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Ana Raquel Fernandes

Pan‐Africanist and the first black person to hold civic office in Britain. He was born in Liverpool, the son of a Barbadian, Richard Archer, and an Irishwoman, Mary Theresa Burns, but little is known of his early life, though he is believed to have lived in North America and the West Indies. Around 1898 he and his African‐Canadian wife, Bertha, moved to Battersea, south London, where Archer established a photographic studio. His concern to eradicate social and racial injustices led to a lifelong career in local government and national and global politics. In 1906 he was elected as a Progressive (Liberal) councillor for the Latchmere ward, and in 1913 Archer became Mayor of Battersea, Britain's first black mayor. His interest in colonial politics led to his involvement in Pan‐Africanism. In 1900 he joined the Pan African Association and he was a significant presence at the ...

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Caryn E. Neumann

four-time mayor of Washington, D.C., was born on a cotton plantation near the Delta hamlet of Itta Bena in northwestern Mississippi to sharecroppers Marion Barry Sr. and Mattie Barry. In 1940 Barry Sr. died, and in 1944 Barry, his mother, and his sister moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where Mattie worked as a maid and married Dave Cummings a butcher The combined family which eventually included nine members lived in a narrow wooden shotgun house in South Memphis one of four black enclaves in the city Barry slept on the couch and rose early each morning to chop wood for the stove He stuffed cardboard in his shoes to fill the holes and sold his sandwiches to other kids at school for pocket money A bright industrious child he eventually became one of the first African American Eagle Scouts in Memphis In the summer he traveled with his mother ...

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Charles F. Casey-Leninger

first black mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio, was born in Maysville, Kentucky, to a white farmer whom he never knew and Cora Berry. When he was a toddler, Berry's mother brought him to Cincinnati, where they settled in the emerging African American community in the city's West End. Severely hearing impaired and with difficulty speaking, his mother earned little as a domestic, and Berry's sister Anna, fifteen years his senior, eventually assembled the family in her own household.

Berry attended the segregated Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary School and graduated from the racially mixed Woodward High School in 1924 as valedictorian, the first black student in Cincinnati to achieve that honor in an integrated high school. Berry received his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1928 and his juris doctorate from the UC College of Law in 1931 He worked his way through school by selling ...

Article

politician, was one of six children born to Clarence Henry Burns, Sr., a laborer for an oil company, and Selena Burns, a house cleaner, in Baltimore, Maryland. Despite little formal education, Burns built upon his grassroots involvement in politics to enter elected office, rise through the City Council, and become the city's first black mayor in 1987.

Born and raised in Baltimore's Eastside neighborhood, Burns became enticed by the city's ward political life by his father, who volunteered as a precinct worker in local elections, and promised each of his children a dollar for distributing election pamphlets on the streets. As a youth, Burns held down a number of odd jobs, selling newspapers and vegetables, and carting home shoppers’ groceries from the market in a wagon.

Burns graduated in 1936 from Frederick Douglass High School, one of the oldest integrated schools in the nation. In 1943 he ...

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Bret A. Weber

law enforcement officer, community organizer, and mayor, was born in Stamps, Lafayette County, Arkansas, but lived most of his life and built his career in the state capital, Little Rock. His mother, Annie Bussey, lived in Stamps, with his father Charlie Bussey, who worked at the local sawmill. A childhood friend of Maya Angelou's, Bussey and his sister, Delvira Bussey, who became a schoolteacher, shared a deep concern for the welfare and future of children. He moved to Little Rock in the 1940s and opened an appliance shop and on 11 October 1945 married Maggie Clark. Though unsuccessful in the appliance business, by 1950 he had become the state s first black deputy sheriff and was later assigned to the prosecuting attorney s office as an investigator As deputy sheriff he founded the Junior Deputy Baseball program and many of those ...

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Frank N. Schubert

William Jefferson Hardin was born in Russellville, Logan County, Kentucky, of unknown parents. He was raised and educated by Shakers in South Union, Kentucky, until he was able to teach school to free African American children. Hardin migrated to California during the Gold Rush of 1849 and remained there for four years. He then lived for brief periods in Canada, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nebraska before moving to Colorado in 1863. Hardin operated a barbershop in Denver for ten years and established a reputation as a Republican politician and public speaker. During his years in Denver he was a close associate and friend of African American political activist Barney Ford in the struggle for political rights for African Americans in Colorado. He also served as a delegate at several Republican conventions in Colorado Territory. Hardin left Denver in 1873 after a short stint as gold weigher and clerk ...

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Eugene H. Berwanger

legislator, was born in Russellville, Kentucky, the illegitimate son of a free mixed-race woman (name unknown) and a white father. Hardin claimed that his father was the brother of Ben Hardin, a Kentucky politician and congressman, but the fact cannot be verified. Raised in a Shaker community in South Union, Kentucky, Hardin's educational and social opportunities were unusual for a person considered black in the antebellum period.

Following the completion of his own education, Hardin became a teacher for “free children of color” in Bowling Green, Kentucky, but soon left the teaching profession and traveled in the midwestern states and Canada. In 1850 he returned to Kentucky, where he married Caroline K. (maiden name unknown) and fathered one child. Sometime between his marriage and the outbreak of the Civil War, Hardin moved his family to Iowa.

Leaving his first family in Iowa Hardin relocated in Denver Colorado Territory ...

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Kerry Pimblott

politician and trade unionist, was born in Cairo, Illinois, the eldest son of Nevada Bell and Charles Hayes Sr., the latter a farm laborer. Charles Arthur Hayes spent his formative years in Cairo, graduating from that city's Sumner High School in 1935.

After high school, Hayes took a job stacking lumber at E. L. Bruce Company, a leading manufacturer of hardwood flooring. Hayes quickly rose to the more skilled position of machine operator and became active in efforts to organize a union. In 1939, these efforts resulted in the founding of Local 1424 of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. A few months later, Hayes was elected president, marking the beginning of a long career as a labor organizer.

During World War II, Hayes, like thousands of African Americans, migrated north to Chicago in search of better employment opportunities. In 1942 Hayes ...

Article

Leila Kamali

Newspaper editor, statesman, and Mayor of Kingston, Jamaica. Jordon was born a freeman on 6 December 1800. He founded the Watchman and Jamaica Free Press in Kingston, which printed an editorial in 1832 calling to ‘knock off the fetters, and let the oppressed go free’. Jordon was tried for sedition—a crime that carried the death penalty—but was eventually acquitted.

He campaigned vigorously against slavery and, having won the Kingston seat in the House of Assembly in 1835, saw complete abolition in Jamaica in August 1838. He then founded the Morning Journal, became manager of Kingston Savings Bank, and director of the Planters' Bank.

Jordon was the first appointment to the Executive Committee under Sir Henry Barkly's governorship, and in 1854 the first man to be appointed both Mayor of Kingston and Custos. In 1860Queen Victoria made him a Companion of the Bath the first ...

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Christopher Fyfe

Lawyer and leading public figure among the Krio (then called ‘Creole’) people of Sierra Leone. His father was a wealthy businessman who sent him to London to study law. Called to the Bar in 1871, on his return home he built up a substantial legal practice. Quiet‐mannered, a dedicated Methodist, unobtrusive in appearance, he owed his success to his well‐grounded legal knowledge, not to histrionic display. Although he occasionally acted for the government, he preferred the independence and financial rewards of private practice.

From 1882 Lewis was a member of the Legislative Council. There, though he was ready to oppose the government, sometimes with great tenacity, in general he supported its measures, even to earning widespread hostility when he went against public feeling. When Freetown became a municipality in 1895 he was elected Mayor, and in 1896 was awarded the first African knighthood.

When the Protectorate was proclaimed in ...

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Hugh C. MacDougall

soldier and politician, was born in Columbia, Pennsylvania, the son of Peter Swails, an African American boatman, and his wife Joanna Atkins Swails, who was usually listed as white; both were from Maryland. After living in Columbia and Manheim the Swails family moved about 1856 to Elmira, New York.

In 1860 Stephen A. Swails worked as a waiter at the Keyes Hotel in Cooperstown, New York, where he married Sarah Thompson, from a local black family; they had two children. On 8 April 1863 Swails enlisted in the newly formed 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, one of the Union's first African American regiments, and was immediately promoted to first sergeant. On 18 July 1863 he fought in the attack on Fort Wagner south of Charleston South Carolina that established the regiment s reputation for valor and led to the formation of the United States Colored Troops ...

Article

Melissa Nicole Stuckey

pharmacist, bank owner, and mayor of an African American community, was born David Johnson Turner, the fifth of twelve children, to Moses and Lucy (Lulu) Turner in Cass County, Texas. During his teen years, the Turners joined the steady stream of African Americans who left Texas and other Southern states for the Oklahoma and Indian Territories. Many black migrants were attracted to Indian Territory, which was divided up among the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole Indians, known as the Five Civilized Tribes. Moses and Lulu Turner rented a farm in the Seminole Nation, Indian Territory, where David Turner and his younger siblings came of age.

In 1895, Turner wed Minnie also a child of Texas migrants and the young couple began raising their own family on a rented farm near Turner s parents Within a few years however Turner moved his family to ...

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Thaddeus Russell

politician and mayor of Chicago, was born on the South Side of Chicago, the son of Roy Lee Washington, a stockyard worker, and Bertha Jones, a domestic worker. Harold Washington attended a Benedictine boarding school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, until the age of six. He was then enrolled in Chicago public schools but dropped out of high school after his junior year to take a job in a meatpacking plant. His father, who had become an attorney and a precinct captain for the Democratic Party in Chicago's largely African American Third Ward, secured a job for Washington at the Chicago office of the U.S. Treasury Department. In 1941 he married Dorothy Finch. They had no children and divorced in 1950.

Following U.S. entry into World War II in December 1941 Washington was drafted into the U S Army He was stationed in the South Pacific with ...

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Gerard Robinson

civil rights leader, housing administrator, and mayor, was born Walter Edward Washington in Dawson, Georgia, to William L. Washington, a millworker, and Willie Mae Washington, a schoolteacher. Two months after Walter's birth, the family moved to Jamestown, New York, where Washington would spend the next eighteen years. After the death of his mother, when Washington was six years old, his father and extended family cared for him. In 1933 he graduated from Jamestown High School and moved from his small, upstate New York town to attend Howard University, in the District of Columbia, a city he called home for the next seventy-one years.

Living in the nation s capital exposed Washington to the ugliness of segregation he had not experienced in Jamestown But for District of Columbia natives this was a way of life The Jim Crow mores Washington encountered upon his arrival in the ...

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Charles Rosenberg

the son of Aiken and Jane Bruce Williams. His year of birth has occasionally been recorded as 1861 or 1862.

Although various private genealogies identify his parents as being from markedly different family trees, some traced to South Carolina, an address left by Williams in the records of Yale University after graduation matches an 1880 census entry for Aiken and Jane Williams, both born in Georgia, as were their parents. Aiken Williams’s parents were George and Lucretia Williams, living in the same household at that time. Aiken Williams worked all his life as a teamster, and Jane Williams taught school. Although Williams’s Yale classmates believed his father had died before he went to college, census records show both his parents living into the early twentieth century. He had one sister, Lucretia, named for her paternal grandmother, about whom little else is known.

Historian Leroy Davis has identified Williams as ...

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Charles Rosenberg

the first mayor of Oakland, California (and the first Alameda Superior Court judge) of African descent, and an active member of the East Bay Democratic Club, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Jules and Louise Wilson. His father was a carpenter and plasterer.

The family moved to Oakland in 1918 when Wilson was three years old, at the urging of a maternal uncle, Ponce Barrios, who had found work in the shipyards. Living first with Barrios, the family settled in the northern end of West Oakland between 28th and 32nd streets, near Myrtle, Chestnut, and Linden. The Wilsons had five more children in Oakland. Wilson later recalled that schools in the neighborhood were predominantly attended by children of Portuguese, Italian, and Irish ethnic families, with 10 to 15 percent African Americans.

In 1932 Wilson graduated from McClymonds High School and entered the University of California ...

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Edward L. Lach

mayor, was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the son of William Coleman Young, a barber and a tailor, and Ida Reese Jones Young. After his family moved to Detroit in 1923 Young grew up in the Black Bottom section of town where his father ran a dry cleaning and tailoring operation and also worked as a night watchman at the post office Although Young enjoyed his early years in the then ethnically diverse neighborhood his family did not altogether escape discrimination A gifted student he was rejected by a Catholic high school because of his race and after graduating from public Eastern High he lost out on college financial aid for the same reason Young became an electrical apprentice at Ford Motor Company only to see a white man with lower test scores get the job He then worked on Ford s assembly line but was fired ...