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Roberto Ramos-Perea

was born in Guayama, Puerto Rico. Born with a handicap in his legs that made him resemble a dwarf, he was the first son of Nicolás Alonso Marini, a carpenter, and Matilde Pizarro, a woman of African, Amerindian, and European descent. Both were descendants of freed slaves.

Alongside his training in cobbling and carpentry, Manuel soon acquired a thorough literary education under the tutelage of his private teacher Fabriciano Cuevas Sotillo, also from Guayama. Even though he distinguished himself as an excellent student, the circumstances of poverty in which his family lived required Alonso Pizarro to focus his efforts on the family’s cobbling business.

In 1884 he moved to Mayagüez, where he joined the Sociedad de Artesanos Unión Borinqueña, which commissioned Alonso Pizarro’s first play Me saqué la lotería (I Won the Lottery) in 1886. A playful one-act comedy, Me saqué la lotería was set among the jíbaro ...

Article

Roberto Conduru

was born on 15 November 1940, the son of Guilhermina Alves and Vital Araújo. His full name is Emanoel Alves de Araújo; he was born into a traditional family of goldsmiths in Santo Amaro da Purificação, in Bahia, Brazil. There, he learned carpentry with master Eufrásio Vargas, worked with linotype and typesetting in the official press, and held his first exhibition in 1959.

In the 1960s, he moved to Salvador, where he majored in printmaking at the Federal University of Bahia, in 1965. Since then, he has held solo exhibitions and participated in group exhibitions held in Brazil and abroad.

His artistic work has explored the transformation of traditional artistic media from chromatic and three dimensional experiments with printmaking his work unfolded in sculptures some of them displayed in public spaces His work has also promoted the articulation of African descended cultures with constructivist principles and forms ...

Article

Daryle Williams

alias Paula Brito, pardo writer, translator, and publishing entrepreneur, often called the father of the Brazilian black press. Born on 2 December 1809 to Jacinto Antunes Duarte, a carpenter, and Maria Joaquina da Conceição Brito, Paula Brito took the surname of his maternal grandfather, Martinho Pereira de Brito (c. 1730–1830), commander of a pardo (colored) militia regiment and a disciple of famed mulato sculptor Mestre Valentim. He spent his early childhood in Rio de Janeiro, a bustling Atlantic port-city undergoing tremendous changes following the arrival of the Portuguese Court in 1808, before settling in Suruhy, near the upper reaches of Guanabara Bay. The young boy learned to read and write in the household of his older sister.

Returning to the capital in 1824 Paula Brito entered the burgeoning world of print culture first as an apprentice in the national printing office and then as an editor for ...

Article

Gerald Horne

publisher and political figure, was born in Dawson, Georgia, the son of Mike Davis (who changed his name from Mike Haynes in 1868 or 1869) and Katherine Davis, farmers and former slaves. Benjamin's formal education ended after the sixth grade, and he worked as a bricklayer and teacher before becoming a printer. He learned the trade while working for Tom W. Loyless, a white Dawson publisher and printer, and then opened his own printing business. He soon became a moderately wealthy man, living in a two-story, fifteen-room house while his siblings eked out their livings as sharecroppers. In 1898 he married Jimmie Willard Porter, a Dawson native who had been educated at Hampton and Tuskegee institutes; they had a son and daughter.

In 1903 Davis began publishing the Independent a black weekly newspaper that was sold throughout Georgia and that within a year ...

Article

Mark G. Emerson

As the second son and namesake of his father, Frederick Douglass Jr. was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts. He attended public schools in Rochester, New York, where he also helped his brothers, Lewis and Charles, to aid runaway slaves who were escaping to Canada on the Underground Railroad. While he did not serve in the Civil War as his brothers did, Frederick acted as a recruiting agent for the Fifty-fourth and Fifty-fifth Massachusetts Infantry regiments, as did his father. Following the war, Frederick attempted to enter the typographical workers' union. When that plan failed, he went with his brother Lewis in 1866 to Colorado, where Henry O. Wagoner, a longtime family friend, taught him the trade of typography. While he was in Colorado, Frederick worked with his brother Lewis in the printing office of the Red, White, and Blue Mining Company. In the fall of 1868 Frederick returned ...

Article

Hlonipha Mokoena

, Zulu printer, tutor, and author, was born near present-day Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. All that is known about his paternal genealogy is that his father, Magwaza, was the son of Matomela, who was the son of Thoko, and that the amaFuze (the Fuze people) were a sub-clan of the amaNgcobo (the Ngcobo lineage); his maternal genealogy is unknown. His exact birth date is also unknown. The estimate year is based on John William Colenso’s guess that the young Magema was twelve years old when Colenso, the Bishop of Natal, met him in 1856. Even these facts do not accurately establish Fuze’s identity, however, because at various times in his life he was known by different names. At birth, he was given the name “Manawami,” but he was soon nicknamed “Skelemu” (derived from the Afrikaans word skelm meaning rascal or trickster because of his repeated prophecy to his ...

Article

Charles Rosenberg

Baptist minister, grocer, printer, and civil rights leader, reported by Ebony magazine as “the first Negro to qualify to vote in Belzoni [Mississippi] since Reconstruction days,” was born in Edwards, Mississippi. There is no well‐established record identifying his parents. His mother died when he was still a child; at the age of seventeen he appears to have been living with an aunt and uncle, Garfield and Minnie B. Holmes, in Sunflower County, Mississippi.

After graduating from high school Lee worked on the docks in New Orleans unloading bananas while studying typesetting through a correspondence course He served for a time as pastor of St James Church in Jackson Mississippi then accepted a call seventy miles to the north in the predominantly African American Delta community of Belzoni As in many churches the offerings of members were not sufficient to support a full time pastor He opened a grocery store ...

Article

Pablo Miguel Sierra Silva

was integral to the development of print culture in the city of Puebla de los Ángeles, Mexico. As a free mulatto and citizen of Puebla, Rodríguez formed part of a burgeoning print culture that began emerging in provincial centers outside of Mexico City during the second half of the seventeenth century. He was perhaps the only free master printer (maestro impresor) of African descent in the history of New Spain. Prior to Rodríguez, Juan Cromberger and Giovanni Paoli made use of slave labor in their operations at the head of Mexico City’s first printing press. Paoli’s slave Pedro may have thus set the precedent in the participation of highly skilled slaves and, later on, freedmen in the printing workshops of New Spain c. 1540.

In 1662 Lázaro Rodríguez de la Torre printed one of the more voluminous texts ever produced in Puebla, La perfecta religiosa a ...

Article

Patricia J. Thompson

printer and physician in Liberia, Africa, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of the Reverend Samuel Snowden and Lydia W. Snowden.

Isaac H. Snowden grew up in Boston as a free black man in a home where his father was a well-known and well-respected antislavery activist. It is likely that he attended the Abiel Smith School built in 1834–1835 to house the school for African American students. Snowden later became involved in the Young Men's Literary Society, composed of the most promising young African American men in the city, for the purpose of improving and strengthening their intellectual abilities. He served as president in 1847.

Snowden initially made his living as a book newspaper and fancy job printer Following in his father s footsteps he was involved in the antislavery and equal rights movements and was often elected as one of the secretaries of the various meetings ...

Article

Charlie T. Tomlinson

ventriloquist, was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the only child of Alonzo Williams and Laura Powell, a live-in maid. As a small boy, Williams moved to Dayton, Ohio, with his grandmother, whom he thought of as his mother. Williams's mother eventually joined her family in Dayton.

Williams's mother died when he was eight, and he went to live with his Aunt Ola Mae and his Uncle James Jackson in Dayton. He attended Dunbar High School, where he was a high jumper and ran the half mile as a member of Dunbar's 1948 Ohio state track championship team. After he graduated in 1951 he worked at a local bowling alley, as he had done throughout his high school years. Later he took a job at Chevrolet parking cars. In 1952, at the age of twenty, Williams met Ernestine Hatcher The couple married the same year they had two ...

Article

Julie Winch

author, printer, and dentist, was born in Augusta, Georgia, the fourth of five children of John Willson, a Scots-Irish banker, and Elizabeth Keating, a free woman of color. Although they never married, Elizabeth eventually took Willson's last name. Shortly before his death in 1822, John Willson wrote a will leaving his “housekeeper” (the term he used to describe Elizabeth's role in his household) and her children two hundred shares of stock in the Bank of Augusta and appointed his friend, the prominent attorney John P. King, as their guardian (by the time Willson wrote his will, Georgia law required free people of color to have a white guardian to administer their property). King sent young Joseph to school in Alabama but he and Elizabeth agonized about the family s prospects given that the Georgia legislature seemed intent on restricting virtually every aspect ...