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Jeffrey Green

Born in Trinidad, John Alcindor was among the first black West Indians to practise medicine in Britain. Winning an Island Scholarship enabled him to study medicine at Edinburgh University, from where he graduated in 1899 with first‐class honours in three subjects. He was among delegates from the Edinburgh‐based Afro‐West Indian Literary Society to the 1900 Pan‐African Conference, where he met and developed friendships with Samuel Coleridge‐Taylor and W. E. B. Du Bois. Moving to London, Alcindor practised his profession in the city's hospitals, and for several years played cricket for the Mill Hill Park club. His marriage to Minnie Alcindor (née Martin) in 1911 produced three sons. In 1917 Alcindor established his own medical practice, and also worked as a Poor Law medical officer. He published three scholarly studies on his research.

Alcindor was a founder member of the African Progress Union over which he was elected president in ...

Article

Jeffrey Green

was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, on 8 or 9 July 1873. Educated at the Catholic St. Mary’s College, he won one of the four Island Scholarships of 1893 and sailed to Britain, where he registered as a student of medicine at Edinburgh University in Scotland on 21 October 1893. Nothing is known about his parents other than his father’s name, Francis Alcindor, but the tuition at the college and living expenses in Scotland suggest some family wealth (his scholarship was worth an estimated £450 over three years and he studied medicine for six years).

He graduated in July 1899 with an M.B. and B.Ch. and moved to London, where he worked as a clinical assistant at several hospitals. He was present at the first Pan-African Conference in July 1900, as was the London-born composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. The two became friends. From 1908 medical directories ...

Article

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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

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

Barbara Bair

writer, educator, and feminist, was born Adelaide Smith on 27 June 1868 in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Of mixed Hausa, Fanti, West Indian, and British heritage, she was born into the social world of the Creole professional elite, the daughter of court registrar William Smith and his second wife, Anne. Adelaide Smith moved with her family to England at the age of four (in 1872), and grew to adulthood in Britain. She was educated at the Jersey Ladies’ College, which her father had helped to found. The leaders of the school served as role models for the young Adelaide, who carried the message of female ability she learned at the college into her own adult life. The experience also influenced her lifelong dedication to education as a medium of social change for African women and girls.

Adelaide studied music in Germany for two years before her family s financial circumstances ...

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

Robert Fay

Although information about Dusé Mohammed Ali’s origins is sparse and inexact, Dusé claimed that he was born in Egypt to an Egyptian army officer and a Sudanese mother. In 1876 he was sent to England for an education. As a young man he took up acting and toured the United States and Canada before returning to England in 1898.

Dusé left acting in 1909 for a career as a journalist, publishing articles critical of British racism and imperialism in the Islamic Review and the New Age, a leading socialist literary journal. In 1911 Dusé published In the Land of the Pharaohs, a short anti-imperialist history of Egypt, much of which he was accused of plagiarizing. Nevertheless, the book enjoyed an enthusiastic reception among black intellectuals of the day.

In 1911 Dusé began to publish African Times and Orient Review While the publication failed to gain a ...

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

John Davidson

James Africanus Horton was a pioneer African nationalist. Largely forgotten for eighty years after his death, interest in him revived during West Africa’s advance to independence. His major works, West African Countries and Peoples (1868) and Letters on the Political Condition of the Gold Coast (1870), were republished in 1969 and 1970, respectively. Horton exemplified the contribution of the Krio elite of Sierra Leone to the development of West Africa in the mid-nineteenth century. He rejected the argument that Africans were inherently biologically inferior. He argued for extended provision of education, for the building of railways, and for economic development generally. He hoped that the British colonies would expand, with a provision for African self-government and a major role for Western-educated Africans.

Horton was born in Gloucester, Sierra Leone, in 1835 His parents were Igbo recaptives from Eastern Nigeria who were rescued from a ...

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

Allison Blakely

Hunt was born Ida Alexander Gibbs on November 16, 1862, in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Her father, Mifflin Wistar Gibbs, was a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who had achieved great success as an entrepreneur in California and then in British Columbia. In the late 1860s, while he continued business ventures in Canada, he sent the family to live in Oberlin, Ohio, where Ida's mother, the former Maria Alexander, had attended college. Ida completed two degrees at Oberlin College, specializing in English. She received a B.A. degree in 1884 and an M.A. degree in 1892. A classmate and friend in Ida's class of 1884 was Mary Church Terrell, later known as a civil rights leader. Ida's younger sister, Harriet Gibbs Marshall, likewise later became well known as the founder of the Washington, D.C. Conservatory of Music After college Ida Gibbs taught ...