religious and educational leader, was born to a family of chiefs in the town of Rusengo in eastern Burundi. The names and occupations of his parents are not known. He attended primary school in Rusengo from 1927 to 1933 and completed his secondary education at the Mugera seminary from 1933 to 1939. Barakana then decided to complete his theological training to become a Roman Catholic priest. He underwent training at the seminary in Nyakibanda from 1939 to 1947 and was ordained on 25 July 1947. Soon afterward, he went to the Vatican to study for a doctorate in canon law, which he received in 1950. Barakana thus became the first Burundian to ever receive a doctorate. Barakana decided to join the Jesuit Catholic religious order and officially became a member of this order on 20 May 1953 at Djuma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo ...
Elaine C. Wells
George Bell was born a slave and lived in Virginia. His wife, Sophia Browning, purchased his freedom for $400, using money she earned secretly by selling produce from her garden. He then purchased her freedom. They bought their two sons from slave owners a few years later, but the Bell family was unable to free a daughter named Margaret. Their first freeborn child, Harriet, was born in 1803. The family lived in Washington, D.C., where Bell worked as a carpenter.
The municipal government of Washington authorized the establishment of public schools for whites in 1804, and in 1806 public education of white children began with the opening of two school buildings. There was no provision for the education of blacks, although the 1800 census for Washington showed 783 free blacks. In 1807 Bell the principal activist in this endeavor built the first school for black ...
Mary Anne Boelcskevy
actor and singer, was born Laura Bradford in Quincy, Illinois, the daughter of a Dutch mother and a father with mixed black and white parentage. She grew up in Cincinnati, where she sang in church choirs. Her early family life was difficult, and her father arranged her marriage at sixteen to Henry Ward Bowman, a railroad porter. The unhappy marriage lasted only two years. In 1902 Bowman's dream of a singing career began with her professional debut as a member of the chorus in the Midwest tour of the Williams and Walker Company's production of In Dahomey. The show went on to New York and in 1903 toured England, where it also played at Buckingham Palace for the ninth birthday of the Prince of Wales, Edward VIII.
During the tour of In Dahomey Bowman fell in love with Pete Hampton another performer in the show Soon after ...
politician and activist, was born into slavery in North Carolina. Both he and his mother, Susan, were owned by the wealthy Thomas Burke Burton, who moved to Fort Bend County, Texas, from Halifax County, North Carolina, in the 1850s. Most accounts claim that the slaveholder favored Burton, taught him to read and write, and, after the Civil War, sold land to him; some accounts claim that Burton supported his former owner's wife when she was widowed during Reconstruction.
On 28 September 1868 Burton married Abba Jones (sometimes listed as Abby and sometimes as Hattie). The couple had three children, Horace J., Hattie M., and an unnamed child who died in infancy. Susan Burton lived with the young family until her death c. 1890.
Propertied, literate, and articulate, Burton quickly became active in the local Republican Party, the local Union League, and larger Reconstruction efforts. In 1869 ...
Huel D. Perkins
Joseph Samuel Clark was born in Bienville Parish near Sparta, Louisiana, the son of Phillip and Jane Clark. His early schooling occurred near his birthplace, through the assistance of whites, while he maintained his share of the family responsibilities. Between 1891 and 1895, Clark studied in the preparatory department of Coleman College, Gibsland, Louisiana, working his way through school. He matriculated at Bishop College in Marshall, Texas, but received no degree. From 1896 to 1901 he attended Leland College in New Orleans, Louisiana, from which he received a B.A. degree in 1901. Additional studies resulted in an M.A. from Selma University in Alabama (1913) and honorary Ph.D. degrees from Leland College, Louisiana, (1914) and Arkansas Baptist College (1921). He did postgraduate study at Harvard University, in Massachusetts, and the University of Chicago, in Illinois.
Clark involved himself in several organizations ...
educator and journalist, was born in Chillicothe, Ohio, the son of William Corbin and Susan, both Virginia-born former slaves. Corbin's parents eventually settled in Cincinnati to raise their family of twelve children. Corbin attended school sporadically because of economic circumstances (one of his classmates was John Mercer Langston), though his family emphasized education. In the late 1840s Corbin and his older sister Elizabeth moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where their father had family. Both lived with the Reverend Henry Adams, the pastor of the black First Baptist Church. Though the 1850 census takers listed him as a cook, Corbin taught at least some of the time in a school supported by Adams.
Thirsty for further education, Corbin traveled north to Ohio University, where he earned a BA in 1853 and an MA in 1856 He settled in Cincinnati worked as a bank messenger and steward gained prominence ...
Tom W. Dillard
Joseph Carter Corbin was born in Chillicothe, Ohio, on March 26, 1833, of free parents, William and Susan Corbin. By attending several small schools he secured a basic education, and in 1850 he entered Ohio University, of Athens, Ohio. He received his bachelor's degree in 1853 and his master's in 1856. Before receiving his graduate degree, Corbin had accepted employment with a bank in Cincinnati, Ohio. Later, he taught at a school in Louisville, Kentucky. During the Civil War (1861–1865) Corbin edited a Cincinnati newspaper, the Colored Citizen. In 1866 he married Mary Jane Ward. The couple had six children, only two of whom survived their father.
Corbin and his family moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1872, where he worked as a reporter for the Republican Party newspaper, the Daily Republican Like many other African Americans of that day ...
, founder of the University of al-Qarawiyyin in Fez, Morocco, the oldest operating university in the world, was also known as “Fatima al-Fihriya” and oum al-banine the mother of the children The al Fihri family migrated from Qayrawan located in present day Tunisia to Fez at the beginning of the ninth century during the reign of the Idrisids the first independent Muslim dynasty to govern Morocco During this period there was a significant migration of people from Qayrawan to Fez As a result the population of Fez grew rapidly far outpacing the city s existing infrastructure This left many neighborhoods lacking mosques When Mohammed al Fihri an affluent businessman and member of the Qayrawan migrant community died he left a large fortune to his daughters Mariam and Fatima Both daughters were highly educated and therefore well aware of the community s need for public gathering places Thus they decided ...
author, bishop, and educator, was born a slave in Wilkes County, Georgia, to parents whose names are unknown. He was owned by a man named Robert Toombs. The seventh of fourteen children, Gaines was a sickly child, but during his bouts of illness he secretly taught himself to read and studied diligently.
Gaines became a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church of the South in 1849 following in his father s footsteps After the Civil War he became a preacher in the church but his tenure there was short lived as he and numerous other black Americans left the branch of the Methodist Church that had condoned slavery His brother convinced him to move to the African Methodist Episcopal AME Church where he was quickly ordained as an elder In the 1880s Gaines became the second pastor of the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in ...
Thomas D. Pawley
Born October 31, 1870, on a farm in Oktibbeha County, Mississippi, 10 km (6 mi) south of Starkville, Gandy was the fifth of thirteen children born to Horace and Mary (Goodwin) Gandy, freed slaves and tenant farmers. His paternal grandfather, Ed Gandy, had come to the United States from Ireland following the potato famine of the 1830s, settling first in South Carolina, later in Alabama, and finally in Mississippi. His maternal grandmother was of mixed French, Native American, and black origin. Given the middle name Mumphis, which he disliked, he later changed it to Manuel. His mother, whose gentle nature contrasted with his father's, exerted a great influence on him.
Like so many other blacks during this period Horace and Mary Gandy were trapped by the economic servitude imposed on them by the tenant farmer system In an effort to escape the unending cycle of debt ...
was born on 3 April 1934 in Morgan Forest, Jamaica. His mother was a member of the Church of God (COG), which had begun work in Jamaica in 1918. The COG is a predominantly white Pentecostal denomination based in Cleveland, Tennessee that welcomes women ministers as evangelists and practices faith healing. Saved in 1952, Grey was later baptized and became a member of the Aenon Town COG. He started to preach and got elected deacon at the same church.
In 1955 the COG organized its first two congregations in Wolverhampton and Birmingham, England. The following year Grey moved to Leeds and worked as a bus conductor. In 1958 he married his first wife, Phebe Joanna Betty, a teacher, with whom he had twelve children. In April 1959 Grey began prayer meetings in Leeds which the COG in England formally organized as a new congregation with Grey as ...
Lester C. Lamon
Born on September 26, 1876, in the eastern Tennessee hamlet of Retro, William Jasper Hale spent his formative years in close association with white paternalism. Because there was no public education for rural blacks, he obtained the basic essentials of learning in the Quaker and Northern Presbyterian-supported schools in Maryville, Tennessee. Although his training was limited, Hale had influential white contacts in Chattanooga. These contacts not only ensured him initial employment, but also served as the foundation upon which he built his career. After starting in a small black elementary school, Hale soon parlayed his outstanding administrative talents and his white connections into the most important black post in the Chattanooga system: principal of the black Saint Elmo secondary school. Still, neither his ambitions nor his talents had been fully extended.
When the 1909 state legislature provided for the founding of an Agricultural and Industrial State Normal ...
Oliver Otis Howard was born in Leeds, Maine, to a farming couple, Rowland and Eliza Otis Howard. In 1850 he graduated from Bowdoin College and went on to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he graduated in 1854 and was ranked fourth in his class. A year later Howard married Elizabeth Ann Waite, with whom he had seven children. After tours of duty in New York, Maine, and Florida, Howard returned to West Point in 1857 to teach mathematics.
In the Civil War, Howard proved himself an able commander, moving up in rank from first lieutenant to colonel of the Third Maine in 1861. In July 1861 he led troops at Bull Run and two months later was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. In the spring of 1862 he was severely wounded and most of his right arm was amputated By August ...
Raymond Pierre Hylton
college administrator, entrepreneur, and first and sixth president of Liberia, was born either in Norfolk, Portsmouth, or Petersburg, Virginia, the son of James Roberts and Amelia (maiden name unknown). A persistent rumor that his father was an unidentified white man remains no more than mere speculation. James Roberts and his wife were freed people and had seven surviving children. The family ran a boat and trading business that plied the James River. The Robertses probably lived for a while in Norfolk and later moved to Petersburg, where Joseph alternately worked for his father and in a barbershop owned by the Reverend William Nelson Colson, an African American minister and businessman. The Colson business was located at Wythe and Sycamore streets—an historical marker indicates the actual site.
By 1829 James Roberts had died leaving considerable financial assets and property in Petersburg Joseph as the eldest child ...
Sarah C. Thuesen
educator and college founder, was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, the eldest of twelve children of Hattie Whitted and Augustus Shepard, a prominent Baptist minister. He attended local primary schools and graduated in 1894 with a pharmacy degree from Shaw University in Raleigh. In 1895 he married Annie Day Robinson, the granddaughter of Thomas Day, a well-known antebellum cabinetmaker. The couple had two daughters, Annie Day and Marjorie Augusta.
After college Shepard practiced pharmacy for several years and quickly established himself among North Carolina's leading black entrepreneurs. In 1898 he became one of the first seven investors in the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company in Durham, which eventually became the largest black-owned business in the South. He also helped incorporate another Durham institution, the Mechanics and Farmers Bank, in 1907 While making these entrepreneurial inroads Shepard kept one foot in the world of ...
Lois Massengale Schultz
community activist, was born Jane Roberta Whatley in Hayneville, Lowndes County, Alabama, the eighth child and only girl of fifteen children born to Minerva Kendall Whatley and Calvin Whatley, a sharecropper and laborer. At an early age Jane worked to help support the family, and by the age of sixteen she was selling insurance for the Atlanta Mutual Benefit Association.
Summers's lifelong commitment to helping others was instilled at an early age by her parents, who had been born into slavery. A family story passed down through the generations had an enormous impact on young Jane. Relatives told how her father, Calvin, at the age of five carried water to his enslaved father, Simon, who had been beaten, tied to a tree, and left to die. Simon was subjected to this torturous punishment because he had protested the master's sexual abuse of his wife.
In 1922 ...
Leland Conley Barrows
educator and college founder, was born in Talbotton, Georgia, the seventh child of impoverished and illiterate parents. Her father, John Wesley Wright, a former slave, was a carpenter; her mother, Virginia Rolfe, a Cherokee Indian who maintained her tribal affiliation, earned money, from time to time, as a fortune teller, and had twenty-one children.
Wright acquired basic literacy and numeracy at a school for blacks operated in the St. Philip's African Methodist Episcopal Church in Talbotton. Her opportunity to leave her home environment came, when, by chance, she picked up a discarded newspaper page which introduced her to the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Here she enrolled in September 1888 in a special work-study preparatory program intended for students who could not pay full fees. She was assigned to kitchen duty.
Wright s chronic poor health coupled with her intelligence and her iron determination to become a teacher ...