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Adam W. Green

United States congressman, was born in the poor North Side Chicago neighborhood of what would later be known as Cabrini-Green to Washington and Leanna Collins. Collins graduated from Waller High School in 1943, and immediately entered the armed forces as a private. He served for three years in the army, stationed with the Engineer Corps in the South Pacific until he was discharged as a sergeant in 1946. Upon returning to the states, Collins entered Central Y.M.C.A. College in Chicago, and graduated in 1954, going on to receive his business law degree from Northwestern University three years later.

Collins began his career in civil service and involvement in the Chicago Democratic Party machine in the 1950s while still in graduate school. He was appointed precinct captain in 1954 for Chicago s 24th Ward on the West Side and later served as deputy sheriff of Cook ...

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Joseph Wilson

Michigan politician. Born in Detroit, Charles Coles Diggs Jr. attended the University of Michigan and Fisk University and served in the U.S. Army during World War II. Following in his father's footsteps, Diggs worked as a funeral director in his family's business in Detroit, then was elected to his father's seat in the Michigan state senate in 1950. After sponsoring the state's Fair Employment Practices Commission, Diggs was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1954 as the first African American congressman from Michigan.

In the first year of his congressional career Diggs asserted leadership and became involved in the civil rights movement he spoke before ten thousand people attending a Mississippi conference organized by the largest civil rights group in the state the Regional Council of Negro Leadership Returning to Mississippi later that year he attended the notorious trial of the accused murderers of Emmett Till the ...

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Daryl A. Carter

United StatesCongressman, was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Charles Diggs Sr., a mortician, and Mamie Ethel Jones Diggs, a homemaker. As the product of a middle-class family, he learned politics at the knee of his father. Charles Sr. owned a mortuary, an insurance company, and an ambulance company. More importantly, Charles Sr. was very active politically, eventually serving in the Michigan State Senate. Detroit was also a major destination for African Americans escaping the South during the Great Migration, and thousands relocated to Detroit in the search for jobs and security. The combination of his father and the tectonic shifts taking place in Detroit seemed to have prompted the younger Diggs to excel academically. He graduated from Miller High School in 1940 and briefly attended the University of Michigan He transferred however to Fisk University after a couple of years While he was at Fisk ...

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George Derek Musgrove

U.S. congressman, was born Parren James Mitchell, the ninth child of Clarence Maurice Mitchell, a waiter, and Elsie Davis in Baltimore, Maryland. The Mitchells lived in a cramped, two-story row house on one of the “alley” streets of Old West Baltimore, and the family could be considered poor. Parren attended segregated Garnet Elementary School, Booker T. Washington Junior High School, and Frederick Douglass High School, from which he graduated in 1940. In 1942 he joined the army and was immediately shipped overseas where he served in the Ninety-Second Infantry Division as a commissioned officer and company commander. Mitchell was awarded the Purple Heart in 1944 after being wounded during fighting in Italy.

After being honorably discharged from the army in 1946, Mitchell returned to Baltimore to attend Morgan State College. There he earned a BA in Sociology and graduated with honors in 1950 Immediately ...

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Caryn E. Neumann

civil rights activist, member of Congress, and a founder of the Congressional Black Caucus. Parren James Mitchell, nicknamed “PJ,” was born in Baltimore, Maryland, as the ninth of ten children, three of whom died in childhood. He attended Baltimore public schools. Enlisting in the army during World War II, Mitchell won a Purple Heart while serving as a company commander in Italy.

Mitchell subsequently earned a bachelor's degree in 1950 from what is now Morgan State University and applied to the sociology graduate program at the University of Maryland. The university refused to admit Mitchell to its College Park campus because of his race and instead established a separate off-campus graduate program for him in Baltimore. Mitchell sued and became the first African American graduate student at Maryland. After earning his master's in 1952 Mitchell taught at Morgan State He headed the antipoverty program in Baltimore in ...

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Chandra M. Miller

Reconstruction politician and U.S. congressman, was born in Opelousas, Louisiana, the son of free blacks Richard Nash and Masie Cecile. He received little public school education and as a young man worked as a bricklayer in New Orleans.

In 1863 nineteen-year-old Nash joined the Tenth Regiment of the Corps d'Afrique, later renamed the Eighty-second U.S. Colored Infantry. He joined the army as a private but was soon promoted to the rank of sergeant major. Nash's regiment fought at the Battle of Port Hudson, Louisiana, and was involved in the last infantry battle of the Civil War, the Battle of Fort Blakely, Alabama, in April 1865 While storming Fort Blakely Nash received wounds that cost him most of his right leg and earned him an honorable discharge Apparently about ten days before his discharge he received promotion to first lieutenant but the promotion was not approved His ...

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Bobby Lee Rush was born in Albany, Georgia, and grew up in Chicago, Illinois. He joined the army in 1963, and in 1966 he became active in the Civil Rights Movement in the South. Rush was honorably discharged from the army in 1968, and that same year he helped to found the Illinois Black Panther Party.

During his time with the Black Panthers, Rush also managed a medical clinic that developed the nation's first mass testing program for Sickle-Cell Anemia, a disease that occurs in the United States primarily among blacks. Rush received a bachelor's degree from Roosevelt University in 1974, a master's degree from the University of Illinois in 1994, and a master's degree from the McCormick Theological Seminary in 1998. He is an ordained minister.

Elected a city alderman in Chicago in 1983 Rush served in that position ...

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Michaeljulius Idani

Democratic politician, was born in Albany, Georgia, one of eight children of Jimmy Lee Rush and Cora Lee. Rush's parents separated and his mother moved the family to the North side of Chicago, Illinois. In 1963, at the age of seventeen, Rush dropped out of Marshall High School in Marshall, Illinois, and enlisted in the U.S. Army. He served until 1968.

The 1960s were a pivotal time in Rush's life. All around him, there was increased awareness about discrimination and inequality. Rush became a student of social justice and an activist in the civil rights movement. As an army serviceman stationed in Chicago's Jackson Park, Rush joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). SNCC leader Stokely Carmichael encouraged Rush and Bob Brown to start an Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense BPP Rush would oblige and serve as Defense Minister his ...

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Jason Philip Miller

politician, was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Thomas Frederick and Molly Wilder. Information about his parents and early life is scarce. When he was five his family relocated to the South Side of Chicago, where Savage attended Wendell Phillips High School, graduating in 1943. He joined the army and served in World War II in a segregated unit. Upon his return to the United States in 1946 he attended Chicago's Roosevelt University. Savage graduated from Roosevelt in 1951 with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. He elected to pursue a life dedicated to civil rights, perhaps influenced by his experience in the military, where the poor treatment of African American recruits was epidemic. He worked as a journalist around Chicago for a number of years, eventually founding, operating, or editing a number of small, community newspapers and publications, including the Westside Booster (1958–1960), the Bulletin ...

Article

Frederick H. Blake

cofounder of the Congressional Black Caucus, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the eldest son of Louise Stone and Charles Stokes, two Georgia natives who came to the midwest during the Great Migration of the 1920s. His father, a laundry worker, became a member of the Future Outlook League, a group that helped increase job opportunities and improve working conditions for black workers in Cleveland. When his father died in 1929, Lou and his younger brother Carl were raised by their industrious mother in the Outhwaite Homes, Cleveland's first federally funded housing project.After graduating from Central High School in 1943, Stokes served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1946. He left the then segregated military and returned to Cleveland, Ohio, where he used funds from the G.I. Bill to complete a degree from what was then known as Western Reserve University in 1948 In ...

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Louis Stokes was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He served in the United States Army from 1943 to 1946 and then attended Case-Western Reserve University from 1946 to 1948. Stokes received a law degree from the Cleveland-Marshall Law School in 1953 and worked as a lawyer before becoming the U.S. Representative from Ohio's Eleventh Congressional District. He was reelected every two years beginning in 1970 and defeated his Republican opponent by nearly 125,000 votes in 1996.

A predominantly black, Democratic area, the Eleventh District covers eastern Cleveland and its suburbs, including Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights, and University Heights. Redistricting during the 1990s has added more white and middle-class voters to the district. Case Western Reserve University and many of Cleveland's prominent cultural institutions are located here.

In 1993 as a member of the Appropriations Committee Stokes became the chair of the Veterans Affairs Housing and Urban Development ...

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C. Ellen Connally

lawyer, civil rights leader, and U.S. congressman. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Louis Stokes was educated in the Cleveland public schools. He and his younger brother, Carl B. Stokes, were raised by their mother Louise (Stone) Stokes after the death of their father, Charles, when Louis was four. Louise Stokes, who worked as a domestic, struggled during the Depression to feed and clothe her family. Both sons helped out as much as possible with odd jobs.

Upon his graduation from Central High School in 1943, Stokes was inducted into the U.S. Army. After his honorable discharge in 1946, he returned to Cleveland and, assisted by the GI Bill, attended Western Reserve University (now Case Western Reserve University). In 1953 he earned a law degree from Cleveland Marshall College of Law and began practicing law in Cleveland During his fourteen year law career Stokes ...

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Michaeljulius Idani

educator, activist, ordained Baptist minister, and U.S. Congressman, was born in Chadburn, North Carolina, son of Versie B. Towns, a homemaker, and Dolphus Towns, a sharecropper. Towns had one brother, James, who passed away in 1984.

Towns's youth was spent in North Carolina, where he witnessed the continuing challenges faced by African Americans in the rural South. Wanting more for her son, Towns's mother encouraged his interest in education. In 1952 Towns graduated from West Side High School in Chadburn. He went on to attend North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, North Carolina, where he graduated in 1956 with a Bachelor in Sociology degree.

After college Towns enlisted in the U.S. Army. In 1958 after being discharged from the military Towns moved to New York City and began a teaching career in the city public schools Fordham University ...

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Edolphus Towns was born in Chadbourn, North Carolina. He received a bachelor's degree from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in 1956 and entered the U.S. Army the same year. He served until 1958 and then moved to New York, where he worked as a hospital administrator, and a professor at Medgar Evers College. In 1973 he earned a master's degree in social work from Adelphi University. In 1976 Towns began his political career, serving eight years until 1982 as Brooklyn borough deputy president. In 1982 Towns was elected to the U.S. House from New York's 11th Congressional District. Following redistricting in 1992, Towns won election from the new Tenth District, which included much of his old district. He was reelected in subsequent elections, sometimes receiving close to 90 percent of the vote. He is currently a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and the ...

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Caryn E. Neumann

legislator. Edolphus “Ed” Towns was born in Chadbourn, Columbus County, North Carolina. He earned a BS from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro in 1956. He then completed his military service in the U.S. Army from 1956 to 1958. He earned a master's degree in social work from Adelphi University in 1973.

A Democrat, Towns began his political career as deputy president of the borough of Brooklyn, New York, from 1976 to 1982, the first African American to hold this position. He entered the U.S. House of Representatives on 3 January 1983 representing the Tenth Congressional District of Brooklyn New York which encompasses the neighborhoods of East New York Canarsie Brownsville Bedford Stuyvesant Cypress Hills Clinton Hill Mill Basin Midwood Downtown Brooklyn and Boreum Hill as well as parts of Fort Greene and Williamsburg He served on the standing committees on ...

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Matthew J. Smalarz

army officer and U.S. congressman, was born Allen Bernard West in Atlanta, Georgia. As a child, he lived in the same Atlanta community where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. conducted his sermons. Raised in a conservative, military household, his father, Herman West, fought in Europe during World War II and achieved the rank of corporal in the U.S. Army. His mother, Elizabeth West, served in a civilian capacity in the U.S. Marine Corps. His first exposure to military life occurred in the tenth grade, when he enrolled in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). After earning a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Tennessee in 1983, he then enlisted in the army's Field Artillery Officer Basic Course at Fort Sill in Oklahoma and later enrolled in and completed its Field Artillery Officer Advanced Course, eventually receiving a promotion to captain in 1987 ...