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Geraldine Rhoades Beckford

physician, businessman, and writer, was born in Madison County, Kentucky, the youngest of fifteen children of Eliza and Edwin, who were slaves. Burton and his mother remained on the plantation after Emancipation as paid laborers, and he continued working at the “old homestead” after her death in 1869 until he was sixteen, at which time he left following an altercation with the owner.

In 1880 Burton was “converted to God” and subsequently experienced an insatiable desire for learning. Despite discouraging comments from those who thought that twenty was too old to start school, Burton was not dissuaded and determined that nothing was going to prevent him from getting an education except sickness or death. Burton worked for one more year as a farmhand in Richmond, Kentucky. One January morning in 1881 he put a few items in a carpetbag and nine dollars and seventy five cents in 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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Laura M. Calkins

the first African American to graduate from the University of Michigan Medical School, civil rights advocate, and journalist, was born in Malden, Essex County, Ontario, the son of a former American slave. His date of birth is uncertain: some sources suggest that he was born on 22 December 1837, while others suggest that he was born on that date in 1842. He was reportedly baptized as William Henry Butler, but in his early twenties he chose not to use his first name and added the prefix “Fitz” to his surname because he found “Butler” too common, and perhaps too servile.

As a youngster Henry attended public schools for blacks in southwestern Ontario. In 1866 he married Sarah Helen McCurdy, the daughter of William H. McCurdy a prosperous Ontario farmer The couple initially lived in the predominantly black towns of Amherstburg and New Canaan Ontario where ...

Article

Charles Rosenberg

physician and newspaper publisher, was born in Chipley, southern Florida, but his family moved to Omaha, Nebraska, where he was educated in the local public schools.

Goodlet graduated from Howard University in 1935, having served as president of the student body and editor of Hilltop, the campus newspaper. He began graduate studies at the University of California, receiving a doctorate in Child Psychology in 1938. For the next year, he was a member of the faculty at West Virginia State College in Institute, West Virginia. In 1939 he authored a report on “The Mental Abilities of Twenty-nine Deaf and Partially Deaf Negro Children,” published in the West Virginia Bureau of Negro Welfare Statistics. Entering Meharry Medical College in Nashville, he was awarded an M.D. in 1944. Goodlett married Willette Hill on 27 November 1943; they divorced in 1968 after an eleven year ...

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Charles Rosenberg

physician, newspaper founder, and attorney, initiated the challenge to Louisiana's “Separate Car Law,” which led to the U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold “separate but equal” public accommodations in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). Martinet was born free, the second of eight children born to Pierre Hyppolite Martinet, a carpenter who arrived sometime before 1850 in St. Martinsville, Louisiana, from Belgium, and his wife, the former Marie-Louise Benoît, a native of Louisiana. Benoît is generally referred to as a free woman of color, but there is a record in St. Martin Parish Courthouse that Pierre Martinet purchased her freedom on 10 January 1848 from Dr. Pierre Louis Nee, along with her mother and their infant son Pierre. They were married on 7 December 1869 in St Martin de Tours Catholic Church St Martinsville Louisiana before the Civil War Louisiana law did not permit ...

Article

Robert G. McGuire

The son of Charles E. and Alicia (Martin) Petioni, Charles Augustin Petioni was born on August 27, 1885, in Trinidad, where he was educated and began a career in business and journalism. In 1913 he married Rosa Alling. They had two daughters, Margaret (who died before 1950) and Muriel. In 1918 the colonial government of Trinidad sent word to him that his outspoken views about local political and economic conditions had permanently damaged future career opportunities for himself and his family. For that reason he departed for New York, where he worked as a manual laborer during the day and attended the City College of New York at night. Upon completion of the premedical course at City College, he entered Howard University College of Medicine, from which he graduated in 1925 After an internship at St Agnes Hospital in Raleigh North Carolina he returned ...

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Mary Krane Derr

journalist, physician, business and civic leader, and Caribbean independence activist, was born to the reformer Charles Edgar Petioni and Alicia Martin Petioni in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, British-occupied West Indies. Charles Augustin Petioni graduated from the Boys' Model School, the Government College for Teachers (1900), and the Royal Victoria Institute (Commercial Business Course, 1902). Between the ages of sixteen and twenty-three he was employed as clerk and manager for Felix Potin and Company, a French distributor of specialty foods such as chocolates. He then distinguished himself as chief reporter and sub-editor of Port-of-Spain's Daily Morning Mirror (1908–1916) and editor of the bilingual (Spanish-English) Daily Evening Argos (1917–1918). He also served as an official government reporter for Trinidad's Supreme Court and Legislative Council.

As a journalist Petioni critiqued British rule He took further anticolonial action as founder and officer of the Metropolitan ...

Article

Connie Meale

Louis Charles Roudanez was born in St. James Parish, Louisiana, the son of Louis Roudanez, a wealthy French merchant, and Aimée Potens, a free woman of color. Roudanez was raised in New Orleans as a member of the city's free black elite, but in 1844 he left to pursue a professional education in France. In 1853 the faculty of medicine at the University of Paris awarded him a degree in medicine. He graduated with a second medical degree from Dartmouth College in 1857, and soon after he returned to New Orleans to open his own office. In the same year he married Louisa Celie Seulay, and their union produced eight children.

Roudanez continued to build his medical practice during the Civil War and Reconstruction but like other free men of color in New Orleans upon federal occupation of south Louisiana in the spring of ...

Article

Connie Meale

physician, newspaper proprietor, and Republican Party activist, was born in St. James Parish, Louisiana, the son of Louis Roudanez, a wealthy French merchant, and Aimée Potens, a free woman of color. Roudanez was raised in New Orleans as a member of the city's free black elite, but in 1844 he left to pursue a professional education in France. In 1853 the faculty of medicine at the University of Paris awarded him a degree in medicine. He graduated with a second medical degree from Dartmouth College in 1857, and soon after he returned to New Orleans to open his own office. In the same year he married Louisa Celie Seulay; their union produced eight children.

Roudanez continued to build his medical practice during the Civil War and Reconstruction but like other free men of color in New Orleans upon federal occupation of south Louisiana ...