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pioneering Nigerian feminist, civil servant, and democratic activist, was born on 17 December 1923 in Okeigbo, a small town in present-day Ondo State, Nigeria. Her full name was Felicia Folayegbe Mosunmola Idowu Akintunde-Ighodalo. Her parents were Benjamin Olojomo Akintunde, a farmer, and Sarah (Ogunkemi) Akintunde, a direct descendant of the war leader and uncrowned Ooni-elect Derin Ologbenla of the Giesi Ruling House of Ile-Ife. Fola, as she was known, was their fourth, but first surviving, child. Although her parents were early converts to the Christian Missionary Society (CMS) mission in Ondo, she grew up in a family compound whose members also included followers of traditional Yoruba religious practices and Islam. Her father encouraged her to be self-reliant and assertive even if her actions sometimes disregarded gender expectations.

Young Fola Akintunde attended the local mission school whose headmaster recognized her potential and persuaded her father to allow her to complete primary ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Nigerian educator, civil servant, and women’s rights activist, was born in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, on 17 May 1925. Her family was extremely affluent, as she was the daughter of Sir Adesiji Aderemi (1889–1890), the traditional king of the city of Ile-Ife, one of the most important sacred sites in the spiritual traditions of the Yoruba people. One of her sisters, Awujoola Adesomi Olagbaju, went on to become a schoolteacher and headmaster in her own right.

Alakija received her early education in Nigeria. She attended the Aiyetoro Primary and the Aiyetoro Central Schools in Ile-Ife from 1933 to 1937. She also studied at the Kudeti Primary boarding school in Ibadan for a time. Eventually Alakija moved to England in 1946, where she enrolled in Westfield College at the University of London. She acquired her undergraduate degree in 1950 in history and then proceeded to continue her ...

Article

E. J. Alagoa

Nigerian student leader, teacher, policeman, and revolutionary, was born in the Niger Delta Region community of in Oloibiri, on 10 September 1938. He was the son of Jasper Pepple Boro, a schoolmaster at Kaiama in the Kolokuma-Opokuma district of Bayelsa State in present-day Nigeria. He took the name Adaka, meaning “lion,” when he began his revolutionary campaign to create an independent Niger Delta Republic and secede from Nigeria in 1966. The movement was crushed by the Nigerian armed forces in only twelve days.

Born in Oloibiri, the community near which oil was first discovered and exploited in the Niger Delta, Boro became more and more agitated by the neglect that his Ijaw people (also known as Izon or Ijo) suffered from the federal government of Nigeria after the country gained independence from Britain in 1960 The Izon were possibly the most vociferous group expressing fear of ...

Article

Cary D. Wintz

law enforcement officer, mayor, cabinet secretary, and professor. Lee Brown is best known as a high-profile law enforcement officer who held the position of chief of police or its equivalent in four major U.S. cities, served in President Bill Clinton's cabinet as drug czar, and was the first black mayor of Houston, Texas.

Lee Patrick Brown was born in Wewoka, Oklahoma, on 4 October 1937 to Andrew and Zelma Brown, who worked as farm laborers. When Brown was five the family moved to Fowler, California, about ten miles south of Fresno. As a child Brown often joined his parents in the fields, picking crops. But he also stayed in school, and he attended Fresno State University on a football scholarship, studying sociology and criminology.

In 1960 one semester before graduation Brown left college and took a job as a patrolman with the San Jose ...

Article

Carroll L. Miller

Ambrose Caliver was born in Saltsville, Virginia, on February 25, 1894, the son of Ambrose and Cora (Saunders) Caliver. His education in the public schools of Virginia and of Knoxville, Tennessee, was followed by collegiate work at Knoxville College, from which he received a B.A. degree in 1915. Five years later, the University of Wisconsin awarded him an M.A. degree, and in 1930 he received a Ph.D. degree from Columbia University.

His professional experience began in 1916, when he became a high school principal in Rockwood, Tennessee, and an assistant principal of Douglass High School in El Paso, Texas. His first appointment in higher education came in 1917 at Fisk University At Fisk Caliver was asked to develop a program of training in manual arts an area in which he had a special interest In his opinion the complete education of the individual involved ...

Article

Lee Jr. Williams

educator, college administrator, and civil servant, was born in Saltville, Virginia, the youngest child of Ambrose Caliver Sr. Little is known about his parents, but very early in his life he and his two siblings moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, where they were raised by an aunt, Louisa Bolden. Bolden, a widowed cook who took in boarders to make ends meet, allowed Caliver to accept a job at a very young age. According to one account, the young Caliver was working in a coal mine by the time of his eighth birthday. Early employment, however, did not prevent him from attending school regularly. After receiving an education from Knoxville's public school system, he enrolled at Knoxville College, where he obtained his BA in 1915. He eventually earned an MA from the University of Wisconsin (1920) and a PhD from Columbia University (1930).

After graduating from ...

Article

Britta Behrendt

was born on 4 January 1946 and raised in Curaçao. His father Manuel Caetano do Rego had emigrated in 1938 from the Azores to Curaçao to work for the oil refinery there; he later ran his own business. Do Regos’s mother Johanita Bernadina Laker was a housewife. She had been born out of wedlock to a Curaçaoan mother of African descent and white father who was a landowner. Growing up in a typically Curaçaoan middle-class family with Portuguese influences and receiving a secondary education on the island, do Rego obtained a scholarship to study in the Netherlands, graduating from the University of Nijmegen in 1971 with a degree in human geography. He later received a master’s of business administration at Erasmus University of Rotterdam in 1991. From 1972 to 1992 do Rego worked at the Teachers Training College in Curaçao and became a member of its board of ...

Article

Matthew V. Bender

colonial civil servant in Kenya, Tanganyika, the Bahamas, Northern Rhodesia, and Uganda, was born Charles Cecil Farquharson Dundas. The son of a lifelong British consular officer, Dundas spent little time in his native Scotland. In 1903, at the age of nineteen, he took his first post in the Hamburg office of the prominent shipping company Elder-Dempster. Five years later he entered the British colonial service and received his first posting in the coastal city of Mombasa, Kenya. Dundas served in various capacities in both Mombasa and Nairobi until 1914, when he took a post with Indian Army forces dispatched to invade German East Africa.

Dundas’s performance in both Nairobi and Mombasa, as well as during World War I, helped him to establish himself as a rising star in the colonial service. In 1921 he was named commissioner of the Moshi District Tanganyika Territory The posting situated in ...

Article

Richard Watts

Born into a lower-middle class Haitian family in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, François Duvalier attended local primary schools and, later, the Lycée Pétion, where he was taught by his political mentor, Dumarsais Estimé. Duvalier subsequently attended medical school at the national university, earning a degree in 1934. He then turned to civil service, working for the Haitian government for the next ten years. During this time Duvalier became part of a collective known as the Griots, a group of intellectuals, inspired by the Négritude movement, who sought to glorify Haiti's African heritage.

In Le problème des classes à travers l'histoire d'Haïti (1946), Duvalier and Lorimer Denis rejected a Marxist analysis of class and claimed that the historical supremacy of the mulatto (of African and European descent) elite in Haiti was an ethnic rather than an economic phenomenon Many historians deem this work a vulgarization of the ...

Article

Katya Leney-Hall

Egyptian Nobel Laureate, diplomat, international civil servant, and scholar who served as the director general (DG) of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) between 1997 and 2009, was born in Cairo. His father was Mostafa ElBaradei, a lawyer and president of the Egyptian Bar Association, who campaigned for a free press and an independent legal system. ElBaradei studied law at the University of Cairo (1962), and completed his PhD in international law at the New York University School of Law (1974).

ElBaradei joined the Egyptian Diplomatic Service in 1964; his postings included the Egyptian Permanent Missions to the United Nations (UN) in New York and Geneva. Between 1974 and 1978 he served as a special assistant to the Egyptian foreign minister Working under another Egyptian diplomat who would later leave his mark on the UN Boutros Boutros Ghali he attended the Camp David ...

Article

Marika Sherwood

Ghanaianpolitician and civil servant, was born in Kumasi, the capital of the old kingdom of Asante in the then British colony of the Gold Coast. His Methodist family were migrants from the Fante state, on the western coast. He was educated at Adisadel College Cape Coast (a Society for the Propagating of the Gospel—a Church of England missionary organization—school) where in 1934 he was the head prefect. After teaching at Adisadel for couple of years he attended Fourah Bay College (Freetown, Sierra Leone) briefly, before being accepted by King's College, Newcastle for 1937–1938 and then by Selwyn College, Cambridge in 1938. At Selwyn he was elected president of the Junior Common Room, the forerunner of student unions. He graduated in 1941 with a BA in Archaeology and Anthropology and then enrolled as a postgraduate student at New College Oxford University The topic of his thesis was ...

Article

Reidulf K. Molvaer

Ethiopian civil servant, politician, and author, was born in Hirna, Harerghe province, in eastern Ethiopia, the son of Tekle Hawariyat Tekle Mariyam, a prominent politician and writer, and a strict disciplinarian. In 1924 Germachew Tekle Hawariyat was sent to the Alliance Française school in the town of Dire Dawa. Two years later he was sent to the Alliance Française school in Addis Ababa, where he attended evening classes for five years. Then he went to Paris with his father, who was working at the Ethiopian embassy there. He studied theology at the Collège Stanislas and obtained a baccalauréat degree in the subject, but his main interest was French language and literature.

Germachew Tekle Hawariyat returned to Ethiopia at the end of 1935, just as hostilities between Ethiopia and Italy broke out. Italy attacked Ethiopia in 1935 and occupied the country until 1941 He went with the emperor to ...

Article

Bahru Zewde

, Ethiopian intellectual, civil servant, political activist, and coup leader, was born in Addis Ababa and educated first at the Teferi Mekonnen School and subsequently at the Haile Selassie I Secondary School (Kotebe), the first secondary school in Ethiopia. He was one of the young Ethiopians sponsored by Crown Prince Asfa Wossen, to pursue higher education in the United States. Thus he acquired his BA degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his MA from Columbia University, writing a thesis on “The Impact of White Settlement Policy in Kenya.” His sojourn in New York was to prove important not only in academic terms, but also in imbuing him with a spirit of Pan-Africanism and a lasting concern for social justice.

On his return to Ethiopia Germame joined the civil service as secretary to the Minister of Interior But fired up by the need for reform he started to organize like ...

Article

Leland Conley Barrows

Beninese jurist, historian, international civil servant, human rights activist, and chief justice of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Benin, was born on 15 March 1934 in the town of Zinvié, not far from Abomey, the former royal capital of the Fon Kingdom of Dahomey. Because Glélé’s intellectual talents were recognized by his Roman Catholic primary school teachers, he was enabled to complete his secondary education at the Lycée van Vollenhoven in Dakar, Senegal, where he earned the lettres classiques baccalaureate in 1955. After a year of studying law at the newly founded University of Dakar, he entered the preparatory section of the prestigious Lycée Louis-le-Grand in Paris in order to qualify, in 1958, for the diploma of civil administration, awarded by the National School for the Training of Overseas Administrators (the former École Coloniale). He then went on to earn the licence in law in 1960 ...

Article

Samuel Brenner

lawyer, U.S. attorney general, U.S. senator, civil rights advocate, and presidential candidate. Robert Francis “Bobby” Kennedy, the energetic and enthusiastic younger brother of President John F. Kennedy and the older brother of longtime Massachusetts Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy, was a civil servant who, although he had complicated and difficult relationships with several important African American leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr., became increasingly liberal and devoted to the cause of civil rights after serving as attorney general in the 1960s.

Kennedy, born in Brookline, Massachusetts, was the seventh child of Joseph P. and Rose Kennedy. Joseph Kennedy, who harbored enormous ambitions for his family, was a controversial figure accused of being—while serving from 1938 to 1940 as U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom—an anti-Semite interested in appeasing Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany Having attended several private boarding schools Robert Kennedy served in the U S Navy ...

Article

Hassoum Ceesay

pioneering Gambian student, civil servant, and political leader, was born Hannah Small, on 1 August 1884. She was of Aku or Krio origins, was raised in a staunch Methodist family in Bathurst (now Banjul), and attended the city's Wesley School, where she attained the highest possible grade, Standard Seven, in 1902. She was the first woman in Gambia to do so. At that time, there were no secondary schools in Bathurst. The pursuit of a secondary education required travel to Freetown, Sierra Leone, which only a few families could afford. Pupils in Bathurst were thus limited to a Standard Seven education, which enabled them to enter the job market as clerks for the European firms or in the government's clerical service.

Hannah Small grew up at a time when Bathurst was struggling to emerge from a time of social and economic depression created in the ...

Article

Elizabeth Shostak

Theodor Michael grew up in Germany, in one of only about sixty black families living there in the early twentieth-century. His father, Theophilus Wonja Michael, had emigrated from Cameroon in the late 1800s after studying theology at Oxford University and deciding against a career as a pastor in Cameroon He settled in the German capital of Berlin and married a white German woman with whom he had four children Although black families were rare in Germany at that time Theodor Michael has stated that his early years were free from racial discrimination When the Nazi Party came to power in the 1930s however the government instituted new policies based on the assumption of Aryan racial superiority These policies deemed blacks to be intellectually inferior to whites and incapable of receiving training for any profession Nazi laws forbade Michael and other blacks from attending school His siblings managed to ...

Article

Grant Lilford

Zambian novelist, civil servant, and economist, was born in 1933, in Feira, Mkando, in Zambia, and grew up in the Roman Catholic Church. He attended Katondwe Mission School and Canisius College, Chalimbana, before qualifying as a teacher at Chalimbana Teacher’s College. He then studied economics, history, and English at the University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.

From 1965 Mulaisho served as permanent secretary in the office of the president of Zambia, and then occupied other government posts, including permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education. He moved into the parastatal sector, serving as chairman of the mining industry and general manager of the National Agricultural Marketing Board. From 1971 he was chairman of the Mining Development Corporation (Mindeco), the recently nationalized portion of Zambia’s copper mining industry. He later served as economics advisor to Zambia’s President Kenneth Kaunda. Mulaisho served as governor of the Bank of Zambia from 1992 ...

Article

intellectual and civil servant, was born in 1902 in the Gabonese port of Port-Gentil (then known as Cape Lopez), the second of ten children of Joseph Iquaqua and Adèle Egoni. Both his parents belonged to the small coastal Orungu ethnic community. Ogoula lost his father in 1914. Prosperous Orungu families often sent their children to be educated in the colonial capital of Libreville, where the oldest mission schools were located as well as the first public school in Gabon, the Ecole Urbaine. It would be at the Ecole Urbaine that Ogoula began his education in 1915, at the age of thirteen. He later praised one his teachers, Henri Caillarec, for his willingness to mentor him as a student. Ogoula graduated in 1920 and had hoped to study medicine in Senegal but his mother and his numerous siblings also required help Ultimately the needs of his family ...

Article

David William Cohen

Kenyan politician, was born on 31 March 1931 in Nyahera, Kisumu District, western Kenya. The eldest child of Susan and Erastus Seda, Ouko was educated in local primary schools and became a qualified primary school teacher after attending teacher training college. Through the 1950s, he continued his studies privately and via correspondence schools, and then gained entry to Haile Selassie University, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 1958. In 1962, Ouko graduated with a degree in economics, political science, and public administration, and then undertook further studies in diplomacy at Makerere University in Uganda.

In 1963 on the eve of Kenyan independence Ouko joined the colonial civil service as an assistant secretary in the office of the British governor With independence Ouko became one of Prime Minister and President Jomo Kenyatta s first appointees to a senior civil service position that of permanent secretary He played a significant ...