Wickham were a cab driver and store clerk, respectively.

In his autobiography Woodholme: A Black Man's Story of Growing Up Alone (1995) Wickham recounted how in the early hours of 17 December 1954, his father, apparently distraught that he could not afford to buy Christmas gifts for his family, shot and killed his wife and then turned the .32-caliber revolver on himself. Wickham's parents were found inside his father's powder-blue 1950 Plymouth station wagon. Besides John Wickham's suicide note to his mother, a twenty-dollar money order, and the couple's wedding rings, police also recovered twenty-one photographs of a black boy—his school pictures, Wickham wrote.

The Wickham children were parceled out among relatives. Eight-year-old DeWayne and his brother John Rodney were taken in ...