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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.


Katrina D. Thompson

chemist, social scientist, and writer, was born in Garfield Heights, Washington, D.C., the son of William Harrison Lewis and Mary (Over) Lewis, of whom little else is known. In 1899 there were only four academic public schools in the segregated Washington, D.C., area, and only one of these was open to African Americans. Lewis attended the noted Dunbar High School, then known as M Street School. Because African Americans with advanced degrees had few other opportunities, during the 1920s three Dunbar teachers held the PhD degree, which was certainly unusual and perhaps unique in American public secondary education.

After attending Dunbar, Lewis graduated from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, with a bachelor's degree in Philosophy in 1925 While at Brown Lewis became the first undergraduate initiate of the Alpha Gamma Chapter of the first African American fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha Two years after graduating ...


Connie L. McNeely

educator, public intellectual, and advocate, was born Cora Elmira Bagley to Horace Bagley and Clorann (Boswell) Bagley in Richmond Virginia about seventy miles from the family s home in Kenbridge Virginia At that time the small town of Kenbridge lacked decent medical facilities for the 46 percent of its population who were African American and traveling to Richmond was one of the only options for those needing medical care Elmira as her family called her was the youngest of twelve children with a multitude of nieces and nephews Her father a carpenter and contractor for small building projects and her mother who spent most of her years as a housewife but worked from time to time as a maid recognized in the precocious Elmira a proclivity for learning and an insatiable thirst for knowledge Her mother especially stressed the importance of reading and constantly provided her ...