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Simón Bolívar was born to a family of wealthy cacao plantation landholders who owned many slaves. Educated by private tutors in Caracas and Spain, Bolívar was profoundly influenced by the thinkers of the European Enlightenment, in particular the liberal ideas of French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, as well as by the American Revolution (1775–1783), and the French Revolution (1789–1799).

With the news of Napoleon Bonaparte's invasion of Spain in 1808, and the consequent political weakness of the Spanish rulers in Madrid, Bolívar and other elite criollos (Creoles, people of European descent born in the Americas) started to organize local juntas (councils) in order to replace the colonial government. In 1810, with Commander Francisco de Miranda he led a revolt against the Spanish forces in Venezuela Some historians say that Miranda and Bolívar wanted to take power from the European colonizers ...

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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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Steven J. Niven

educator and politician, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the third son of Lydia Williams, a freewoman of color, and Isaac Nunez Cardozo, a prominent white Jewish businessman. Cardozo's elder brothers, the Glasgow University-educated Francis Louis Cardozo and Henry Cardozo, were both prominent politicians and educators in Reconstruction-era South Carolina. Like his brothers, Thomas enjoyed the privileges of Charleston's freeborn black elite in his youth, attending private schools in the city, but experienced a reversal in his family fortunes following the death of his father in 1855. Apprenticed for a time to a Charleston manufacturer of rice-threshing machines, the youngest Cardozo moved to New York City with his mother in 1857 because of growing hostility to and legislative restrictions against free blacks in South Carolina. He continued his studies at Collegiate Institute in Newburgh, New York, and beginning in 1861 taught for several years in ...

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John N. Ingham

businessman and politician, was born a free person of color in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Bernard Cohen and Amelia Bingaman, a free woman of color. Although Cohen's father was Jewish, he was raised as and remained throughout his life a Roman Catholic. His parents died when he was in the fourth grade, whereupon he had to quit school, though he later attended Straight University in New Orleans for several years. As a boy Cohen became a cigar maker and later worked in a saloon. His entrée into the world of politics came during the period of Reconstruction, when he worked as a page in the state legislature, then meeting in New Orleans. There, Cohen became acquainted with several influential black Republicans, among them Oscar J. Dunn, C. C. Antoine, and P. B. S. Pinchback Pinchback founder of and dominant figure in the city ...

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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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Debra A. Reid

teacher, home demonstration agent, and administrator, was born in Finchburg, Alabama, to Elijah E. and Frances (Moore) Edwards. Mary Evelyn V. Edwards was the fifteenth of their seventeen children, and she worked as a bookkeeper at her father's store, sawmill, and gin. She was a senior in the local high school when she married J. A. Hunter, the high school principal. The couple moved first to Woodville, Texas, and then relocated to La Porte, Texas, where they leased a ranch on Jennings Island. They had two sons, John McNeile Hunter in 1901 and Ira T. Hunter in 1905. M. E. V. Hunter taught school, and after her husband's death in the early 1910s, she began taking courses at Prairie View State Normal and Industrial College (later Prairie View A&M) to gain teaching credentials. She ultimately earned a BS from that school in 1926 ...

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Anthony Matthews

bank teller and Connecticut's first African American state representative, was born Wilfred Xavier Johnson in Dawson, Georgia. His parents were Eugene and Griselda Johnson, who arrived in Hartford in 1925 as part of the Great Migration. Wilfred Johnson was educated in Hartford, attending Northeast School and then graduating from Weaver High School in 1939. He later attended Hillyer College at the University of Hartford and the American Institute of Banking. After serving in the U.S. Army as a technician in World War II, in 1943 Johnson started work for the Hartford National Bank as a messenger. He was then promoted to the analysis department, later becoming the first black bank teller at any bank in Connecticut. As such he was warned that he might face opposition from customers and employees who did not want African Americans in such positions.

Johnson first entered politics in 1953 as a ...

Article

Kevin M. Levin

soldier and politician, was born to literate slaves in Nelson County, Virginia. As a young man Paul was taught how to read by his mother, father, and grandfather, Richard Madison. In 1852 he was sold to a neighboring slave owner, abruptly ending his lessons until after the Civil War. Following the Civil War Paul took a job in a hotel (perhaps in Richmond or Petersburg) but managed to pursue informal studies under the supervision of his mother; within a short time Paul was reading on such subjects as ancient history and pursuing law through Blackstone's Commentaries. All the while he expressed an interest in a political career.

Paul eventually joined the Republican Party, though he played no active role until 1874, when he ran unsuccessfully for Congress against Virginia's former Democratic governor, Gilbert C. Walker Even as Republicans struggled to counter Virginia s Conservative Party ...

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Anne K. Driscoll

politician and social worker, was born Carrie Saxon in Hartford, Connecticut, the only child of Mabel Lee Saxon. Growing up in Hartford's housing projects exposed Perry to the crushing effects of poverty and crime. But rather than being defeated by it, Perry persevered and went on to become a force for change. Perry graduated from high school in 1949 and then attended Howard University, where she earned a bachelor of science in Political Science in 1953. During this time she married James Perry Sr. They had one child, James Perry Jr. Perry entered Howard's School of Law that same year, but did not complete the law program. Instead she returned in 1955 to Hartford where she became a social worker While she served in many professions they all had one element in common The positions involved helping the people of Hartford to have better ...

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 ...

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Linda Chavers

secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, women's and civil rights activist, and campaigner against misogynistic lyrics in rap music, was born Cynthia DeLores Nottage in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the tenth of eleven children of the Reverend Whitfield Nottage, a minister, and Captilda Gardiner, a businesswoman. Because Tucker's father, an immigrant from the Bahamas, did not accept a salary from the churches that employed him, it was left to Tucker's mother, whom Tucker later described as a “Christian feminist,” to provide for the family (Washington Post, 13 Oct. 2005 She did so by starting an employment agency for Southern black migrants to Philadelphia running grocery stores and investing in real estate Tucker s socially conservative parents did not allow her or her siblings to listen to popular music go to dances or date before the age of twenty one Tucker spent much of her ...