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Martha Pitts

editor, writer, publisher, lawyer, and government official, was born in Montgomery, Alabama, the son of Viola (Lovett) Bibb and Joseph D. Bibb, an African Methodist Episcopal (AME) minister and a prominent teacher and advocate for the employment of black teachers. Bibb used his earnings from working in the railroad industry and southern factories to pay for his college education; he attended Atlanta University, Livingstone College, and Howard University, and completed his legal training at Yale and Harvard Universities.

After the completion of his formal education, Bibb moved to Chicago, the destination of thousands of job‐seeking African Americans from the South. This mass exodus from the South—the Great Migration—saw blacks pour into urban areas between 1915 and 1925 Chicago and other cities such as Detroit and New York saw their black populations double and triple these cities offered relative freedom from the violence and lack of opportunity in the ...

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Katya Leney-Hall

Egyptian diplomat, jurist and scholar who, during 1992–1996, served as the sixth Secretary-General (SG) of the United Nations (UN), the first African and Arab to hold the position, was born in Cairo on 14 November 1922 into a distinguished Coptic Christian family. His grandfather, Boutros-Ghali Pasha, was the Egyptian minister for finance and, from 1894, foreign affairs. He was prime minister from 1908 to 1910 when he was assassinated by a nationalist angered with his advocacy of the extension of the Suez Canal Company s concession Boutros Boutros Ghali pointed out in an interview that the reality was that the population was happy to get rid of a Christian and his grandfather s assassination set off a wave of Coptic Muslim clashes Although not overtly religious himself his family s history status and influence on the Coptic Church were to form Boutros Ghali who would later perceive ...

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Robert Fay

Boutros Boutros-Ghali was born to a prominent Coptic Christian family in Egypt. His grandfather, Boutros Pasha Boutros-Ghali, served as prime minister of Egypt under the British protectorate from 1908 until his assassination in 1910. The younger Boutros-Ghali graduated from the University of Cairo in 1946 with a bachelor’s degree, and went on to earn a doctorate in international law in 1949 from the Sorbonne in Paris. Boutros-Ghali pursued postdoctoral work at Columbia University in New York City, and then assumed a post as professor of international law and international affairs at the University of Cairo. He worked as a journalist, writing for the daily Al Ahram. He also held teaching posts at Princeton University in the United States, and at universities in India, Poland, and Tanzania. In October 1977 Boutros-Ghali left his academic career to serve in the government of Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat as ...

Article

Sean Patrick Adams

Salmon Portland Chase was born in New Hampshire. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1826 and eventually set up a successful law practice in Cincinnati, Ohio. After defending the freedom of several escaped slaves in Ohio, Chase became more involved in the growing antislavery movement of the 1830s and 1840s. He first affiliated himself with the Liberty Party and attempted to shape it into more than a single-issue antislavery organization. Throughout his political career, Chase was able to hold a curious balance between political idealism and aggressive self-promotion. His performance in the 1848 convention that resulted in the formation of the Free Soil Party was a case in point Chase gained national prominence in his role as chair of the convention and proved to be an effective coalition builder Although he was not satisfied with the narrow goals of the Free Soil movement he was willing to ...

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Steven J. Niven

lieutenant‐governor of South Carolina and the leading nineteenth century African American freemason, was born in Philadelphia to parents whose names have not been recorded. His father was a free person of color from Haiti and his mother was a white Englishwoman. Gleaves was educated in Philadelphia and New Orleans, and as a young man worked as a steward on steamboats along the Mississippi River.

Gleaves first came to prominence as an organizer of Masonic lodges in Pennsylvania and Ohio. While black freemasonry had gained a foothold under Prince Hall in Massachusetts in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, by the 1840s, Pennsylvania was the center of black fraternalism, and Gleaves would become one of the Order's leading evangelists before the Civil War. In 1846 the year he was first initiated as a brother mason the Pennsylvania Grand Lodge of Prince Hall Masons appointed Gleaves a District Deputy Grand ...

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Bonnie Newman Davis

attorney and first African American mayor of Dallas. Ronald Kirk was born in Austin, Texas, the son of Lee Kirk, a postal clerk, and Willie Mae Kirk, a schoolteacher. The youngest of four children, Kirk grew up in largely segregated Austin. Kirk's mother was strict, making sure that her children had good manners, spoke well, and received good grades in school. Kirk complied, becoming a cellist in the orchestra, state president of the Teenage March of Dimes, and an officer in Jack and Jill, a service and leadership organization.

When Kirk was in junior high school, Austin's school system became integrated, and racial and ethnic tensions were common. Later, at the integrated John H. Reagan High School Kirk s early political aspirations took hold when he was elected president of the student council Still he struggled to find his self identity Black students called him Uncle Tom ...

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Daryl A. Carter

U.S.Trade Representative, was born Ronald Kirk in Austin, Texas, the youngest of four children of Lee Kirk, a postal worker, and Willie Mae Kirk, a schoolteacher. Kirk attended public schools in Austin and, like his family, was politically active from a young age. He was elected to serve as president of the student council during his senior year. Following his high school studies, he enrolled at Austin College in Sherman, Texas, where he studied political science and sociology. Kirk received his B.A.in 1976. Afterward, Kirk decided on a career in law and enrolled at the University of Texas Law School. In 1979 Kirk was awarded his law degree and set out to practice in the private sector. He married Matrice Ellis in 1987; the couple had two daughters, Elizabeth and Catherine.

Using his knowledge of the law and his political acumen Kirk accepted in ...

Article

Christopher Harrison Payne was born of free parents near Red Sulphur Springs, Monroe County, Virginia (now West Virginia). His mother was the slave daughter of James Ellison, who instructed her and set her free. When Christopher was two years old, his father, Thomas Payne, a cattle drover, was stricken with smallpox, and he died while taking a herd over the mountains to market. Payne's mother taught him to read so early that he could not remember when he had not read. By the age of ten, Payne had read through the New Testament.

During the American Civil War (1861–1865) Payne was compelled to serve in the Confederate Army as a valet, but in 1864 he returned to Monroe County to work on a farm. In 1866 Payne married Delilah Ann Hargrove (also given as Hargo by whom he had six children He worked on an ...

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Connie Park Rice

minister, educator, editor, and West Virginia's first black legislator, was born near Red Sulfur Springs in Monroe County, Virginia. His father, Thomas Payne, was freeborn, and his mother, Bersheba, was a former slave who was set free by her owner and rumored father, James Ellison, before her marriage. Christopher was their only child; Thomas died from smallpox after taking a drove of cattle to Baltimore, Maryland, when Christopher was still young.

Payne's mother provided his early education. He worked as a farmhand, but when the Civil War began, Payne—as a free, unprotected black in a slave state—found himself forced to become a servant in the Confederate army. He left the service in 1864 and went to the southern part of Monroe County (later Summers) and worked for Mr. Vincent Swinney until the war ended It was there that he met and married his ...

Article

Daryl A. Carter

politician and Republican Party chair, was born Michael Stephen Steele at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland and adopted by William and Maebell Steele. By the time Steele was five, his father had passed away; his mother later married John Tucker. He grew up in northwest Washington, DC. At Archbishop Carroll Roman Catholic High School, Steele became interested in the theater and politics. He was a part of numerous organizations, such as the Glee Club and the student body council. In addition, he was a member of the National Honor Society. After graduating from high school in 1976, Steele continued his education at the prestigious Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. He later acknowledged that he experienced some difficulties in his early undergraduate year, Steele earned a B.A. in International Studies in 1981 He studied for the priesthood at Villanova but left believing that the ...

Article

Don Schanche

Georgia commissioner of labor, state representative, and lawyer, was born in Athens, Georgia, the youngest of nine children of Sidney and Vanilla Thurmond. His parents were sharecroppers.

Athens is home to the University of Georgia, which remained segregated until Thurmond was eight years old. Thurmond's home in rural Clarke County was a world away from the university. He recalled, “I was sixteen before we got an indoor bathroom” (author's interview with Thurmond, 2005). But his parents made education a priority. All the Thurmond children finished high school and four of them—including Michael—finished college.

Thurmond attended segregated schools until his senior year in high school, when the county schools were consolidated in 1971. The black high school, Burney Harris was slated for closure not integration and Thurmond led an unsuccessful protest against the closing When the school board sought and won an injunction to ...