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DaMaris B. Hill

storyteller, librarian, and author, was born Augusta Braxton in Baltimore, Maryland, the only child of two educators, Winford J. and Mabel Braxton. Her father later became a wood craftsman, and her mother retired from formal teaching to raise her daughter. Baker skipped at least two grades in elementary school and might have skipped more—she explained later in an interview with Robert V. Williams—if her father hadn't insisted that she be educated among her peers. Baker's maternal grandmother, Augusta Fax Gough, was an integral part of-Baker's childhood and found that the only means of quieting the young Baker was to entertain her through storytelling. These beloved experiences with storytelling would become the catalysts for a career in storytelling and would inspire Baker to write children's literature.

At age sixteen Baker was admitted to the University of Pittsburgh She did well with the academic material despite ...

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Melanie R. Thomas

librarian, bibliophile, and African Americana collector, was born Mayme Jewell Agnew at Van Buren, Arkansas, to Jerry and Mary Agnew. Jerry Agnew was a general store manager and the only African American merchant in town at the time. His wife Mary Knight Agnew was a homemaker. Upon graduation from high school, Mayme Agnew enrolled at-Lincoln University in Missouri and later moved to-New York. There, she met and married Andrew Lee Clayton in 1946. The couple had three sons. The-Clayton family relocated to California, where Mayme Clayton graduated from the University of-California, Berkeley, with a BA in History. She earned a master of library science degree through an external degree program run by Goddard College in Vermont in the 1970s and in 1983 was awarded a doctorate in Humanities from La Sierra University in Riverside, California.

Clayton s career led to several library positions including work at the Doheny ...

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Born in Monessen, Pennsylvania, Beatrice Murphy lived most of her life in Washington, D.C. In 1928 she graduated from Dunbar High School and published her first poem. From 1933 to 1935 she was a columnist and for the next two years an editor at the Washington Tribune. Converting to Catholicism in 1938, she also became book review editor that year for the Afro-American and published her first poetry anthology, Negro Voices. She was also a secretary at Catholic University and part owner of a circulating library and stenography shop. She became a regular columnist for the Associated Negro Press and contributed poetry and reviews to numerous serials and collections. In the 1940s and 1950s she worked for the Office of Price Administration and then the Veterans Administration. In 1954 she was suspended without pay from her job as procurement clerk for supposedly having joined a subversive ...

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Courtney L. Young

pioneer of librarianship in African American history and studies in the United States. Born in Warrenton, Virginia, Dorothy Louise Burnett was the daughter of a doctor and grew up in Montclair, New Jersey. She married James Porter in 1929; he died in 1970, and she married Charles H. Wesley in 1979.

Burnett received her AB from Howard in 1928 and received both her bachelor's (1931) and master's (1932) degrees in library science from Columbia University, where she was the first African American to earn a library degree. In 1930 she was appointed librarian for the Negro Collection at Howard University, and she served there as the African American studies librarian until 1973. The collection began with a 1914 gift from the minister and Howard alumnus Jesse E. Moorland three thousand items on African Americans and slavery known as A Library of ...

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SallyAnn H. Ferguson

In the introduction to Richard Newman's Black Access: A Bibliography of Afro-American Bibliographies (1984), Dorothy Burnett Porter Wesley writes that her appointment in 1930 as “librarian in charge of the Negro Collection” at Howard University Library in Washington, D.C., was the turning point in her life. She had recently been one of the first two African Americans to receive the master's degree in library science from Columbia University. In accepting the Howard position, she brought the energy and intelligence necessary to make what would become the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center the renowned repository it is today. She has spent nearly six decades collecting, cataloging, and writing about the works of African Americans, Africans, Afro-Brazilians, Afro-Cubans, West Indians, and people of African descent living in the Spanish-speaking countries of South America. Moreover, her own scholarly publications about African American culture and people provide further evidence of her resourcefulness.

In ...

Article

Billie E. Walker

librarian, author, developer of curricula in multicultural children's literature, and one of the first bibliographers of African American children's books, was born in Yazoo City, Mississippi, the daughter of Allen G. Hill, a farmer, and Birdie Tucker, a teacher. During her early childhood, Rollins's family moved to the Oklahoma territory. Although Rollins was denied access to her local library as a child because of her race, she credited her family with encouraging her to seek as much education as possible, and her grandmother, a former slave, with instilling in her a love of books. She explained: “Grandma told wonderful stories of her life as a slave. I've always loved books because of her…. I would read anything and everything” (Hopkins, 300). Rollins attended segregated schools in Beggs, Oklahoma; St. Louis, Missouri; and Holly Springs, Mississippi; and in 1916 she graduated from ...