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Jorge Amado, who wrote more than thirty novels during his career, played a significant role in representing African culture in Brazilian literature. Among his subjects are the blacks of Salvador, in Amado's home state of Bahia, and the African religious rituals that sustain them. Although Amado's approach to Afro-Brazilian traditions is sympathetic and exceptionally detailed, his Bahian novels have met with much controversy. A younger generation of Brazilian and non-Brazilian critics have accused Amado of creating overly exotic portraits of black culture and creating simplistic, class-bound character types.

Amado the son of a plantation owner in Bahia attended a Jesuit college at age 12 However after just one year he rebelled against the strict lifestyle at the school and left to live with his grandfather During the 1930s Amado joined the Brazilian Communist Party and his writings from this period reflect his ideological commitment to communism These works such ...

Article

Nicole L. Phillip-Dowe

was born on 29 May 1944 in Aruba to Alimenta (née La Grenade) and Rupert Bishop. The family returned to their native Grenada when Maurice was 7 years old. He attended the J. W. Fletcher Memorial primary school in St. George’s and won a scholarship to complete his secondary education at the Presentation Boys College. In 1963 he migrated to England where he studied law at Gray’s Inn, London. As a law student he was the cofounder of a legal aid clinic at Notting Hill. On completing his law degree in 1969 he took a job in the tax department of the British Civil Service. He returned to Grenada in 1970.

Racism and the economic disparity of rich and poor formed part of Bishop s experience in London The rise of black nationalism and black power made evident by the works of Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana Julius Nyerere of ...

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David Killingray

Pan‐AfricanMarxist and scholar. Blackman was born in Barbados and won a scholarship to the University of Durham, where he studied theology. He was ordained in the Anglican Church and went to the Gambia as a missionary priest, where he clashed with his bishop over differences of pay for white and black clergy. Having resigned from the Church, Blackman returned to Barbados, but then, in 1938, he settled in London. He joined the leftist Negro Welfare Association, of which he became chairman, and also the League Against Imperialism, being a major speaker on both their platforms. He also became a member of the Executive Committee of the more liberally inclined League of Coloured Peoples, and in 1938–9 editor of its then occasional journal The Keys, writing critically on colonial policy; he also gave evidence to the Royal Commission on the West Indies. In November 1938 ...

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Miriam Elizabeth Villanueva

was born on 21 April 1937 in Colón, Panama, the son of Colombian Leland Britton, a mariner, and Nicaraguan Nelly Morrison, a day laborer. Both of his parents were descendants of West Indian families who immigrated to Nicaragua and Colombia in the early twentieth century. Britton senior and Morrison met each other while working in Panama. Britton’s parents raised him and his brother Federico in the neighborhood of Río Bajo, known for its influx of black West Indian families. The neighborhood housed recently arrived or seasoned immigrants from the West Indies who traveled to construct the Panama Canal between 1904 and 1914. It fostered a community that embraced West Indian traditions and the English language. Britton championed and recognized his hybrid ethnicity as a West Indian and Panamanian.

Britton spent his youth in Colón and attended the local elementary school until he transferred to Colombia for three years Britton ...

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Allison Drew

South African solicitor and Communist, was born on 29 June 1873 in London. He was the second of four children of prominent Nonconformists Percy Bunting and Mary Hyett Lidgett Bunting and the great grandson of Dr. Jabez Bunting, the foremost figure of early nineteenth-century Wesleyan Methodism. Bunting’s father, a barrister at Lincoln’s Inn, edited the prestigious Contemporary Review and was a leading figure in the Liberal Party; his mother was a social activist on behalf of working-class girls and women. The Buntings hosted frequent overseas visitors representing various social and political causes. Bunting internalized the ideals of moral rectitude and service to others imbued in him by his parents, and carried them with him throughout his life.

Intelligent and musically gifted, Bunting excelled in classics, winning scholarships to University College School and St. Paul’s School. In 1892 he entered Magdalen College Oxford as a classics demy scholarship student In ...

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Charles Rosenberg

was born in New York City on 29 September 1915, the son of Charles Breechford Burnham and Louise St. Clair Williams Burnham, Afro-Guyanese migrants to the United States. A cousin of Guyana prime minister Forbes Burnham, Louis Burnham stands as a marked contrast to the common stereotype that Guyanese socialists are mostly of East Indian descent, while Guyanese of African descent are more conservative in their politics.

Some sources presume that Burnham was born in Barbados, but census records show that while his Guyanese parents were both born there, his mother immigrated to the United States in 1909, and that his father did so no later than 1914, perhaps before 1910. Neither was a naturalized citizen in 1920, when the family lived at 253 West 139th Street in Harlem. He had an older brother, Charles St. Clair Burnham, born in New York in 1914 ...

Article

Alexandra Vega-Merino

Jesús Colón was born in 1901 in Cayey, a rural town near San Juan, Puerto Rico. In a 1917 editorial, which expressed a view that remained consistent through much of his professional life, he wrote about the capacity of words to transform society. A few months later he arrived in New York, New York, where he spent the rest of his life. There, he held multiple menial jobs, such as waiting tables and washing dishes. In 1918 he became a founding member of the Puerto Rican Committee of the Socialist Party; in the following decades he became a relentless organizer of other political and cultural groups. One year after his 1922 graduation from Boys High Evening School, he started writing for Justicia, the newspaper of the Puerto Rican Free Federation of Workers. Regular columns in publications such as Gráfico and the Daily Worker followed.

Colón s essays ...

Article

Peter Limb

known popularly as “Mota” (Gujerati term of affectionate respect) or “Doc,” South African communist, liberation movement and Indian leader, and physician, was born in Krugersdorp in 1909 to Muslim Indian immigrants Mohamed and Amina, who in 1904 started a business in Krugersdorp. The son of a prosperous merchant, racial segregation soon affected Yusuf as he traveled daily to working-class Fordsburg to attend Indian-only schools.

After early schooling, he left for India, matriculating at Aligarh Muslim College, where Gandhi’s anticolonial movement left a deep impression. Refusing to enter the family business, in 1929 he moved to London to study medicine and got involved in anticolonial politics. His father insisted he move to Edinburgh to avoid politics, and in 1936 Dadoo graduated with Glasgow and Edinburgh medical degrees, but his political involvement with the Independent Labour Party and Indian National Congress intensified as he began to read Marxist literature.

In 1936 ...

Article

Chike Jeffers

Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Davis (1944), a public intellectual, activist, and iconic figure in the struggle for black liberation, attended high school in New York City and then went to Brandeis University. Here she encountered Herbert Marcuse, the celebrated critical theorist, with whom she began to study philosophy. Upon receiving her BA, she traveled to Germany to study in Frankfurt. Theodor Adorno was going to direct her dissertation research but, by 1967 Davis decided to return to the United States and work with Marcuse at the University of California San Diego The decision was made because of the intense political situation in the United States which Davis felt she could not watch from afar She got involved in an organization that became the Los Angeles chapter of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee SNCC After it folded the Marxist inclination she had developed since high school led her ...

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Solofo Randrianja

anticolonialist militant; general secretary of the French Section of the Madagascar Region Communist Party; political director; editor in chief of the journals L’Opinion, Le Réveil Malgache, L’Aurore malgache, L’Opinion de la nation Malgache, Le Prolétariat Malgache; and judicial counselor for the Departmental Union of the General Confederation of Labor was born 15 October 1876 in Simferopol, Russia. Dussac came from a colonial bourgeois family, despite the fact that his father was a communard. On his father's side his grandmother was descended from the Count of Villèle, minister to King Charles X. His maternal grandfather had been an engineer in the silver mines of the Ural Mountains and his maternal grandmother was a wealthy heiress from Coulommiers in north-central France. Dussac's father, however, was a fervent supporter of the French Republic and no doubt introduced him to the ideas of the Paris Commune of 1871 ...

Article

Roanne Edwards

Born in Camagüey, Cuba, Nicolás Guillén is widely considered Cuba's preeminent poet, on a par with such Latin American literary masters as Jorge Luis Borges, Pablo Neruda, and César Vallejo. According to literary scholar Josaphat B. Kubayanda, “Guillén's poetry was the first successful development in Cuba of a vital and original aesthetic based upon the black and African elements on Caribbean soil.” He was also a committed communist and his poems and journalism powerfully reflect his political and national concerns. Like the black American singer and activist Paul Robeson, Guillén devoted much of his life to the pursuit of peace, both in racially torn prerevolutionary Cuba and abroad. He traveled extensively throughout the world and in 1954 received the Lenin International Peace Prize.

Guillén is equally a part of the community of black poets exemplified by Harlem Renaissance writers Claude McKay, Sterling Brown ...

Article

Kate Tuttle

At the time of his murder Chris Hani (born Martin Thembisile Hani) was second only to Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela among popular antiapartheid activists, and his militant rhetoric made him the favorite of South Africa's disaffected young blacks. His 1993 assassination occurred at the height of the negotiations between the government and antiapartheid organizations and sparked days of rioting and violent government retaliation that threatened to disrupt the negotiating process—results that some felt reflected the assassins' goals. But the crisis instead proved the strength of Mandela's leadership, as the African National Congress (ANC) appealed for calm and continued the talks.

Hani, who was born in the bantustan, or “black homeland,” of Transkei and graduated from the University of Fort Hare in 1962, was a classics scholar turned freedom fighter. He joined the ANC Youth League in 1957 and in 1962 went into exile to join the ANC s newly ...

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Meghan Elisabeth Healy

South African antiapartheid activist, was born Martin Tembisile Hani in the Transkei village of Comfimvaba on 28 June 1942. Hani was the second of three surviving sons born to Gilbert, a miner, and Mary, an illiterate peasant; three others died in infancy. Hani was precocious, learning to read from a schoolteacher aunt before he began attending local schools. Hani was also devout, serving as an altar boy and harboring dreams of the priesthood.

In 1956 Hani went to Lovedale school. Located near Fort Hare, the only post-secondary institution then open to Africans, Lovedale was founded a century before as an educational mecca for Africans. After a century as a Free Church of Scotland institution, however, Lovedale had just been nationalized. Beginning in 1956, Lovedale was subject to apartheid administrators set on making schooling a tool for “separate development.”

Despite its nationalization Lovedale remained one of the best schools ...

Article

Leila Kamali

Historian, editor, and political activist born on 10 December 1921 near Johannesburg, the child of Latvian Jews. Hirson was educated at Hebrew school in Johannesburg, and studied mathematics at the University of Witwatersrand, where he later worked as a physicist. In 1940 he joined the left‐wing Hashomer Hatzair, subsequently becoming a member of various Trotskyist groups. Between 1944 and 1946 he was a political organizer for the Workers' International League.

Hirson participated in setting up black trade unions, in extremely difficult conditions created by the Suppression of Communism Act. He became involved in the Non‐European Unity Movement, and in the late 1950s joined the Congress of Democrats, the white arm of the ANC‐led Congress Alliance.

After the Sharpeville massacre in 1960 Hirson and his colleagues highly critical of the Congress Alliance s leadership and policies organized the National Committee for Liberation which advocated sabotage as a substitute for peaceful ...

Article

Ronn Pineo

was born during the Great Depression in the remote village of Malimpia, Quinindé Canton, in the province of Esmeraldas. Located along the Pacific coast and adjacent to Colombia, Esmeraldas is the most important area of residence for Afro-Ecuadorians, who constitute less than one in ten of the nation’s population of 14 million. Hurtado’s parents, Esteban Hurtado and Pastora González, were poor and uneducated. They lived as farmers, working small plantings of plantains, sugar, and cacao, crops typical of the region. Jaime was the youngest of their seven children.

When he was 10 years old Hurtado s family moved to the provincial capital the city of Esmeraldas and he began school Hurtado worked shining shoes and helped out at the tavern his parents opened A gifted athlete Hurtado received a scholarship to attend the Eloy Alfaro High School in Guayaquil where he starred on the basketball and track and field teams ...

Article

Jabari Adams

George Jackson, born 23 September 1941 in Chicago, was no stranger to the ills of racism, although he did not see his first white person until kindergarten. Early on, Jackson noted the differences between black and white schools existing under the same institutional umbrella. As the Jackson family grew, they were forced to move to a more dangerous area of Chicago, where Jackson found himself involved in crime.

Jackson's life of crime escalated. His father, sensing the urgency, moved the family from Chicago to Los Angeles, where Jackson joined a street gang, the Capones, and was arrested several times, once for a department store break in, resulting in seven months of youth camp. Arrested after his release for holding up a gas station, he escaped to Harrisburg, Illinois, and was captured and sent back to youth camp until June 1960 At sixteen accused of stealing $71 from a ...

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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 ...

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Jeremy Rich

South African Communist leader, was born on 9 August 1905 in the town of Tamposstad, South Africa. He was the second of eleven children of Samuel Segogwane and Spiroah Mmadira Kotane. Both of his parents belonged to the Lutheran Church, and his father was a preacher. After working as a farmhand from 1918 to 1920, he attended a Lutheran mission school with instruction in his native Setsawna language. Kotane transferred to a public school in 1921 and left after receiving his Standard Two degree in 1922. Like so many other rural youth in the 1920s, Kotane then moved to the mining and urban center of the Witswatersrand in 1923. Kotane scrambled to make a living by working numerous jobs: an assistant to a photographer, a miner, a domestic servant, and a baker.

It was Kotane s determination to further his education that led him into the ...

Article

George Reid Andrews

The son and grandson of Cuban independence war veterans, Jesús Menéndez was born on a small farm in Santa Clara Province. After completing the fourth grade, he left school and went to work first on local tobacco and sugar farms and then, in 1928, at the La Constancia sugar mill. Joining the recently established Communist Party in 1931, he took a leading role in unionizing the work force at La Constancia and in the first efforts to form a national sugar workers union, the Sindicato Nacional Obrero de la Industria Azucarera (SNOIA). When the SNOIA succumbed to government repression in the 1930s, Menéndez remained active in local and provincial-level organizations. In 1938 he was elected secretary general of the provincial labor federation of Santa Clara. When a second national sugar workers union, the Federación Nacional de Obreros Azucareros, was established in 1939 he became its vice secretary ...

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Amar Wahab

Assumed name of Malcolm Nurse (1902–1959), leading black intellectual and primary advocate of black liberation and radical Pan‐Africanism in the 1940s and 1950s. Padmore was born in Trinidad. As a young man he went to school with and befriended C. L. R. James, who would in later years also become a staunch advocate of black liberation. He also claimed to be a nephew of Henry Sylvester Williams, another radical black leader. Enrolled in medicine, Nurse became a student activist at Fisk University, Tennessee, in the 1920s, and by 1926 he was considered an exceptional speaker on international issues and colonial debates. In part because of the deeply racist climate in Tennessee he transferred to New York University and then enrolled at Howard University's Law School.

Under the assumed name of George Padmore, Malcolm Nurse became heavily involved with the Communist Party by 1928 positioning ...