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Teri B. Weil

military leader, nurse, educator, and entrepreneur, was born Clara Mae Leach Adams in Willow Springs, North Carolina. Her parents, Otha Leach and Caretha Bell, were sharecroppers, and she was the fourth of ten children. Her parents were staunch supporters of education and made sure that all of their children knew this. Her parents further instilled in the children a sense of self-respect and a belief that with knowledge they could do anything.

As a child growing up in a family of sharecroppers, Adams-Ender realized early that she wanted more out of life. Her perseverance in continuing her education while missing school to work the farm with her family was evident when she graduated second in her class at the age of sixteen. Although she enrolled in a nursing program, her first career choice was to be a lawyer. However, in 1956 her father believed that ...

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Stephanie Beswick

Sudanese military figure and song composer, was an Agar Dinka woman from the Nyang section born of an Yibel mother in Dinkaland in South Sudan. She is perhaps the most famous female military commander in Southern Sudanese history and also one of the most famous song composers. She became a role model for younger twentieth-century women as an example of new female leadership in a rapidly changing society.

In the early 1960s Ager Gum was living as most other Dinka women did However she experienced a series of personal misfortunes She was married three times but all her marriages failed in part because most of her children proved unable to survive the harsh health conditions of South Sudan where preventative vaccinations and medicines were rarely available The father of her sole surviving child a son named Chol demanded the return of the wedding cattle that comprised her bridewealth thus ...

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Lyde Cullen Sizer

Union spy during the Civil War, was born a slave on the Richmond, Virginia, plantation of John Van Lew, a wealthy hardware merchant. Very little is known about her early life. Upon Van Lew's death in 1843 or 1851, his wife and daughter, Elizabeth, manumitted his slaves and bought and freed a number of their family members, Mary among them. Like most of their former slaves, Mary remained a servant in the Van Lew household, staying with the family until the late 1850s. Noting her intellectual talent, Elizabeth, a staunch abolitionist and Quaker, sent Mary to the Quaker School for Negroes in Philadelphia to be educated.

Mary returned from Philadelphia after graduating to marry Wilson Bowser, a free black man. The ceremony was held on 16 April 1861 just days after the Civil War began What made the ceremony so unusual was that the parishioners of ...

Article

Rocío del Águila

who died during the War of the Pacific (1879–1883) between Chile and the allied forces of Peru and Bolivia, was born in the town of San José de los Molinos, a district founded in 1876 and located in the southern Peruvian province of Ica. She was of African descent and later worked as a cotton and lima bean farmer. She bore one child.

From colonial times, the Ica region had become well known for its Afro-Peruvian population and the participation of this significant workforce in agriculture, particularly vineyards and cotton fields. As a result of the lack of written sources and biographical materials, a variety of accounts originated regarding her role in the military events that took place in the area of Los Molinos. Most versions derive from oral sources and local traditions, which suggest that Buendía played an important role in the critical battle of Cerrillo.

The ...

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Linda Rochell Lane

In 1985, when Sherian Grace Cadoria was promoted to brigadier general, she was the first black woman in the regular U.S. Army to achieve this rank and the second black woman in history to earn the honor.

Cadoria was born in Marksville, Louisiana, and was brought up by her mother, Bernice Cadoria. As a young child, she worked in the cotton fields alongside her mother and her brother and sister. Because of racism on public transportation, the three children walked five miles to school. Bernice Cadoria was strict, a strong disciplinarian, preparing her daughter well for life in the military.

Cadoria received a BS in Business Education from Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 1961 The year Cadoria made first lieutenant and became a platoon officer in Company B of the Women s Army Corps Training Battalion at Fort McClellan Alabama a ...

Article

Maureen Honey

commander of the only African American unit of the Women's Army Corps stationed in Europe during World War II, was born Charity Edna Adams, the eldest of four children. She was raised in Columbia, South Carolina, where her father was a minister in the African Episcopal Methodist Church. Her mother was a former teacher.

Adams graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in Columbia as valedictorian of her senior class and then from Wilberforce University in Ohio, one of the top three black colleges in the nation in the 1930s. She majored in Math and Physics and graduated in 1938. After returning to Columbia, where she taught junior high school mathematics for four years, Adams enrolled in the MA program for vocational psychology at Ohio State University, pursuing her degree during the summers.

As a member of the military's Advisory Council to the Women's Interests Section (ACWIS), Mary ...

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Amy M. Hay

In her memoir One Woman’s Army (1989), Charity Adams Earley recorded her experiences training women to become soldiers and fighting segregation in the United States Army as a black officer in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (later the Women’s Army Corps, or WAC) during World War II. In recording her story, Earley recognized the need for a personal account of how women and minorities gained acceptance with the military. During her military career, Adams fought not only for her country but for equality, challenging the army’s policy of segregation and individual racism, and left the military with the rank of lieutenant colonel, the highest possible rank after that of the WAC commander herself.

Charity Adams was born in Columbia, South Carolina, and grew up in the Jim Crow South, one of four children born to the Reverend Eugene Adams and Charity A. Adams In her early ...

Article

Fannu  

Osire Glacier

a princess of the Almoravid dynasty who dressed as a man and fought the Almohads during the conquest of Marrakech in 1147, was the daughter of Umar Ben Yintan. Very little is known about the life of Princess Fannu. What little information there is deals primarily with the nature of her death. An examination of the culture and politics of the region during this time provides further information and clarification on the nature of her life and death.

Fannu lived in the Almoravid palace during the first half of the twelfth century a period when the Almoravid Empire was in decline Considering that women played an important role in Almoravid society in general and within the royal palace in particular it is entirely possible that Fannu was visible and influential in the royal court The Almoravid dynasty s founder Yusuf ibn Tashfin and his wife Zaynab Nafzawiyya governed alongside ...

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Glenn Allen Knoblock

US Naval Officer and the first African American woman promoted to the rank of rear admiral, was born in Patuxent River, Maryland, the daughter of a navy serviceman. The family later moved to Rockville, Maryland, where Fishburne graduated from Richard Montgomery High School in 1967. Because of her father's naval career, Fishburne always had an interest in joining the navy, and was encouraged by her father to do so. Upon graduation Fishburne attended Lincoln University in Oxford, Pennsylvania, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in 1971. In 1972 Lillian Fishburne joined the US Navy and was enrolled in the Women's Officer School at Newport, Rhode Island, graduating in February 1973 and commissioned to the rank of ensign. She subsequently embarked on a long and distinguished career that would result in her promotion to vice-admiral, the first African American woman ever to achieve this three-star rank.

Fishburne ...

Article

Glenn Allen Knoblock

World War II veteran, Bronze Star recipient, musician, and educator was born in Anderson, South Carolina, the eldest child of Reverend Charles Francis and his wife Hermena. In 1934 the Francis family moved to Keysville, Georgia, where his father accepted an assignment to lead Boggs Academy, a Presbyterian college preparatory school for African Americans founded in 1906. Charles Francis Jr. graduated from Boggs Academy in 1936 and subsequently attended Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina, earning a degree in history in 1941.

Following his graduation, Francis briefly worked as a traveling salesman and also may have worked as a railroad porter, but with America's entry into World War II in 1942, Francis enlisted as a soldier in the US Army. His early military career is unknown, but by early 1943 Francis was assigned to the divisional staff of the all ...

Article

LaNesha NeGale DeBardelaben

civil rights lawyer, U.S. civil rights commissioner, was born Marie Frankie Muse in Danville, Virginia, the oldest of eight children of William Brown Muse, a railroad postal clerk, and Maud Beatrice Smith Muse. Maud Muse, a 1911 graduate of the historically black Hampton University and her husband William who was one of the first African Americans employed as a railroad postal clerk in Danville exemplified for their children lives of dignity despite the indignities of Jim Crow life around them The Muse family and other black Danville residents had to travel forty eight miles to the nearest black movie theater Danville blacks also attended segregated schools and faced racial discrimination in public accommodations Frankie Muse learned at an early age to overcome these obstacles through self discipline and perseverance These were lessons that she and her siblings gleaned from their parents who taught them that moral ...

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Linda Rochell Lane

Marcelite Jordon Harris, a graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, served as a White House aide to President Jimmy Carter. She was also the first and only black woman to earn the rank of general in the United States Air Force. While the native Texan may not have been eligible for the title of Georgia’s “favorite daughter,” Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young was impressed enough to declare a Marcelite J. Harris Day on 30 May 1988. She was presented with the key to the city of Detroit in 1990. The city of Houston, Texas, designated 11 February 1991 as Marcelite J. Harris Day. Marcelite J. Harris made it to the top of her field and in the process accumulated a succession of firsts.

Marcelite Jordon was born in Houston, Texas. She earned a BA in Speech and Drama from Spelman College in 1964 and a ...

Article

Glenn Allen Knoblock

US Marine Corps officer and the first female and African American officer to command the Marine Corps base at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, was born in Laurinburg, North Carolina, the daughter of Roscoe Hodges Jr., a mechanic and army veteran, and Ollie (Monroe) Hodges, a seamstress. In 1962 the Hodges family moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut, where better job opportunities prevailed. In 1972 Hodges graduated from Bassick High School in Bridgeport and then earned a bachelor of arts in Recreation and Leisure at Southern Connecticut State College in 1977 She then started graduate school but soon tired of this and worked at several jobs including church secretary before she considered enlisting for military service She first considered the Navy and Air Force but found out that there were then no opportunities available for female recruits due to quota restrictions Interestingly she had never even considered the Army and Marine Corps ...

Article

Regina T. Akers

thirty-eighth vice chief of Naval Operations, the navy's number two uniformed officer was born at March Air Force Base, Riverside, California, one of four children of Air Force Master Sergeant Clarence and Philippa Howard. Her father's career exposed the family to many cultures and life styles across the United States. Always active with a good sense of humor, when Howard's older brother failed to lead them in completing their chores resulting in lost privileges, she fired him. Lieutenant Uhura, the African American female communications officer on the original Star Trek television program was her childhood hero.

Howard decided to attend the United States Naval Academy after watching a television documentary about the service academies when she was twelve years old Her mother encouraged her and assured her that if women were not admitted when she graduated from Gateway High School they could consider suing the government This had a profound ...

Article

Linda Rochell Lane

Hazel W. Johnson broke through convention, custom, and racial and gender barriers in 1979 when she became the first black woman general in the American military. This accomplishment has guaranteed her a place in African American history, women’s history, and military history.

Hazel Johnson was born in 1927 in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Interested in travel and changing her outlook, she entered the army in 1955, five years after completing basic nurses’ training at New York’s Harlem Hospital. She received a direct commission as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Nursing Corps in May 1960. Taking advantage of the educational opportunities provided by the military, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Villanova University, a master’s degree in Nursing Education from Columbia University, and a PhD in Education Administration through Catholic University.

Johnson was chief of the Army Nurse Corps from 1979 to 1983 the ...

Article

Barbara B. Tomblin

army general, nurse, and educator, was born Hazel Winifred Johnson, the daughter of Clarence L. and Garnett Johnson, in Malvern, Pennsylvania. One of seven children, she grew up in a close-knit family on a farm in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Although she was rejected from the local nursing program because of racial prejudice, Johnson persisted in her childhood dream of becoming a nurse and received a nursing diploma in 1950 from Harlem Hospital School of Nursing in New York City. Following graduation, she worked as a beginning-level staff nurse at Harlem Hospital's emergency ward and in 1953 went to the Veterans Administration Hospital in Philadelphia, quickly becoming the head nurse on a ward.

Two years later Johnson decided to join the army because she said the Army had more variety to offer and more places to go Bombard 65 She was commissioned as a second lieutenant ...

Article

Glenn Allen Knoblock

US Air Force officer, and the first African American female fighter pilot in the service, was born in Lafayette, Indiana, the daughter of Guyanese parents who moved to the United States for educational reasons and subsequently became naturalized citizens. Kimbrell grew up in Parker, Colorado, and early on developed a love of space and flying. While in kindergarten, Kimbrell wrote to NASA about becoming an astronaut, but later “decided to focus on something I could do every day…so I started to look at the jets and flying fighters” (Rojek). In 1990 she began taking private lessons to become a pilot and in 1992, at the age of sixteen, earned her pilot's license, doing so before she earned a driver's license. Upon graduating from high school in 1994, Kimbrell received an appointment to the Air Force Academy, graduating from there as a lieutenant in May 1998 Because ...

Article

Heike Behrend

Ugandan spirit medium, prophet, and leader of a military force involved in the Ugandan civil war in the 1980s, later named Alice “Lakwena” after a spirit that took possession of her. She was born Alice Auma in 1956 in Bungatira, a village near Gulu in Acholi, Northern Uganda, as her mother, Iberina Ayaa’s, second child. Her father, Severino Lukoya, worked as a catechist for the Church of Uganda. In 1948, before she was born, he had a vision; in 1958, after he had fallen from the roof of his house and believed that he had “gone straight to heaven,” a voice called out that spirits would come to his children and that one child had already been chosen. It did not become clear to him that Alice was the chosen child until January 1985 when she began preaching the word of God Thus her father had experienced ...

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Mariana Isabel Lorenzetti

who was appointed commander of Fort General Paz by Hilario Lagos, the colonel in charge of securing the western border of the province of Buenos Aires, in 1874. Ledesma was known as “Mama” Ledesma or “The Black Carmen.” The exact dates of her birth and death are unknown. Marcos de Estrada (1979) believes that she was born in Buenos Aires Province and suggests an estimated birth date sometime in the first decades of the nineteenth century. While Elvia Duque Castillo (2013) points out that the reason for Ledesma’s links to the army are unknown, he puts forward the theory that she was the partner or wife of a soldier. According to Estrada, in 1874 the entire line of forts located in the province of Buenos Aires were sparsely manned, the result of the waves of military actions that unfolded across the surrounding indigenous territories.

Before ...

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Julie Walters

Civil War Union spy, was born in Virginia and married Michael Louveste around 1840. Nothing is known of her parentage or early life. Both she and her husband were Union sympathizers living in Norfolk at the time of the Civil War. Though some commentaries have described her as a slave during the time of her espionage for the Union, the 1860 U.S. Census lists her and her husband as free inhabitants of the area who could both read and write. The census also records Michael Louveste as a barkeeper possessing a personal estate valued at $1,000.

Mary Louveste's location near the southern coast of Virginia placed her at the heart of Confederate naval operations. She was further well-situated for Union espionage through her employment in Portsmouth, Virginia, at the Gosport Naval Shipyard (renamed the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in 1862 Three days following Virginia s vote to secede ...