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Graham Russell Hodges

The son of unknown parents, Titus Corlies was born on the farm of John Corlies, a Quaker farmer and slave owner in Shrewsbury, New Jersey. John Corlies resisted the determination of Quakers to free members' slaves. When elders of the Shrewsbury Meeting visited Corlies at his farm in 1775, he angrily refused to manumit his slaves. Titus Corlies, then about twenty years old, was listening carefully.

After Lord Dunmore, the royal governor of Virginia, made his famous proclamation offering freedom to enslaved blacks who joined the British forces, Titus fled. John Corlies described the self-emancipated fugitive as “not very black near 6 feet high, had on a grey homespun coat, brown breeches, blue and white stockings”; he also noted that Titus took along a quantity of clothes. The fugitive slave perhaps joined Dunmore's Ethiopian Regiment when it arrived at Staten Island, New York, in December 1776 Little ...


Jeremy Rich

political leader and president of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC; former Zaire), was born in the town of Likasi, located in the northern section of the southern Katanga region of the then Belgian Congo, on 27 November 1939. His father, Désiré Kabila Taratibu Obashikilwe, born in 1900, was a post office clerk from the town of Ankoro in northern Katanga and a member of a Luba-speaking clan. His mother, Jeannine Mafik Mwad Kanambui a Mubol, belonged to a Lunda community from southern Katanga. Taritibu was a remarkable figure in his own right, as he demanded his children speak French at his house and strongly supported his children’s education along Western lines. The family’s trading enterprises allowed the young Kabila to grow up in prosperous surroundings. Kabila’s father became a state-appointed chief in 1952 As Kabila attended primary and secondary school he followed his father s passion ...


Elizabeth Heath

In 1997 Laurent-Désiré Kabila received international attention when he led a seven-month rebellion in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) that toppled longtime dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. Kabila’s rapid rise to power followed nearly three decades of opposition to the regime of Mobutu. Laurent Kabila was born into the Luba ethnic group in the mineral-rich province of Katanga in 1939. Little is known about his childhood. He attended university in France, where he studied political philosophy and became a Marxist, and in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where he befriended Yoweri Museveni, the future president of Uganda. He returned to the Belgian Congo shortly before it achieved independence (as the Congo) in 1960. Upon his return, Kabila became a member of the North Katanga Assembly and a staunch supporter of Congo’s first prime minister, Patrice Lumumba. After Lumumba’s murder in 1961 ...


Linda Melvern

Rwandan military leader and president, was born on 23 October 1957, in rural Tambwe, in the prefecture of Gitarama, Rwanda. His parents belonged to Rwanda’s Tutsi minority. His father, Deogratias Rutagambwa, was a farmer, while his mother, Asteria, was a cousin of Rwanda’s Queen Rosalie Gicanda, the wife of King Mutara III Rudahigwa. This connection to royalty afforded the family some protection from periodic violent political campaigns waged by Rwanda’s Hutu majority against the minority Tutsi elite. In November 1959, four months after the death of King Mutara, and at the beginning of the Hutu-led Rwandan revolution, Kagame’s father took the family into exile. Kagame, his four sisters, and his brother were among more than 100,000 Rwandans, most of them Tutsi, forced to flee.

Kagame grew up in destitution in a refugee camp in the Ankole district of Uganda the family later moved north to Toro He attended ...