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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 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originally registered their children after intimidation and Ku Klux Klan threats Campbell was the only child not to be withdrawn by the start of the school year Though his father received a threatening phone call from the KKK and though he himself was the subject of frequent taunts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 ...

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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 ...

Article

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 ...

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Kristal L. Enter

lawyer and civil rights activist, was born in Wichita, Kansas, to Ocenia Bernice (Davis), teacher, baker, and domestic worker, and Harrison Hannibal Hollowell, custodian and prison guard. Donald Hollowell married Louise Thornton in 1943.

In 1935, Hollowell left high school and enlisted in the army with the all-black 10th Cavalry, one of the regiments also known as the Buffalo Soldiers. During his time with the army, Hollowell earned his high school diploma. In 1938, he enlisted in the army reserves and enrolled in Lane College, an all-black college in Tennessee. After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, Hollowell reenlisted in the army, earning the rank of captain, and served in the European theater.

Hollowell was shaped by his experiences with segregation and discrimination in the army when he was stationed at bases in Georgia Texas Louisiana and Virginia While finishing at Lane College ...

Article

Charles Rosenberg

chair of the Council of 100 Black Republicans, business owner, the first teacher of African descent in the Denver, Colorado, public schools, was born in Butte, Montana, the daughter of Russell S. Brown Sr., a minister (and later general secretary) of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, and Floy Smith Brown. The example of her grandfather, Charles S. Smith, founder of the business school at Wilberforce University in Ohio, was a strong influence in her later life. There is no record of why the Brown family was in Butte; however, small but thriving African American communities to the northeast were centered around Union Bethel AME Church in Great Falls and St. James AME Church in Helena.

By the time Elaine Brown was three years old, the family had moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where her brother, Russell Brown Jr., was born. In 1933 the family moved to ...

Article

Elizabeth K. Davenport

attorney and civic leader, was born in Chicago into an African American family of successful lawyers. Her father, C. Francis Stradford, was a prominent attorney on Chicago's South Side and the founder of the National Bar Association (NBA), which he established in 1925. In 1940 C. Francis Stradford successfully argued the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark case Hansberry v. Lee, which abolished the restrictive covenants that had limited racial integration in Chicago neighborhoods. Her grandfather, J. B. Stradford, was a well-known lawyer in the African American community and the owner of the only black hotel in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her mother, Aida Arrabella Carter Stradford, was an artist and a homemaker.LaFontant's indoctrination to the legal profession occurred early. As a student at Englewood Public High School in Chicago, she spent the summers working in her father's law office. In the autumn of 1939 she ...

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Jewel LaFontant-Mankarious expanded the parameters of tokenism to produce tangible effects for women and African Americans. Often the first woman or African American to hold leadership positions in several arenas, LaFontant-Mankarious challenged discrimination as an activist and lawyer and used her legal acumen and negotiating skills to broker deals in corporate America and the world of Republican politics, all while balancing the often difficult responsibilities of career and family.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, to Cornelius Francis and Aida Carter Stradford, Jewel Carter Stradford was the daughter of an attorney father and artist mother who raised their daughter to believe that unlimited possibilities were available to her. Both her grandfather and her father graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio and entered the legal profession. In 1943 Stradford continued the family tradition when she received a BA from Oberlin, and in 1946 she became the first black woman to ...

Article

Todd M. Brenneman

athlete and attorney, was born in Selma, Alabama, to William Henry Matthews, a tailor, and Elizabeth Abigail Matthews. Little is known about his early childhood, but he attended Tuskegee Institute from 1893 to 1896 and came to the attention of Booker T. Washington, who arranged for him to attend Phillips Andover Academy in Massachusetts in 1896. At Andover Matthews excelled at football, baseball, and track as well as academics. He was also popular with his classmates who gave him a silver loving cup, a large cup that has multiple handles on it so it can be passed around to various people at a banquet, at graduation.

As successful as he was at Andover, Matthews truly came into his own as an athlete during his college career. Enrolling at Harvard in 1901 Matthews earned places on the varsity football and baseball teams in his freshman ...

Article

Johannes Steffens

attorney and White House official, was born in Texarkana, Texas, the only child of Charlotte Wallace and Hobart Taylor Sr., a prominent Texas businessman who financed numerous civil rights causes and developed close ties to many powerful Texan politicians including Lyndon Johnson. Johnson considered both Taylors to be “warm friends who can be trusted” (Johnson to Taylor Sr., 4 August 1960, box 183, Senate Papers, Johnson Library).

Taylor grew up in Wharton, Texas and Houston. From 1935 to 1939 he attended Prairie View State Normal & Industrial College, graduating with a BA in economics in 1939. After earning an MA in economics from Howard University in 1941, he attended the University of Michigan Law School, where he became the first black editor of the Michigan Law Review. He received a JD in 1943, was admitted to the Michigan bar in 1944 and then ...

Article

Charles Pete Banner-Haley

journalist, lawyer, and activist, was born Robert Lee Vann in Hertford County, North Carolina, the son of Lucy Peoples, who cooked for the Albert Vann family, and an unidentified father. His mother named him following a custom from slavery times, giving the last name of her employer to her children. The paternity of Vann, according to his major biographer Andrew L. Buni, is uncertain. It is thought that his father was Joseph Hall, a field worker, but there are no birth records to this effect. There is the possibility that his father was white but not the Vann that his mother worked for.

Vann spent his childhood on the Vann and Askew farms. He entered the Waters Training School in Winston, North Carolina, at age sixteen. In 1901 he enrolled in Virginia Union University in Richmond After two years Vann moved to Pittsburgh and ...

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Todd Steven Burroughs

lawyer, politician, and newspaper publisher in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As a newspaper publisher, Robert Vann's periodical, the Pittsburgh Courier, became a newspaper not ashamed to publish sensational news and not afraid to be controversial. He saw the paper as an agitation vehicle to improve all facets of black life in Pittsburgh.

Robert Vann was born in 1879 on a North Carolina farm near a town called Ahoskie. His mother, Lucy Peoples, worked for a family named Vann. When her son's father deserted them, she gave him the Vann surname. After attending the Waters Training School in Winston, North Carolina, and the Wayland Academy (the latter a preparatory school for Virginia Union University), he attended the Western University of Pennsylvania. He became the first African American to become the editor of the Courant, the campus newspaper. Vann earned his BA from Western in 1906 and his ...

Article

Rayford W. Logan

Robert Lee Vann was born on August 27, 1879, in Ahoskie, North Carolina to former slaves who eked out a living by operating a general store. As a youth, Vann enjoyed playing with boys of prominent white families in nearby Harrellsville. After graduating as valedictorian of Baptist-run Waters Training School in Winton, North Carolina, he enrolled at Wayland Academy in Richmond, Virginia in 1901. While at Wayland, Vann was influenced by John T. Mitchell, editor of the Richmond Planet, who opposed the disenfranchisement of blacks and the virulent segregation laws known as Jim Crow.

In 1903, with the aid of a $100 Charles Avery scholarship, Vann entered Western University of Pennsylvania in Pittsburgh as a sophomore There he gained a reputation as an orator and debater and served for two years as a regular contributor to the school newspaper In his senior year ...

Article

Nina Davis Howland

government official, was born in New York City, the daughter of James S. Watson, the first black elected judge in New York, and Violet Lopez. After receiving her BA from Barnard College in 1943, she served as an interviewer with the United Seaman's Service in New York from 1943 to 1946; as owner and executive director of Barbara Watson Models, a modeling agency, from1946 to1956; as a research assistant for the New York State Democratic Committee, from 1952 to 1953; as a clerk at the Christophers, a nonprofit Catholic organization in New York, from 1956 to 1957; and as foreign student adviser at Hampton Institute in Virginia, from 1958 to 1959.

Watson, who was honored as “the most outstanding law student in the City of New York,” received an LLB from New York Law School in 1962 graduating third highest in ...

Article

After graduating from the New York public school system, Franklin Williams acquired a bachelor's degree from Lincoln University and a law degree from Fordham Law School. Following service in World War II, he worked as an assistant to Thurgood Marshall, then assistant counsel to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), until 1950. Williams served as West Coast director of the NAACP until 1959.

After conducting voter registration dinners that helped elect John F. Kennedy president, Williams was selected to head the African branch of the newly created Peace Corps. Part of his job entailed traveling throughout Africa with Peace Corps director Sargent Shriver to plan the organization's future. His experiences in a wide range of foreign nations primed him for a diplomatic post. In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Williams to serve on a delegation to the Economic and ...