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Jill Silos-Rooney

actor, athlete, singer, and producer, was born in Newark, New Jersey, to Annabelle Patricia West and John Allen Amos Sr., a self-taught diesel auto mechanic and tractor trailer driver. Shortly after his second birthday, the family moved to East Orange, New Jersey, where they lived while John Sr. served in the military during World War II. His father left after the war, and his mother struggled to support her family by working as a domestic and then as a certified dietician. Amos recalled that, “the only time [he] ever saw his mother concede to possible failure was one time when she could not find any food in the cupboards. She had to ask him to go to the next-door neighbor to borrow food” (interview with John Amos by the author, 2010 Amos first joined the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Newark New Jersey at about ...


Sandra Y. Govan

A Los Angeles native and later resident of Vancouver, Washington, Steven Emory Barnes is the third African American author after 1960 to have chosen science fiction and fantasy writing as his primary profession. Barnes established himself through the 1980s as a determined and disciplined writer, one who had followed a cherished childhood dream to become a commercially successful professional writer.

The youngest child of Emory F. Barnes and Eva Mae (Reeves) Barnes, Steven Barnes grew up in Los Angeles. He attended Los Angeles High, Los Angeles City College, and Pepperdine University, Malibu, California (1978–1980 At Pepperdine he majored in communication arts but withdrew from school before completing a degree frustrated because he thought no one on the faculty could teach him about building a career as a professional writer It was not until Barnes made contact with established science fiction writer Ray Bradbury who sent the novice ...


Born in Brooklyn, New York, St. Clair Bourne is the son of St. Clair Bourne Sr., who was an editor of the Amsterdam News and a reporter for the People's Voice in the 1930s. Although the younger Bourne began his education at Georgetown University in 1961, he was expelled for student activism. In 1967 he received a B.A. degree from Syracuse University after working with the Peace Corps. He began a degree in filmmaking at Columbia University in 1968, but was again asked to leave because of his political activities.

From 1968 until 1970 Bourne was a producer, writer, and director for the public-television series Black Journal. He established his own company, Chamba Productions, and produced African American documentary films such as Something to Build On (1971) and Let the Church Say Amen! (1973). In 1974 he received the Bronze ...


Joshunda Sanders

journalist, writer, and television producer was born in Washington, DC. His family moved to Lanham, Maryland, when his childhood home in Northeast Washington was destroyed by fire. He had two sisters and a brother. The professions and names of his parents are unknown.

One of his sisters, Gloria Johnson, told the Washington Post that Mills “had a knack for writing that was noticed very early … [she] recalled that when Mills, then 10, and her son, then 5, played with G. I. Joe toys, Mills wrote their dialogue on 3-by-5 cards” (De Moraes and Trescott).

Mills went on to earn a four-year scholarship to the University of Maryland, College Park, where he met his future collaborator and producer of the popular HBO series, The Wire, David Simon. Mills and Simon met at the student newspaper, the Diamondback When Mills graduated from college ...


Jason Philip Miller

actor and comedian, was born Paul Gadney in Shreveport, Louisiana, to George Gadney and LaVoya Ealy. When he was seven, his family relocated to Oakland, California, and there Mooney spent the remainder of his childhood. His father was not a stable figure in his life, and soon disappeared altogether. Throughout his youth, Mooney was closest to his grandmother, Aimay Ealy. It was she who gave him the nickname “Mooney,” though Mooney himself later claimed that she never bothered to explain what it meant. However, the name stuck, and, perhaps eager to relieve himself of his father's name, Mooney adopted it as his professional moniker. While in his teens, Mooney dropped out of school and left home to join the tiny Charles Gody Circus working in various roles until he was promoted to ringmaster According to Mooney himself this made him the first black ringmaster in the ...


Steven R. Carter

and contributor to the Black Arts movement and regional theater. Soon after Ted (Theodis) Shine's birth in Baton Rouge, he and his parents, Theodis and Bessie, moved to Dallas where he grew up. At Howard University he was encouraged to pursue satiric playwriting by Owen Dodson, who tactfully indicated Shine's limits as a tragic writer. His play Sho Is Hot in the Cotton Patch was produced at Howard in 1951. Graduating in 1953, Shine studied at the Karamu Theatre in Cleveland on a Rockefeller grant through 1955 and then served two years in the army. Earning his MA at the University of lowa in 1958, he began his career as a teacher of drama at Dillard University in 1960, moving to Howard University from 1961to 1967 and then settling at Prairie View A M University where he became a professor and head ...