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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

Byron Motley

baseball player, was born in Greenville, North Carolina. As a teenager working in the tobacco fields he honed his skills as a pitcher. His first exposure to professional baseball came in 1936 when the manager of the visiting Wilson Stars from Wilson, North Carolina, spotted his burgeoning talent. After the team manager promised Barnhill's mother a dollar a day for her son's pitching duties, she consented to let her son join the team.

Barnhill barnstormed for two years with several independent teams. In 1938 he began his first of twelve Negro League seasons by joining the Jacksonville Red Caps. The following year, with the Ethiopian Clowns, Barnhill took part in the team's minstrel sideshows. Earning the nickname “Impo,” Barnhill cut up with his teammates in clown makeup and wild wigs while performing comic displays to delighted fans.

In the winter of 1940–1941 Barnhill pitched in the Puerto Rican ...

Article

Gregory Travis Bond

athlete, football coach, college administrator, lawyer, and public servant, was born in Dabney, North Carolina, to former slaves Jesse Bullock and Amanda Sneed Bullock. Looking for better educational prospects for their seven children and perhaps seeking to escape Ku Klux Klan harassment, his parents moved the family north when Bullock was eight years old. After a brief stay in Boston, the family settled in Everett, Massachusetts, in about 1894, where Bullock first made a name for himself as an athlete. At Everett High School he excelled at football, baseball, and ice hockey, and his teammates elected him to serve as the captain of each of these teams his senior season.

After graduating in 1900 Bullock entered Dartmouth College which like many schools outside of the South admitted black students and encouraged them to participate in the life of the school Bullock took advantage of the wide range ...

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

Gregory Travis Bond

athlete, lawyer, soldier, and civil servant, was born in Washington, D.C., to Alexander Marshall, an employee of the Treasury Department, and Leatha Marshall, a homemaker. He attended the M Street High School, then prepped for a year at New Hampshire's Phillips Exeter Academy, where he was editor-in-chief of the Phillips Exeter Literary Monthly and a member of the track team. In 1893 he entered Harvard and immediately joined the Crimson track squad, on which he represented the college for four consecutive seasons, specializing in the 440-meter and quarter-mile runs. In 1894 he finished third in the quarter-mile at the Inter-Collegiate Amateur Athletic Association of America national championships. He competed for three more seasons and became the school's second black varsity athlete behind the football player William Henry Lewis Marshall was also an active member of the Harvard Union debating club and was well ...

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

Glenn Allen Knoblock

Tuskegee aircraft mechanic and Negro League baseball player, was born in San Antonio, Texas. His parents' names are unknown, as are details of his childhood. He was nicknamed “Sonny Boy” in high school, where he played baseball and graduated in 1940. He went on to play basketball while a student at St. Phillips Junior College in San Antonio.

Miles left home for Tuskegee, Alabama, in 1943 He attended Tuskegee Institute and was trained as a civilian aircraft sheet metal worker Miles would later say about his time at Tuskegee As soon as I heard about Tuskegee I knew it was what I wanted to do I really wanted to learn a trade and work with my hands It sounded like a once in a lifetime opportunity so I jumped on the chance Maurice 1 At the time Tuskegee Institute was part of a new experiment ...

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

James Jankowski

Egyptian engineer, administrator, and thrice prime minister, was born in Cairo on 12 December 1892. He was the son of Ismaʿil Sirri, a prominent engineer and a minister in several Egyptian governments from World War I into the 1920s. Husayn Sirri was educated at the Saʿidiyya School in Cairo, graduating in 1910. He then studied engineering at Cooper’s Hill in London, receiving his degree in civil engineering in 1915. An Anglophile as a consequence of his upbringing and of his education in England, Sirri at one point held the post of Chairman of the Anglo-Egyptian Union.

Upon his return to Egypt in 1915, Sirri worked in the Irrigation Department of the Public Works Administration where by 1925 he became under-secretary of Public Works. He was shifted to become director-general of the Survey Department in 1926 but returned to assume the post of under secretary of ...

Article

John Wright

magistrate, native administrator, and collector of Zulu oral histories in South Africa, was born on 30 January 1868 in Pietermaritzburg, the capital of the colony of Natal. He was the eldest son of Martinus Stuart (1841–1881) and his wife Mary, née Taylor (1846–1918). He was educated at Hilton College in Natal and St John’s College, Hurstpierpoint, Sussex.

In 1888 Stuart took up a position as clerk and interpreter in isiZulu in the civil service of the recently annexed colony of Zululand. Over the next eleven years he held various administrative posts in Zululand and Swaziland. From 1899 to 1901 he acted as magistrate in several centers in Natal before being appointed assistant magistrate in Durban, the colony’s biggest town.

By this time Stuart was devoting more and more of his time and energies to the project which he called his Idea of making himself a leading authority on Zulu customs ...

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

Richard Pankhurst

Ethiopian Minister of Posts, Telephones and Telegraphs, musician, singer, poet, and wit, was born in Minjar in eastern Ethiopia in 1876. He was the son of Ato Eshete Gobe, a servant of Ras Mekonnen, Emperor Menilek II’s governor of Harar, and Weyzero Woleteyes Habtu. Young Tesemma spent his early childhood in Harar, where he learned reading and writing in a church school, but upon his father’s death he moved to Addis Ababa. Later in 1908, at the age of thirty-one, he was chosen by Menilek to go to Germany with two other Ethiopians. They accompanied a departing German visitor, Arnold Holz, who in the previous year had driven to Addis Ababa in a Nache motor car, the second car to reach the Ethiopian capital—the first, a Wolseley driven by Bede Bentley, had arrived in the Ethiopian capital only a few months earlier.

While in Germany where he spent ...

Article

Matthew K. Myers

Franciscan friar who converted to Islam and wrote polemical works supporting Islam against Christianity, was born in what is now known as Palma, Mallorca. Turmeda was his father’s only son and was possibly of Jewish descent. Mentioned as a witness in the will of James IV (c. 1336–1375), pretender to the throne of Mallorca, Turmeda’s father, Pere Silvestre, was a prominent figure in the community and a member of the weavers’ textile guild. Turmeda was conversant in both Catalan and Arabic as well as being experienced with Italian, French, Castilian, Latin, and Aramaic, allowing him to function as an interpreter and rise to positions of authority and prominence under the Hafsid Sultan of Tunis Abuʿl-Abbas Ahmad (r. 1370–1394) and his son Abu Faris ʿAbd al-Aziz (r. 1394–1434). The account of his conversion to Islam from Christianity is among the few such extant works.

Turmeda undertook training for the Christian priesthood ...