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Benjamin R. Justesen

journalist and public official, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the younger son of the Reverend Henry and Margaret Priscilla (Corbin) Adams. Their father administered a respected school in Louisville. Cyrus and his older brother, John Quincy Adams (1848–1922), received excellent educations, Cyrus graduating from preparatory school and college at Oberlin College. In 1877 Cyrus began to teach in the Louisville public schools, and soon pooled savings with his brother to open the weekly Louisville Bulletin. They ran the newspaper until 1885, when it was acquired by the American Baptist newspaper owned by William Henry Steward, chairman of trustees at State University, a black Baptist university in Louisville, where Cyrus taught German. Already a dedicated traveler, Cyrus had spent much of 1884 in Europe, and was also fluent in Italian, French, and Spanish.

Both brothers had served as Louisville correspondents for the Western Appeal ...

Article

Diane Mutti Burke

author of a slave narrative, was born to slave parents in Prince Edward County, Virginia. The Lemuel Bruce family, including Pettis and Rebecca (Bruce) Perkinson, owned Henry Bruce and his mother and siblings. Bruce's many siblings included his younger brother, Blanche Kelso Bruce, the senator from Mississippi from 1875 to 1881.

Bruce spent most of his early childhood years on plantations and farms in Virginia, Missouri, and—briefly—Mississippi. Pettis Perkinson brought Bruce, his mother, and siblings back to Chariton County, Missouri, where he permanently settled in 1850 From the age of nine Bruce was frequently hired out to other employers in the community and worked at a variety of occupations including brick making tobacco manufacturing and general farm labor Bruce had a self described desire to learn and was taught to read by his young owner and playmate William Perkinson The older Bruce children taught their younger siblings ...

Article

Michael Kevane

Burkinan author, canton chief, and civil servant, was born in Sao village, about 60 kilometers northwest of Ouagadougou, in the Mossi region of the present-day country of Burkina Faso. His mother was Datoumi Yaaré, from the village of Kaonghin; and his father, Gueta Wagdogo, was the son of Yiougo, the naba (Mossi chief) of Sao. Naba Yiougo supported Mogho Naba Wobgo (Boukary Koutu), the principal king of the four Mossi kingdoms, against a rebelling vassal, the naba of Lallé. In 1896, Mogho Naba Wobgo supported Gueta Wagdogo to attain the chieftaincy (whereupon he assumed the name “Naba Piiga”) after the death of Naba Yiougo. The meaning of Dim Delobsom’s name, “The king has returned the favor,” acknowledged the relationship between the two rulers.

Naba Piiga was unable to help his suzerain when the French column led by Captain Paul Voulet seized Ouagadougou on 1 September 1896 Mogho Naba ...

Article

John E. Fleming and Rayford W. Logan

Born in Weston, Platte County, Missouri, George Washington Ellis was the son of George and Amanda Jane (Drace) Ellis. He studied in the Weston elementary schools and the high school in Atchison, Kansas. He received his bachelor of law degree from the University of Kansas in 1893 and was admitted to the Kansas bar. From 1893 to 1897 he practiced law in Kansas to defray the expenses of four years in the university's collegiate department, and received his bachelor of arts degree in 1897. In that same year, he moved to New York City, where he took a two-year course in the Gunton Institute of Economics and Sociology.

After passing the examination of the United States Census Board in 1899, Ellis received an appointment in the Census Division of the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C. where he remained two years Here his spare ...

Article

Vernon J. Williams

lawyer and social scientist, was born in Weston Platt County, Missouri, the son of George Ellis, a farmer, and Amanda Jane Trace. George Ellis left home after completing elementary school, primarily because Weston Platt County could not provide him with the education or training he desired. He moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where he found greater educational opportunities but increased racial hostilities. As a consequence, he soon moved to Atkinson, Kansas, where he completed high school in 1891. Ellis continued his education at the law school at the University of Kansas, receiving an LLB in 1893. While practicing law Ellis pursued a BA at Kansas; it is not known, however, if he completed the requirements for the degree. While at the University of Kansas he was active in Republican politics and debated in Kansas's McKinley Club.

Ellis moved to New York City in 1897 where ...

Article

Douglas Wheeler

Angolan writer, journalist, lawyer, civil servant, and nationalist, a mestico, was born in Luanda, Angola, in 1823, the offspring of a marriage between a Portuguese father and an African mother. Like many generations of the assimilated Afro-Portuguese elite in the Portuguese colony’s capital, he was raised and educated a Catholic; self-taught in the law, he acquired a license to practice law and served as a government law clerk. His principal legacies came in decades of combative, reformist journalism and in his advocacy of Angolan nationalism.

His generation witnessed an increased pace of economic and social change, political upheaval, and new international pressures on Portugal’s sometimes tenuous rule over Angola. By 1866, when Fontes Pereira was forty-three, he had witnessed the long-delayed process of the abolition of Angola’s slave trade (1842–1850 efforts to replace the slave trade with legitimate trade agriculture and manufacturing the struggle including a ...

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

David H. Anthony

North Carolinapolitical activist, journalist, civil servant, and publicist, was born into slavery in Raleigh, North Carolina, around 1851, the son of enslaved artisan Osborne Hunter and Mary Hunter, also enslaved. From about age four, Charles Hunter was trained to be a house servant in the home of their slave master, William D. Haywood. Somewhat later Hunter became a servant for Richard H. Battle. However, his intimate relationship with the Haywood family remained a feature of his life well after slavery.

When freedom came, Hunter and many fellow former North Carolina slaves faced profound changes. By 1867, young Hunter allied himself with prominent black Union League politicians George W. Brodie and James H. Harris and like them was gradually able to gain clout through affiliation with the Republican Party He worked as a temperance advocate in the late 1860s and ...

Article

J. James Iovannone

writer, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the daughter of Ella (Benson) Johnson and George William Johnson. Johnson was an only child and her parents separated shortly after her birth, resulting in her never knowing her father or her paternal grandparents. Johnson's maternal grandparents, Benjamin Benson and Helen Pease Benson (after whom Johnson was named), were born in slavery in South Carolina. Johnson's first cousin was the novelist and short story writer Dorothy West and the pair grew up together in the Brookline section of Boston, spending most of their summers in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, on a Martha's Vineyard Island property owned by Benjamin Benson From an early age both Johnson and West showed an interest in writing which their families helped to foster by sending them to prestigious schools as well as by providing them with a supplemental literary education Together the pair attended Boston s Lafayette ...

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

Elena Bertoncini Zúbková

eminent Swahili poet, prose writer, and philosopher, was born at Vibambani village south of Tanga, on the northern coast of former Tanganyika, now Tanzania, on 1 January 1909. Little is known of his parents; one record states that his father’s original name was Ufukwe (“shore” as he was born on the seashore), but in honor of the German employer of his father, that is, Shaaban’s grandfather, he was called Robert; according to other sources his father was given this Christian name in the primary school. Both Shaaban’s parents were of the Yao tribe from present-day Malawi, but Shaaban considered himself a true Swahili. Soon after his birth his parents divorced, married again, and had other children. He was educated at Msimbazi School in Dar es Salaam, where he received his School Leaving Certificate in 1926 He married twice after ten years of marriage his beloved wife Amina died ...

Article

Maxim Zabolotskikh

Ethiopian intellectual, politician, civil servant, diplomat, and writer, was born in June 1884 in Seyya Debr (Shewa, Ethiopia) to a family of Christianized Oromos.

Tekle grew up in his mother’s care until he was five. At the age of six he began to study in a church school. When his elder brother Gebre Sadiq moved to Harar to become a secretary of Ras Mekonnen, Tekle (nine at this time) went with him and continued his education there. He stayed in the household of Ras Mekonnen, where he was raised with other children, among whom was also Teferi (future Emperor Haile Selassie).

When the Italians invaded Ethiopia in 1895, both Tekle and Gebre Sadiq accompanied Ras Mekonnen to the front. Gebre Sadiq was killed, and Ras Mekonnen decided to do something special for his younger brother entrusting him to a member of the Russian Red Cross mission Count ...

Article

Phillip A Cantrell

Rwandan author and sociologist, was born on 19 May 1959 in Byumba, Rwanda to Hutu parents. Umutesi’s father died in 1986. She attended primary school in Miyove and secondary school at the Groupe Scolaire de Byumba. Following secondary school, Umutesi studied economics at the Lycée Notre Dame de Cîteaux in Kigali and earned a bachelor’s degree from the Université Nationale du Rwanda. After working as a civil servant at the National Population Office, she earned a degree in sociology from the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium. Upon the completion of her education, Umutesi worked for several agencies in Rwanda, including the Ministry of the Interior, the African Continental Bank of Rwanda, and as the director of the Service Center for Cooperatives. When the 1994 genocide began, she was developing programs for women’s associations in Byumba.

Growing up in Rwanda Umutesi witnessed periodic episodes of violence between Hutus and Tutsis ...