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Mark Steven Maulucci

singer and guitarist known as “Kokomo,” was born in Lovejoy Station, Georgia, a small railroad town in Clayton County, approximately twenty‐five miles south of Atlanta. He was raised on a farm and learned some guitar from a relative named John Wigges, who was an accomplished knife‐style guitarist. In 1919 Arnold moved to Buffalo, New York, where he worked in a steel mill. After stops and similar jobs in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Gary, Indiana, Arnold moved to the Mississippi Delta in the late 1920s. He reportedly made a living as a bootlegger and throughout his life regarded his music as a sideline. He lived for a while in Glen Allan, Mississippi, and played with a partner named Willie Morris.

In 1930 Arnold made his recording debut as Gitfiddle Jim in a Memphis recording session for Victor The two songs Rainy Night Blues and Paddlin Madeline Blues displayed the ...


Marieta Joyner

Gallaudet University handyman, was born to parents about whom nothing is known, perhaps in the vicinity of Washington, D.C. In 1870, when he was about nine years old, he wandered from the National Association for the Relief of Destitute Colored Women and Children in Washington and was found on a cold winter night on the streets by Senator Aaron Cragin of New Hampshire. Cragin soon realized that the boy was deaf and took him to Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb (later Gallaudet University). Compassion for blacks was not new for Senator Cragin; fifteen years earlier, in a 4 August 1856 speech he argued passionately in support of Charles Sumner of Massachusetts the Senate s leading opponent of slavery who had been beaten almost to death with a cane by Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina Cragin also knew that there was only one ...


Eric Gardner

slave narrative author, was born in Wake County, North Carolina, to Barney and Cherry, two slaves of the High family. Jones's 1883 slave narrative lists his first owner as “Olser Hye,” asserts that his father was “a desperate wicked man” and an alcoholic who died about 1820, and tells of how his “poor dear mother” who taught him to pray was “traded for a tract of land and sent to Alabama.” (1). Jones and three of his eleven siblings were raised in the large High household; he says little about his childhood other than noting that “I had hard struggling to get bread and clothes” and “after I was ten years old I knew nothing about going to church.” (6). When his master's daughter Emily High married planter Tignall Jones on 25 January 1825, Friday Jones seems to have been given to the new couple.

In about ...


Brian Neumann

was born into slavery in Charlottesville, Virginia. He worked as a farm laborer, and his owner may have moved or sold him to Buchanan, Virginia, sometime before the war. The tumult of the Civil War provided him with a chance to flee from Virginia and lay claim to freedom. In 1862, he later recalled, he “escaped from my master and followed the Union army.” In the process, he reported, he “became separated from my people.” He had reached Boston, Massachusetts by 1864, and enlisted as a private in the Union Army there on 16 March 1864.

A month later on 12 April Lee mustered into Company K of the 5th Massachusetts Colored Cavalry Regiment His service records describe him as five feet inches tall with black hair black eyes and a black complexion A man named Henry Lee who was also born near Charlottesville and who ...


Amber Karlins

a group of nine boys and young men who were falsely accused and convicted of rape in 1931. Clarence was born in Warm Springs, Georgia. Dissatisfied with having to work in the cotton fields and unable to get along with his father, he left home at fifteen. After leaving home, Norris became what was known as a “Blackbird,” a term used to describe people who rode the rails and jumped on trains in large groups. As a Blackbird, he often slept in vacant boxcars. He picked up jobs here and there in the towns the trains passed through, but food was scarce, and he spent considerable time in jail for vagrancy.

On 25 March, 1931 Clarence was traveling through Alabama when a fight broke out Without warning several white travelers started throwing gravel at the African American riders and the boys and men fought back The white men ...


Jacob Ganoe

janitor, Connecticut National Guard lieutenant, and founder of the first African American Boy Scout troop in Connecticut, was born in Nova Scotia, Canada. Little is known about his parents except that he was the second of four children. He had one older and younger sister, Alice and Martha, respectively, and one younger brother, Stephen. In the year 1887, at the age of ten, he, his mother, and his three siblings emigrated to America on the steamer Linda, arriving at Boston Harbor. His mother's name is listed as S. Saunders on the ship's manifest, so her real name is unknown. There is no record of his father. Saunders moved to New Haven, Connecticut, in 1892.

Saunders met his wife, Linna, who was born in January 1865, in Pennsylvania; the two married in 1890 They then settled down at 28 Hazel Street in New Haven Their ...


Mary Krane Derr

children's home founder and director, was born into slavery in Georgia, as was her father. Her mother, also a slave, was born in Virginia. As a small child, Steele was orphaned. Unlike most slaves, Steele learned to read and write. After Emancipation she spent sixteen years as a train depot “matron” in Macon, Georgia. By 1880 Steele, one of Atlanta's first black property owners, resided in a two-room house at 112 Wheat Street near Piedmont Avenue. Wheat Street, later renamed Auburn Avenue, became black Atlanta's historic heart. The 1880 Federal Census recorded Steele's occupation as “dressmaker,” her race as “mulatto,” and her marital status as “widowed.” The identity of Steele's first spouse, the date of their marriage, and the number of children they may have had together are unclear. Steele evidently had at least one child, Bob Steele, according to his obituary in the Atlanta Constitution (31 Aug ...


Eunice Angelica Whitmal

daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, and devoted Christian, was the primary subject of the famed African American photographer Gordon Parks Sr. In Parks's famous photograph American Gothic, a scathing reinterpretation of Grant Woods's classic painting of that name, Ella Watson, holding a mop and broom, stands in front of an American flag hanging on a wall in a government office. The photograph is a searing representation of the discrimination and segregation that many African Americans encountered regardless of their gender or class position.Behind Watson's famous image was a woman with a challenging, albeit obscure, life story. Parks recalled several details Watson shared with him during an informal interview:

She began to spill out her life s story It was a pitiful one She had struggled alone after her mother had died and her father had been killed by a lynch mob She had gone through high school married ...