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Richard A. Bradshaw and Juan Fandos-Rius

politician in the Central African Republic (CAR), was born 3 December 1928 in Zémio in the southeastern part of the French colony of Ubangi-Shari to Ngbaka Manza parents from Damara in central Ubangi-Shari. He attended the École des cadres supérieurs (school for upper-level cadres) in Brazzaville, then the École normale d’instituteurs (teacher training college) at Mouyondzi in the Middle Congo. These were schools that provided training for promising students from all over French Equatorial Africa (FEA), and so young Adama-Tamboux came to know many future leaders of the independent states which would later emerge in this region during the process of decolonization.

In 1950 Adama Tamboux attended a professional training course for one year at the École normale de Saint Cloud Saint Cloud teacher training school in Paris He then returned to Ubangi Shari where he was appointed head of the school district in Ouham province a primarily Gbaya ...

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John R. Wennersten

civil rights activist, mayor, and city councilman. For more than two decades Marion Barry as a political leader of Washington, D.C., epitomized all that is good and bad about the politics of the urban South.

Born in Itta Bena, Mississippi, to a father who was a sharecropper and a mother who was a domestic, Marion Shepilov Barry was raised near Memphis, Tennessee, and experienced the twin hardships of poverty and segregation in the post–World War II South. He graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in 1954 and went on to earn a bachelor's degree at Memphis's LeMoyne College in 1958 and a master's degree in chemistry at Fisk University in Nashville in 1960. While a college student Barry led a well-publicized effort to force a white LeMoyne College trustee to retract disparaging remarks that he made about blacks during a Memphis bus-desegregation campaign.

Increasingly involved in the civil ...

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Marion Barry's 1994 election to a fourth term as mayor of Washington, D.C., three years after his conviction for cocaine possession, was just another twist in the turbulent career of the sharecropper's son from the Mississippi Delta. Born near the small town of Itta Bena, Mississippi, Barry moved to Memphis, Tennessee, at the age of five. Barry grew up amid poverty, segregation, and racism. Despite these circumstances, he excelled academically and became the first member of his family to attend college. At LeMoyne College, a racially mixed institution in Memphis, Barry joined the campus chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), becoming its president in his senior year.

Barry received his bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1958 and that fall began postgraduate study at historically black Fisk University in Nashville. Barry organized the campus's first NAACP chapter and helped stage nonviolent Sit-Ins ...

Article

Theresa W. Bennett-Wilkes

politician and human relations advocate. In November 1993 Sayles Belton made history as the first African American and first female elected mayor of Minneapolis, Minnesota. A native of Minneapolis, she was born Sharon Sayles, the daughter of Bill Sayles, the city's first African American car salesman, and Marian Sayles. After her parents divorced, Sayles Belton lived briefly with her mother. Marian Sayles moved to Cleveland, and Sayles Belton then lived with her father and stepmother. During her high school years she volunteered as a candy striper, that is, a nurse's assistant, an experience that exposed her to human suffering.

Sayles Belton attended Macalester College in Saint Paul Minnesota She continued to do volunteer work registering African Americans to vote in Jackson Mississippi She became pregnant during her senior year and her daughter was born with brain damage Unmarried and unemployed Sayles Belton dropped out of school and was ...

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Robert Fay

Unita Blackwell, the daughter of sharecroppers, was born in Lula, Mississippi. Although she never attended high school, Blackwell eventually earned a master's degree in regional planning from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She began working in the Civil Rights Movement in Mayersville, Mississippi in the early 1960s. At that time, she supported herself by chopping cotton for three dollars a day. When civil rights workers came to Mayersville encouraging voter registration among African Americans, Blackwell was one of the first to register. Shortly thereafter she was fired from her job for urging others to register.

Blackwell then went to work for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), registering voters, leading boycotts and protests, and initiating civil proceedings to stop discriminatory practices in the state. The most notable case was the landmark Blackwell v. Board of Education in 1965 and 1966 a case that furthered school desegregation Blackwell was ...

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Vicki Crawford

Blackwell is one of the courageous, yet unsung heroines of the modern civil rights movement. Born to sharecroppers near Lula, Coahoma County in the Mississippi Delta Blackwell rose from poverty to become a national leader and outspoken critic of racial and economic inequality After her father had an argument with the bossman about whether Unita should be required to do work in the cotton field when he believed she was too young he left Mississippi to find work in Tennessee From that time Blackwell and her mother and siblings moved from one relative s home to another As a child she worked in the cotton fields and in order to get a decent education she had to go across the state line to West Helena Arkansas She would live for eight months at a time with her aunt in that city in effect hiding out from the man who ...

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Nan Elizabeth Woodruff

civil rights activist and mayor was born in Lula Mississippi the daughter of sharecroppers in Coahoma County Mississippi Her father had to leave Mississippi when he refused to obey his plantation owner s order to send his young daughter Unita to the fields to pick cotton He found work in an icehouse in a neighboring state Her mother was illiterate and determined that her children would learn to read and write In the Mississippi Delta everyone was required to pick and chop cotton and the schools closed down to allow for this work except for two or three months a year Consequently Unita Blackwell and her sister took the ferry across the Mississippi River to West Helena Arkansas She lived with her aunt for eight months of the year and attended Westside Junior High School where she completed the eighth grade Later she received her high school equivalency diploma Blackwell ...

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Steven J. Niven

mayor of Los Angeles, was born in a log cabin on a cotton plantation near Calvert, in Robertson County, Texas, the son of Lee Thomas Bradley and Crenner Hawkins sharecroppers Calvert had thrived in the late nineteenth century buoyed by the cottonseed industry and the Southern Pacific Railroad but its economy had declined by the time of Thomas s birth Life for sharecroppers like the Bradleys was precarious little better in fact than it had been for Lee s father a slave in the Carolinas They knew the certainty of picking cotton for eighteen hours a day and the annual uncertainty of the price of that cotton Heavily indebted to white landlords Lee and Crenner struggled to provide their family with vital necessities such as food and health care five of their children died in infancy Like many southern blacks in the 1920s the Bradley family saw only one ...

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Kate Tuttle

The first black mayor of Los Angeles, California, Tom Bradley served for twenty years, longer than any previous mayor of that city. Bradley's quiet, self-effacing manner attracted less national attention than other African American big-city mayors such as New York's David Dinkins or Washington's Marion Barry, but his national reputation was so strong that in 1988 he was on Democratic presidential nominee Walter Mondale's shortlist for vice-presidential candidates. The late Ron Brown, then chairman of the Democratic National Committee, praised Bradley for his ability “to hold a very complex and diverse city together.”

One of seven children born to his sharecropper parents on a cotton plantation in Calvert, Texas, Bradley moved with his family to Los Angeles when he was seven. In high school he excelled academically and athletically, winning a track scholarship to the University of California at Los Angeles, which he entered in 1937 ...

Article

Jamal Donaldson Briggs

lawyer, activist, and first African American mayor of Los Angeles. Thomas J. Bradley was born to Lee and Crenner Bradley in Calvert, Texas. The Bradleys moved to Los Angeles in 1924; there his father worked as a porter on the railroad and his mother worked as a maid. His father abandoned the family shortly after they all moved out West.

Bradley excelled in athletics at Polytechnic High School in Los Angeles, serving as captain of the track team and making the all-city football team. Bradley graduated in 1937 and attended the University of California at Los Angeles on a track scholarship. He dropped out during his junior year to join the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) in 1940 as a lieutenant; at the time he was the highest-ranking African American police officer in Los Angeles. In 1941 he married his childhood sweetheart, Ethel Mae Arnold The ...

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Kate Tuttle

After serving thirty-one years in the California State Assembly—the last fifteen as speaker, the second most powerful position in the state—Democrat Willie Brown announced in 1995 that he would run for mayor of San Francisco. The 1990 passage of state term limits had effectively ended his tenure as speaker. But the law, which some believed was specially designed to end Brown's long political career, merely forced him to seek new challenges. Following his mayoral victory over incumbent Frank Jordan, Brown gave the citizens of his adopted hometown an inaugural celebration that symbolized the qualities for which the city and its mayor are famous: style, exuberance, and inclusiveness.

A native of Mineola, Texas, Brown moved to San Francisco in 1951 to attend San Francisco State University (then San Francisco State College), from which he graduated in 1955 He went on to earn a law degree from California s Hastings ...

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Alceu de Deus Collares was born to João de Deus Collares and Severina T. Collares in 1927. He hails from Bagé, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, which is located in the extreme southern portion of Brazil. The population of the state is comprised of mainly European immigrants. Recognizing his minority status and the overall racial prejudice against blacks in his state, Collares dubbed himself “the black from Rio Grande do Sul.” He started to work at an early age as a fruit and vegetable vendor, a telegram messenger, a luggage carrier, and a telegraph operator. After graduating in 1960 from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, he worked as an attorney specializing in tax law.

Collares's first political position was as city representative of Porto Alegre, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul, in 1964. In 1970 when Brazil was under ...

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LaRay Denzer

first woman mayor of the Sierra Leonean capital of Freetown, was born into a prominent old Krio (then spelled Creole) family on 7 January 1918 in Freetown. Young Constance grew up in a household deeply involved in local politics and culture. Her parents were Johnnie William Horton, sometime city treasurer, and Regina Elizabeth (Awoonor-Wilson) Horton, a granddaughter of a recaptive from Keta, Gold Coast (now Ghana). Constance was the youngest of their three children, all girls, but she also had two half brothers, one of whom was Asadata Dafora, who won acclaim in the 1930s for introducing African dance drama to the New York theater. Her paternal family traced its ancestry back to James Beale Horton (1835–1883), better known as Africanus Horton, the son of an Igbo recaptive who was influential in the British colonial service and the outspoken author of West African Countries and Peoples (1868 ...

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Wayne Dawkins

mayor of New York City from 1990 to 1994. David Norman Dinkins was born in Trenton, New Jersey, the son of William Dinkins, a factory worker and barber, and Sally Dinkins. When his parents separated, six-year-old David moved to Harlem with his mother, but he returned to Trenton at age fourteen to live with his father. During World War II, Dinkins served in the Marine Corps. After the war he enrolled at Howard University, where he majored in math and graduated in 1950. Dinkins married Joyce Burrows in 1953. He graduated from Brooklyn Law School in 1956.

Dinkins became active in a political club and was mentored by J. Raymond “Harlem Fox” Jones. Dinkins was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1965 and served one term. In 1972 he was elected the first black president of the city Board of ...

Article

Kate Tuttle

David Norman Dinkins was mayor of New York, New York from 1989 until 1993. As the city's first black mayor, Dinkins spoke in his January 1, 1990, inaugural address about the theme of racial progress on which he had successfully campaigned. “I stand before you today,” he said, “as the elected leader of the greatest city of a great nation, to which my ancestors were brought, chained and whipped, in the hold of a slave ship. We have not finished the journey toward liberty and justice, but surely we have come a long way.” A member of the Democratic Party, Dinkins had defeated three-time mayor Edward Koch. Dinkins's dignified civility, a contrast to Koch's outspoken and assertive style, seemed likely to soothe a racially tense city.

Born in Trenton, New Jersey, Dinkins moved with his mother to Harlem, New York where she worked as a ...

Article

Quito Swan

was born in that city, the son of Albert Dismont and his wife Ivy; they were a well-known and much-respected couple. Albert Dismont was the first black man to own property and a business in Hamilton city, the bastion of Bermuda’s white oligarchy. Cecil Dismont would also challenge the dominance of that ruling elite, and his remarkable and full life was, in many ways, a microcosm of the racial, class, and social tensions that marked twentieth-century Bermuda.

Dismont attended the Berkeley Preparatory and Excelsior Secondary Schools. He subsequently studied at the Ontario Business College in Canada and assisted in the family business, the Dismont Cycle Shop, upon his return to Bermuda.

Dismont was raised in a political family His father had unsuccessfully run for mayor and his older brother Russell studied law at the University of London s School of Economics While there he rubbed shoulders with actors Earl Cameron ...

Article

Daniel Donaghy

civil rights activist. Evers was born in Decatur, Mississippi, to James Evers, a sawmill laborer, and Jessie Wright Evers, a domestic worker. The second of four children, Evers was especially close to his brother Medgar Evers. He learned courage and tenacity from his father and spirituality from his mother, who was a devout Christian. Those combined attributes served him well later in life when he decided to make a stand against racism on the grounds that it was both unacceptable and un-Christian.

Evers served in the U S Army during World War II While in the Philippines he fell in love with a Filipino woman but he did not ask her to marry him or come live with him in Mississippi because of the state s intolerant attitude toward interracial relationships After leaving the service he became an active member of the Regional Council of Negro Leadership ...

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Robert Fay

Evers is the older of two sons born in Decatur, Mississippi, to James and Jessie Evers, impoverished farmers. After serving in the Army in World War II (1939–1945), Evers attended Alcorn A&M College (later Alcorn State University) in Mississippi. In 1963 a white supremacist, Byron De La Beckwith, shot and killed Evers's brother Medgar Evers, who was the Mississippi field secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). James Evers returned to Mississippi from Chicago, Illinois, replaced his brother as field secretary, and continued Medgar's struggle in the Civil Rights Movement. As NAACP field secretary, Evers led several successful boycotts and voter registration drives. He became a leading civil rights figure not only in Mississippi but throughout the United States.

In 1969 Evers was elected mayor of the town of Fayette Mississippi most of whose residents were African ...

Article

Marc A. Sennewald

civil rights activist and politician. Harvey Bernard Gantt was born in 1943, in a Charleston, South Carolina, housing project. His father, Christopher Columbus Gantt Jr., worked as a shipyard mechanic by day and a dry cleaner by night, eventually saving enough money to buy a small house for his wife and five children.

As a teenager, Gantt protested racial segregation by trying to buy a soda at a whites-only lunch counter and was arrested for trespassing. In 1963, with the assistance of the NAACP, Gantt successfully desegregated the previously all-white Clemson University. His unobtrusive manner helped to avoid the violence (fifty injuries and two deaths) that had accompanied the admission of James Meredith to the University of Mississippi a year earlier. Gantt earned his bachelor's degree in architecture from Clemson and a master's degree in urban planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In 1974 ...

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Kate Tuttle

The turbulent political life of Harvey Gantt has made him the most visible symbol of race-baiting in American politics in the 1990s. Gantt, who was born in Charleston, South Carolina, became Clemson University's first African American student in 1963. He later cofounded a private architectural firm, Gantt Huberman, and served as mayor of Charlotte from 1983 until 1987. He has also taught at both the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and at Clemson.

Race became a major issue in Gantt's two campaigns to unseat North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms, a conservative Republican. Following narrow electoral losses to Helms in 1990 and 1996, Gantt, his supporters, and the media all cited Helms's use of racially inflammatory political advertising.

One Helms television ad, which implied that Gantt supported race-based hiring quotas, played on white voters' fears that Affirmative Action could cost them their jobs ...