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Pamela C. Edwards

inventor, lived in New Haven, Connecticut, in the early 1890s. Little is known of her early life; it is not known who her parents were or where she was born. She was, however, one of the first African American women to receive a patent from the United States Patent Office in the nineteenth century. On 26 April 1892 Sarah Boone received her patent for an improved ironing board. As a result, Boone became the fourth African American woman to apply for and receive a patent for a new invention and the first person to receive a patent for an ironing board design.

Those who have written about Boone and her improved ironing board note that her invention was a significant improvement over existing devices According to James Brodie before Boone s ironing board this task normally required taking a plank and placing it between two chairs or simply using the ...


Brandi Hughes

nurse, foreign missionary, and school founder, was born to Anna L. Delaney and Daniel Sharpe Delaney in Fernandina Beach, Florida. Emma Beard Delaney came of age in the postbellum generation that witnessed the collapse of Reconstruction and the fading of the early promise of African American emancipation. Against the rising tide of segregation and racial violence, however, Delaney's family managed to sustain a measure of economic security and educational advancement. Her father, Daniel, held the distinction of being the only African American helmsman commissioned for service on the Revenue Cutter Boutwell, a federal ship that patrolled the ports of Savannah, Georgia; Jacksonville, Florida; and Charleston, South Carolina, as a forerunner of the U.S. Coast Guard. The unique benefits of her father's government employment enabled the Delaney family to support an expansive education for Emma and her sister, Annie. In 1889 shortly after completing secondary classes ...


Sylvia M. Jacobs

traveling preacher, social worker, and missionary, was born in either Fredericktown, Maryland, or Fredericksburg, Virginia. Little is known of her life before 1880. In that year she visited relatives who had emigrated to Liberia, and then she spent a year traveling throughout that African country preaching and comforting the needy. It was on this trip that she became interested in African missionary work.

Gorham settled in Boston, Massachusetts, where she joined the Charles Street African Methodist Episcopal Church. She became active in humanitarian and volunteer work with her church, assisting needy families with food and clothing and educational and social welfare projects. Between her move to Boston in 1881 and her travels to Sierra Leone in 1888, she was employed as a social worker by the Associated Charities of Boston.

In 1888 at age fifty six Gorham offered her services as a missionary to ...


Kyra E. Hicks

First Lady of Liberia and one of the original African American emigrants to Liberia, was born Jane Rose Waring in Virginia to Colston M. Waring, a minister, and Harriet Graves. The Waring family, including their children Susannah, Thomas, Annetta, William, Jane, and John, emigrated to Liberia aboard the Cyrus in 1824. Other children were born in Liberia to the Warings, including Christinana, Ann, Harriet, and Colston. Elder Colston Waring served as pastor of the First Baptist Church in Monrovia. He was also a successful coffee planter and wealthy merchant. He served as vice agent for the American Colonization Society in Liberia and other administrative positions before his death in 1834. Jane learned to read and write in Liberia. She spoke French fluently and was “in all respects was well-bred and refined,” according to Hallie Q. Brown who met ...


Kimala Price

feminist and activist, was born Loretta June Ross in Temple, Texas, the sixth of eight children of Alexander Ross, a mailman and military serviceman who was born in Jamaica, and Lorene Burton, a domestic worker who later became a full-time homemaker. Because of Alexander Ross's career in the army, the Ross family moved around a lot, living in Oklahoma, California, and Texas. In 1963 the family eventually settled in San Antonio, Texas, where Loretta Ross attended Sam Houston High School. She was always a conscientious student. While in middle school in California she skipped two grades because of her high marks in the state's mandatory testing system. Loretta Ross was an honors student in high school, where she was identified, groomed, and subsequently offered a scholarship to Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts, by a program for promising minority students.

At the age of fourteen Ross became pregnant ...


Kevin Hogg

United States Ambassador, was born Cynthia Norton in Burnett, Indiana, to George and Flossie Norton. She grew up with her eight siblings in the predominantly African American community of Lost Creek near Terre Haute, Indiana. From a young age, she was inspired by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who was one of the leading voices for civil rights in her husband's administration. After graduating from Otter Creek High School in Terre Haute, she remained in contact with her principal and mentor, Herbert Lamb, who helped her create a 25‐year plan to achieve her childhood dream of becoming an Ambassador to Kenya.

She married Otto Shepard in November 1946 and began a bachelor s degree but she left school to have children At Lamb s prompting Shepard Perry became active in politics She offered her services to the Indiana gubernatorial campaign of Terre Haute Mayor Ralph Tucker he informed her that ...


Yevette Richards Jordan

labor leader and Pan-Africanist, was born Maida Stewart in Panama, the daughter of Adina Stewart Carrington, a beautician, and Harold Stewart, a worker on the Panama Canal Zone project. At the age of seven she immigrated with her parents to the United States and settled in Harlem, and soon after they arrived, her parents separated. From 1923 to 1926 Springer attended the Manual Training and Industrial School for Colored Youth in Bordentown, New Jersey, a boarding school renowned for its teaching staff but encumbered by the industrial model of education advocated by Booker T. Washington. Not until 1927 did the school expand beyond its focus vocational training by offering a more academic curriculum that could lead to a high school diploma. The commandant of the school was Lester Granger with whom Springer would later share a friendship and working relationship when he served as executive director ...


Yolanda L. Watson Spiva

educator, Africanist, and anthropologist, was born Gloria Albertha Marshall in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; nothing is known of her parents. She attended Dillard Elementary School and Dillard High School. A student of high academic prowess and promise, she skipped grade levels because of her exceptional ability and mastery of her school work and was classified as a high school junior at the age of fourteen. At fifteen she was offered and accepted early admission to Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, on a Ford Foundation Early Entrant Scholarship. In 1955, while a student at Fisk, Gloria attended Oberlin College as part of an academic exchange program and was exposed to an educational setting that she perceived to be a better fit for her academic interests. Consequently she transferred from Fisk to Oberlin to complete her undergraduate degree.

Sudarkasa received her bachelor s degree in Anthropology and English ...