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Abby Wolf

Ghanaian philosopher, educator, novelist, and poet, was born in London on 8 May 1954. His full name is Kwame Anthony Akroma-Ampim Kusi Appiah. Appiah’s father was the prominent Ghanaian lawyer and politician, Joseph Emmanuel Appiah, who in Ghana served as a member of Parliament, an ambassador, and president of the Ghana Bar Association. His mother was the English novelist and children’s writer, Peggy Cripps Appiah. Appiah was born in London while his father was a law student there, but the family returned to Ghana when he was a baby. Appiah’s paternal and maternal forebears were politically distinguished in Ghana and England, respectively. His uncle, Otumfuo Nana Poku Ware II, succeeded his great-uncle, Otumfuo Sir Osei Agyeman Prempeh II, as king of Ashanti in 1970 His mother s father was Sir Stafford Cripps Britain s chancellor of the Exchequer who was involved in negotiating the terms of Indian independence ...

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Nicole Sealey

novelist, philosopher, and scholar was born in London, England, to Joe Appiah, a Ghanaian barrister and statesman, and Peggy Cripps, novelist and daughter of Sir Stafford Cripps, a British statesman. Not long after Appiah's birth, his family relocated to Ghana, where he attended primary school. After the political imprisonment of his father by then‐president Kwame Nkrumah, Appiah returned to England. There he completed his secondary education at Bryanston, a British boarding school.

Influenced by his mother's affinity for the literary arts, Appiah read works of authors such as Chinua Achebe, D. H. Lawrence, and Tolstoy. Visitors to the Appiah residence included the Pan‐Africanist authors and theorists C. L. R. James and Richard Wright. Appiah's multiethnic family and early fascination with literature helped shape his identity and his world view. In 1972 he entered Cambridge University where he earned both a BA and ...

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Jeremy Rich

French philosopher and novelist, was born on 7 November 1913 in Mondovi, Algeria. His family belonged to the working classes of the pied noir European settler community in the French colony of Algeria. Although pied noir people enjoyed great legal and political privileges over the vast majority of Muslim Algerians due to the French colonial government, Camus’ family demonstrated that Algerians of European descent were not all living in affluence. His mother, Catherine Hélène Sintés, was of Spanish descent, like many other pied noirs and worked as a maid She was illiterate and a stroke had left her partially deaf His father Lucien Auguste Camus had been an agricultural worker before joining the French military on the onset of war with the Central Powers in World War I He died in the first battle of the Marne in the opening months of the conflict and his body never was ...

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Kate Tuttle

Algerian-born Albert Camus was one of France’s most famous twentieth-century writers. Although his impoverished boyhood in colonial North Africa led him into left-wing politics as a youth, Camus later became known for his belief in existentialism, a strain of philosophy that argues that human beings are alone in a godless universe and must find meaning without the comfort of religion.

Camus was born in a small town in eastern Algeria. He was only a year old when his father, a farm laborer from France, died in battle in World War I (1914–1918). His mother moved the family to a working-class neighborhood in Algiers where Camus excelled in the local elementary and high schools As a teenager Camus contracted tuberculosis a disease that robbed him of his first love playing soccer and plagued him his entire life As a student at the University of Algiers he studied philosophy ...

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George Yancy

philosopher and educator, was born in Sharon, Pennsylvania, the ninth of twelve children of the Reverend Isaac William Mitchell Sr., a minister of the Church of God (headquartered in Anderson, Indiana), and Mary Belle Christman Mitchell, a homemaker. Cook was briefly married to J. Lawrence Cook, MD. Cook holds the distinction of being the first African American woman to receive a PhD in Philosophy in the United States. She was also the first woman appointed to teach in the department of philosophy at Yale College (September 1959 to June 1961) and the first African American woman to teach philosophy at Howard University (September 1966 to June 1968 and September 1970 to June 1976).

Cook s early education took place in the Sharon public school system After reading a biography of Madame Curie Cook decided to study chemistry but as an undergraduate at Bryn ...

Article

Jolie A. Jackson-Willett

scholar, activist, and philosopher, was born Ramona Hoage in Los Angeles, California, the only child of George Hoage and A. Annette Lewis Hoage. Edelin's commitment to education started with the influences of her mother and maternal grandfather, both of whom were university professors. Alethia Annette Lewis Hoage Phinazee served as dean of the school of library science at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina (1970–1983), and has herself been celebrated for her contributions to the field of library science.

The young Hoage got an auspicious start to her own education at the progressive and innovative Oglethorpe Laboratory School at Atlanta University. The campus school's teaching philosophy was geared toward the intellectual advancement of inner-city youth. During Edelin's childhood, the Hoages lived in college towns near South Carolina State and Atlanta and Southern Illinois Universities. In 1963 Ramona graduated from high school ...

Article

Françoise Vergès

writer, psychiatrist, and activist, was born on 20 July 1925 at Fort de France Martinique at the time a French colony The descendant of a slave of African origins Fanon was the fifth of eight children His parents who were of mixed heritage belonged to the urban middle class His father Félix Casimir Fanon worked in the French customs Eléanore Médélice his mother was a shopkeeper She was very proud of her Alsatian roots on an island where the hierarchy of color was very strong Both parents discouraged their children from speaking Creole and encouraged them to integrate into French culture Fanon studied at the elitist Lycée Schoelcher where he had Aimé Césaire as one of his teachers At eighteen Fanon joined the Free French army and was sent for army training to Algeria Fanon became disillusioned with the cause of freeing Europe from Nazism and wrote to his ...

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Biodun Jeyifo

Frantz Fanon is one of the preeminent thinkers of social revolution and human freedom of the twentieth century. Taking its roots in the contradictions of the colonial order, his thought matured into a comprehensive, intricate, and unique system that has achieved resonance well beyond the formal end of colonialism. The uniqueness of his thought is reflected in the appellation based on his name, “Fanonist.” To all scholars of modern African thought, Fanon has a central place in a genealogy of thinkers and statesmen that stretches from the late eighteenth century to the mid-twentieth-century modern, yet he clearly transcends geopolitical and regional discursive boundaries. His thought has inspired mass movements of workers, the unemployed, and the uneducated, while he is carefully and avidly studied in the most arcane disciplines and fields of academia.

Born on the Caribbean island of Martinique, Fanon (1925–1961 went to France as a young man ...

Article

Richard Watts

Born in Fort-de-France on the island of Martinique into a conventional, bourgeois family, Frantz Fanon grew up with assimilationist values that encouraged him to reject his African heritage. This influence was countered by one of Fanon’s high school teachers, Aimé Césaire, who introduced Fanon to the philosophy of Négritude and taught him to embrace the aspects of self that the colonizer had previously forced him to reject. The encounter with Césaire proved to be a turning point in Fanon’s intellectual development. In 1940 following France s capitulation to the Germans in World War II the part of the French Navy that had declared its allegiance to the collaborationist Vichy regime began the occupation of Martinique As a result 5 000 French soldiers commandeered the resources of the island leaving the resident population to fend for itself It was in this context that Fanon first experienced the full force ...

Article

Efraim Barak

Egyptian intellectual, writer, reformer, and lecturer of philosophy, was born in Cairo on 13 February 1935. His father was a professional musician. In the early 1950s, he joined the Muslim Brothers and was active in student politics at the University of Cairo, where he studied philosophy. In 1956, after earning his BA, he moved to Paris, where he continued his studies at the Sorbonne. In 1966, after receiving his PhD in philosophy, he returned to Cairo where, after a year, he began teaching at the local university. At the same time, he translated into Arabic some of the works of Western philosophers, such as Spinoza, Lessing, and Sartre, and published several articles in the journals al-Katib (The Writer) and al-Fikr al-Muʿasi (Modern Thought).

From 1971 to 1975, Hanafi worked as an external lecturer at Temple University in Philadelphia. From 1979 to 1980 he supervised the ...

Article

Hannington Ochwada

Beninese philosopher and politician, was born at Treichville in the Ivory Coast. His father, Paul Hountondji, was a minister of the Methodist Church of Benin, and his mother, Marguerite Hountondji née Dovoédowas, was a housewife. Hountondji is the most prominent scholar in the debate on the contribution of Africa to the discipline of philosophy. He came to prominence in 1976 with the publication of the now- classic Sur “la philosophie africaine”: Critique de l’ethnophilosophie (African Philosophy: Myth and Reality). Hountondji received formal schooling at Savè et Sakété and Lycée Victor Ballot in Porto Novo before proceeding to Lycée Henri IV in the early 1960s for his high school education He was admitted to the École Normale Supérieure in Paris where he came under the tutelage of the great French Marxist theoretician Louis Althusser who also influenced his choice to study philosophy rather than the classics While in ...

Article

Dismas A. Masolo

Kagame, philosopher, linguist, and historian, was born in 1912 in Kiyanza, Rwanda. A member of the traditional Tutsi royalty, Kagame was educated in the local minor and major seminaries there before being ordained into the Catholic priesthood in 1941. He later studied philosophy at the Gregorian University in Rome, where he obtained his doctoral degree in 1955. He died in Nairobi, Kenya, in December 1981.

Abbe Kagame is best known for his monumental work, La Philosophie Bantu-Rwandaise de l’Etre, published in Brussels in 1956 by the Belgian Académie Royale des Sciences Coloniales (Belgian Royal Academy of Colonial Sciences), to which he had been elected as a corresponding member since 1950 in recognition of his earlier publications which mainly featured collections of literary and historical texts gathered from the oral traditions of Rwanda and marked his dedication to the study and preservation of local knowledge ...

Article

Delores Williams

college professor, political philosopher, and civil rights advocate, was born Preston Theodore King in Albany, Georgia, the youngest of seven sons of Clennon W. King, a civil rights advocate and businessman, and Margaret Slater.

King followed the family view that education was essential and mandatory and proved himself to be a brilliant scholar at an early age. He entered Fisk University in Nashville at age sixteen. He majored in history, languages, and philosophy and graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. He enrolled in graduate school at the London School of Economics & Political Science in England, where he earned an M.Sc. (Econ.), the Leverhulme Award in 1958, and the Mark of Distinction and a Ph.D. in 1966. He also studied during the summers at Atlanta University (1955), Universität Wien in Austria, 1956, 1958 German language Université de Strasbourg ...

Article

Daniel Donaghy

cultural critic, philosopher, and author of the influential texts Negro Art: Past and Present (1936) and The Negro in Art (1940). Born in Philadelphia, Alain Leroy Locke was the only child of Pliny Ishmael and Mary Hawkins Locke. He attended Central High School and the Philadelphia School of Pedagogy before enrolling at Harvard College in 1904 as a philosophy major, where he studied with some of the country's most celebrated philosophers including Josiah Royce, George Santayana, Hugo Munsterberg, and William James. An excellent student, Locke was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and named the first black Rhodes Scholar in 1907. From 1907 to 1910, he studied at Hertford College, Oxford University, and for the 1910–1911 academic year he studied the work of the philosophers Franz Brentano, Alexius von Meinong, and Christian von Ehrenfels at ...

Article

Richard A. Long

Alain Locke's role as a general factotum of the Harlem Renaissance has tended to overshadow the full dimensions of an active and productive life. John Edgar Tidwell and John Wright list more than three hundred items spanning the period from 1904 to 1953 in “Alain Locke: A Comprehensive Bibliography of His Published Writings” (Callaloo, Feb.–Oct., 1981). Born in (or near) Philadelphia to parents who were school-teachers, Locke came to maturity in the self-conscious genteel ambiance of Philadelphia's black elite. After completing secondary and normal school studies in Philadelphia, he went to Harvard College, where he majored in philosophy. An appointment as a Rhodes scholar in 1907 followed his undergraduate Harvard experience and he spent time at both Oxford and the University of Berlin, returning to the United States in 1911 Shortly after he began his long career as a teacher at Howard University He received his ...

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Peter Fraser

One of the most influential figures in promoting the intellectual and artistic life of the Black diaspora during the first half of the 20th century. He was especially interested in the visual arts but also encouraged black dramatists.

Locke was born in Philadelphia, graduated from Harvard University in 1907, and then attended Oxford University from 1907 to 1910 as the first black Rhodes Scholar. He then did advanced work in philosophy in Berlin before returning to the United States. He joined Howard University in 1912, only leaving to do his doctorate at Harvard. He then stayed at Howard until his retirement in 1952. He was the chief ideologue of the Harlem Renaissance and edited the influential anthology The New Negro (1925 in which he tried to lay out a cultural programme that would provide for African Americans a cultural and artistic life comparable to that ...

Article

Lisa Clayton Robinson

In his introduction to Alain Locke: Reflections on a Modern Renaissance Man, Russell J. Linnemann points out that although Alain Locke was trained as a philosopher at Harvard, Oxford, and Berlin Universities, “anthropology, art, music, literature, education, political theory, sociology, and African studies represent only a few of his wide range of intellectual pursuits.” Linnemann goes on to hypothesize that this extraordinary breadth of intellectual activity is “the primary reason why a biography of him has not yet been written … few if any potential biographers who might wish to examine the scope of his thought, assess his often provocative contributions, and place them within the context of the appropriate disciplines, would have the intellectual breadth or depth to fulfill the task properly.” The title of Linnemann's edited volume gets to the heart of Alain Locke's legacy: While he is often best remembered for his role in the Harlem ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

philosopher and intellectual, was born on 26 November 1932 in the town of Mikalayi in the Kasai Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Although his family belonged to the Luba ethnic community, little is available about his parents. From 1940 to 1946 Mabika went to primary school at the Catholic mission at Mikalayi. He attended the Collège Saint Jean-Berchmans secondary school at Kamponde, also located in Kasai Province. After becoming well-grounded in the Classical Greek and Latin curriculum that he later would criticize so fiercely, Mabika enrolled at the Catholic university of Lovanium in 1954. He graduated in 1958 with degrees in psychological education and political science. Soon after completing his university education, he served as a trainee in Belgium as an assistant to the provincial government of Brabant and the Belgian interior ministry. In 1959 Mabika returned to his homeland where he served as a ...

Article

Rebecca Dirksen

was born in Marlique, a rural area of Pétionville, Haiti, on 17 October 1951, to Antoine Canova Parent, a tutor and the director of a rural school, and Silvanie Valemont, a merchant who produced and sold cornmeal and flour made from plantains and other tropical produce. Clark Parent attended primary and secondary school at the École Frère Jules de Pétionville until increasing vision impairment forced him to withdraw. Facing blindness while still a youth, he benefited from private tutors as he advanced in his studies. This physical handicap likely pushed him to develop his other senses and abilities to prodigious heights.

Clark Parent made his first guitar out of scrap materials at age 8 or 9, and, with his siblings, he would regularly entertain the neighborhood community with live music on Sunday afternoons. Self-taught as a musician, this childhood pastime would become something much more significant: in 1969 ...

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Sylvie Kandé

multimedia artist, philosopher, and educator, was born in Harlem, New York, the only child of Daniel Robert, a lawyer, and Olive Xavier Smith Piper, an administrator. Belonging to a light-skinned African American family, she was confronted early on by challenges that ultimately gave her work some of its unique characteristics, namely the firm assertion of her black identity, her unremitting fleshing out of racial stereotypes, and her commitment to cross-cultural bridge-building. Her involvement with the arts began in childhood: a piano prodigy and ballet dancer, she also took classes at the Museum of Modern Art in 1957. Her political consciousness was first shaped in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which she joined in 1962, and by the events surrounding the March on Washington in 1963, commemorated in her 1983 poster Think about It She graduated from New Lincoln School in ...