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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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Alexander J. Chenault

politician, state senator, and first black governor of New York State, was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Basil Paterson and Portia Paterson. His father was a political powerhouse in Harlem, serving as state senator, deputy mayor, and secretary of state. As an infant, David developed an infection that left him completely blind in his left eye and with severely limited vision in his right eye. Shortly thereafter, the family moved to the suburban town of Hempstead, New York, which allowed him to get a regular public education instead of special education classes he would have been limited to in New York City.

Paterson fought hard throughout his childhood to overcome his disability and earn the respect of his peers refusing to learn to read Braille or use a cane or seeing eye dog As a sixth grader at Hempstead s Fulton School Paterson sat in the ...

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Beverly Morgan-Welch

governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the only son of Emily Wintersmith Patrick and Laurdine (Pat) Patrick, a musician. Reared on the south side of Chicago by his mother, since his parents separated when he was four, and with his sister, Rhonda Patrick-Sigh, he attended Chicago Public Schools. Challenged by poverty and always seeking educational opportunities, his mother supported his application to A Better Chance, an organization dedicated to securing positions in independent and public schools for children of color. In 1970 Milton Academy in Massachusetts became the springboard for his stellar academic career. He graduated from Harvard University in 1978 cum laude with an AB in English and American Literature, becoming the first member of his family to receive a college degree, and Harvard Law School in 1982 During the intervening year between college and law school he worked ...

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Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback was the free-born son of a wealthy white planter, William Pinchback, and his longtime mistress, an emancipated slave named Eliza Steward. William Pinchback's family successfully challenged his will after his death in 1848, leaving Eliza and their five children destitute. Fearing that Pinchback's relatives would attempt to enslave them, Eliza moved the family to Cincinnati, where Pinchback attended Gilmore's High School.

In 1862, after working as a steward on a Mississippi riverboat, Pinchback joined the Union Army in New Orleans He recruited and commanded a company of the Corps d Afrique a Louisiana cavalry unit Initially all of the Corps d Afrique s officers were black The black officers learned however that their commissions were subject to qualification examinations All of the black officers except Pinchback were replaced by white officers When authorities repeatedly ignored Pinchback s demands for equal treatment ...

Article

Elon A. Kulii

assistant attorney general of Alabama, member of the Alabama legislature, circuit judge, and governor of Alabama. George Corley Wallace Jr. will long be remembered as one of the staunchest supporters of segregation, white supremacy, and the rights of the southern states. He was born in Clio, Alabama, to George Corley Wallace and Mozell Wallace. He attended the public schools of Alabama and entered the University of Alabama's law school. To support himself he worked various part-time jobs. In 1942 he graduated from law school, and soon thereafter he joined the U.S. Army, serving during World War II. After the war ended, Wallace was honorably discharged from the army and returned to civilian life with his wife Lurleen and his daughter Bobbie Jo. He was given a job by Governor Chauncey Sparks as assistant attorney general Sparks had promised Wallace a job in the state capital as payback ...

Article

Dan T. Carter

A 1942 graduate of the University of Alabama Law School, Wallace was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 1946 and elected a circuit judge in 1953. A racial moderate until he lost a 1958 gubernatorial bid to an ultrasegregationist, Wallace vowed that he would “never be out-niggered again.” Elected governor in 1962 as the civil rights movement gained momentum, he pledged “Segregation now! Segregation tomorrow! Segregation forever!” In 1963, however, after fulfilling a pledge to “stand in the schoolhouse door” at the University of Alabama, he stepped aside to allow the enrollment of black students. His segregationist stance won strong support among whites in his state and beyond. In 1964 he challenged Lyndon B. Johnson in the Democratic party's Wisconsin, Indiana, and Maryland presidential primaries, winning more than a third of the votes. Barred from a further consecutive gubernatorial term in 1966 he was ...

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Margaret E. Edds

governor of Virginia, was born Lawrence Douglas Wilder in Richmond, Virginia, the son of Robert J. Wilder Sr., a door-to-door insurance salesman, church deacon, and a strict disciplinarian, and Beulah Richards, an occasional domestic and mother of ten children, including two who died in infancy. Wilder's paternal grandparents, James and Agnes Wilder, were born in slavery and married on 25 April 1856 in Henrico County Virginia north of Richmond They were later sold separately and on Sundays James would travel unsupervised to neighboring Hanover County to visit his wife and children According to family lore he was so highly regarded that if he returned late the overseer would feign punishment by beating on a saddle Agnes Wilder a house servant learned to read while overhearing the lessons of a handicapped child for whom she cared Less is known of the origins of Wilder s ...

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Rachelle Gold

governor of Virginia and mayor of Richmond. Born in Richmond, Lawrence Douglas Wilder was named after the famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass and the famous African American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar. Wilder grew up in a large family as one of eight children, and he and his siblings attended segregated public schools. He graduated in 1951 from Virginia Union University, a historically black college in Richmond, with a degree in chemistry. During the Korean War, Wilder served in the U.S. Army and won the Bronze Star for heroic acts in battle. Back in Richmond after the war, Wilder worked as a chemist in a state coroner's laboratory.

With help from the GI Bill, Wilder attended law school at Howard University, and after he earned his degree in 1959 he passed the Virginia bar. He married Eunice Montgomery in 1958; they had three children and divorced in 1978 Soon ...

Article

L. Douglas Wilder has served his home state of Virginia as state senator, lieutenant governor, and governor. A native of Richmond, Virginia and the son of an insurance agent and a domestic worker, Wilder has made a career of conciliating tensions between the races.

Douglas Wilder was educated at the historically black Virginia Union University and graduated from Howard University Law School in Washington, D.C., in 1959. He was always aware of the political possibilities of his own success. He received the Bronze Star for bravery in the Korean War, and he used his recognition to fight successfully for the promotion of passed-over African American military commanders. His law practice made him a millionaire, and he parlayed his money and influence into a campaign for state senator in 1969 Wilder s success as a Democrat in a largely white Republican state flows from his position as ...