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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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Eric Gardner

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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Delano Greenidge-Copprue

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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

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 ...