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Briallen Hopper

educator, lecturer, and activist, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the oldest daughter of Peter L. Baldwin, a Haitian mariner who became a Boston postman, and Mary E. Baldwin, a Baltimore native whose maiden name is now unknown. Baldwin was educated in Cambridge public schools, attending Sargent Primary School, Allston Grammar School, and Cambridge High School. After graduating from high school in 1874 she attended the Cambridge Teachers' Training School. Initially refused a job by the Cambridge school district, she looked elsewhere for employment and eventually took a position teaching elementary school in Chestertown, Maryland. Within a few years, however, she was back in Cambridge. Reportedly under pressure from the African American community, the Cambridge school district decided to offer her a job. In 1881 Baldwin accepted a teaching position at the Agassiz Grammar School on Oxford Street where she would spend the remainder of ...

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Sandra Y. Govan

A Los Angeles native and later resident of Vancouver, Washington, Steven Emory Barnes is the third African American author after 1960 to have chosen science fiction and fantasy writing as his primary profession. Barnes established himself through the 1980s as a determined and disciplined writer, one who had followed a cherished childhood dream to become a commercially successful professional writer.

The youngest child of Emory F. Barnes and Eva Mae (Reeves) Barnes, Steven Barnes grew up in Los Angeles. He attended Los Angeles High, Los Angeles City College, and Pepperdine University, Malibu, California (1978–1980 At Pepperdine he majored in communication arts but withdrew from school before completing a degree frustrated because he thought no one on the faculty could teach him about building a career as a professional writer It was not until Barnes made contact with established science fiction writer Ray Bradbury who sent the novice ...

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Gregory S. Jackson

author, editor, and antislavery lecturer, was born into slavery on the plantation of David White of Shelby County, Kentucky, the son of James Bibb, a slaveholding planter and state senator, and Mildred Jackson. White began hiring Bibb out as a laborer on several neighboring plantations before he had reached the age of ten. The constant change in living situations throughout his childhood, combined with the inhumane treatment he often received at the hands of strangers, set a pattern for life that he would later refer to in his autobiography as “my manner of living on the road.” Bibb was sold more than six times between 1832 and 1840 and was forced to relocate to at least seven states throughout the South later as a free man his campaign for abolition took him throughout eastern Canada and the northern United States But such early instability also made the ...

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Frank A. Salamone

pioneer in discrediting the racist concepts that characterized early twentieth-century anthropology and other social sciences. Franz Boas was born in Minden, Germany. He received his PhD in physics from the University of Kiel in 1881, but he soon shifted interest into the field of human geography. In 1883 he conducted his first fieldwork, among the Inuit people of Baffin Island. In 1887 he began research among the Indians of the Pacific Northwest. In 1899 he became the first professor of anthropology at Columbia University. When Boas began his anthropological work, anthropology was far from being a scientific field. It was infested with racist practitioners and amateurs. Boas held that too often people developed theories and then sought to gather information to prove their theories.

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Claire Strom

Brown, Hallie Quinn (10 March 1849–16 September 1949), educator, elocutionist, and entertainer, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Thomas Arthur Brown, a steward and express agent on riverboats, and Frances Jane Scroggins. Both her parents were former slaves. When Hallie was fourteen years old she moved with her parents and five siblings to Chatham, Ontario, where her father earned his living farming, and the children attended the local school. There Brown’s talents as a speaker became evident. Returning to the United States around 1870, the family settled in Wilberforce, Ohio, so that Hallie and her younger brother could attend Wilberforce College, a primarily black African Methodist Episcopal (AME) institution.

In 1873 Brown received her B S from Wilberforce The next year she began her work as a lecturer and reciter for the Lyceum a traveling educational and entertainment program She would continue both of these ...

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Alonford James Robinson

Hallie Brown was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to former slaves Thomas Arthur Brown and Frances Jane Scroggins Brown. She graduated from Wilberforce University in 1873 becoming a prominent educator and activist for civil rights and women s rights She held several positions in institutions of higher learning ...

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Lisa E. Rivo

elocutionist, educator, women's and civil rights leader, and writer, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Thomas Arthur Brown, a riverboat steward and express agent, and Frances Jane Scroggins, an educated woman who served as an unofficial adviser to the students of Wilberforce University. Thomas Brown was born into slavery in Frederick County, Maryland, the son of a Scottish woman plantation owner and her black overseer. Brown purchased his freedom and that of his sister, brother, and father. By the time of the Civil War, he had amassed a sizable amount of real estate. Hallie's mother, Frances, was also born a slave, the child of her white owner. She was eventually freed by her white grandfather, a former officer in the American Revolution.

Both of Hallie's parents became active in the Underground Railroad. Around 1864 the Browns and their six children moved to Chatham Ontario where ...

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Vivian Njeri Fisher

Brown proclaimed, “Full citizenship must be given the colored woman because she needs the ballot for her protection and that of her children.” Brown was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the fifth of six children of Thomas Arthur Brown and Frances (Scroggins) Brown. A former slave from Frederick County, Maryland, Thomas Brown had purchased his freedom in 1834. Frances Brown, a native of Winchester County, Virginia, was freed by her white grandfather, who was her owner and an officer in the American Revolution. When Hallie was born, her father was a riverboat steward and express agent, traveling from Pittsburgh, where he owned a considerable amount of real estate prior to the Civil War, and worked actively with the Underground Railroad in assisting fugitive slaves to freedom.

Thomas Brown moved his family to Chatham, Ontario, in 1864 because of his wife s poor health and to begin farming ...

Article

Linda Spencer

the first African American to work at the Smithsonian Institute, naturalist, and poet, was born free in what is now the Anacostia section of Washington, D.C. He was the fourth of six children born to Isaac and Rachel Brown. Little is known about Brown's family, except that his father died in 1833 and consequently the family struggled financially and lost their home in 1834. Brown received no formal education as a youngster. Because of prejudice and slavery in the 1800s, public education was not provided to free blacks living in Washington, D.C., until after the Emancipation Act in 1862. Brown was a self-educated man.

Accounts of Brown s early life indicate that there was an arrangement for him to live in the care of the assistant postmaster of Washington D C Lambert Tree Whether Brown was a household servant or an apprentice in Tree s work at ...

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E. Renée Ingram

educator, journalist, and lecturer, was born in Washington, D.C., the only child of Josephine Beall Willson Bruce and the U.S. senator Blanche Kelso Bruce, a Republican of Mississippi. When Senator Bruce was to take his oath of office, Mississippi's senior senator James Alcorn refused to escort him to the front of the Senate chamber. An embarrassing silence fell over the chamber until Senator Roscoe Conkling of New York extended his arm to Senator Bruce and escorted him forward. Senator Bruce was so grateful for the courtesy that he named his son for the gentleman from the Empire State.

Roscoe Conkling Bruce Sr. attended the M Street High School in Washington, D.C., and subsequently spent two years (1896–1898 at the prestigious Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter New Hampshire He won distinction in scholarship and journalism was a member of the Golden Branch the oldest debating society in country ...

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Rebecca L. Hankins

journalist, educator, lecturer, and actress, was born Marguerite Phillips Dorsey in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the only child of Joseph A. Dorsey, an architect and real estate broker, and Mary Louise Ross. Marguerite Cartwright's early education was in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She later earned her BS Ed. and MA degrees from Boston University in 1932 and 1933, respectively. Her master's thesis was on the African origins of drama, contending that the Greek god Dionysus was an African. She married the chemical engineer Leonard Carl Cartwright in 1930, an interracial union that lasted over fifty years, until his death in 1982.

Cartwright combined her academic interest in theater with an application as an actress in a number of plays and films, including the play Roll Sweet Chariot (1934) in New York City and the film Green Pastures (1935 Simultaneously working as an actress and a ...

Article

Sandria Green-Stewart

was born on 21 April 1925 in Bunker’s Hill, Trelawny, Jamaica, to Robert Patterson, a butcher and farmer, and Carolyn Anderson-Patterson, a seamstress. She recalled that her father wanted her to become a nurse, but that as a child she “was teaching everything in sight” (interview with author). Patterson attended Unity All-Age School and Bethlehem Teachers’ College, and after graduating in the mid-1940s taught at Tweedside Primary School, in the parish of Clarendon, where she was responsible for three classes. At Tweedside she began a career in teaching that lasted more than forty years.

Patterson completed the General Certificate of Education, Advanced Level (GCE A-Level) through independent learning. After securing a government scholarship, she attended the University of the West Indies, where she received a bachelor’s degree in education in 1951. On 15 April 1953 she married Alvin S Chambers and a year later the couple moved to ...

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Michael Mizell-Nelson

poet, historian, civil rights activist, college instructor, and small businessman, was born in Houma (Mechanicsville), Louisiana, to Emanuel Banks Christian and Rebecca Harris. Christian was born into a family of teachers; both his father and grandfather had taught in rural Louisiana. The latter was a former slave who served as a director of the Lafourche Parish public school system during Reconstruction. Christian's mother died when he was three, and his father, who had tutored him, died ten years later. Little else is known of his early education. He moved with his siblings to New Orleans in 1919, where he worked as a chauffeur before opening his own dry cleaners business. During the 1920s he started writing and publishing poetry, and he studied in the evening division of the New Orleans public school system. The publication of more than a dozen of Christian's poems in Opportunity during the ...

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Erica Tempesta

was born into slavery in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The 1880 Census lists a Mary V. Buckner, of Bowling Green, as the daughter of Richard Buckner, a laborer, and Ellen Buckner, a housekeeper. It is not known how Cook came to be known as Mary Cook. A strategic site in the Civil War, at the time of Cook’s birth Bowling Green had only recently been recovered from Confederate control. Though the city had been staunchly pro-Union before the war, sectional struggle, as well as the federal government’s interventions in the aftermath of the war, increased white Kentuckians’ sympathy for the Confederacy.

In this turbulent environment, a young Cook earned recognition for her academic performance, winning citywide competitions for spelling and reading. Her intelligence attracted admirers and patrons, including the Reverend Stumm, who engaged her to teach at the newly founded Bowling Green Academy in 1881; and eventually Dr. William J ...

Article

Alma Jean Billingslea Brown

civil rights activist, educator, and motivational speaker, was born Dorothy Lee Foreman, one of four girls of Maggie Pelham and Claude Foreman, a laborer, in Goldsboro, North Carolina. After graduating from Dillard High School in Goldsboro, she was encouraged by one of her high school English teachers to enroll at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she began her undergraduate education. Along with several other jobs she took to enable her education at Shaw, Dorothy worked as the housekeeper for the president of the institution, Robert Prentiss Daniel, and his wife, Blanche Daniel. Because the couple had no children and because of Cotton's efficiency as a worker, in 1950 when Robert Daniel became president of Virginia State College in Petersburg, Cotton, who had become part housekeeper and part daughter, accompanied the couple and completed her education at Virginia State.

Cotton earned an AB degree in 1954 ...

Article

Aida Ahmed Hussen

musician, author, and educator, was born Maud Cuney in Galveston, Texas, to Norris Wright Cuney, a prominent Republican politician and entrepreneur, and Adelina Dowdie Cuney, a public school teacher, soprano vocalist, and community activist. Both of Cuney's parents were born slaves of mixed racial parentage, and both gained freedom, education, social clout, and considerable financial advantage as the acknowledged offspring of their fathers. This, in addition to Norris Wright Cuney's political success with the Texas Republican Party, situated the Cuney family solidly among the Texan black elite. Cuney describes her early home life as one that was comfortable and markedly pleasant, and she praises both of her parents for instilling in her and in her younger brother, Lloyd Garrison Cuney, the values of education, racial pride, and social obligation.

Following her graduation from Central High School in 1890 Cuney moved to Boston Massachusetts where she enrolled ...

Article

Lovalerie King

Born 24 September 1948 in New York City to Richard Hill and Mae De Veaux, Alexis De Veaux received a BA from Empire State College in 1976. She earned both an MA (1989) and a PhD (1992) at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

An internationally recognized author, De Veaux has published her work in English, Spanish, Japanese, Serbo-Croatian, and Dutch. She has lectured and performed across the United States, as well as abroad in Kenya (1985 NGO Forum, Nairobi), Holland (Melkweg International Women's Festival, Amsterdam), Cuba (UNEAC Writers Union, Havana), and Japan (Tokyo Joshi Women's University, Tokyo; Black Studies Association, Osaka). Her published works include six books (Na-Ni, 1973; Spirits in the Street, 1973; Don’t Explain: A Song of Billie Holiday, 1980; Blue Heat: Poems and Drawings, 1985; An Enchanted Hair ...

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Dolores Leffall

Juliette Derricotte was born in Athens, Georgia, on April 1, 1897, the fifth child of Isaac Thomas and Laura (Hardwick) Derricotte, and attended the public schools of Athens until 1914. In 1918 she graduated from Talladega College, Talladega, Alabama, and received her M.A. degree in religious education from Columbia University in New York in 1927.

Derricotte learned early the disadvantage of being black. She wanted desperately to attend the exclusive Lucy Cobb Institute located in her hometown. She voiced her desire to her mother, only to be told that she could not attend this school because it did not accept black students. This incident was a factor in her efforts to reduce racial discrimination.

At Talladega College Derricotte was active in campus and community activities especially as a representative of the Young Women s Christian Association YWCA in visiting numerous colleges In many speeches she ...

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Marcella L. McCoy

educator, was born in Athens, Georgia, the daughter of a cobbler, Isaac Derricotte, and a seamstress, Laura (Hardwick) Derricotte. The Derricottes created a healthy home for their nine children, of which Juliette was the middle child.

A spirited and perceptive child, Juliette Derricotte recognized early the peculiarities of southern society in the 1900s. She wondered why her family was not granted attention until white families were attended in stores, and why her color prohibited her enrollment in the Lucy Cobb Institute—a school located in a suburban section of town. Experiences like these were the seeds of Derricotte's commitment to stand against discrimination.

Derricotte completed her secondary education in Atlanta and then with the help of recruiters she convinced her parents to allow her to attend Talladega College in Alabama at fifteen dollars a month for tuition room and board Although she welcomed the campus s spatial environment ...

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L. Diane Barnes

novelist, playwright, and Baptist minister. Dixon was born near the close of the Civil War near Shelby, North Carolina. The Dixon family, once a prominent southern family, was left penniless in the physical and economic devastation of the South after the war. Dixon's father, a Baptist minister, joined the Ku Klux Klan during Dixon's youth. Images of the riders in white sheets coming to save the white South had a lasting impression on Dixon. His belief that the Reconstruction era was one of history's supreme tragedies was a common theme in several of his novels and plays.

Dixon earned bachelor's and master's degrees in history from Wake Forest University, then pursued graduate work at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. There he befriended the future president Woodrow Wilson who was a few years ahead in his own graduate studies After a brief attempt at an acting career ...