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Sônia Beatriz dos Santos

was born on 27 March 1953 in the city of Porto Alegre, state of Rio Grande do Sul.

Bairros’s interest in political issues began when she was in school. In 1979 she adopted the city of Salvador, state of Bahia, as her main residence; it was in this city that she began to participate in the Unified Black Movement (Movimento Negro Unificado, MNU); she remained involved in this organization until 1994.

She began her activism in the women’s movement in 1981 within the Women’s Group of the MNU. Bairros was a vocal member of this group, and she participated in the main initiatives of the black movement in Bahia and Brazil. In 1991 she was elected the first national coordinator of the MNU.

In 1994 Luiza Bairros joined the Labor and Social Action Secretariat of the State of Bahia managing support for independent workers programs and participating in ...

Article

Leyla Keough

Bernie Grant was a controversial parliamentarian, more at home with grassroots organization and black radicalism than with establishment politics in the House of Commons. Described as “a leader walking the rope between street heroism and government office,” Grant defended his black constituents and articulated their views.

Grant grew up in Georgetown, the capital of Guyana, where he attended a Jesuit school. In 1963 he and his parents, Eric and Lily Grant, moved to Great Britain, where Bernie attended Tottenham Technical College and then studied mining engineering at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. He left the university because of racist policies that refused to admit blacks into a program of study in mining in South Africa. He worked as a railway clerk and a postal employee until he became a trade union official.

During the 1970s Grant led a campaign against the National Front a white supremacist organization active ...

Article

John Gilmore

Historian of Jamaica and writer on slavery. Long was born in England, a member of a family that had long been settled in Jamaica and owned plantations there. Long himself spent only twelve years (1757–69) in Jamaica, where he was a judge, a member of the House of Assembly, and (for a very brief period) its Speaker, but he always identified himself with the interests of the Jamaican plantocracy, that is, the group of white landowners whose prosperity depended on the ownership of sugar plantations worked by slaves.

Long's major work was The History of Jamaica (1774 This contains an enormous amount of information on all aspects of the island and is still an essential source for historians of the Caribbean However the work is strongly marked by his partisan support for the plantocracy which leads him not only to emphasize Jamaica s importance to Britain ...

Article

David Dabydeen

Englishhistorian, writer, and active denouncer of the African slave trade. Roscoe was born in Liverpool and was repulsed by the slave trade and its ubiquity in his home town, where most of its wealth was derived from the trade. He became politically active in the 1790s, and in October 1806 he was elected member of Parliament for Liverpool. One of his earliest speeches called not only for parliamentary reform and peace with France, but for the abolition of the slave trade. He was spoken of highly by William Wilberforce. Wilberforce referred to Roscoe as ‘a man who by strength of character has risen above the deep‐seated prejudices of his townspeople and eventually won their respect’. Roscoe's first published work, Mount Pleasant, a Descriptive Poem (1777), deprecated the slave trade. In 1787 he wrote and published The Wrongs of Africa The poem promoted him ...

Article

Egyptian jurist, law professor, judge, and cabinet minister, was born in Alexandria on 11 August 1895. He was also known as an educationalist, a champion of the rule of law, a proponent of national independence and Arab solidarity, a leading proponent of the idea that Islam is the paramount characteristic of Arab and Egyptian civilization, and a proponent of the notion that Islam should be a guide for organizing laws and public institutions in the Arab world. His one daughter was Nadia al-Sanhuri (1935– ). Of modest background, he attended a traditional Islamic elementary school and a state secondary school operated by an Islamic foundation in Alexandria. In 1917 he graduated first in his class at the Sultanic Law School in Cairo (which became in 1925 the Law Faculty of King Fuʾad I University the Egyptian University He completed a doctorate in juridical sciences and a second doctorate ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Chadian writer and politician, was born in 1927 in Abéché, the capital of the eastern Chadian sultanate of Wadai. Little is known about his early life, but he grew up listening to stories about powerful sultans of Wadai from times past, such as the early nineteenth-century ruler Sabun. By the late 1930s he was living in the southern Chadian town of Sarh (Fort-Archambault). There, he attended classes at the local Catholic mission with a French priest, Father de Belinay, in 1938 and 1939. Under de Belinay’s tutelage, Seid decided to switch from the Islamic faith of his family to Roman Catholicism. Seid’s parents brought the priest salted bread and oil on the day of Seid’s baptism.

Seid then attended secondary school and became involved in politics. He helped to establish the small Mutuelle Amicale Tchadienne political party in 1945 with Mahamat Yakouma Mustapha Batran Abdoulaye Toure Souleymane Naye ...

Article

Joy Elizondo

The child of a washerwoman and a musician, José Manuel Valdés was born in Lima, Peru's capital city, when nearly half its population was black. Though his parents could not afford to educate him, his godparents and mother's employers stepped in, seeing to his early education at a prominent religious school. He would later become the first black writer to publish in Peru, both as a doctor and as a poet, as early as 1791.

After completing school, Valdés yearned to become a priest, but during the colonial period blacks were denied access to the priesthood by the Catholic Church, and he turned instead to medicine. He could have prospered as a romancista, a type of medical practitioner that required little training and was restricted to “external remedies.” In 1788 he took the more challenging route and pursued the title of latinista surgeon for ...

Article

Lorraine Anastasia Lezama

Eric Williams was born in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, the eldest of twelve children in a family of modest means. His education was funded by a series of competitive scholarships awarded to those who excelled academically. He attended Queen's Royal College, a preparatory school for boys, and in 1931 won a scholarship to study at a British university. At Oxford University, Williams earned a bachelor's degree and in 1938 a doctorate in history. His dissertation, “Economic Aspects of the Abolition of the West Indies Slave Trade,” would later be published as Capitalism and Slavery.

In 1939 Williams moved to the United States to establish an academic career teaching social sciences at Howard University. Rising through the academic ranks, he was offered a tenured position in 1946.

Williams returned to Trinidad in 1948 and worked as deputy chairman of the Caribbean Research Council of the Caribbean Commission The ...

Article

Annarita Puglielli

Somali linguist, author, educator, and government official, was born at Ceelhuur (Obbia or Hoobyo) in Somalia. His name is also spelled Yasin Osman Kenadid. He was the son of Cismaan Yuusuf Keenadiid, the poet scholar who, in the 1920s, invented the first phonetically standardized script for the Somali language. This script, called in Somali Far Soomaali or “Somali alphabet,” is also known as the “Cismaaniyya (or Osmaniya) script,” called this after his name. Until that time, Somali had been written in Arabic characters.

Yaasiin studied linguistics and classical languages (Greek and Latin) at the universities of Rome and Perugia (Italy) from 1955 to 1957 and Slavic philology at the Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow in 1962. He got his Arts Degree (Lettere) at the University of Rome–La Sapienza in 1963.

In 1949 he founded Goosanka Afka iyo Suugaanta Soomaalida the Somali Language and Literature Society within the ...

Article

Kathleen Sheldon

Ghanaian politician and government minister, was born in Pusiga, western Ghana. Her mother, Hajia Azore, was active with the Ghana’s Convention Peoples’ Party and faced obstacles in keeping her family together following the early death of her husband, Hawa’s father, Yakubu Awinaba. Hajia Azore insisted on sending her daughters to school and promised Hawa Yakubu a house if she completed secondary school without becoming pregnant. After successfully graduating from Navorongo Secondary School, Yakubu moved to Accra to attend Accra Polytechnic, earning a certificate in Institutional Management. She returned to her Navorongo where she served as matron. She married Amadu Ayebo and they had two sons, one of whom died at a young age in 2000. Later she earned a master’s degree in Leadership and Governance from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration.

Yakubu faced no opposition when she was first elected to her local council in 1979 ...

Article

Haggai Erlich

Ethiopian intellectual, administrator, scholar, dejazmach, and statesman, was born in 1928 to a family embodying the Tigreans’ pride and their frustrated aspirations for leadership in the empire. His father, Dejazmach (literally commander of the right wing, a general and regional administrator, a rank beneath that of ras) Gabre-Sellassie Baria-Gebr played important roles in Tigrean and imperial politics and married Walata Esrael Seyum, great-granddaughter of emperor Yohannes IV (r. 1872–1889), the last Tigrean ruler of Ethiopia (prior to 1991). In 1930 Gabre Sellassie died and two years later Emperor Haile Selassie working to ensure Tigre s loyalty to his Amhara centered regime arranged for marriages between his family and the Tigrean nobility The emperor s eldest son and proclaimed heir Meredazmach Asfa Wossen married Wallata Esrael and four year old Zewde a direct descendant of the Tigrean emperor Yohannes thus became the step grandson of Emperor Haile Selassie Raised ...