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Article

Marleny Guzman

psychology professor and journalist, was born in Columbia, South Carolina, to Frances G. Green Baumgardner and her husband James L. Baumgardner (sometimes spelled Bumgardner). Both his parents were teachers at Allen University in Columbia; James taught math and theology. In one source Frances Baumgardner's maiden name is listed as Ramsay. Little is known about Herbert's childhood, but he was the second child, with an older brother, Luther Ovid, and two younger sisters, Thelma and Victoria. The 1910 census suggests that all four children were living with their parents at 2330 Plain Street (later Hampton Street) in Columbia. The home, which the Baumgardners owned outright without a mortgage appears to have been in a “neighborhood of predominately middle and upper income residences” (Trinkley and Hacker, pp. 45–46). As of 1910 two lodgers were also living in the home which would have provided additional income for the family Luther O ...

Article

Raymond Pierre Hylton

minister, author, physician, dentist, and missionary, was born in Winton, North Carolina. His father, Lemuel Washington Boone (1827–1878), was a prominent minister and politician, and one of the original trustees of Shaw University.

Boone received his early education at Waters Normal and Industrial Institute in Winton. From 1896 to 1899 he attended Richmond Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. In 1899, when the seminary merged with Wayland Seminary College of Meridian Hill in Washington, D.C., to form Virginia Union University and moved to its new Richmond campus at North Lombardy Street, Boone finished his senior year and became part of the university's first graduating class in 1900; he received the bachelor's of divinity degree.

During his final year at Virginia Union, Boone met Eva Roberta Coles from Charlottesville, Virginia, who studied at the neighboring African American women's institution, Hartshorn Memorial College, from which she graduated in 1899 ...

Article

George White

psychiatrist, educational reformer, and author. Born to working-class parents during the Great Depression, James Pierpont Comer became a world-renowned child psychiatrist. He spent his childhood in East Chicago, Indiana, but then traveled to the East Coast and did work at some of America's most prestigious academic institutions. By the early twenty-first century he stood as an intellectual pioneer and an advocate for disadvantaged children.

Comer's parents lacked extensive formal education, and both worked outside the home—his father as a laborer at a steel mill and his mother as a domestic. Yet they created an environment that cultivated self-esteem, confidence, and high academic achievement for James and his siblings. After completing high school in 1952, Comer attended and graduated from Indiana University, but his negative experiences in Bloomington encouraged him to attend medical school elsewhere. He earned his MD in 1960 from Howard University and a ...

Article

Donna A. Patterson

Senegalese politician, pharmacist, and author, was born in Saint-Louis, Senegal, on 30 September 1922. His father worked as a colonial official, and his mother was a homemaker. In 1935, Diop’s father died; his mother followed two years later, leaving Diop, aged fifteen, and his four siblings orphaned. The death of his parents kindled a desire to excel in his studies, and after completing his secondary education in Saint-Louis and Dakar, Diop was admitted to French West Africa’s School of Medicine and Pharmacy.

The curriculum at the School of Medicine and Pharmacy was abbreviated during the early years, with initial terms of three and fours years of study. Despite the initial brevity, graduates from these programs were extensively trained in local hospitals and clinics. Likewise, in his memoirs (Mémoires de luttes: Textes pour servir à l’histoire du Parti Africain de l’Indépendance, 2007 Diop describes his training ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

medical doctor and playwright in Sierra Leone, was born on 15 January 1913 in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. The Easmon family was prominent among the Freetown elite and was descended from the black American and Canadian settlers who moved from Nova Scotia to Freetown in 1792, only five years after the foundation of this small British colony. His father, H. C. F. Easmon, was one of the most highly regarded African doctors in Sierra Leone, and his paternal grandfather, James Farrell Easmon, was one of the first Africans to work as a Western-trained doctor in Sierra Leone and Ghana. Easmon recalled how hard his father struggled to battle the influenza epidemic that ravaged Freetown in 1918 and 1919 He recalled in the 1980s Father had literally to doctor the whole city Easmon was educated at the Prince of Wales secondary school in Freetown before he moved ...

Article

Elisabeth Bekers

Egyptian feminist, physician, fiction writer, and political activist, was born in the village of Kafr Tahla, near Cairo, Egypt, on 27 October 1931. She was the second of nine children born to al-Sayed El Saadawi (1897–1959), a peasant family’s son who became an inspector in the Ministry of Education, and Zayneb Hanem Shoukry (1913–1958), daughter of an impoverished feudal family descending from Grand Vizier Talaʿat Pacha of Istanbul. Both of her parents were anxious to have their daughters as well as their sons educated. Nawal El Saadawi began her schooling at Muharram Bey Girls’ School in Alexandria, where the family briefly lived until al-Sayed was transferred to the small district town of Menouf in the Nile Delta in punishment for his participation in anti-British and antiroyal demonstrations. From 1938 until 1948 the El Saadawis remained in Menouf where Nawal attended the English primary school Despite his aversion to ...

Article

Françoise Vergès

writer, psychiatrist, and activist, was born on 20 July 1925 at Fort de France Martinique at the time a French colony The descendant of a slave of African origins Fanon was the fifth of eight children His parents who were of mixed heritage belonged to the urban middle class His father Félix Casimir Fanon worked in the French customs Eléanore Médélice his mother was a shopkeeper She was very proud of her Alsatian roots on an island where the hierarchy of color was very strong Both parents discouraged their children from speaking Creole and encouraged them to integrate into French culture Fanon studied at the elitist Lycée Schoelcher where he had Aimé Césaire as one of his teachers At eighteen Fanon joined the Free French army and was sent for army training to Algeria Fanon became disillusioned with the cause of freeing Europe from Nazism and wrote to his ...

Article

Biodun Jeyifo

Frantz Fanon is one of the preeminent thinkers of social revolution and human freedom of the twentieth century. Taking its roots in the contradictions of the colonial order, his thought matured into a comprehensive, intricate, and unique system that has achieved resonance well beyond the formal end of colonialism. The uniqueness of his thought is reflected in the appellation based on his name, “Fanonist.” To all scholars of modern African thought, Fanon has a central place in a genealogy of thinkers and statesmen that stretches from the late eighteenth century to the mid-twentieth-century modern, yet he clearly transcends geopolitical and regional discursive boundaries. His thought has inspired mass movements of workers, the unemployed, and the uneducated, while he is carefully and avidly studied in the most arcane disciplines and fields of academia.

Born on the Caribbean island of Martinique, Fanon (1925–1961 went to France as a young man ...

Article

Richard Watts

Born in Fort-de-France on the island of Martinique into a conventional, bourgeois family, Frantz Fanon grew up with assimilationist values that encouraged him to reject his African heritage. This influence was countered by one of Fanon’s high school teachers, Aimé Césaire, who introduced Fanon to the philosophy of Négritude and taught him to embrace the aspects of self that the colonizer had previously forced him to reject. The encounter with Césaire proved to be a turning point in Fanon’s intellectual development. In 1940 following France s capitulation to the Germans in World War II the part of the French Navy that had declared its allegiance to the collaborationist Vichy regime began the occupation of Martinique As a result 5 000 French soldiers commandeered the resources of the island leaving the resident population to fend for itself It was in this context that Fanon first experienced the full force ...

Article

Michael Maiwald

Rudolph Fisher was born in Washington, D.C., the son of John Wesley Fisher, a clergyman, and Glendora Williamson. Fisher was raised in Providence, Rhode Island, and in 1919 received his B.A. from Brown University, where he studied both English and biology. Fisher's dual interests, literature and science, were reflected in his achievements at Brown, where he won numerous oratorical contests and was granted departmental honors in biology; the following year he received an M.A. in biology. In 1920 Fisher returned to Washington to attend Howard University Medical School. He graduated with highest honors in June 1924 and interned at Washington's Freedmen's Hospital. Later that year Fisher married Jane Ryder, a local teacher, with whom he had one son.

When Fisher moved to New York in 1925 he made rapid advances in both of his careers as a doctor and a writer As a bright ...

Article

Michael Maiwald

author and physician, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of John Wesley Fisher, a clergyman, and Glendora Williamson. Fisher was raised in Providence, Rhode Island, and in 1919 received his BA from Brown University, where he studied both English and biology. Fisher's dual interests, literature and science, were reflected in his achievements at Brown, where he won numerous oratorical contests and was granted departmental honors in biology; the following year he received an MA in Biology. In 1920 Fisher returned to Washington to attend Howard University Medical School. He graduated with highest honors in June 1924 and interned at Washington's Freedman's Hospital. Later that year Fisher married Jane Ryder, a local teacher, with whom he had one son.

When Fisher moved to New York in 1925 he made rapid advances in his careers as a doctor and a writer A bright young physician Fisher ...

Article

John McCluskey

In his short stories and two published novels Rudolph Fisher was concerned with the development of an urban community with few models to guide it. This was a community that, jazzlike, had to improvise against the history of the rural South and creeping disillusionment with the urban North.

Rudolph John Chauncey Fisher was born 9 May 1897 in Washington, D.C., to the Reverend John W. and Glendora Williamson Fisher. Fisher was the youngest of three children, with an older brother, Joseph, and an older sister, Pearl. In 1903 the family moved to New York, but by 1905 they had resettled in Providence, Rhode Island. Rudolph Fisher attended public schools in Providence and graduated from Classical High School with high honors. By the end of senior year, his interest in both literature and science was established. This was evident throughout his undergraduate career at Brown University (1915 ...

Article

A. B. Christa Schwarz

writer and doctor. Moving to Harlem in the mid-1920s, Rudolph John Chauncey Fisher arrived exactly when the Harlem Renaissance, the first African American cultural movement, began to flourish. Born in Washington, D.C., the son of Glendora Williamson Fisher and John W. Fisher, a Baptist minister, he succeeded in combining a medical with a literary career. Fisher's best-known short story, “The City of Refuge,” which he created while studying at Howard University Medical School (1920–1924), was published in the prestigious white journal the Atlantic Monthly in 1925. The same year Fisher followed the call of leading Harlem Renaissance figures to come to Harlem, where he began to work as an X-ray specialist and ventured on a short-lived but prolific writing career, which saw him turn into one of the most popular writers of the Harlem Renaissance.

Desiring to act as a literary interpreter of Harlem Fisher ...

Article

Candace M. Keller

Malian government minister, physician, novelist, poet, and political activist, was born in Koulikoro, Mali. By 1936 Gologo had entered the École Régionale de Bamako in the capital city and, at the age of fourteen, had enrolled at the famous high school École Terrasson de Fougères. In 1941 he moved to Senegal to continue his education at the École Normale William Ponty. Seven years later he was conscripted into the Tirailleurs Sénégalais and received his doctoral degree in medicine from the École de Médecine de Dakar. The following year he was released from military service to practice medicine for the administration in Mali—first in Bamako and later in Kati, Sikasso, Douentza, and Gourma-Rharous.

In 1953 Gologo was employed as a physician for the Office du Niger While there he organized workers to join labor unions under the Union Soudanais US a branch of the pan French West African political organ ...

Article

Shelia Patrice Moses

comedian, civil right activist, nutritionist, and actor, was born Richard Claxton Gregory in St. Louis, Missouri. He grew up on North Taylor Street with his mother, Lucille, and his five siblings. His father, Presley Sr., abandoned the family when Gregory was very young. On North Taylor Street, Gregory told jokes to the neighborhood children, jokes that would later lead to his fame as a comedian. For most of his childhood, however, he faced poverty and racism. His first brush with segregation came at an early age when he raised his hand and volunteered to give five dollars to needy children after the teacher asked his class if their parents would be able to make donations for Christmas. His teacher told him to “put your hand down, Richard this money is for your kind The entire class laughed at him as he ran out ...

Article

Karl Rodabaugh

Americancomedian and satirist, human and civil rights activist, author, and nutritionist. Richard Claxton “Dick” Gregory has been recognized as the first African American comedian to break through to white audiences on a national level. Appearing at the Playboy Club and other trendy Chicago nightclubs, Gregory gained fame as a stand-up comic whose humor offered a lighter side to the emerging civil rights movement. From the perspective of comedic history, Gregory is listed alongside other “satirical renaissance” comics of the 1950s and 1960s—Mort Sahl, Lenny Bruce, Woody Allen, and Shelley Berman. By the early 1960s Dick Gregory and other satirical comics had been brought to the fore by the supportive hosts of the Tonight Show: Steve Allen, Jack Paar, and Johnny Carson.

Gregory was popular among urbane whites sympathetic to the early civil rights movement They readily ...

Article

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Dick Gregory demonstrated a strong sense of social justice from an early age. While he was a student at Sumner High School, in St. Louis, he led a march protesting segregated schools. His first forays into the world of comedy came later, while serving in the United States Army. Gregory would eventually combine his comic talent and thirst for justice in a wide-ranging career as a prominent comedian and social activist.

Gregory was attending Southern Illinois University at Carbondale on a track scholarship when he was drafted in to the army in 1954. It was during this tour of duty in the military that he began performing comedy. He returned to school after being discharged in 1956 but felt that the university didn t want me to study they wanted me to run Gregory left school without earning a degree deciding instead ...

Article

John Ernest

author, businessman, and nurse, was born into slavery near Charlottesville, Virginia, the son of a white man and a black woman, possibly John and Susan Hughes. When he was about six years old, Hughes was sold with his mother and two brothers to Dr. Louis a physician in Scottsville Virginia When Dr Louis died young Hughes was sold with his mother and brother to Washington Fitzpatrick also of Scottsville who soon sent him then about eleven years old to Richmond on the pretense of hiring him out to work on a canal boat Parting with his mother at such a young age was difficult even more difficult was his realization that he would never see his mother again For Hughes this experience became the central symbol of the fundamental inhumanity of the system of slavery a symbol to which he returns at key points in ...

Article

Christopher J. Neumann

autobiographer and black women's rights activist, was born Jane Edna Harris in Pendleton, South Carolina, the daughter of Edward Harris and Harriet Millner, sharecroppers. Following her father's death due to jaundice when she was ten years old, Jane and her three siblings were distributed briefly among the homes of various relatives. His death and the ensuing dispersal of her nuclear family were especially difficult for Jane, in part because she had customarily been “father's ally in his differences with mother” (A Nickel, 12) but also because she now had to forgo formal schooling to earn her keep in Anderson, South Carolina, as a live-in nursemaid and cook. Although treated so poorly by her mistress that white and black neighbors alike protested, she was taught to read and write by the eldest daughter.

Harris entered Ferguson Academy (later Ferguson-Williams College) in 1896 graduating four years later ...

Article

Hassoum Ceesay

Gambian politician, women's rights activist, playwright, and nurse, was born in May 1924 in Banjul, Gambia, to Sir John Mahoney, the first Speaker of the Gambian Legislature, and Lady Hannah Mahoney, a typist. She attended St Joseph's Convent and the Methodist Girls’ High School in Banjul, where she sat her Cambridge School Leaving Certificate Examination in 1942.

From 1942 to 1946 she worked as a nurse assistant at the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) in Banjul, before traveling to England in 1946 to study medicine at the Royal Infirmary, Bristol, where she obtained her State Registered Nurse (SRN) certificate in 1953. On returning to Gambia, she was posted as a nursing sister to Basse, 400 kilometers from Bathurst, where she met and married Dawda Kairaba Jawara. Their marriage at Basse in February 1955 was described in the Bathurst press as a unique occasion which ...