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Michelle M. Strazer

community leader and child-welfare activist, was born in Thomasville, Georgia, the daughter of Winnie Williams, a woman of African and American Indian descent, and William Sloan, a white man who reportedly supported Selena and her older sister but lived apart from the family. Even after her mother died, presumably when Selena was fairly young, Selena kept quiet about her father's identity. Communication between them was minimal. At age ten, having been schooled by missionaries in Thomas County, she was admitted on scholarship to the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary (now Spelman College) in Atlanta and received her high school diploma in 1888 as a member of the school's second graduating class. After graduation she taught English and elocution in the public schools in Atlanta until around 1891, when she took a position at the State Normal School in Tallahassee, Florida (now Florida Agricultural and Mechanical State University).

In ...


Sylvie Kandé

mother of Emmett Louis Till, civil rights movement activist, and educator, was born Mamie Elizabeth Carthan in Hazelhurst, Mississippi. She was the only child of John and Alma Carthan, sharecroppers who left the South soon after she was born and settled in the town of Argo near Chicago. Mamie's mother, a matriarch in the Church of God in Christ, raised her according to very strict moral principles and encouraged her to excel in academics. Despite the support of her mother and a large network of relatives both in Argo and in Mississippi, Mamie's health was shaken by her parents' divorce in 1932. A child of the South who was raised in the vicinity of Chicago, Mamie maintained close ties with her birthplace; moreover, her urban environment encompassed both northern and southern influences.

In 1940 she married Louis Till a native of Madrid Missouri and ...