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Nathan L. Grant

is the pseudonym of Black Theater movement playwright Ed Bullins for the publication of We Righteous Bombers in the anthology New Plays from the Black Theatre (1969) and the play's production at the New Lafayette Theatre in Harlem in May of 1969.

New Plays from the Black Theatre lists Kingsley B. Bass, Jr., as “a 24-year-old Black man murdered by Detroit police during the uprising,” but in a panel discussion of We Righteous Bombers at the New Lafayette Theatre (11 May 1969), playwright Marvin X reported that Bullins in fact wrote the play and used the pseudonym “to suggest the type of play that a brother killed in the Detroit Revolution would have written.” Bass, who never existed, seemed able to achieve for himself a fine, if ironic, honor: a small notice by Larry Neal printed below prefatory notes to the panel discussion which ...

Article

Adam Meyer

Little remembered today, Edward Wilmot Blyden was the most important African thinker of the nineteenth century, leading one of the most varied careers of any Black man in that era. Born in Saint Thomas, Blyden came to America in 1850 to attend Rutgers Theological College but was rejected because of his race. He subsequently emigrated to Liberia, grew enamored of African life, and became a staunch supporter of his new homeland. Feeling called upon to undermine misconceptions about “the dark continent” and to encourage Blacks throughout the diaspora to repatriate, Blyden spent the remainder of his life serving this cause in several capacities. As a journalist, Blyden edited the Liberia Herald and founded and edited the Negro and the West African Reporter two of the first Pan African journals As an educator he served as principal of Alexander High School Monrovia Liberia s educational commissioner to Britain and America ...

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Leland Conley Barrows

Ever the peripatetic intellectual, teacher, journalist, philosopher, and diplomat, Edward Wilmot Blyden (1832–1912) managed to be both a powerful exponent of the uniqueness of the Negro-African personality and an inveterate Anglophile.

Blyden was born of free parents on St. Thomas Island in the Danish Virgin Islands on 3 August 1832. Although apprenticed to a tailor, he developed a talent for languages, literature, and oratory. Thanks to the influence of John P. Knox an American Presbyterian minister Blyden decided early on to become a Presbyterian minister himself Blyden s perception that his parents were of pure blooded possibly Igbo or Ewe African origin served as one of the roots of his life long commitment to Negro race pride and the development of a racial ideology evocative of Négritude Blyden s encounters with slavery on St Thomas black poverty in Venezuela and his first encounter with virulent racism ...

Article

Kimberly Curtis

visual artist, educator, and activist, was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, the second of the seven children of Dana C. Chandler Sr., a longshoreman, and Ruth Chandler. At age five Dana Chandler Jr. and his family moved to Roxbury, Massachusetts, a predominantly African American community. Chandler's parents, who had not attended school beyond the ninth and eleventh grades, raised their children to recognize the importance of completing high school and earning a college degree. Chandler grew up in a poor, working-class family and attended Boston's public schools throughout childhood and adolescence. He received primary and elementary education at the Asa Gray and Sherwin schools. After a six-month hospital stay to treat rheumatic fever, he transferred from Boston Latin School to J.P. Timility Junior High School. At Boston Technical High School his art teachers Ralph Rosenthal and Gunnar Munnick inspired him to become an artist. In 1959 Chandler graduated ...

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Candace Cardwell

attorney and political activist. Born in Dallas, Texas, Kathleen Neal Cleaver was the first child of Ernest Neal and Juette Johnson Neal. Her father was in the foreign service and the family lived in India, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and the Philippines. When Cleaver returned to the United States, she enrolled in a boarding school near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She attended Oberlin College in Ohio and later transferred to Barnard College in New York.

In 1966 Cleaver left college to work for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). At a SNCC conference at Fisk University in Tennessee, she met Eldridge Cleaver, the minister of information for the Black Panther Party (BPP). Attracted by the party's radical approach to social change, she left SNCC and joined the Black Panthers. She married Eldridge Cleaver on 27 December 1967.

As the national communications secretary for the BPP, Kathleen Cleaver ...

Article

Elizabeth J. West

Born in New York City to Charity and Boston Crum-mell, Alexander grew up in a family that placed great emphasis on freedom, independence, and education. Although his parents had not experienced the privilege of a formal education, they placed Alexander in the Mulberry Street School and hired additional private tutors for him. When Crummell decided to enter the priesthood, he applied for entry into the theological seminary of the Episcopal Church. According to Crum-mell's own account in his 1894 retirement address, “Shades and Lights”, the admissions board denied his application because its policy was to exclude blacks from positions in the church hierarchy. Crummell was then forced to study privately with sympathetic clergy. These early studies shaped the stoic and methodical style that remained evident throughout his long career as writer and orator. Although he was ordained an Episcopal priest in 1844, it was not until 1847 ...

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Jonathan Morley

Journalist and activist born to wealthy parents, against whom she rebelled. Cunard became a well‐known figure in the London modernist movement, and throughout the busiest period in her career, the 1930s, was a controversial advocate of black emancipation in the United States and Africa.

At 855 pages long, weighing nearly 8 pounds, with 150 contributors, the NEGRO anthology of 1934 was Cunard's most ambitious publication: a collection of essays, polemics, and poetry from France, Britain, and America designed to highlight the vibrancy of the black world and to lobby for black freedom. Writers of interest include the future African presidents Jomo Kenyatta and Nnamdi Azikiwe, the Pan‐Africanists George Padmore and W. E. B. DuBois, the black modernist novelist Zora Neale Hurston, and the poets Nicolás Guillen, Langston Hughes, Sterling Brown, Countee Cullen, Alain Locke, William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound who ...

Article

LaVerne Gyant

actress, activist, and elocutionist, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to Mansfield Vinton Davis, a musician, and Mary Ann (Johnson) Davis. Davis's talents as an actress and elocutionist were apparently inherited from her father, while her inclination toward activism came from her stepfather, George A. Hackett, who was a recognized leader within the African American community in Baltimore. Both Mansfield Davis and George Hackett died while she was still young After her stepfather s death Davis and her mother moved to Washington D C where she had the advantage of attending the best schools and with her fondness for books made rapid progress in her studies At the age of fifteen she passed the necessary exams to become a teacher and began teaching in the Maryland school district During this time she was recruited by the Louisiana State Board of Education who tendered her ...

Article

Allan D. Austin

Martin Robison Delany's haphazard education began clandestinely before his family's escape from slave-state Virginia in 1822. By 1832, in Pittsburgh, Delany, always proudly black and Africa-respecting, had joined the local African Education, Antislavery, Temperance, Philanthropic, Moral Reform, and Young Men's Bible societies. Further, he cofounded the Theban Literary Society—named after the Egyptian city.

By 1836 he began studying medicine, insisting upon civil rights, and preaching professional training for African Americans rather than barbering or manual labor suggestive of servant or second-class status. When black suffrage was rescinded in Pennsylvania in 1838, Delany, alone, passed through slave territory to then independent Texas to test its potential as a home for free blacks (1839–1840), his first adventure in emigration and exploration. Disappointed, but with scenes and dialogues he would use later in Blake, his only novel, he returned to Pittsburgh.

In 1843Delany married ...

Article

James Sellman

During the nineteenth century Martin Robison Delany was a prominent African American leader, but his repeated political shifts undermined his standing and obscured his legacy. Recently, historian Sterling Stuckey has emphasized Delany's role in the development of black nationalist thought, concluding that he was an influence on W. E. B. Du Bois.

Delany was the son of a slave father and a free mother; her free status made her son free as well. As a child, he moved to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. He attracted the attention of a prosperous mentor, John B. Vashon, who paid for Delany's education. White abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison described him as “black as jet and a fine fellow of great energy and spirit,” but Delany's separatist views alienated many potential allies.

In contrast to Frederick Douglass whose outlook was integrationist Delany stressed the importance of blacks African heritage and the need for black ...

Article

Paul A. Cimbala

Delany, Martin Robison (06 May 1812–24 January 1885), black nationalist, was born in Charles Town, Virginia (now West Virginia), the son of Samuel Delany, a slave, and Pati Peace, a free black seamstress. In 1822 his mother moved the family to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, to avoid punishment for violating state law after whites discovered that she had taught her five children to read and write. In 1823 Samuel joined the family after he had, with his wife’s assistance, purchased his freedom. In 1832 Martin Delany moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the next year began an apprenticeship with Andrew N. McDowell, a local white doctor. In 1843 he married Catherine Richards. The couple had seven children, whom Delany proudly named after famous blacks. After being rejected by a number of medical schools, he entered Harvard Medical School in 1850 but was dismissed under the pressure of student protests.

While ...

Article

Allan D. Austin

political activist, doctor, newspaper editor, and author, was born in Charles Town, Virginia (now West Virginia), son of Samuel Delany, a slave, and Pati Peace, the free daughter of free and African-born Graci Peace. In 1822 Pati fled with her children to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania; Samuel joined her in 1823 after purchasing his freedom.

In 1831 in Pittsburgh, Delany studied history, geography, literature, and political economy, informally, with Lewis Woodson and Molliston M. Clark. Here Delany began his restless, wide-ranging advocacy of African American political rights, cultural self-reliance, and independent enterprise. Opposed to physical and “servile” work, Delany apprenticed himself to a white doctor in 1833. During his time in Pittsburgh he joined or helped found several African American antislavery, temperance, historical, literary, and moral reform societies. When Pennsylvania rescinded black suffrage in 1839 Delany explored Mexican Texas where slavery was illegal and ...

Article

Timothy Konhaus

However, because of his vehement political and social critiques of the United States, Delany is often relegated to the shadows of his contemporary, Frederick Douglass. Like Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois in the early twentieth century, Delany and Douglass represent a point-counterpoint in American history. Unlike Washington and Du Bois, however, Delany and Douglass were at times business partners and friends despite their conflicting social views.

Delany was born in Charles Town, Virginia (now West Virginia) in 1812, the son of Pati Peace, a free black woman, and Samuel Delany, a slave father. In 1822 his family moved north to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. In 1831 Delany went to Pittsburgh to study under the Reverend Lewis Woodson, an ardent black separatist. Delany also began studying medicine under the direction of several Pittsburgh doctors while serving as a cupper and bleeder.

In 1843 Delany began ...

Article

crystal am nelson

community leader and musician, was born Occramer Marycoo in West Africa. Although his country of origin is unknown, a 1757 ship manifest shows that he was brought to America at the age of fourteen. He was on one of that year's seven slaving voyages that brought a total of 831 African slaves to Rhode Island. Gardner was one of the 106,544 slaves brought to Newport, Rhode Island, between 1709 and 1807. Caleb Gardner, a white merchant and member of the principal slave-trading team Briggs & Gardner, bought the teenage Marycoo and baptized him into the Congregational faith as Newport Gardner.

The forced exposure to Christianity aided Gardner s rise to a leadership position in the New World He quickly learned English from daily Bible studies with his master who freed Gardner after overhearing him pray for emancipation Upon gaining his freedom Gardner combined his new religious fervor with ...

Article

Ula Y. Taylor

Garvey, Amy Euphemia Jacques (31 December 1896–25 July 1973), journalist, Pan-Africanist, and the second wife of black nationalist Marcus Garvey, journalist, Pan-Africanist, and the second wife of black nationalist Marcus Garvey was born in Kingston Jamaica the daughter of George Samuel Jacques a property owner and Charlotte maiden name unknown Amy Jacques s family was rooted in the Jamaican middle class thus she was formally educated at Wolmer s Girls School an elite institution in Jamaica As a young woman she suffered from ailing health due to recurring bouts with malaria In need of a cooler climate she emigrated to the United States in 1917 and settled in New York City where she had relatives After hearing contradictory reports about the Universal Negro Improvement Association UNIA recently founded by Garvey she attended a meeting in Harlem She was intrigued by the organization and in 1918 became ...

Article

Sholomo B. Levy

journalist and Pan-Africanist, was born in Kingston, Jamaica, the daughter of George Samuel Jacques, a cigar manufacturer and landlord, and Charlotte Henrietta, a member of the Jamaican aristocracy. Amy's family traced their ancestry on the island back to John Jacques, a white property owner and the first mayor of Kingston. She grew up as part of the “brown elite,” who were considered socially and economically superior to the black majority. After completing her secondary education at the exclusive Wolmer's Girls School, Amy worked in the law office of T. R. MacMillian for four years and had thoughts of becoming a lawyer. However, in April 1917 she left Jamaica for New York, arguing that the cooler climate would mitigate her recurring bouts of malaria.

Amy Jacques arrived in Harlem, the Mecca for ambitious Caribbean immigrants—particularly those animated by the new black nationalist philosophy of Marcus Garvey In the summer ...

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Patricia Robinson Williams

As a major figure of the Harlem Renaissance, Marcus Garvey was in the vanguard of the new awakening among African Americans. Although his philosophy was at odds with other leading figures of the era, such as W. E. B. Du Bois, his influence could not be abated. Promoting his ideals in the art of oratory and through his newspapers, first Negro World and later the Blackman, Garvey has influenced almost every generation of African American writers since.

Images depicting the destructive element in racial prejudice, one of the cornerstones of Garvey's ideology, were initially seen when major fiction writers of the Harlem Renaissance, such as Nella Larsen, grappled with the infirmities of “color” prejudice. In Larsen's so-called passing novels, Quicksand (1928) and Passing (1929 mulattoes move into the white world to escape personal oppression and limited opportunity As is typical in Garveyism this ...

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Claudrena N. Harold

Jamaican-born political activist A charismatic black nationalist whose political activism impassioned rhetoric and disciplined pursuit of individual greatness inspired women and men from various parts of the world Marcus Mosiah Garvey contributed mightily to the black liberation struggle in the years between the end of World War I and the onset of the Great Depression Suspicious of integrationist solutions to the problem of global white supremacy Garvey preached a message of race pride Pan African unity and economic self reliance It is of no use for the Negro Garvey once asserted to continue to depend on the good graces of the other races of the world because we are living in a selfish material age when each and every race is looking out for itself Hill vol 3 p 55 To facilitate his people s struggle for independence Garvey formed the Universal Negro Improvement Association UNIA created economic ...

Article

Amar Wahab

Political activist, journalist, black nationalist, community leader, and feminist. Born in 1915 in Port of Spain, Trinidad, Jones moved to New York with her parents and three sisters at the age of 8. Her formal education was ended prematurely by tuberculosis, which damaged her lungs and permanently affected her health. She became actively involved with the Young Communist League of the American Communist Party, and was a vociferous advocate of human and civil rights. She was the editor of Negro Affairs for the Party's paper the Daily Worker, and in 1948 was elected to the Party's National Committee.

After being arrested four times for her involvement in campaigns for a socialist revolution, Jones was deported from the United States and given asylum in England. In exile she worked closely with London's African‐Caribbean community and founded and edited the West Indian Gazette which was vital to her fight for ...

Article

Alonford James Robinson

Rayford Logan was born in Washington, D.C. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Williams College in 1917, Logan enlisted in the United States Army. He was demobilized from the all-African American Ninety-third Division as a lieutenant and remained in France for five years as an expatriate and an activist for Pan-Africanism. He returned to America in 1924 to agitate for civil rights and to pursue an academic career. His scholarship was dedicated to promoting the equality of black people around the world. As a civil rights activist, he helped coordinate the 1963March on Washington.

Logan received a master's degree in 1932 and a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1936. While pursuing these degrees, he taught at Virginia Union University from 1925 to 1930 and at Atlanta University from 1933 to 1938. He assisted in W. E. B. Du Bois's Encyclopedia of the Negro ...