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Roos Dorsman

was born in Paramaribo, Suriname, on 6 March 1961, one of eight children in his immediate family. At the age of 17, after receiving his primary and secondary education in Suriname, he left for the Netherlands, where he enrolled in nursing school in Amsterdam. Soon after finishing these studies, he took a course on makeup art and moved to Austria, where he built an international and successful career as a makeup artist. During that career he spent much of his time traveling, and used the time to read books and exchange literature with others. It struck him that a Caribbean perspective seemed to be absent in most of the literature he came across.

Accord was fascinated with the true story of Wilhelmina Rijburg a Surinamese sex worker better known as Maxi Linder Accord held the opinion that she had not received the recognition she deserved and he decided to ...

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Robert Fikes

journalist, editor, and novelist, was born in Chicago, the son of Raney Cose, a poorly educated employee of a laundry service, and Jetta Cameron. He spent his youth in the Henry Horner Homes high-rise housing project on Chicago's West Side, but as an adolescent he was inspired by the civil rights movement of the 1960s and strongly sensed he had something to contribute to the betterment of society. As a senior at Lane Technical High School, Cose was challenged by an English teacher whose class he was failing, and he responded by composing a two-hundred-page collection of essays on racial and social issues. This collection so impressed the teacher that she referred him to Illinois’ poet laureate at the time, Gwendolyn Brooks, who asked Cose to join her writing group.

In 1968 with the aid of a scholarship Cose enrolled at the University of Illinois at ...

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Donna L. Halper

was born Thelma Louise Simmons, in Eatonton, Georgia, one of eight children of Sidney (Sid) Simmons, a grocer, and his wife Carrie (Mathis). Her family moved to Detroit in 1922, and she attended Northwestern High School, where she participated in swimming, as well as track and field. In 1927, when she was fifteen, she married Charles Lorenzo McTyre; they went on to have two children, a son and a daughter, before divorcing in 1936.

Thelma began to play golf around 1940 She had been diagnosed with anemia and her doctor told her that fresh air and exercise would help her to regain her health Her sister Theresa Howell also became a golf fan around the same time and they soon became competitors as well as teammates The two were attending Morris Brown College in Atlanta and they started a golf team on campus they also organized ...

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Beverly Lanier Skinner

scholar, professor, and cultural critic, was born in Hampton, Virginia, the youngest of nine siblings in one of Hampton's most socially prominent black families. His father, Andrew Davis, born a slave, was an 1872 graduate of Hampton Institute and was the “leading plasterer and plastering contractor in Hampton” (Negro History Bulletin, Jan. 1950). He and his wife, Frances S. Nash, were strict disciplinarians who taught their children to refuse any form of charity during the difficult Depression era and to refuse menial job offers from whites. Davis's parents also taught him high standards of decorum, including not eating watermelon, not shelling peas on the front porch, and avoiding “emotional excesses” (for example, “shouting” in church and talking loudly), he recalled in a 1944 essay called “When I Was in Knee Pants” (47).

Davis s parents sent him to the ...

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Jeff Shantz

writer and union activist, was born in rural Alabama. As a youth Denby endured the hardships of farm labor. During the 1920s he joined the Great Migration of African American workers who migrated to the northern industrial centers in search of employment. Denby ended up in Detroit, where he found work as an auto assembler on the production lines.

The 1930s were a period of militant mobilization and organization among workers in the auto industry and Denby became a leading participant in the wildcat strikes that swept through the industry in the 1930s and 1940s crucial struggles in the development of the United Auto Workers UAW His involvement in these organizing campaigns both reinforced his view that struggles over race and class were intricately enmeshed and convinced him that working class gains could not be made unless unions were prepared to attack systemic racism a perspective that was not ...

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was born in Minneapolis Minnesota, the only child of Walter Timothy Dodson and his wife, Carrie (Combs). Carrie died when Nell was ten, and she was raised by her father, a hotel waiter and later an announcer at the bus depot. She graduated from Central High School in Minneapolis in 1931 and enrolled at the University of Minnesota, studying English and Spanish in what is today the College of Liberal Arts. She also wrote for several of the school’s publications; in one article, she used humor to critique racial stereotypes (“Co-Ed Uses,” p. 5). Dodson attended off and on during the period from 1931 to 1938, leaving to work for a while, and then returning. In July 1938, when she was hired as a full-time reporter by the Baltimore Afro-American (“Nellie Dodson,” p. 1), she left school for good.

Although the University of Minnesota did admit black students ...

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Donna L. Halper

was born Marian Elizabeth Foster in Salisbury, North Carolina, the oldest of four children of William Zenos Foster, a bricklayer, and his wife Carolyn (Alexander). Little is known about her childhood, but her parents encouraged her to go to college. She attended historically black Livingstone College in Salisbury; while archival records from back then are incomplete, she seems to have taken an interest in journalism. And because she attended a college with a championship baseball team, she also developed an interest in sports.

Around 1921 she and her family relocated to Pittsburgh, where she met Negro Leagues baseball player Fred D. Downer. They married in 1924, by which time Marian had become a writer for the Pittsburgh Courier A deeply religious Christian her first assignments involved covering the local black churches She also began reporting on Pittsburgh society news In that era the religion beat and the society ...

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Donald A. Ritchie

journalist, was born near Russellville, Kentucky, the daughter of Willie Allison, a sharecropper, and Lena Pittman Allison, who took in laundry. Determined not to work as a domestic, Dunnigan graduated from the Kentucky Normal and Industrial Institute (later Kentucky State University) and became a teacher at a rural school. In 1925 she married Walter Dickinson, a tobacco farmer, but her desire to escape rural isolation and poverty led to their divorce in 1929. She married a childhood friend, Charles Dunnigan, in 1931, and their only child, Robert, was born the following year. Habitually unemployed, her husband soon abandoned the family. Alice Dunnigan left her son with her parents, who raised him while she took a job with the Works Progress Administration (WPA) cleaning public buildings.

As an unpaid fund raiser for M F College in Hopkinsville Kentucky Dunnigan had written a poem ...

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Eugenie P. Almeida

elocutionist, journalist, and civic leader, was born in Chicago to the Reverend Byrd Parker, pastor of the Quinn African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, and Jane Janette Thomas. Her mother was one of the first black teachers in the Indianapolis public school system; she and Lillian's younger brother Charles T. Thomas died of tuberculosis in 1894.

In her youth Lillian worked at various jobs, including as a stenographer in Louisville, Kentucky. She moved to Indianapolis in 1886 and studied with Madame Hattie Prunk at the Indiana-Boston School of Elocution and at the Indianapolis Institute for Young Ladies. It was during this time that she developed her skills in dramatic reading and dialect. In 1888 she supported herself as a seamstress in her home. In 1891 she was one of the first Indianapolis blacks to take the civil service exam for a clerkship.

Also in 1891 ...

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Eugenie P. Almeida

journalist and civic leader, was born Hazel Barbara Maxine Hill on a farm outside Terre Haute, Indiana, the oldest of sixteen children born to George, a coalminer, and Hazel Hill. In the 1920s the family moved to Pennsylvania, where George Hill worked as a coal miner. Although an avid learner, Garland dropped out of high school to work as a maid and to help her younger brother continue his studies. She completed her education herself, saying that she “lived in libraries” (Collins, 105). She married Percy A. Garland, a photographer and businessman, in 1935 and settled in McKeesport, a suburb of Pittsburgh, where she gave birth to her only child, a daughter named Phyllis.

Garland became active in local organizations and because she liked to write frequently served as the club reporter She was on the publicity committee for the local YWCA when its first black staff worker ...

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Angela Sidman

art educator and newspaper columnist, was born in Charleston, West Virginia, to Captolia Monette Casey Brown, a teacher, and Anderson H. Brown, the owner of a meat market and a real estate broker. When Hardman was twenty months old her mother died in childbirth. Two months later Hardman's twin sister died. Her aunt Della Brown, for whom she was named, helped raise her. Education played a central role in Hardman's life from an early age. Both Hardman's mother and aunt were teachers, and Hardman was encouraged to do well in school. She graduated from Garnet High School in 1940 and enrolled in West Virginia State College, a historically black college in suburban Institute, West Virginia.

Following her graduation from West Virginia State with a BS in Education in 1943 Hardman moved to Boston She took classes at the Massachusetts College of Art and earned an MA ...

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Charles Rosenberg

best known for her many years as society columnist and women's editor for the nationally distributed Pittsburgh Courier, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the daughter of Theodore O. Schalk and Mary Wilkerson Schalk, both of whom worked as waiters at a local hotel. Her father was a native of either North or South Carolina, and her mother born in Massachusetts to parents from Virginia.

Literary critics have inferred that Gertrude Schalk and her sister, Lillian, were the same person, using two different names, but census records show that they were members of the same family, born two years apart. Family life was a bit unstable. In 1910 their parents were lodgers in the home of in-laws Charles and Nora Harris at 240 West Canton Street, the children perhaps living elsewhere, or simply overlooked by the census. In 1920 the family was reunited in one of three flats at ...

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Christopher Phelps

labor organizer and socialist, was born in Malden, West Virginia, in the home of his maternal grandfather, a coal miner and Baptist preacher. He and three younger sisters were born to Janie Rice McKinney, a graduate of the Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia, and William Tecumseh McKinney, a teacher who later became principal of the Negro school in Huntington, West Virginia, and then, as a loyal Republican, was awarded a post in the Treasury Department in Washington, D.C.

To provide the children a superior education, the family relocated to Oberlin, Ohio, where between 1910 and 1913 McKinney attended the Academy, a preparatory school run by Oberlin College. In 1911 he helped found the Oberlin chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) after a visit from W. E. B. Du Bois After encountering a member of the Socialist Party in a Cleveland bookstore ...

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Meredith Broussard

Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and newspaper editor, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Jerry A. Moore, an electrician and stationary engineer at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and the Pyramid Tire Retreading Co., and homemaker Hura May Harrington. Moore grew up in West Philadelphia, where he attended Philadelphia's Overbrook High School and studied trumpet and French horn at the Settlement Music School. After graduating in 1958, he played jazz professionally for a year before enlisting in the U.S. Army, where he served as a medic. Returning to Philadelphia after being discharged from the Army in 1962, Moore applied for a job as a copy boy at the Philadelphia Inquirer—“Because I could type,” he said (telephone interview with subject, April 2007).

When Moore began as a copy clerk he was responsible for running copy to editors and reporters and was one of only three ...

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George Ogola

Kenyan novelist, actor, and newspaper humorist and cultural critic, was born in 24 October 1954 in Nyeri, Central Kenya, a place he immortalized in his newspaper column, “Whispers,” as “the slopes of Mount Kenya,” a literal reference to the region’s mountainous topography. He was Octavia Muthoni and Elijah Mutahi Wahome’s first child in a family of eight children (two girls and six boys). Mutahi attended Catholic schools, a life that graced his writings. Baptized Paul, a name he later dropped, Mutahi became an altar boy at his local church and later joined the seminary, in what should have led him to joining the Catholic priesthood. Despite being encouraged by his parents to train as a priest, Mutahi dropped out of the seminary in 1972 because he found the institution too strict for his liberal ideas Instead he joined Kirimara High School for his A level education the last two ...

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Barry Kernfeld

bandleader, pianist, and columnist, was born in Louisiana. Details of his birth and family life are unknown. Peyton was a member of the clarinetist Wilbur Sweatman's trio in Chicago from about 1908 to 1912, when he became the music director at the Grand Theater. In 1914 he founded his own symphony orchestra of about fifty instrumentalists; they gave monthly concerts. On 29 October 1924 he opened the Plantation Cafe as the leader of the Symphonic Syncopators. They played for dancing and for musical revues, the latter including the show Plantation Follie. Peyton wrote the music for some of these shows. The reed player Darnell Howard played with Peyton's fifteen-piece Symphonic Syncopators, and in November the cornetist King Oliver joined Oliver s purpose may have been to ingratiate himself with the management and take over Peyton s job If so he succeeded this episode might ...

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Luther Brown

journalist and editor, was born in Okolona, Mississippi, to James Lee Raspberry, a school shop teacher, and Willie Mae Tucker an English teacher and amateur poet Both parents were intensely interested in education and in seeing to it that their children were the beneficiaries of good educations They prodded their six youngsters to achieve instilling in them a passion for reading a positive approach to life and a desire for logical thinking From his mother Raspberry said that he learned to care about the rhythm and grace of words and from his father he recalled learning that neither tables nor arguments are worthwhile unless they stand solidly on four legs Raspberry went north first moving to live with an older sister in Indianapolis In a few years the rest of the family left the South to become residents of Indianapolis where Raspberry and the rest of his ...

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Charles Pete Banner-Haley

editor, publisher, and lawyer, was born in Camden, South Carolina, the son of Charles Rhodes and Laura Boyd, former slaves. Rhodes moved from South Carolina to Pennsylvania, where he attended college at Lincoln University. He received a BA from Lincoln in 1921. Rhodes pursued legal studies at Temple University and received his LLB in 1924. In 1926 Rhodes was admitted to the Philadelphia bar.

In 1922 Rhodes became the editor of the Philadelphia Tribune. He served in that capacity until 1941, at which time he became the paper's publisher, a position he held until the end of his life. Also in 1922 Rhodes married Bertha Perry of Philadelphia, daughter of the paper's founder and publisher, Christopher J. Perry. A member of the small black upper class often labeled the “Old Philadelphians,” Perry had started the Tribune in 1884 as a ...

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Donna L. Halper

was born in New York City, the son of Judge Pierce Shields, a Pentecostal minister, and his wife Daisy (Hite). Little has been written about Del Shield’s childhood or youth, but in a 1991 interview he recalled growing up in Harlem, and said one of his favorite pastimes was listening to the radio (qtd. in Williams, 1995). Some sources say he received a degree in advertising from New York University, but the school’s archives did not find evidence of this. Shields married Sylvia Chevannes in 1949; he and his wife had five daughters before the marriage ended in divorce.

He was a fan of Black announcer Harold “Hal” Jackson, and got a job helping him in the studio; that influenced him to embark upon a broadcasting career (qtd. in Williams, 1995). By April 1955 he was working as a deejay and program director at a new ...

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Jason Philip Miller

journalist and columnist, was born in Conyers, Georgia, a small town in the state's north-central region. She was the oldest of six children. Little information appears to be available about her early life, except that her family was quite poor, lacking running water and plumbing in the family home. She attended schools in and around Conyers and was a good student with a flair for language and defending her opinions and ideas. When she was still in high school, she found work at a local newspaper. Despite this interest in writing, her family expected her to take a job in a local factory.

After graduating high school, though, Shipp matriculated to Georgia State University, from which in 1976 she took a B.A. in journalism. She then relocated to New York, where she enrolled at Columbia University, from which she took a master's in 1979 and a law degree ...