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Anne K. Driscoll

meteorologist, was born June Esther Griffin in Wichita, Kansas, the only child of James Griffin, an auto mechanic who put himself through law school and eventually became an attorney, and Cherrie MacSalles, a music teacher. The name she is known by, Bacon-Bercey, is a combination of the last names of her first two husbands. She was married to Walker Bacon, a doctor, from 1956 to 1967 and to John Bercey, a businessman, from 1968 to 1980. Encouraged by her parents, Bacon-Bercey became interested in science at a very young age, and in high school a physics teacher steered her toward a career in meteorology. Bacon-Bercey attended the University of California at Los Angeles, where she earned a BS in Mathematics and Meteorology in 1954 despite the attitude of many of her professors who felt that a woman was better suited to studying home economics ...

Article

Christopher Campbell

Northamptonshirepoet and labourer whose support for the Anti‐Slavery Movement was consistent with his consideration for the plight of the disfranchised within society. He corresponded with the literary editor and publisher Thomas Pringle secretary of the Anti Slavery Society on the subject of the colonial trade in trafficking humans I have a feeling on the broad principle of common humanity that slavery is not only impiety but disgracful to a country professing religion and there is evidence to suggest that Clare considered contributing to poetic anthologies on the subject He later utilized the language of abolition to describe his own wretched state in the asylum which he termed a slave ship from Africa While Clare expresses little condemnation for the machinery of imperialism as a system in the Blakean sense his account of meeting a black beggar outside St Paul s Cathedral London and his resolve to return with ...

Article

Kahiudi C. Mabana

Congolese writer and chemist, was born on 14 July 1941 to a Congolese father and a central African mother. He was nineteen when Congo-Brazzaville achieved independence, which allowed him to refine his views on history and the surrounding world.

After secondary school in the Congo, Dongala embarked for the United States, where he obtained a BA in chemistry at Oberlin College and an MA at Rutgers University. He completed a doctorate in organic chemistry in France. Returning to his country, he worked as a chemistry professor at the Université Marien Ngouabi in Brazzaville, where he passed a large part of his life. But he spent most of his time on literature and theater. For years he ran the Théâtre de l’Éclair in Brazzaville, until the political troubles that arose in the Congo forced him into exile in 1998 First he went to France where to the surprise of all involved ...

Article

Eric Bennett

Jane Goodall, the daughter of an engineer father and a novelist mother, was born in London, England. She had not received any college training in biology before taking her first trip to Africa as a tourist at the age of twenty-three. She went to Kenya, where she met paleontologist and anthropologist Louis Leakey. Goodall was a passionate amateur natural historian, and Leakey hired her as his assistant. In 1960, with Leakey's help, Goodall established a camp in the Gombe Stream Game Reserve in Tanzania, from which she ventured out each day to observe chimpanzees.

During the early 1960s, with extreme patience and slow progress, Goodall became acquainted with a group of chimpanzees on the shores of Lake Tanganyika By winning their trust Goodall was able to sit among them observing a hitherto undiscovered complexity of their relationships Goodall learned that chimpanzees maintain specific social ...

Article

Robert G. McGuire

Born a slave in Georgia on August 14, 1858, Andrew Franklin Hilyer was taken to Nebraska as a child by his mother. At her death he moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he was befriended by the wealthy Gale and Pillsbury families. In 1882 he graduated from the University of Minnesota. He then moved to Washington, D.C., where he received his LL.B. (bachelor of laws) in 1884 and his LL.M. (master of laws) in 1885 from Howard University. In 1886 he married Mamie Elizabeth Nichols a descendant of free blacks who had lived in the Washington area for several generations The Hilyers had two sons Gale P and Franklin and one daughter Kathleen Hilyer served as a Class II clerk in the Treasury Department and later as a member of the Interior Department Division of the General Accounting Office Seven years after the death of his first wife ...

Article

Robert Jr. Johnson

chemist, was the third of five children born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, to parents whose names are not recorded. The grandson of a former slave, his father worked in the local post office, and his mother was self-educated. His was a close-knit family that embraced education as the main route to economic independence and prosperity. All of the children graduated from high school. Knox's older sister went to normal school, and his brothers earned their doctorates. New Bedford had fewer than one thousand blacks when Knox was a child there, yet it was a prosperous community with black physicians and lawyers and even its own black police force. Frederick Douglass had lived there following his escape from slavery and the town had also been an important stop on the Underground Railroad Knox s sense of independence and self reliance was derived from this cultural milieu and it became ...

Article

Katrina D. Thompson

chemist, social scientist, and writer, was born in Garfield Heights, Washington, D.C., the son of William Harrison Lewis and Mary (Over) Lewis, of whom little else is known. In 1899 there were only four academic public schools in the segregated Washington, D.C., area, and only one of these was open to African Americans. Lewis attended the noted Dunbar High School, then known as M Street School. Because African Americans with advanced degrees had few other opportunities, during the 1920s three Dunbar teachers held the PhD degree, which was certainly unusual and perhaps unique in American public secondary education.

After attending Dunbar, Lewis graduated from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, with a bachelor's degree in Philosophy in 1925 While at Brown Lewis became the first undergraduate initiate of the Alpha Gamma Chapter of the first African American fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha Two years after graduating ...

Article

Ariel Bookman

Kenyan pioneer, horse trainer, aviator, and memoirist, was born on 26 October 1902 in Ashwell, Leicestershire, England, to Charles Clutterbuck, a former army officer, and Clara, née Alexander. Her parents, attracted by the intensive British government effort to promote white settlement in Kenya (then British East Africa), moved there with Beryl and her older brother Richard in 1904. Beryl’s early life was thus shaped by the unique opportunities open to a white child in a frontier colony: she spoke Swahili nearly as early as she did English; learned hunting, games, and mythology from her father’s Nandi tenants; and grew to recognize herself as part of Africa. As she phrased it in her 1942 memoir West with the Night with characteristic, figurative simplicity, “My feet were on the earth of Africa” (134).

Her mother soon returned with Richard to England where she remarried According to one of Markham s biographers ...

Article

Mohamed Kamara

full-time writer and biochemist by training, was born in Porédaka, in the Mamou region of central Guinea on 1 July 1947. He is from the nomadic and cattle-loving Fulbe people. Monénembo’s parents divorced when he was only five. His father was an “African doctor” in Bobo-Dioulasso, in the then French Upper Volta, today Burkina Faso. His mother moved to Sierra Leone to live with her new husband. Tierno Monénembo was thus left to be raised by his grandmother, among uncles and other relatives.

Born Thierno Saïdou Diallo, he received his pen name probably by combining the Fulbe word for grandmother, nenembo, with that for grandson, moné. After his primary school education, Monénembo left his village for middle school in N’Zérékoré and Kankan. From there, he went to Kindia and Conakry to attend high school. In 1969 he earned his baccalaureate with a concentration in biology The ...

Article

Virginia Whatley Smith

Diane Alene Oliver lived only twenty-two years, but she left a legacy of short stories to earn her recognition. Born 28 July 1943, Oliver grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, where her passage into adolescence coincided with the racial upheavals in the Charlotte–Mecklenburg school system. The Supreme Court ruled on Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, mandating desegregation of public schools. Oliver never capitulated to notions of racial inferiority and went on to graduate from West Charlotte High School.

In 1960, she enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro; that marked the beginning of an auspicious writing career. Oliver served as managing editor of The Carolinian, the campus newspaper; studied under poet Randall Jarrell; and also began to write short stories. A career break occurred when Oliver won the guest editorship for the June 1964 edition of Mademoiselle magazine in its ...

Article

Andrea Patterson

proctologist and author, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the grandson of a former slave from North Carolina, and the son of Thomas Henry Peyton, one of the first black policemen in New York City, and Louisa Jones, of African American and Mohawk Indian ancestry. Peyton attended a manual training high school in Brooklyn and continued his studies at the Long Island College of Medicine from where he graduated as the only black student of his class in 1921. In 1923 he married Gladys (maiden name unknown) and the couple had three children, Roy (b. 1925), Carter (b. 1928), and Joyce (b. 1935 Peyton lived during a time when black doctors experienced severe professional discrimination in training and practice Yet like Peyton their commitment to medicine and civil rights bound them together in a ceaseless effort to advance scientific knowledge provide better educational ...

Article

Amy Sparks Kolker

noted astrophysicist, astronomer, and writer, was born in New York City, second of three children born to Cyril deGrasse Tyson, a former commissioner for human resources for the mayor of New York City, and Sunchita Tyson a gerontologist Tyson grew up in New York City attending the Bronx High School of Science His interest in science particularly astronomy began early when he was nine years old he saw his first magnified view of the moon through a pair of binoculars Receiving a telescope for his twelfth birthday only furthered his already intense fascination with the universe Tyson also took regular trips to the Hayden Planetarium and benefited from the classes offered there When he was fourteen years old he participated in an astronomy camp held in the Mojave Desert These experiences gave Tyson enough expertise in the field of astronomy to begin giving lectures on ...

Article

Kenyan writer and physicist, was born in Nairobi, Kenya, to Indian parents, but grew up in Tanzania. When he was nineteen, he left the University of Nairobi on a scholarship to study physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States. He graduated with a PhD in theoretical nuclear physics from the University of Pennsylvania. In 1978 he settled in Toronto, Canada, where he still lives with his Tanzanian-born wife, Nurjehan, and his two sons, Anil and Kabir. From 1978 to 1980 he held a postdoctoral fellowship at Atomic Energy of Canada, and from 1980 to 1989 he worked as a researcher at the University of Toronto.

While at the University of Toronto Vassanji started to write short stories and began working on his first novel He also developed a keen interest in medieval Indian history and literature and together with his wife cofounded the multicultural literary ...