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Jeremy Rich

Gabonese politician and foreign minister, was born on 10 April 1956 to Omar (then Albert-Bernard) Bongo Ondimba and Louise Mouyabi Moukala in Franceville, capital of the southeastern Gabonese province of Haut-Ogooué. At the time of her birth, her father, Omar Bongo Ondimba, later president of Gabon, was a lieutenant in the French air force. Little public information is available about her childhood and adolescence, but she attended the University of California–Los Angeles in 1979 with her younger sister Albertine. Her father had purchased a home for roughly 2.2 million dollars US in Beverly Hills, California. Shortly before moving to the United States, she reportedly had a short romantic relationship with the Jamaican reggae singer Bob Marley.

Pascaline Bongo finished her studies in the United States and returned to Gabon Although little detailed information exists about her activities in the 1980s she rose to prominence in her father s government after ...

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David M. Fahey

fraternal society leader and banker, was born in Habersham County, Georgia, the son of Joseph Browne and Mariah (maiden name unknown), field slaves. As a young child he was called Ben Browne and was chosen to be the companion of his owner's son. A subsequent owner who lived near Memphis trained Browne as a jockey for race circuits in Tennessee and Mississippi. During the Civil War he plotted an escape with fellow slaves. When his owner learned of the conspiracy, he transferred Browne to a plantation in Mississippi. Despite the difficulties of tramping fifty miles without a compass, Browne persuaded three other young slaves to join him in a successful escape to the Union army at Memphis. After learning that his owner could demand his return, Browne fled upriver as a stowaway.

Browne later worked as a saloon servant in Illinois where his barroom experiences made him a teetotaler and ...

Article

Steven Leikin

diplomat, preacher, and author, was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Sallie Montgomery. Nothing is known of his biological father. His mother, however, was an African American, and Dennis was of mixed race parentage. In 1897 he was adopted by Green Dennis, a contractor, and Cornelia Walker. During his youth Dennis was known as the “mulatto child evangelist,” and he preached to church congregations in the African American community of Atlanta before he was five years old. By the age of fifteen he had toured churches throughout the United States and England and addressed hundreds of thousands of people.

Despite his success as an evangelist Dennis had ambitions to move beyond this evangelical milieu. In 1913, unschooled but unquestionably bright, he applied to Phillips Exeter Academy and gained admission. He graduated within two years and in 1915 entered Harvard.

Dennis s decisions to ...

Article

Charles Rosenberg

building engineer, real estate investor, chairman and majority owner of a bank, was born in Panama City, Florida, the only son of Jacoby D. Dickens, Sr. and Marie Dickens, who may also have been known as Lessie Mae. The latter name is recorded in the 1940 census, but Marie is the name Dickens gave in a 1999 interview for The History Makers Digital Archive.

Dickens had two older sisters and three younger ones. His father was a longshoreman, loading and unloading ocean vessels. In Florida he attended a racially segregated two-room schoolhouse, with two teachers each handling four grades. He had a job after school in a grocery store for $1.50 a week. After his parents divorced, he moved with his father and sisters to Chicago in 1946 where Dickens held a part time job at Goldblatt Brothers and graduated from Wendell Phillips High School ...

Article

Wall Street financier, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, was born in New London, Connecticut, the oldest of three sons of Alphonse Fletcher Sr., a technician at General Dynamics and an entrepreneur, and Bettye Fletcher Comer, an elementary school principal and doctor of education. In interviews, Fletcher frequently credited his parents' emphasis on education and discipline as the keys to his success in school and business. In 1987 Fletcher graduated as First Marshal of his class from Harvard College with a bachelor's degree in Applied Mathematics. Having cross-enrolled in the Aerospace Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as part of the U.S. Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps, he was commissioned in 1987, and served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force Ready Reserve until his honorable discharge in 1997.

The firm of Bear Stearns Co Inc recruited Fletcher directly out of college ...

Article

Alphonse Fletcher, Jr., known by the nickname Buddy, was born in Waterford, Connecticut. He attended Harvard University, graduating in 1987 with a bachelor's degree in applied mathematics. In his senior year, his fellow students chose him marshal, or president, of his class.

After graduating, Fletcher worked as an investment manager for the Wall Street firm of Bear, Stearns & Company before joining Kidder, Peabody & Company as a senior vice president managing an equity arbitrage group. Although he was among its most successful traders, the relationship ended poorly, with Fletcher's resignation in 1991. He subsequently sued the firm over a disputed bonus. Citing racial discrimination, he alleged that the company underpaid him approximately $2 million. His suits resulted in an arbitration award to him of $1.3 million in 1992, although a separate arbitration found no evidence of discrimination.

Immediately after Fletcher left Kidder Peabody he founded Fletcher ...

Article

Maitseo Bolaane

, Botswana politician and businessman, was born 4 March 1942 to Gaolathe Dadanaye and Gasemotho Phathi Ndaba in the small village of Nkange, North-East District. Immediately after his birth, his father, a carpenter, moved his small family from Nkange to the neighboring and prosperous village of Tutume. It was here that young Baledzi Gaolathe lived his early years, often accompanying his father on his assignments and carpentry projects. His father died when he was still young. After his father’s death, Gaolathe’s mother moved the family to Selolwane village, within walking distance of Tutume, where the family stayed with a grandmother, Mmaduwe. Gaolathe did not stay long in Selolwane, as he was taken by a paternal aunt to Changate, where he learned the skills of growing crops and rearing livestock. The slow-paced life of livestock rearing in rural Botswana nurtured his lifelong love for nature and outdoor activities.

In 1952 ...

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Lynne B. Feldman

entrepreneur, was born Arthur George Gaston in Demopolis, Alabama, the son of Tom Gaston, a railroad worker, and Rosa Gaston (maiden name unknown), a cook. He grew up in poverty in rural Alabama before he and his mother moved to Birmingham, Alabama, after his father's death. He attended, and for a good time resided at, Tuggle Institute, where he received a moral and industrial education. In 1910 he graduated from the school with a tenth grade certificate. Before and after graduation he worked at a number of part-time jobs, including selling subscriptions for the Birmingham Reporter.

Gaston served in World War I in France as a sergeant in the 317th Ammunition Train of the all black 92nd Division of the U S army Upon his return to the United States he briefly worked at a dry cleaning factory for five dollars a day before landing a job ...

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Ntewusu Aniegye

Ghanaian business leader, nationalist, and politician, was born on 17 June 1913 in Warri, Nigeria, to Emma Dey and Awummee Gbedema from Anyarko, in the present-day Volta region of Ghana. Gbedemah was the eldest son among six siblings. He received his elementary education from 1916–1927 in Keta in the Volta region, and Accra. In 1928 he sat for the Junior School Certificate Examination and passed, enabling him to attend Achimota School.

At Achimota, after failing to earn the required grade in the qualifying examination, Gbedemah could not obtain a scholarship to pursue his dream of a career in medicine. He did, however, gain employment as a part-time proofreader and editor of the Times, owned by J B Danquah a leading Gold Coast as present day Ghana was called during the colonial era nationalist and one of the founding members of the United Gold Coast Convention UGCC His work with ...

Article

Efraim Barak

Egyptian economist and banker, was born in the al-Jamaliya quarter of Cairo to a family of Bedouin origin that migrated to Cairo several years earlier from a village in the vicinity of the Delta. His family belonged to the middle class and his father Hasan Muhammad Harb worked at the government railroad administration. In 1885 Harb completed his studies at the al Tawfiqiya high school in Cairo and began studying at the Khedival Law College Kuliyyat al Huquq which was at the end of the nineteenth century an incubator for many of the Egyptian nationalists and modernists such as Mustafa Kamil Muhamad Farid and Ahmad Lutfi al Sayyid In the college Harb obtained in depth knowledge in Western culture as well as in French culture and law which was the basis for the study of law in Egypt at the time Following his graduation he worked as a translator ...

Article

Maitseo Bolaane

government official and central banker in Botswana, was born in Cape Town on 23 December 1936. His father Henry Hodgson Hermans was the senior partner in a leading Cape Town law firm. His mother Marjorie Stanhope (nee Lamb) Hermans was a civil rights activist, prominent in the Black Sash organization, and in the Anglican Church. She also managed the family cattle ranch in the Bechuanaland Protectorate after the death of her father in 1945.

Hermans, nicknamed “Quill,” completed his matriculation in 1955 at Diocesan College, Rondebosch, South Africa. He holds an MA in geography (1959) from Oxford University (Trinity College), a diploma in economics, social, and industrial development from University of Pittsburgh (1960), an MA in African studies (1961) from Howard University in Washington, D.C., and an MA in development economics from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee (1967).

Before taking ...

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Alexandre Hatungimana

prime minister of Burundi from June 1993 to February 1994, was born Sylvie Ntigashira in Mugoyi in the province of Bujumbura on 24 November 1953. After primary and secondary studies with the sisters of the Ijenda parish, she attended the University of Burundi (Faculty of Economic Sciences), from which she graduated in 1979 with a degree directed toward banking credit. In 1990 she obtained a Diplôme d’études supérieures (DES) in banking and finance at the Centre International de Formation de la Profession Bancaire in Paris. The same year, on returning to her country, she was hired at the Banque Centrale BRB (Banque de la République de Burundi) where she directed the department of research and statistics (1990–1991), the focal point of the IMF and the World Bank in Burundi. From 1991 to 1993 she maintained the Programme d’Ajustement Structurel (PAS) attached to the prime ministry. In 1973 ...

Article

Eric Young

Sylvie Kinigi rose to prominence as a commercial banker and senior officer of Burundi's structural adjustment program. After Melchior Ndadaye, an ethnic Hutu, was elected to the presidency in June 1993, he appointed Kinigi, a Tutsi married to a Hutu, prime minister in an act of national reconciliation and as part of a policy of appointing women to top posts. Kinigi and Agathe Uwilingiyimana, the premier of neighboring Rwanda, served simultaneously as the first female prime ministers in Africa. Kinigi, a member of the former ruling Union for National Progress (UPRONA) Party, was a political moderate, but her leadership was quickly eclipsed by events beyond her control.

In October 1993 after a military coup killed President Ndadaye and threw Burundi into violence Kinigi sought asylum in the French embassy Her appeals for international support convinced the military to return to its barracks allowing Kinigi to ...

Article

Jason Philip Miller

businessman and politician, was born in Kaufman County in the eastern part of Texas to George McDonald, a native Tennessean who had once (reportedly) been owned by the Confederate officer and founder of the Ku Klux Klan, Nathan Bedford Forrest. George was a farmer by trade. McDonald's mother, Flora Scott, was either a former slave or a freewoman, depending on the source. What appears certain is that she was from Alabama and died when McDonald was still very young. His father soon married a woman named Belle Crouch. Education in the family was a matter of great importance; McDonald was in fact named after William Shakespeare and the former U.S. president James Madison. He attended local schools and graduated from high school around 1884 As a young man he took work from a local cattle rancher and lawyer named Z T Adams who discussed the law ...

Article

Travis Boyce and Winsome Chunnu-Brayda

civil-rights activist, soldier, commercial banker, and stock broker, was born Joseph Alfred McNeil on 25 March 1942 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Even prior to entering college, civil-rights activism was not new to McNeil. As a youth in Wilmington, he participated in a boycott of Pepsi-Cola for discriminatory hiring practices. By attending a segregated school, McNeil was shielded from the hostility that one would otherwise experience at an integrated school. His teachers constantly emphasized to him and his classmates that they are entitled to the same rights and opportunities as their white counterparts.

McNeil graduated from Wilmington's Williston High School in 1959 and that fall entered North Carolina Agriculture and Technical College in Greensboro on an alumni association scholarship. An engineering-physics major, McNeil was also a cadet in the Air Force ROTC program. During his freshman year, McNeil befriended Franklin McCain, David Richmond, and Ezell Blair (later Jibreel Khazan ...

Article

Willard B. Gatewood

Mitchell, John, Jr. (11 July 1863–03 December 1929), newspaper editor and banker was born near Richmond Virginia on the estate of James Lyons where his parents John Mitchell and Rebecca maiden name unknown were house slaves After gaining their freedom the Mitchells were employed by Lyons as servants in his mansion in the city where their son performed various chores and became a keen observer of the rituals of polite society practiced there Mitchell s mother exerted the decisive influence on him during his formative years she instilled in him a fierce sense of racial pride instructed him in the ways of gentlemanly conduct and insisted on his regular attendance at the First African Baptist Church where he was baptized at the age of fourteen Over the objections of her white employer Rebecca Mitchell arranged for her son s education first in a private school and later ...

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Cyril Daddieh

an economist and international banker-turned-politician in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), was born in Dimbokro on 1 January 1942. This birthplace and his subsequent claim to Ivoirian nationality is highly contested in Abidjan, the Ivoirian commercial capital. He attended secondary school in Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso) and then proceeded to the University of Pennsylvania on a Fulbright scholarship as a national of Burkina Faso. He received his bachelor’s degree (BA) in mathematics, followed by an MA and a PhD in economics, awarded in 1967 and 1972. respectively.

“ADO,” as Ouattara is popularly known to his supporters, has had an illustrious career in international banking and finance spanning nearly four decades. He first joined the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in April 1968 as chief economist Ouattara left five years later to join the Central Bank of West African States BCEAO as head of mission in Paris where he ...

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Lynne B. Feldman

pastor, banker, and race leader, was born in Granville County, North Carolina, the son of William Pettiford and Matilda (maiden name unknown), farmers. Pettiford, a free black, spent his early years laboring on the family farm. He received a rudimentary education at home and then attended Marion Normal School; he was employed from 1877 to 1880 as a teacher and financial agent at Selma Institute (later Selma University). In 1869 he married Mary Jane Farley, who died that same year. In 1873 he married Jennie Powell, who died in September 1874. In 1880 he married Della Boyd, with whom he had three children.

Pettiford's most remarkable accomplishments were achieved after he accepted in 1883 the pastorate at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham Alabama Birmingham was a booming city of the New South where blacks migrated in search of employment primarily ...

Article

Agnes Leslie

the first woman to become a paramount chief in Botswana, was born in 1950, the first child of Paramount Chief Kgosi Mokgosi III. “Mosadi,” which translates as “woman” in Setswana, was born in Ramotswa, a village about twenty miles (32 kilometers) south of the capital city, Gaborone. Ramotswa is also the capital of the Balete or Bamalete, ethnic group. She had seven sisters and one brother. Her father died in 1966, and after that a paternal uncle served as a regent for her brother, who was nine years her junior. Seboko attended Moedin College in Otse Village, south of Gaborone, and obtained the Cambridge Overseas School Certificate in 1969. She started working as soon as she finished high school in order to help her mother with her siblings when her father died. She pursued a career in banking for twenty-four years, joining Barclays Bank in 1971 ...

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Robert Fikes

minister, educational administrator, and civic activist, was born in Hayneville, Alabama, the son of Will Smith, a sharecropper, and Amanda (Tyler) Smith, a laundress. Valedictorian of his Miller's Ferry, Alabama, Presbyterian high school class, George worked his way through Knoxville College in Tennessee majoring in chemistry with a minor in biology and German. A member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, he was awarded his bachelor's degree in 1951, the same year that he married Irene Hightower; they eventually had three children.

Smith was taking graduate courses in education at Alabama State University while teaching high school in the rural town of Annemanie, Alabama, when a series of incidents of extreme racial brutality persuaded him to leave his job and his home state and enter the ministry, a career path that he had earlier rejected. In 1953 he enrolled at the Pittsburgh ...