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Stephanie Y. Evans

community activist. Dorothy Irene Height was born in Richmond, Virginia. Her mother, Fannie Burroughs Height, was a nurse, and her father, James Edward Height, was a building contractor. Growing up in Rankin, Pennsylvania, a small town near Pittsburgh, she attended public schools and served as a volunteer in school and church groups. With a $1,000 oratorical scholarship and an excellent academic record, she enrolled in New York University and earned both bachelor's (1933) and master's (1935) degrees in educational psychology. Working for the New York Welfare Department, Height helped mediate during the Harlem riots of 1935 and became one of the young leaders of the National Youth Movement of the New Deal era.

While working as a caseworker for the welfare department in New York, Height joined the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW). When she met Mary McLeod Bethune the founder of ...

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Floris Barnett Cash

writer, educator, and activist, was the youngest of nine children born to Caroline Smith, a former slave, in Fort Valley, Georgia. Oral family history has it that Victoria's father was her mother's owner. Her mother migrated to New York with her daughters Victoria and Anna around 1873. Victoria attended Grammar School 48 in New York City until she was compelled to leave because of poverty; she took work as a domestic servant, the only employment available to many African American women at that time. Hallie Quinn Brown's Homespun Heroines and Other Women of Distinction (1926) notes of Matthews, however, that she “never lost an opportunity to improve her mind” (209). Matthews developed her own literacy program, acquiring knowledge from independent study, lectures, and contact with educated people. Marriage at the age of eighteen to William Matthews a carriage driver enabled her ...

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Vivian Njeri Fisher

political and civil rights activist, suffragist, and feminist, was born free in Charleston, South Carolina. The second daughter born to William and Margarette Rollin, her family and friends called her Lottie. Her parents were among the elite free Charleston families of color. Very little is known about her mother except that she was a free person of color and probably from Saint Dominque. Her father was a descendant of a French family, the De Caradeucs, who were wealthy aristocrats who left Saint Dominque in 1792 and relocated to Charleston. The De Caradeucs became involved in the lumber trade and because of his family connections, William Rollin also entered the lumber business, amassing wealth, political power, valuable real estate, and a few slaves.

To ensure that his daughters, Frances Rollin (1845–1901), Charlotte Rollin (b. 1849), Kate Rollin (1851–1876), and Louisa Rollin ...

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Vivian Njeri Fisher

political and civil rights activist, suffragist, and educator, was born free in Charleston, South Carolina, as Katherine Euphrosyne Rollin, the third daughter of William Rollin, wood factor, and Margarette, housekeeper. Her mother's maiden name is unknown. Family and friends referred to her as Katie. Rollin and her parents were listed as mulatto in the 1850 U.S. census. Her parents wanted their four daughters to have a fine education. A law passed in 1834 in Charleston, however, “prohibited the maintenance of schools by and for free people of color and slaves.” As a result of this legislation, free blacks were forced to find other ways to educate their children (Holt, 53). Like her older sisters Frances Rollin and Charlotte Rollin Katie was privately tutored and she attended private schools in Charleston She also enrolled in secondary schools in Boston and in ...