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Félix Ojeda Reyes

was born in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, on 8 April 1827 to Felipe Betances Ponce, of Dominican origin, and María del Carmen Alacán, of Puerto Rican origin, the well-off owners of a sugar plantation called Hacienda Carmen. On 21 April he was baptized and registered by church officials in the Book of Mulattoes. Shortly after his mother’s death on 10 February 1837, Betances’s father sent him to Grisolles, near Toulouse, in the southwest of France. Under the care of the Prévost-Cavallieri family, Betances, always an excellent student, studied at the Collége Royal in Toulouse. In 1848 the year of the revolutions that toppled absolutist supremacy in Europe he entered the College of Medicine at the University of Paris At that historic moment Betances commenced a lifetime of political engagement and activity by participating in the antimonarchist revolution of 24 February which established the Second French Republic Although his ...

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Michael J. Ristich

physician, editor, abolitionist, activist, and Reconstruction politician, was a native of Virginia who migrated to New Orleans, determined to fight the disenfranchisement of blacks. Nothing is known of Cromwell's upbringing and childhood except that he was born free. Educated in Wisconsin, Cromwell also spent time in the West Indies before settling in New Orleans in 1864. Cromwell was an outspoken proponent of black rights, known for employing controversial rhetoric, and was not averse to the idea of a race war between blacks and whites during Reconstruction.

In 1863, the militant Cromwell wrote to Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, seeking to raise black troops in the North. Cromwell moved to New Orleans in January of 1864 and quickly entered the political circles of Louisiana participating in a number of pivotal events that helped shape the politics and civil rights of Reconstruction Louisiana Although never serving in ...

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Robert C. Hayden

physician, was born in New York City, the son of George DeGrasse, a prosperous landowner, and Maria Van Surly. After obtaining his early education in both public and private schools in New York City, he entered Oneida Institute in Whitesboro (near Utica), New York in 1840. Oneida was one of the first colleges to admit African Americans, nurturing a strong antislavery stance. In addition to welcoming black students to its campus, the institute invited abolitionists as lecturers and provided both a manual arts and an academic program.

In 1843 DeGrasse attended Aubuk College in Paris, France. Returning to New York City in 1845, he started medical training through an apprenticeship with Dr. Samuel R. Childs. After two years of clinical work and study under Childs, DeGrasse was admitted into the medical studies program at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, in 1847 Finishing his ...

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Jessica M. Parr

Samuel Gridley Howe was born to a prominent Boston family. His father, Joseph Neals Howe, owned a rope-manufacturing company in this thriving port city. His mother, Patty Gridley, was renowned for her beauty. Howe entered the Boston Latin School at the age of eleven, graduating in 1818. At the age of seventeen he entered Brown University, the only one of the three Howe sons to attend college, owing to a decline in the family's financial situation.

Following Howe's graduation from Brown in 1821, he matriculated at the Harvard Medical School. After he completed his medical studies in 1824, his restless nature and democratic sensibilities led him to join the Greek army as a surgeon and soldier during the Greek war of independence. Howe returned to Boston in 1831, where he met a friend from his undergraduate days named John Dix Fisher. In 1829 Fisher ...

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Keay Davidson

physician, was born in Hagerstown, Maryland, the son of John C. Peck and Sally or Sarah (maiden name unknown), free blacks who lived in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. John Peck, who worked as a preacher, wig maker, and barber, campaigned against slavery and worked with the Underground Railroad. Peck's mother was a member of the Carlisle Methodist Church. He had at least one sibling, Mary, born in 1837. That same year the family moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. From 1841 to 1844 Peck attended the Collegiate Institute at Oberlin, Ohio.

During the 1840s medicine was a virtually all-white profession. The first African American to receive a formal medical degree, James McCune Smith, had obtained his MD in 1837 from the University of Glasgow in Scotland. Peck was the first African American to receive a medical degree at a recognized American medical school.

In 1843 Rush Medical College in ...

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Cecily Jones

African‐Americanabolitionist and women's rights campaigner born in Salem, Massachusetts, to John and Nancy Lenox Remond, free middle‐class Blacks. Despite her family's wealth, racial discrimination within the northern segregated school system meant that she received a limited education and she was primarily self‐educated. Raised in a family that included many abolitionists, Remond learned from childhood of the horrors of slavery and witnessed many incidents involving the Underground Railroad. Her parents played host to many of the movement's leaders, including William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips, and to more than one fugitive slave.

At the age of 16 Remond began to join her brother Charles Lenox Remond, the leading abolitionist of his day, on anti‐slavery lecture circuits across northern states. A vociferous opponent of both slavery and of the racial segregation that existed in the ‘free’ North, in 1853 she successfully won a case for damages for ...

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The daughter of a free black immigrant and granddaughter of a black veteran of the American Revolution, Sarah Parker Remond was born into a family that would not tolerate the injustices of slavery and inequality. When Salem's high school would not admit Sarah, the family moved to Newport, Rhode Island, until her graduation. Dedicated to education and political activism for both sexes, her mother, Nancy Remond, was a founder of the Salem Female Anti-Slavery Society.

In July of 1842, at the age of sixteen, Sarah joined her brother Charles Lenox Remond on the antislavery lecture circuit. She not only spoke out against slavery, but also challenged segregation in churches, theaters, and other public places. In 1856 she began touring the Midwest as a lecturer with the American Anti-Slavery Society and won acclaim as a persuasive speaker Also concerned with the rights of women Remond was a ...

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Karen Jean Hunt

abolitionist, physician, and feminist, was born in Salem, Massachusetts, the daughter of John Remond and Nancy Lenox. Her father, a native of Curaçao, immigrated to the United States at age ten and became a successful merchant. Her mother was the daughter of African American Revolutionary War veteran Cornelius Lenox. Remond grew up in an antislavery household. Her father became a life member of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society in 1835, and her mother was founding member of the Salem Female Anti-Slavery Society, which began as a black female organization in 1832. Sarah's brother, Charles Lenox Remond, was a well-known antislavery lecturer in the United States and Great Britain.

Sarah Parker Remond attended local public schools in Salem until black students were forced out by committee vote in 1835 Determined to educate their children in a less racist environment the Remond family moved ...

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Stanley Harrold

Sarah Parker Remond was best known for the abolitionist speeches she presented in Great Britain on the eve of the American Civil War. She was among the last of prominent black abolitionists who, as the historian R. J. M. Blackett established, traveled to Britain in order to create “a moral cordon” or “antislavery wall” against British and continental European support for slavery or for the Confederate States of America. Parker was also notable for her feminism and her late, poorly documented career in Italy as a physician.

Remond was born in Salem, Massachusetts. The seventh of eight children in a prosperous family, she enjoyed advantages available to few others of her race and gender during the antebellum period. Her mother, Nancy Lenox Remond, a skilled baker, was the daughter of a black Revolutionary War veteran, who by 1798 owned property in Newton, Massachusetts. Her father, John Remond ...

Article

Eric Gardner

activist, lawyer, doctor, and dentist, was born to free parents in Salem County, New Jersey. The majority of secondary sources list his middle name as “Swett” or “Sweat,” although his biographer J. Harlan Buzby asserts that it was “Stewart.” His father, also named John Rock, lived for more than three decades in Elsinboro, Salem County, New Jersey, and married Maria Willet on 8 June 1820. The elder John Rock was a laborer, and though the family was poor, John and Maria Rock did their best to see that young Rock was educated.

By 1844 Rock was teaching at an all-black school in Salem, a position he held until 1848. While teaching he read extensively and began studying medicine with two white doctors in the area, Quinton Gibbon and Jacob Sharpe He attempted to gain admission to medical colleges in the area but ...

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Alonford James Robinson

John Sweat Rock, the son of free blacks, was born in Salem, New Jersey. He attended common schools in his hometown until the age of nineteen, when he was given the opportunity to study medicine with two white physicians in the area. After being trained by a white dentist, Rock earned his medical degree in 1852 from the American Medical College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

By 1855 Rock relocated to Massachusetts, where he became one of the first African American members of the Massachusetts Medical Society. While in Boston, Rock supported the abolitionist movement, providing medical treatment to Fugitive Slaves. He was a participant in the 1855 abolitionist campaign to desegregate the city's public schools and spoke at the 1858 Faneuil Hall commemoration of Crispus Attucks Day.

Rock later earned a law degree and was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar on September 14, 1861 As an active ...

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John Stauffer

abolitionist and physician, was born in New York City, the son of slaves. All that is known of his parents is that his mother was, in his words, “a self-emancipated bond-woman.” His own liberty came on 4 July 1827, when the Emancipation Act of the state of New York officially freed its remaining slaves. Smith was fourteen at the time, a student at the Charles C. Andrews African Free School No. 2, and he described that day as a “real full-souled, full-voiced shouting for joy” that brought him from “the gloom of midnight” into “the joyful light of day.” He graduated with honors from the African Free School but was denied admission to Columbia College and Geneva, New York, medical schools because of his race. With assistance from black minister Peter Williams Jr., he entered the University of Glasgow, Scotland, in 1832 and earned his BA ...

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John Stauffer

James McCune Smith was born in New York City as the son of slaves; all that is known of his parents is that his mother was, in his words, “a self-emancipated bond-woman.” His own liberty came on 4 July 1827, when the Emancipation Act of New York officially freed the state's remaining slaves. Smith was fourteen at the time and a student at the Charles C. Andrews African Free School no. 2, and he described that day as a “real full-souled, full-voiced shouting for joy” that brought him from “the gloom of midnight” into “the joyful light of day.” He graduated with honors from the African Free School but was denied admission to Columbia College and Geneva, New York, medical schools because of his race. With assistance from the black minister Peter Williams Jr. he entered the University of Glasgow, Scotland, in 1832 at the age of nineteen ...