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Margaret Wade-Lewis

linguist educator early computer language translator Africanist scholar of Arabic and Berber was born in Wildwood New Jersey to Joseph Henry Applegate and Nancy Berkley Applegate His father was a second generation New Jersey resident whose father was a Native American from Maine Applegate s mother whose father was also Native American migrated from Virginia to Philadelphia where Applegate s parents met around the time of World War I Neither parent had more than an elementary school education Hardworking and ambitious they held high aspirations for their children Applegate and his sister enjoyed the advantages of a small town working class upbringing along with direct contact with black artists and entertainers who frequented the seaside summer boarding house their parents operated in Wildwood New Jersey Although the family was not affluent Applegate s environment was sophisticated and urbane He recalled awakening to the sounds of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington ...

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Ana Raquel Fernandes

Pan‐Africanist and the first black person to hold civic office in Britain. He was born in Liverpool, the son of a Barbadian, Richard Archer, and an Irishwoman, Mary Theresa Burns, but little is known of his early life, though he is believed to have lived in North America and the West Indies. Around 1898 he and his African‐Canadian wife, Bertha, moved to Battersea, south London, where Archer established a photographic studio. His concern to eradicate social and racial injustices led to a lifelong career in local government and national and global politics. In 1906 he was elected as a Progressive (Liberal) councillor for the Latchmere ward, and in 1913 Archer became Mayor of Battersea, Britain's first black mayor. His interest in colonial politics led to his involvement in Pan‐Africanism. In 1900 he joined the Pan African Association and he was a significant presence at the ...

Article

historian, Egyptologist, educator, and Pan-Africanist, known popularly as “Dr. Ben,” was born in Gondar, Ethiopia, the son of Krstan ben Jochannan, a lawyer and diplomat, and Tulia Matta, a native of Puerto Rico, who was a homemaker and midwife. Both parents were Jewish: his father was a member of a Jewish Ethiopian people then called the “Falasha,” or Beta Israel, and his mother was descended from Spanish Sephardic Jews. The couple met in Madrid, Spain, where Matta was attending college and the elder ben Jochannan was a diplomatic attaché. Soon after their marriage, they traveled from Spain to Ethiopia where their son, Yosef, was born.

Ben Jochannan spent his earliest years in Ethiopia but after age five he was raised in the Americas He said in later interviews that in the 1920s the Ethiopian government sent his father to Brazil to help develop the coffee trade of that country ...

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Curtis Jacobs

was born on 3 August 1832 in St. Thomas, Danish West Indies (today, the US Virgin Islands). He was the third of seven children born to Romeo Blyden, a tailor, and Judith Blyden, a teacher, a free black married couple in a Danish colony where the majority of Africans were still enslaved. Members of an integrated congregation of the Dutch Reformed Church, the Blydens moved briefly to Venezuela in 1842, where, in addition to discovering an aptitude for languages, Blyden observed that most of the emancipated Africans in that country were not far removed from chattel slavery.

Wilmot became a student of the Reverend John Knox of the Dutch Reformed Church upon his family’s return to St. Thomas in 1844. Impressed with his academic potential, Knox encouraged Wilmot in 1850 to travel to the United States with a view to gaining admission into the Rutgers Theological College ...

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Amar Wahab

Pan‐Africanistleader in Britain in the early 1900s. Born in Sierra Leone, in 1869 he was sent to Cheshire to be educated and started working for the family firm, Broadhurst and Sons, in Manchester in 1905. By 1936 he is known to have been a cocoa merchant in the Gold Coast. He was heavily involved in the realm of Pan‐Africanist politics in Britain, becoming a founder member of the African Progress Union between 1911 and 1925. He became secretary of the Union in his sixties and continued as a member of the executive committee until its end. He worked with other leading supporters such as Duse Mohamed Ali, Edmund Fitzgerald Fredericks, and ‘the Black doctor of Paddington’ John Alcindor The Union organized around issues related to the welfare of Africans and Afro Peoples worldwide and vociferously advocated self determination This involved for example protests about ...

Article

David Killingray

Pan‐Africanist and Africantraveller. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, of black and white parents, Campbell began his working life as a printer's apprentice but gained some formal education and became a teacher. In the 1850s he emigrated to the United States, via Central America, where he worked as a teacher at an African‐American institute in Philadelphia. Campbell, ambitious for further education, was largely self‐taught.

In 1858 Martin R. Delany invited him to become a member of the Niger Valley Exploring Party, to find a site in southern Nigeria for an African‐American farm colony. ‘Return to Africa’ was controversial and divided African‐American opinion; many argued that, even with its pervasive racism, America was their home and not Africa; a further problem was that black emigration was supported by the white African Civilization Society. Campbell came to Britain in 1859 and although he failed to gain the support of missionary and ...

Article

Christopher Williams

scholar and activist, was born John Henry Clark in Union Springs, Alabama, the first of five children to John Clark and Willella (Willie) Mays, sharecroppers. Later Clarke changed the spelling of his name, dropping the “y” in Henry and replacing it with “ik” after the Norwegian playwright, Henrik Ibsen. He also added an “e” at the end of Clarke.

Clarke s great grandmother Mary who lived to be 108 inspired him to study history The young Clarke sat on her lap listening to stories and it was through her he later said that he first became aware of the word Africa Clarke grew up in the Baptist church and wanted to satisfy his intellectual curiosity regarding the Bible and its relationship to African people Like a detective he searched the Bible looking for an image of God that looked like him His dissatisfaction with what he found later ...

Article

Íde Corley

actor, journalist, and Pan-African activist, was born in Alexandria, Egypt, to an Egyptian father and a Sudanese mother. In various documents he called his father, who was an army officer, either “Abbas Mohammed Ali” or “Abdul Salem Ali.” Early in his life Duse was separated from his family and forgot any knowledge of Arabic. He claimed to have been brought to England at the age of nine by a French officer with whom his father had studied at a military academy. In 1882 his father was killed by a British naval bombardment in a nationalist uprising at Tel el Kebir and his mother returned to the Sudan bringing Duse s sisters with her He subsequently lost all communication with his family During his early theatrical career in London he adopted the non Arabic name Duse maintaining that it derived from the surname ...

Article

Terencia Kyneata Joseph

was born on 28 December 1858 in colonial Dominica to formerly enslaved parents. He was the last of his parents’ nine children. At about the age of 12, he stowed away on a French ship on its way to England, where he remained for most of his life.

Celestine Edwards’s work as a seaman permitted him to visit many countries. By his early twenties, he took up residence in Edinburgh, Scotland, a move that signaled his retirement from seafaring. Instead, he now earned a living as a builder or construction worker. It is about this time that he embarked on temperance work, most of which involved public lectures. Edwards’s other known places of residence include Sunderland, in northeast England, and by 1880 he occupied a home at No. 4 Bethnal Green in London’s East End.

In the 1880s Edwards s career as a writer antiracism campaigner pan Africanist advocate for ...

Article

David Killingray

Campaigning Christian evangelist, author, journalist, and Pan‐Africanist born in Dominica but educated in the neighbouring West Indian island of Antigua. An influential friend in Antigua was the Revd Henry Mason Joseph, later president of the African Association in London in 1897. In 1870 Edwards stowed away on a ship and over the next few years he travelled the world as a seaman visiting North and South America and Europe He landed in Sunderland and thereafter lived briefly in Edinburgh and Newcastle and worked with a group of black entertainers At some point he was converted to Christianity and as a Primitive Methodist worked as a temperance evangelist in Lancashire and Cheshire He had ambitions to go to Africa as a missionary but gravitated to east London where he ran a weekly Bible class for men and regularly preached in Victoria Park Some referred to ...

Article

Steven J. Niven

Pan-Africanactivist, was born Amy Ashwood in Port Antonio, Jamaica, to relatively prosperous middle-class parents. Her father was a successful caterer in Panama, and shortly after her birth Amy traveled with her brother and mother to live there. She returned to Jamaica in 1907 to be educated at the renowned Westwood Training College for Women, from which she graduated in 1914 It was there that the twelve year old first learned that her forebears had been taken forcibly from Africa by British traders and enslaved in Jamaica Though frightened and angered to learn the horrors of the Middle Passage Ashwood also became determined to learn more about her African roots A visit to her elderly grandmother who had been sold into slavery as a girl on the African Gold Coast instilled in her a strong sense of pride in her Ashanti ancestors She determined then that she had ...

Article

David Killingray

West African medical doctor, army officer, and political writer born in Freetown, Sierra Leone, the son of a liberated slave. He went to school and studied at Fourah Bay Institute with a view to entering the Christian ministry. However, along with two other men, he was selected in 1853 to study medicine in Britain with a view to returning to West Africa as an army medical officer. Horton studied first at King's College London and graduated from Edinburgh in 1859. He was very conscious that he was an African and adopted the name ‘Africanus’. Commissioned into the Army, he returned to West Africa, where he spent twenty years practising as a military doctor and occasionally serving as an administrator. He retired as a lieutenant‐colonel in 1880 Early in his career many of his white fellow doctors resented his role and they persuaded the War Office not to appoint ...

Article

Pan-Africanist intellectual pioneer and doctor, was born in the small village of Gloucester in the vicinity of Freetown, the capital of the British West African colony of Freetown, Sierra Leone, on 1 June 1835. His father, James Horton, and his mother, Nancy Horton, were both members of Igbo-speaking communities who had been rescued from slave ships. It is unclear when they were resettled in Sierra Leone or how they ended up in Gloucester, although census records indicate that James Horton the elder worked as a carpenter. The Hortons belonged to a Protestant church staffed by English missionaries in Gloucester, but Horton did not begin to attend school until 1845 In that year the Church Missionary Society CMS pastor James Beale visited Gloucester and invited Horton to join his school in Freetown At the CMS Grammar School Horton studied religious topics as well as mathematics Greek and Latin Horton s ...

Article

Jolie A. Jackson-Willett

Pan-Africanist, feminist, writer, educator, was born in Victoria, British Columbia, the third of four children of Mariah A. (Alexander) Gibbs, originally of Kentucky, and Mifflin Wistar Gibbs, originally of Pennsylvania. Ida Gibbs's father was the self-educated, wealthy son of free Philadelphia blacks who was himself notable for his many accomplishments: he founded the first African American owned newspaper; made a fortune selling boots and prospecting equipment to miners during the Gold Rush in San Francisco, California; was the first black elected municipal police judge in Little Rock, Arkansas; and served six years as United States Consul in Madagascar under Presidents McKinley and Roosevelt. Ida Gibbs's uncle Jonathan C. Gibbs was at one time secretary of state in Florida during Reconstruction Growing up in an atmosphere of educational and financial success may have influenced the Gibbs children to achieve in higher education and ...

Article

Christine Lutz

Pan-Africanist and labor leader, was born William Alphaeus Hunton Jr. in Atlanta, Georgia, to Addie Waites Hunton, a leading clubwoman and feminist, and William Alphaeus Hunton Sr., founder of the Negro YMCA. Alphaeus was the couple's second surviving child. After the Atlanta riot of 1906 the Huntons moved to New York. Alphaeus grew up in Brooklyn, where he attended public schools with his sister Eunice Hunton (Carter), who became a prominent clubwoman and lawyer. Alphaeus and Eunice lived for two and a half years in Germany with their mother.

In 1921 Hunton entered Howard University in Washington, D.C., earning a BS in 1924. He pursued his graduate studies at Harvard University, earning an MA in English literature in 1926. Beginning in 1933 Hunton worked toward his PhD at New York University while teaching English literature at Howard as an assistant professor He received his ...

Article

Laura M. Calkins

homeopathic physician, was born in Chatham, a hub of fugitive and free-black settlement in extreme southwestern Ontario, then known as Canada West. Little is known about Jones's early life. Her parents were James Monroe Jones and Emily Jones. Her father came from a family of manumitted slaves in North Carolina, and his father, James Madison Jones, had obtained the family's freedom in 1843 and moved to Oberlin, Ohio, where he graduated from Oberlin College with an AB degree in 1849; at least one of his brothers also graduated from Oberlin.

Sophia Jones had three sisters, Anna Holland Jones, Emma (or Emily) Jones, and Frederica Florence Jones, and two brothers, George and James These children probably all attended one of the Chatham area s private schools for black students and they excelled in their studies As a young woman Sophia attended the Wilberforce Educational ...

Article

Jeffrey Green

choir leader, was born in Portage County, Ohio, the son of a farmer whose name is now unknown and whose financial contributions to a nearby college neither overcame the local prejudice nor secured a place for his son among the student body. Educated in Ravenna, Ohio, Loudin went on to train as a printer, only to find his opportunities restricted by white printers who refused to work with him. Even his Methodist church rejected his application to join its choir. For all its positive associations for their kinfolk in the slavery states, mid-nineteenth century Ohio was a hard place for the Loudins, as it had been for Frederick Douglass who was mobbed in Columbus, Ohio, when Frederick Loudin was a boy. He was to recall that the “ostracism was even more complete and unchristian in the free than in the slave States” (Marsh, 106).

After the Civil War Loudin ...

Article

Carol Polsgrove

writer and Pan-Africanist, was born Malcolm Ivan Meredith Nurse in Arouca, Trinidad, the son of James Hubert Alfonso Nurse, a teacher, and Anna Susanna Symister of Antigua. In Port-of-Spain he attended Tranquillity School and St. Mary's College of the Immaculate Conception before graduating from Pamphylian High School in 1918. As a reporter of shipping news for the Weekly Guardian, he saw in the arrogant treatment the white editor meted out to a black assistant editor the future that lay in store for him. In 1924 he traveled to the United States with the declared intention of studying medicine. His wife, Julia Semper, joined him later, leaving behind their daughter, Blyden.

In the United States Nurse evolved quickly into a political leader While a student at Fisk University in Nashville Tennessee he wrote to Nnamdi Ben Azikiwe a Nigerian studying at Storer College in West ...

Article

Kyra E. Hicks

First Lady of Liberia and one of the original African American emigrants to Liberia, was born Jane Rose Waring in Virginia to Colston M. Waring, a minister, and Harriet Graves. The Waring family, including their children Susannah, Thomas, Annetta, William, Jane, and John, emigrated to Liberia aboard the Cyrus in 1824. Other children were born in Liberia to the Warings, including Christinana, Ann, Harriet, and Colston. Elder Colston Waring served as pastor of the First Baptist Church in Monrovia. He was also a successful coffee planter and wealthy merchant. He served as vice agent for the American Colonization Society in Liberia and other administrative positions before his death in 1834. Jane learned to read and write in Liberia. She spoke French fluently and was “in all respects was well-bred and refined,” according to Hallie Q. Brown who met ...

Article

Yevette Richards Jordan

labor leader and Pan-Africanist, was born Maida Stewart in Panama, the daughter of Adina Stewart Carrington, a beautician, and Harold Stewart, a worker on the Panama Canal Zone project. At the age of seven she immigrated with her parents to the United States and settled in Harlem, and soon after they arrived, her parents separated. From 1923 to 1926 Springer attended the Manual Training and Industrial School for Colored Youth in Bordentown, New Jersey, a boarding school renowned for its teaching staff but encumbered by the industrial model of education advocated by Booker T. Washington. Not until 1927 did the school expand beyond its focus vocational training by offering a more academic curriculum that could lead to a high school diploma. The commandant of the school was Lester Granger with whom Springer would later share a friendship and working relationship when he served as executive director ...