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Israel Gershoni

the third and last khedive of Egypt, ruled the country from 1892 to 1914. ʿAbbas was the seventh ruler in Mehmet ʿAli’s dynasty, which was established in the early nineteenth century. ʿAbbas came to the throne at the very young age of eighteen in January 1892 after his father, Khedive Tawfiq (r. 1879–1892), died unexpectedly. Born in Cairo ʿAbbas was educated by tutors at the Thudicum in Geneva and later in the Theresianum Military Academy in Vienna.

Unlike his father, a weak ruler who was considered a puppet of the British colonial rule, the young ʿAbbas strove to restore the original khedival status as sovereign ruler, patterned after the model established by his grandfather Ismaʿil (r. 1863–1879 and to assert Egypt s unique status as a semiautonomous province within the Ottoman Empire ʿAbbas s aspirations clashed with British rule particularly with the authority of the powerful agent ...


William C. Harris

a slave. The identity of his father is unknown, but he took the surname of the man who owned his mother before he was born. His childhood as a slave on a small plantation, first in Virginia, then briefly in Mississippi, and finally in Missouri did not significantly differ, as he later recalled, from that of the sons of whites. This relatively benign experience in slavery perhaps owed a great deal to the fact that he was the light-skinned favorite of a benevolent master and mistress. He shared a tutor with his master's son and thus obtained the education that prepared him for later success. During the Civil War, despite the benevolence of his owner, he fled to freedom in Kansas, but after slavery was abolished he returned to Missouri, where he reportedly established the first school in the state for blacks, at Hannibal.

After the war Bruce briefly attended ...


Bonnie A. Lucero

was born to enslaved parents in 1874. He became a prominent political figure and black activist in the early Cuban republic. Little is known about his early years, but Campos Marquetti participated actively in the Cuban struggle for independence from Spain. While at least one source claims that his involvement in the Cuban struggle for independence dates back to the Ten Years’ War (1868–1878), his year of birth in 1874 makes this unlikely. The official record of the Cuban army indicates that he enlisted in the summer of 1898, though he worked closely with prominent independence leaders, including José Martí, prior to his official enlistment. He also helped Juan Gualberto Gómez plan the insurrection in 1895 escaping imprisonment on the Isle of Pines numerous times He was finally sent to the Spanish prison at Ceuta off the coast of North Africa where he escaped before ...


Sean Patrick Adams

Salmon Portland Chase was born in New Hampshire. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1826 and eventually set up a successful law practice in Cincinnati, Ohio. After defending the freedom of several escaped slaves in Ohio, Chase became more involved in the growing antislavery movement of the 1830s and 1840s. He first affiliated himself with the Liberty Party and attempted to shape it into more than a single-issue antislavery organization. Throughout his political career, Chase was able to hold a curious balance between political idealism and aggressive self-promotion. His performance in the 1848 convention that resulted in the formation of the Free Soil Party was a case in point Chase gained national prominence in his role as chair of the convention and proved to be an effective coalition builder Although he was not satisfied with the narrow goals of the Free Soil movement he was willing to ...


John Craig Hammond

“I do not set up for being perfect: far from it!” wrote the Kentucky antislavery agitator Cassius Marcellus Clay to the abolitionist John Fee in 1855. “I wish I were,” he continued, but “a good balance sheet of good against evil is all I aspire to!” Judged by his own standards as well as by those of black and white antislavery advocates, Cassius Clay succeeded in fulfilling his ambition, through his battles against the evil of slavery. A former slaveholder and one of the few antislavery leaders to remain in the South after 1830, Clay became something of a hero to northern abolitionists, who appreciated his willingness to challenge slaveholders on their own turf.

Cassius Clay was born in Kentucky s Bluegrass region to the planter Green Clay and his wife Sally in Clermont Clay lived to the age of ninety three and spent much of his life ...


Mark G. Emerson

Born in Lynn, Massachusetts, Charles Remond Douglass was the third and youngest son of Frederick and Anna Murray Douglass. Named for his father's friend and fellow black antislavery speaker Charles Lenox Remond, Charles attended the public schools in Rochester, New York, where the family moved in late 1847. As a boy, he delivered copies of his father's newspaper, North Star.

As a young man, Charles became the first black from New York to enlist for military service in the Civil War, volunteering for the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Infantry Regiment. Unlike his brother Lewis, who also served in the Fifty-fourth and became a sergeant major in that regiment, Charles was unable to deploy with his fellow troops owing to illness. As late as November 1863 Charles remained at the training camp in Readville Massachusetts He ultimately joined another black regiment the Fifth Massachusetts Cavalry rising to ...


Eleanor D. Branch

politician and civil rights activist, was born in Montgomery, Alabama to Edward, a Pullman porter, and Alice Dukes; she was an only child. Growing up in the segregated South, Dukes found out early on the importance of fighting for one's rights. She credits her father with this lesson alongside the strong influence of grandparents on both sides of the family and the thriving black community to which she belonged. A prominent member of the NAACP, she first became involved with the organization when she was a student at the Alabama State Teacher's College, where she also got her associates degree in 1950. Her education continued in 1955 when she moved to New York with her parents and began attending Nassau Community College while working at a local department store Interested in business administration she soon found herself working as a public servant and community organizer ...


Loren Schweninger

businessman, politician, and race leader, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Jonathan C. Gibbs, a Methodist minister, and Maria Jackson. His parents were free blacks. His father died when Mifflin was seven years old, and his mother was an invalid. As a teenager Mifflin attended the Philomathean Institute, a black men's literary society, and, like his brother Jonathan C. Gibbs (who would serve as secretary of state in Florida during Reconstruction), became a carpenter's apprentice, and subsequently a journeyman contractor. During the 1840s Mifflin Gibbs aided fugitive slaves by participating in local Underground Railroad efforts and worked with its famous conductor William Grant Still. It was through this work that he became acquainted with the preeminent black abolitionist Frederick Douglass, accompanying him on an 1849 tour of New York State.

During this tour Gibbs learned that gold had been discovered in ...


Aimee Lee Cheek and William Cheek

political leader and intellectual, was born free in Louisa County, Virginia, the son of Ralph Quarles, a wealthy white slaveholding planter, and Lucy Jane Langston, a part-Native American, part-black slave emancipated by Quarles in 1806. After the deaths of both of their parents in 1834, Langston and his two brothers, well provided for by Quarles's will but unprotected by Virginia law, moved to Ohio. There Langston lived on a farm near Chillicothe with a cultured white southern family who had been friends of his father and who treated him as a son. He was in effect orphaned again in 1839 when a court hearing concluding that his guardian s impending move to slave state Missouri would imperil the boy s freedom and inheritance forced him to leave the family Subsequently he boarded in four different homes white and black in Chillicothe and Cincinnati worked ...


Thomas Adams Upchurch

Born in Virginia to a wealthy white planter and a slave mother, John Mercer Langston was one of the most influential African Americans of the nineteenth century. Widely regarded by contemporaries and historians alike as second in importance only to Frederick Douglass, Langston actually superseded the venerable Douglass in certain ways. Although Douglass enjoyed more widespread renown, Langston held more government positions and had a more varied career. The two men first met in 1848 and maintained a friendship for many years thereafter. They disagreed on some important racial issues, however, which sometimes led to hard feelings and, near the end of their lives, an intense rivalry that most observers would say made them bitter enemies.

Langston was about ten years younger than Douglass and while they were both mulattoes born to slave mothers their upbringings could hardly have been more different Whereas Douglass endured the most abhorrent circumstances ...


John M. Matthews

Reconstruction-era politician, was born a slave of mixed African and Caucasian ancestry in Knoxville, Crawford County, Georgia. The names of his parents and of his owners are unknown. Sometime before the beginning of the Civil War, Long was taken from rural Crawford County to nearby Macon, where he evidently taught himself to read and write and learned a trade. Freed at the end of the war, he opened a tailor shop in Macon, which he and his son operated for a number of years and which provided him a steady income and a position of some eminence in the black community. Long married Lucinda Carhart (marriage date unknown) and had seven children.Like many who became involved in Republican Party politics in the early years of Reconstruction, Long attended sessions of the Georgia Equal Rights Association, and by the summer of 1867 he was making speeches for that ...


Maceo Crenshaw Dailey

politician, attorney, and businessman, was born on the western outskirts of Nashville, Tennessee. His parents, William C. Napier and Jane E. (maiden name unknown), were slaves at the time of his birth but were freed in 1848. After manumission and a brief residency in Ohio William Napier moved his family to Nashville, where he established a livery stable business. James attended the black elementary and secondary schools of Nashville before entering Wilberforce University (1864–1866) and Oberlin College (1866–1868), both in Ohio.

James Napier began his career as a race leader and politician during the Reconstruction era in Tennessee as Davidson County commissioner of refugees and abandoned lands in the Freedmen's Bureau. In 1870 he led a delegation of black Tennesseans to petition President Ulysses S. Grant and Congress for relief from politically motivated violence aimed at nullifying black voting strength for ...


Theodore Kornweibel

journalist and politician, was born in Warrenton, North Carolina; his parents' names and occupations are unknown. He graduated in 1913 from Virginia Union University in Richmond, a school that taught its students to think of themselves as men, not as black men or as former slaves. Migrating to the North, where he lived for the remainder of his life, Owen enrolled in Columbia University and the New York School of Philanthropy, receiving one of the National Urban League's first social work fellowships. In 1915 he met another southern transplant, A. Philip Randolph, with whom he formed a lifelong friendship. The pair studied sociology and Marx, listened to street corner orators, and joined the Socialist Party, working for Morris Hillquit's campaign for mayor of New York City in 1917 Concerned about the exploitation of black workers Owen and Randolph opened a short lived employment agency and edited a ...


Caryn E. Neumann

Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback, who became the first black governor in the United States and the only African American to hold a governorship during Reconstruction, was born in Macon, Georgia, to William Pinchback, a Mississippi plantation owner, and Eliza Stewart, a former slave of mixed ancestry who had been freed just before her son's birth. In 1847 Pinchback and his older brother moved to Cincinnati to attend boarding school. Upon William Pinchback's death, his heirs threatened Eliza with reenslavement, and she fled Georgia to join her sons in Ohio. The family was denied any inheritance and soon found themselves in financial straits.

At the age of twelve with his elder brother unable to cope with the sudden responsibility Pinchback became the chief supporter of his family He worked as a cabin boy on canal boats in Ohio and later as a steward on several Mississippi riverboats He learned the ...


William C. Hine

Reconstruction politician and U.S. congressman, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, to free parents, whose names are unknown. Contemporary accounts describe his education as “limited.” In the 1850s he secured a position as a shipping clerk with a prominent commercial firm in Charleston. In 1856 he married Louisa Ann Carroll, and they were the parents of eleven children. Carroll died in 1875, and Ransier married Mary Louisa McKinlay in 1876.

Ransier was a leading figure in Reconstruction and Republican politics in South Carolina. He participated in the 1865 Colored Peoples' Convention in-Charleston that urged the state's white leaders to enfranchise black men and abolish the black code, a series of measures designed to limit the rights of black-people and to confine them to menial and agricultural labor. In 1867 Congress passed a series of Reconstruction laws that provided for the reorganization of the southern states ...


Rodger C. Henderson

Born in Danville, Vermont, to Joshua Stevens and Sarah Morrill, Thaddeus Stevens became an antislavery advocate from the 1830s to the Civil War. He was poor as a child; after his father abandoned the family, his mother worked to educate him. Stevens developed a strong sympathy for the downtrodden and a dislike of aristocratic behavior and racial inequities. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1814; taught school and studied law in York, Pennsylvania; practiced law in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; became involved in various businesses; and served on the Gettysburg Council from 1822 to 1831.

Stevens won election to the Pennsylvania assembly in 1833 There he successfully opposed the repeal of the state law providing funding for public education deeming his efforts on behalf of the education of children one of the proudest moments of his life Meanwhile runaway slaves often came from Maryland to Pennsylvania and some ...


Gordon S. Barker

As a Free-Soil senator and outspoken antislavery leader during the antebellum period, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during the Civil War, a proponent of Radical Reconstruction, and an uncompromising civil rights activist in later years, Charles Sumner was one of the strongest champions of human rights in mid-nineteenth-century America.

Charles and his twin sister, Matilda, were born prematurely in Boston to Relief Jacob, a seamstress, and Charles Pinckney Sumner, a graduate of Harvard College who studied law under Josiah Quincy. Both parents were descendants of Puritans who settled in Massachusetts Bay in the 1630s. The twins weighed only about three and one-half pounds each at birth and were not expected to survive; Charles stayed with his mother while a nurse cared for Matilda outside the home. Charles Sumner never developed a close relationship with his twin sister or any of the seven other Sumner children. In 1866 ...


Melina Abdullah

politician, was born Maxine Moore Carr in St. Louis, Missouri, to Remus and Velma Lee (Moore) Carr. She was the fifth of thirteen children in a low-income family. She was raised by her mother following her parents' separation in 1940 in a St. Louis housing project, and supported by public assistance. In large part, it is this upbringing that she credited for her success as a representative for poor and working-class black and Latino constituents in California's Thirty-fifth Congressional District, which encompasses most of South Central Los Angeles as well as Inglewood, Gardena, Hawthorne, and Lawndale.

Waters is a graduate of Vashon High School in St. Louis. In 1956, at age eighteen, she married Edward Waters. The couple moved west to Los Angeles in 1961 in search of better wages and greater opportunities for their two children To help support her family Waters worked in ...


Hanna Rubinkowska

empress of Ethiopia (r. 1916–1930), was born Askala Maryam on 29 April 1876 in Inewari, the third and youngest child of Emperor Menilek II. Her mother, Abchiw of Wello, was one of Menilek ‘s consorts. Zewditu’s birth caused Menilek’s wife at the time, Bafena, to take military action against her husband.

As a child, Zewditu stayed at her father’s court under the care of Bafena. In 1882 when she was six she married the son of Emperor Yohannes IV Ras Araya Sellase who was about thirteen years old The marriage was arranged for political reasons as it was meant to bind the interests of the then king of Shewa Menilek with those of Yohannes and was related to the taking of Wello Province from Menilek by the emperor who then gave it to Ras Araya These northern domains played a role in the ties linking Zewditu with the ...