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Born in Sanford, Florida, Claude Barnett was sent at a very young age to live with his grandparents and other relatives in suburban Chicago, Illinois. He returned to the South to study engineering at Alabama's Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University), from which he graduated in 1906. Back in Chicago, he worked as a postal clerk and, exposed to a wide range of advertising journals, decided to make a career in advertising. In 1913 he produced a series of photographs of famous blacks, which he sold through the mail, furthering his interest in business.

Five years later Barnett and several other entrepreneurs formed the Kashmir Chemical Company which sold cosmetics Barnett left the post office took the job of advertising manager at Kashmir and toured the country selling cosmetics as well as his photographs In each town he visited the local black newspaper hoping to bargain for ...

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Robert L. Harris

entrepreneur, journalist, and government adviser, was born in Sanford, Florida, the son of William Barnett, a hotel worker, and Celena Anderson. His father worked part of the year in Chicago and the rest of the time in Florida. Barnett's parents separated when he was young, and he lived with his mother's family in Oak Park, Illinois, where he attended school. His maternal ancestors were free blacks who migrated from Wake County, North Carolina, to the black settlement of Lost Creek, near Terre Haute, Indiana, during the 1830s. They then moved to Mattoon, Illinois, where Barnett's maternal grandfather was a teacher and later a barbershop owner, and finally to Oak Park. While attending high school in Oak Park, Barnett worked as a houseboy for Richard W. Sears cofounder of Sears Roebuck and Company Sears offered him a job with the company after he graduated from high school but ...

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SaFiya D. Hoskins

political administrator and lawyer, was born Constance Ernestine Berry in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of Ernestine Siggers and Joseph Alonzo Berry. Her mother was a social worker and a nurse, her father was a physician. Berry was young when the family relocated to Tuskegee, Alabama, where she was reared and attended Tuskegee Institute High School located on the campus of Tuskegee University a private historically black university established in 1881. She was a member of the Government Club and an honor roll student. Upon graduating from high school in 1952, Berry enrolled at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in 1956. Three years later, in 1959 she graduated with a Juris Doctorate from the University of Minnesota Law School The same year she was married to Theodore Newman a member of the United States ...

Article

politician, was born on Cincinnati's segregated west side, the older of two brothers born to George Blackwell, a meatpacker, and Dana Blackwell, a part-time nurse. Until he was six years old, the family lived in the Laurel Homes housing project. Blackwell would later attribute his character to his father's work ethic, his mother's reading and lessons from the Bible, and the parents' strong promotion of education. He graduated from Hughes High School in 1966, and attended Cincinnati's Xavier University on a football scholarship. A well-regarded and physically imposing athlete—he stood at 6 feet 4 inches, 220 pounds—Blackwell was also seen by his peers as a radical black campus leader, donning daishikis and wearing his hair in an Afro, serving as president of the black students association, and lobbying the administration in civil rights issues.

In his sophomore year, Blackwell married his childhood girlfriend, Rosa whom ...

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Charles Rosenberg

in the U.S. Department of Health Education and Welfare, was born in Bogue Township, Columbus County, North Carolina, the third child of Jett and Cassy Brice. He had an older brother, James, and an older sister, Laura. Their father worked in a lumber mill.

Brice graduated in 1938 with a bachelor’s degree from Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, then completed an M.A. and Ph.D. in Education at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1940, at the age of twenty-four, Brice accepted the position of president at Clinton Normal and Industrial College, Catawba Township, near Rock Hill, South Carolina. There he met his future wife, Creola M. Lindsay, an elementary school teacher in Rock Hill. In 1942, announcing that Brice would deliver the keynote address before the Social Science Group of the Palmetto State Teachers Association, the Carolina Times described him as An untiring worker for a better standard of ...

Article

An economist deeply involved in public policy and administration, Andrew Brimmer was appointed in 1966 as a governor of the Federal Reserve Board, where he served until 1974. He worked to alleviate unemployment, the national deficit, and racial discrimination. In 1969, when small businesses were suffering, Brimmer urged African Americans to forsake “black capitalist” ventures and pursue work in large mainstream companies instead. He proposed an income-tax reduction plan to President Gerald L. Ford in 1974; the following year, it became the basis of congressional legislation. In 1984, when black unemployment was double that of whites, Brimmer supported strategies that combined Affirmative Action with self-help.

Brimmer, the son of a sharecropper who struggled to make ends meet during the Great Depression, was born in Newellton, Louisiana After high school he joined the army where he became a staff sergeant Brimmer received a B A ...

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Darius V. Echeverría

economist and educator. Some individuals are important because they exemplify the historical past, while others are important because they embody generational change toward social progress. As the first African American governor of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board (1966–1974), Andrew Felton Brimmer is both the former and the latter.

The life story of this extraordinary leader began on 13 September 1926 in Newellton, Louisiana. The son of Andrew Brimmer Sr., a sharecropper, and Vellar Davis Brimmer, a warehouse worker, Brimmer picked cotton as a child in rural northeastern Louisiana while attending segregated public schools. Rather than allowing the hardships of poverty and racial injustice to discourage him, Brimmer used these experiences as a motivating force. Early on he was determined to earn a college degree so that he could serve in positions where he could help others.

Brimmer graduated from high school in 1944 and ...

Article

politician, was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, to Ralph Campbell, a janitor, and June Campbell, a secretary. With both parents involved in activism—Ralph was a NAACP chapter president, and June organized civil rights events at schools and churches—Campbell was thrust into public service at a young age. At age six, he and his older brother, Ralph Jr. handed out leaflets for the NAACP at age seven when Raleigh nominally adopted integration Campbell became the first black child to attend a white public school when he enrolled at Murphy Public School Though thirty black families had originally registered their children after intimidation and Ku Klux Klan threats Campbell was the only child not to be withdrawn by the start of the school year Though his father received a threatening phone call from the KKK and though he himself was the subject of frequent taunts Campbell endured and ...

Article

Charles Rosenberg

federal Weather Bureau employee, was born in Savannah, Georgia, like his parents, Cyrus and Laura Mirault Campfield, and all four of his grandparents. Laura Mirault was descended from at least two wealthy mulatto families from the French colony of St. Domingue (now Haiti), who fled to Savannah around 1800. Although this was the most stable and prosperous period of rule by Toussaint Louverture, his administration was resented by the wealthy mulatto population, many of whom had owned slaves, and resented the political triumph of “les noirs.” In Savannah, they faced new legislation by a self-consciously “white” Anglo political establishment, beginning in 1808, to impose restrictions on free people of color. Nevertheless, Louis Mirault, born about 1780, established a prosperous tailor business, and Aspasia Cruvellier Mirault, born about 1790, opened an acclaimed pastry shop and acquired real estate.

Accordingly at least half ...

Article

Alonford James Robinson

Walter Carrington, the eldest child of Walter R. and Marjorie Hayes Carrington, was born in New York City. He graduated from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1952 and Harvard Law School in 1955. Carrington was the first student elected to the National Board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). After serving in the U.S. Army, he was appointed to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. At age twenty-seven, he was the youngest person ever appointed a commissioner in that state.

In 1961 Carrington joined the Peace Corps, serving for ten years in Sierra Leone, Senegal, Tunisia, and eventually as the Regional Director for Africa. In 1971 he became the vice president of the African-American Institute (AAI), an organization dedicated to developing human resources in Africa and to fostering better dialogue between Africans and Americans.

In 1980 accepting an ...

Article

Salvador Suazo

the first Garifuna elected to a legislative congressional seat in Honduran history, was born in the Garifuna community of Iriona Viejo, department of Colón, near the Honduran border with Nicaragua, in April 1892. He was the illegitimate son of Jacinto Cacho and Martha Lalín Serrano. At the age of 7, he moved with his family to the port city of Trujillo, where he completed his elementary education.

By the mid-1910s, Castro Serrano, along with other young Garifuna from the district of Cristales in Trujillo, was awarded a state scholarship. He moved to Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, to receive a secondary education. After completing his studies, he worked as manager of the San Isidro Market in Comayagüela and as a bookkeeper for several businesses in the capital.

Because people mocked his surname of Cacho a slang term for a cuckolded man he adopted the surname Castro after reaching legal ...

Article

John N. Ingham

businessman and politician, was born a free person of color in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Bernard Cohen and Amelia Bingaman, a free woman of color. Although Cohen's father was Jewish, he was raised as and remained throughout his life a Roman Catholic. His parents died when he was in the fourth grade, whereupon he had to quit school, though he later attended Straight University in New Orleans for several years. As a boy Cohen became a cigar maker and later worked in a saloon. His entrée into the world of politics came during the period of Reconstruction, when he worked as a page in the state legislature, then meeting in New Orleans. There, Cohen became acquainted with several influential black Republicans, among them Oscar J. Dunn, C. C. Antoine, and P. B. S. Pinchback Pinchback founder of and dominant figure in the city ...

Article

Paulette Poujol-Oriol

Massillon Coicou is considered one of the greatest poets in Haitian literature. His works include intimate love poems (Passions) as well as poems with nationalist themes (Poésies Nationales). His poem “Impressions” reflects the metaphysical preoccupations of the author. His two theatrical plays, Féfé Candidat and Féfé Ministre, offer a caustic tableau of Haitian politics, in which Coicou revealed his lack of consideration for political puppets. Other works include Oracle (1893), Liberté (1894), The Son of Toussaint Louverture (1895), and Emperor Dessalines (1906).

Born in Port-au-Prince, Coicou studied at the religious institution of the Frères de l'Instruction Chrétienne (in Saint Louis de Gonzague) and then at the Lycée National. After serving in the army, he worked as a public servant and as a teacher.

President Tiresias Simon Sam on friendly terms with Coicou s family appointed Coicou ...

Article

Richard A. Bradshaw

first president of the Central African Republic (CAR), was born on 24 March 1930 at Bouchia, Lobaye, then in the territory of Ubangi-Shari in French Equatorial Africa. His father, Joseph Iniabodé, and mother, Marie Okolania, belonged to the same ethnic group, the Mbaka (Ngbaka), as future CAR presidents Jean-Bédel Bokassa and Barthélemy Boganda. The grandfathers of Iniabodé and Boganda were “brothers” of the same clan, and Okolania was also a relative of Bokassa’s father and a “sister” of Bokassa’s mother.

Soon after Dacko’s birth his family moved to Boda, where his father worked in a store belonging to a European coffee planter at Bonini named Tancret. In 1937 his father became a Catholic, after which he kept one wife and sent the others away, including Dacko’s mother. In 1938 Dacko was sent to live with his uncle Jêrome Gaza in Mbaïki where he attended the École Regionale ...

Article

Eric Young

During his first presidency of the Central African Republic, David Dacko relied on the support of a narrow elite backed by French troops; he repeated this pattern during his brief return to power fourteen years later. The son of a night watchman in Bouchia, Oubangui-Chari (present-day Central African Republic), Dacko attended local primary and secondary schools and went on to attend classes in neighboring Moyen-Congo, (present-day Republic of the Congo). After his graduation he taught school until he was named a school director in 1955. He became friends with the Central African politician Barthélemy Boganda and was elected to the territorial assembly In the self governing period prior to independence Boganda named Dacko minister of agriculture and later minister of interior and administrative affairs When Boganda was killed in an airplane crash Dacko succeeded him by claiming kin ties to Boganda despite the constitutional claim of ...

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Benjamin R. Justesen

editor and public official, was born in Tarboro, North Carolina, the younger son and third child of John C. Dancy and Eliza Dancy, slaves owned by John S. Dancy, a local planter. After the Civil War, John C. Dancy became a prosperous carpenter and contractor, and was later elected as an Edgecombe County commissioner. John Campbell Dancy was educated in the common schools in Tarboro, where he worked briefly as a newspaper typesetter before entering the normal department at Howard University in Washington, DC.

After his father's death, John Dancy interrupted his studies to return to Tarboro, where he became a schoolteacher and principal of the public school for African American children. U.S. Congressman John Adams Hyman (R-NC) secured an appointment for Dancy at the U.S. Treasury Department in 1876, and Dancy briefly returned to Washington. By 1880 he was again teaching in Tarboro where ...

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Benjamin R. Justesen

politician and public official, was born in Georgetown, South Carolina, the son of a slave mother owned by the white planter E. H. Deas of Charleston, where the youth lived in 1860. Little is known of his childhood or early education in the small Sumter County town of Stateburg, where Edmund Deas moved after the Civil War and lived until the early 1870s.

By 1874, Deas had moved to Darlington, South Carolina, where he became active in Republican Party politics. Though not yet able to vote, he served as precinct chairman and campaign worker that year for the black Republican U.S. congressman Joseph H. Rainey, seeking reelection in the 2nd district, and by 1876, had become a federal constable in South Carolina. In 1878 he became chairman of his party's congressional district committee, serving for eight years, and in 1880 he was elected ...

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Michaeljulius Idani

politician, was born in Memphis, Tennessee, son of Harold Ford Sr., a U.S. Congressman, and Dorothy Bowles, an employee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Harold Jr. was the oldest of five children: brothers Jake, Isaac, and Andrew, and sister Ava. The Ford family was an institution in the Memphis area; schools, churches, roads, and buildings were named after family members. They ran a successful funeral services business and were active in the civil rights movement and the cause of social justice. Besides his father, two of Ford's uncles were also politicians: John, a local councilman, and Emmitt, who succeeded Ford's father as a member of the Tennessee state legislature.

From an early age Ford expressed an interest in politics. In 1979 Ford s family moved to Washington D C where he attended St Albans School an exclusive school for boys In ...

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Shantel Agnew

attorney and U.S. congressman. Harold Eugene Ford Jr. was born in Memphis, Tennessee, to Harold E. Ford Sr., a U.S. representative, and Dorothy Ford. He got his start in politics at the age of four, when he made a radio commercial for his father's 1974 campaign for Congress demanding better schools, better housing, and lower cookie prices. Ford attended Saint Albans School for Boys in Washington, D.C. In 1992 he earned a bachelor's degree in American history from the University of Pennsylvania and a JD with honors from the University of Michigan Law School in 1996. In 1992 Ford worked as a special assistant for the Bill Clinton and Al Gore Transition Team and in 1993 for the Economic Development Administration under the leadership of U S secretary of commerce Ronald Brown Ford also was an aide to the Senate Budget Committee under U S ...

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Harold Ford, Jr., was born in Memphis, Tennessee. He received a bachelor's degree in American history from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 1992 and a law degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1996.

Ford's political career began in 1992, when he served as special assistant for justice and civil rights issues for President-elect Bill Clinton. He was also an assistant to Tennessee Senator Jim Sasser on the Senate Budget Committee. In both 1992 and 1994 he managed the successful reelection campaigns of his father, Harold E. Ford, who represented Tennessee's Ninth Congressional District. In 1993 the younger Ford worked for U.S. Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown as a special assistant to the Economic Development Administration. Three years later he was elected to the U.S. House from Tennessee's Ninth Congressional District. When he took office in January of 1997 ...