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Teresa A. Booker

attorney, politician, and diplomat, was born in Louisville, Kentucky. He was the youngest of two children and the only son of Charles W. Anderson Sr., a physician, and Tabitha L. Murphy, a teacher.

Motivated by the high value that his parents placed on education, Charles W. Anderson Jr. entered Kentucky State College at age fifteen and attended from 1922 to 1925. He then transferred to Wilberforce University, one of the earliest universities established for African Americans. Although the reason for Anderson's transfer to Wilberforce University during the penultimate year of his undergraduate career is unclear, it is likely that he, like other black Kentuckians, was forced to pursue higher education outside of the state because of the still-standing Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896 authorizing separate but equal educational facilities Higher educational institutions for blacks did not exist in Kentucky and rather than wait for them ...

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Andre D. Vann

lawyer and the first black Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, was born in Lumberton, Robeson County, North Carolina, to Daniel T. Blue Sr. and Allene Morris. Blue excelled in school and later attended North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina, where he earned a BS degree in Mathematics. There he emerged not only as a leader in academics but also in campus politics. Blue furthered his career by receiving his JD degree in Law from Duke University School of Law, where again he distinguished himself and graduated in 1973. He held the certification of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy and served four times as a faculty member of that institute.

When Blue was hired by the firm of Sanford Adams McCullough Beard he became one of the first blacks to integrate a major North Carolina law firm However a desire to own his ...

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Linda M. Carter

state legislator, attorney, police officer, and social worker, was born Cora Mae Brown in Bessemer, Alabama, the only child of Richard and Alice Brown. Her father and mother were employed as a tailor and cook respectively. In 1922 the family moved to Detroit when Brown was seven years old. After graduating from Cass Technical High School in 1931, Brown attended Fisk University and received a degree in sociology in 1935.

Brown returned to Detroit, and until 1941, she was employed as a social worker. After working for the Children's Aid Bureau, Old Age Assistance Bureau, and the Works Progress Administration, Brown, as a policewoman in the Women's Division of the Detroit Police Department from 1941 to 1946, prepared legal cases. In 1946 Brown enrolled in Wayne State University's School of Law; she received her LL.B degree in 1948 and passed ...

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Agnes Kane Callum

slave, farmer, teacher, Reconstruction-era state legislator and lawyer, was born in South Carolina's famed Edgefield District. He was literate and the favored slave of Major Thomas Carwile the commissioner in equity of Edgefield Cain was probably raised much like other slave children on Edgefield plantations they would be cared for by an elderly lady while their mothers worked in the fields until the children were about six or seven years old when they were sent to work in the fields many serving as water carriers or weed pullers In some instances they were sent to work by the side of an adult Generally the children were called quarter workers since they produced about one fourth as much labor as an adult It is not known exactly how Cain learned to read and write but it is likely that he was taught by his owner as he was known as ...

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Russell Duncan

abolitionist and Georgia politician, was born free in Middlebrook, New Jersey, the son of John Campbell, a blacksmith, and an unknown mother. From 1817 to 1830 he attended an otherwise all-white Episcopal school in Babylon, New York, where he trained to be a missionary to Liberia under the auspices of the American Colonization Society. Rebelling against his training and calling himself “a moral reformer and temperance lecturer,” Campbell moved to New Brunswick, New Jersey, converted to Methodism, joined an abolition society, and began to preach against slavery, colonization, alcohol, and prostitution. He joined Frederick Douglass on speaking tours and participated in the Colored Convention Movement, a new nationwide organization that aimed at racial uplift and black voting rights.

From 1832 to 1845 Campbell lived and worked in New York City as a steward at the Howard Hotel Later for an undetermined period he worked at the Adams House ...

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Jason Philip Miller

lawyer, state legislator, and antilynching crusader, was born in Charleston, West Virginia, one of five children born to Joseph Capehart, a merchant, and Maggie Woodyard. It is likely that both of his parents were former slaves. Capehart attended local public schools, but at some point during his early youth—when is not precisely known—his father died, and Harry had to balance his eagerness for continued schooling with the new responsibilities of helping his mother to feed and clothe the family. Times were hard, and the fear of want a persistent problem. He later spoke of having to delay his education “for several years,” though the exact time and duration remain uncertain.

What is known is that Capehart attended Howard University in Washington, DC, intent on taking a degree in law. This he did in 1913 earning his LL B He relocated to Keystone West Virginia ...

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Kristen L. Rouse

politician and community leader, was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the seventh of ten children. When Cleo was four years old, Isadore, his father, a dockworker, died in an accident while driving home from working a double shift, leaving his mother, Alice, alone to support the family. Unable to pay the rent, the family was evicted. Alice moved the family to a new house and worked days as a hotel maid, and in the evenings she did laundry to make ends meet.

Fields grew up in East Baton Rouge a community that had been integral in the struggle for civil rights Fields and his siblings attended McKinley High School the first secondary school for African Americans in the historically segregated city During the years that Fields attended the school the district remained embroiled in the longest running desegregation case in U S history which finally culminated in a ...

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Timothy M. Broughton

attorney and politician, was born Michael Anthony Figures in Mobile, Alabama, to Coleman and Augusta Mitchell Figures. Coleman Figures, who once cleaned the yards of affluent Mobilians to supplement his income at Mobile's International Paper Company, was an ordained Baptist minister and pastor of the Green Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Mobile. Both mother and father instilled in their children discipline, honesty, and the redemptive values of hard work and education. The youngest of three sons, Michael grew up with a keen sense of social responsibility and believed that the law was a vital tool for achieving social change.

Figures grew up in the segregated South. He graduated from Mobile's Hillsdale High School in 1965. This was just two years after Alabama began its school desegregation process, when Governor George Wallace made his infamous stand against the admission of black students to the University of Alabama Figures ...

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Travis Boyce and Winsome Chunnu-Brayda

attorney, civil rights activist, state legislator, and Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court, was born Ernest Adelphous Finney Jr. to Ernest Finney Sr. and Colleen Goodwin on 23 March 1931 in Smithfield, Virginia. Finney's mother died when he was ten years old, leaving his father and aunts to raise him. His father was a longtime educator, who served in various capacities in the Virginia/DC/Maryland area before notably serving as a professor, registrar, and dean of Claflin College (Finney Jr.'s undergraduate alma mater), a private, historically black college in Orangeburg, South Carolina.

During Finney s childhood he knew he wanted to pursue a legal profession When his father worked as a civil training office for the War Department during World War II Finney saw how African American lawyers in the Washington DC area were not only influential and respected figures in the community but also how ...

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Harold Eugene Ford was born in Memphis, Tennessee. He received a bachelor's degree from Tennessee State University in 1967, a degree in mortuary science from John Gupton College in 1969, and a master's degree from Howard University in 1982. He worked as a funeral director in his family's business. Ford was elected to the Tennessee state House of Representatives in 1971 and became known for his fiery speeches and good organizing skills. In 1974 he defeated Republican incumbent Dan H. Kuykendall by fewer than 1,000 votes to win Tennessee's Ninth Congressional District seat. The Ninth District, which consists of most of Memphis and a few suburbs, became a black-majority district in 1976, and Ford won all his reelection campaigns by comfortable margins.

Early in his House career Ford was given a seat on the Ways and Means Committee and became chairperson of the Human Resources ...

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Michaeljulius Idani

politician, was born in Memphis, Tennessee, the son of Newton Jackson Ford and Victoria Davis. He was the ninth of fifteen children, only twelve of whom survived early childhood. Ford's father led a successful funeral home, N. J. Ford & Sons, and both parents were leading figures in Memphis's African American community. Newton Ford was active in Memphis politics and encouraged Harold and his two older brothers, John and Emmitt, to advance the cause of civil rights.

As a teenager Ford moved to Nashville to pursue an education at Tennessee State University and also to manage the family funeral business. During this time he experienced his first political campaign, working on his father's unsuccessful bid for the Tennessee state legislature. That campaign helped Ford understand the challenges facing African Americans attempting to break into a political structure dominated by whites. After graduating in 1967 he studied ...

Article

Patrick D. Jackson

member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Harold Eugene Ford Sr. was elected to Congress from what was then Tennessee's Eighth District in 1974 (the state lost an earlier Ninth District following the 1970 U.S. Census, only to have it recreated after the 1980 census). Ford won reelection from the Ninth District in each election cycle from 1980 to 1996, serving a total of eleven terms. Born in Memphis to a prominent family in the city's black upper class, Harold Ford Sr. graduated from Tennessee State University in Nashville in 1967. He later earned an MBA from Howard University in Washington, D.C. Ford worked for a short time as a managing executive at his father's funeral home before being elected to the Tennessee legislature.

From 1970 until 1974 Ford represented his home city in the lower house of Tennessee s General Assembly On the strength of his ...

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Andre D. Vann

lawyer, educator, and first black chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, was born in Ellerbe, North Carolina, the eighth of the twelve children of Walter Frye and Pearl Motley, farmers. In the late 1920s his father sought to ensure financial security for his family by purchasing a forty-six-acre tobacco and cotton farm with the assistance of a loan from a local bank, which made him one of only a handful of blacks who owned land in Ellerbe. Later his father purchased a small sawmill from white owners. Frye attended the segregated Mineral Springs School in Ellerbe and graduated as valedictorian in 1949. In June 1953 he earned a BS in biology with highest honors from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College later North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U S Air Force and served ...

Article

Blake Wintory

photographer, politician, sheriff, assayer, barber, and lawyer, was born a slave in Carroll County, Kentucky. William Hines Furbush became a member of the Arkansas General Assembly as well as the first sheriff of Lee County, Arkansas. His Arkansas political career began in the Republican Party at the close of Reconstruction and ended in the Democratic Party just as political disfranchisement began.

Little is known about Furbush's early life, though his literacy suggests a formal childhood education. Around 1860 he operated a photography studio in Delaware, Ohio. In March 1862 he traveled to Union-controlled Helena in Phillips County, Arkansas, on Kate Adams and continued to work as a photographer. In Franklin County, Ohio, that December he married Susan Dickey. A few years later, in February 1865 he joined the Forty second Colored Infantry at Columbus Ohio He received an honorable discharge at the ...

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Donna A. Patterson

lawyer, politician, state senator, and U.S. congressman, was born one of nine children in Lake Providence, Louisiana, to Mose and Angelina Jefferson. His father worked for the Army Corps of Engineers and managed a sharecropping plot. After graduating from high school, Jefferson majored in political science and English at Southern University in Baton Rouge where he met his future wife, Andrea Green. There he became involved in campus politics. His activities included organizing a protest about campus living conditions; he was also elected student body president. In 1969 he received his BA, and in 1972 he was awarded a JD degree from Harvard University. In 1996 he returned to school to complete a master of laws in Taxation from Georgetown University.

He married Green in 1970. Their union produced five daughters: Jamila, Jalila, Jelani, Nailah, and Akilah His ...

Article

Elizabeth Zoe Vicary

educator, lawyer, and politician, was born near Raleigh, North Carolina, the son of Columbus Johnson and Eliza A. Smith, slaves. He was taught to read and write by Nancy Walton, a free African American, and later attended the Washington School, an establishment founded by philanthropic northerners in Raleigh. There he was introduced to the Congregational Church and became a lifelong member. Johnson completed his education at Atlanta University in Georgia, graduating in 1883. To pay his way through college, he worked as a barber and taught in the summers. After graduation he worked as a teacher and principal, first in Atlanta at the Mitchell Street Public School from 1883 to 1885 and then in Raleigh at the Washington School from 1885 to 1891. While teaching in Raleigh, he studied at Shaw University, obtaining a law degree in 1891 He joined the faculty ...

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Elizabeth Zoe Vicary

Johnson, Edward Austin (23 November 1860–24 July 1944), educator, lawyer, and politician was born near Raleigh North Carolina the son of Columbus Johnson and Eliza A Smith slaves He was taught to read and write by Nancy Walton a free African American and later attended the Washington School an establishment founded by philanthropic northerners in Raleigh There he was introduced to the Congregational church and became a lifelong member Johnson completed his education at Atlanta University in Georgia graduating in 1883 To pay his way through college he worked as a barber and taught in the summers After graduation he worked as a teacher and principal first in Atlanta at the Mitchell Street Public School 1883 1885 and then in Raleigh at the Washington School 1885 1891 While teaching in Raleigh he studied at Shaw University obtaining a law degree in 1891 He joined the faculty shortly ...

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Jari Christopher Honora

statesman, minister, educator, businessman, and attorney, was born on the plantation of Dr. Francois Marie Prevost near Donaldsonville, Ascension Parish, Louisiana. He is purported to have been born to Rosemond Landry, a white laborer on the Prevost plantation and Marcelite, his slave mistress. He was born with the name Caliste. According to Landry's unpublished autobiography, he resided with a free couple of color and was educated at a school conducted for free children. Despite his owner's wish that he be freed, when Dr. Prevost's estate was settled on 16 May 1854 Caliste was auctioned off to Marius St Colombe Bringier a wealthy sugar planter in Ascension Parish He was sold for $1 665 Landry continued his education on Houmas the Bringier plantation and was trusted enough to live in the mansion He served various roles on Houmas Plantation eventually earning the position of superintendent ...

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Benjamin R. Justesen

lawyer, public official, legislator, and law school dean, was the youngest son of five children born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, to Matthew N. Leary, a successful saddler and a staunch abolitionist and philanthropist, and Julia A. Memorell (Menriel). Matthew Leary helped local slaves buy their freedom and often educated them, despite legal prohibitions on the practice. According to the 1850 federal census, he personally owned three slaves, though these were held for benevolent reasons.

John Leary's birth year is not certain; the 1850 census records his age as ten, although later reports indicate that he was born as late as 1849 His ethnic heritage was a blend of European Native American and African American lineage His mother a native of France migrated as a child to North Carolina from the Bahamas with her French mother His father whose family name had been shortened from ...

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Antje Daub

Florida Republican political leader, lawyer, and African Methodist Episcopal (AME) minister, was born free in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Although the names of his parents are unknown, Lee was orphaned while an infant and was raised by Quakers. He attended Cheyney University, then known as the Institute for Colored Youth, the first black high school in the United States. After graduating in 1869, Lee moved to Washington, D.C., to begin a clerkship under the controversial “governor” of the District, Alexander Robey “Boss” Shepherd. Intermittently, Lee attended Howard University Law School in Washington, D.C., a historically black institution established in 1867. Lee attended Howard at a time when African American leaders were clamoring for black lawyers who could help in the struggle to secure the rights of African Americans. He graduated with an LLB degree in 1872.

Lee then relocated to Jacksonville Florida and was ...