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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

Robin Brabham

architect, politician, and community leader, was born Harvey Bernard Gantt in Charleston, South Carolina, the first of five children of Wilhelmenia Gordon and Christopher C. Gantt. His father was a skilled mechanic at the Charleston Naval Shipyard and an active member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and he encouraged his son to speak out against the segregated society in which they lived. Gantt graduated in 1960 from Burke High School, where he was salutatorian of his class and captain of the football team. Only a month before graduation, he helped twenty-two other student leaders from the all-black school stage a sit-in demonstration at the S. H. Kress lunch counter. In Gantt's later assessment, the action “started a change in the minds of the whole [city]” and “ultimately ended up in a movement that spread throughout all of Charleston” (Haessly, 47).

Gantt ...

Article

Marc A. Sennewald

civil rights activist and politician. Harvey Bernard Gantt was born in 1943, in a Charleston, South Carolina, housing project. His father, Christopher Columbus Gantt Jr., worked as a shipyard mechanic by day and a dry cleaner by night, eventually saving enough money to buy a small house for his wife and five children.

As a teenager, Gantt protested racial segregation by trying to buy a soda at a whites-only lunch counter and was arrested for trespassing. In 1963, with the assistance of the NAACP, Gantt successfully desegregated the previously all-white Clemson University. His unobtrusive manner helped to avoid the violence (fifty injuries and two deaths) that had accompanied the admission of James Meredith to the University of Mississippi a year earlier. Gantt earned his bachelor's degree in architecture from Clemson and a master's degree in urban planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In 1974 ...

Article

Kate Tuttle

The turbulent political life of Harvey Gantt has made him the most visible symbol of race-baiting in American politics in the 1990s. Gantt, who was born in Charleston, South Carolina, became Clemson University's first African American student in 1963. He later cofounded a private architectural firm, Gantt Huberman, and served as mayor of Charlotte from 1983 until 1987. He has also taught at both the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and at Clemson.

Race became a major issue in Gantt's two campaigns to unseat North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms, a conservative Republican. Following narrow electoral losses to Helms in 1990 and 1996, Gantt, his supporters, and the media all cited Helms's use of racially inflammatory political advertising.

One Helms television ad, which implied that Gantt supported race-based hiring quotas, played on white voters' fears that Affirmative Action could cost them their jobs ...

Article

Imhotep  

Joyce Tyldesley

ancient Egyptian architect and administrator, lived during the earlier part of Egypt’s third dynasty (c. 2686–2613 BCE). A high-ranking courtier, he held numerous important positions; but he is best known today as the architect of Egypt’s first stone building, the Sakkara Step Pyramid, built for King Djoser (Netjerikhet). After death, Imhotep became one of the few nonroyal Egyptians to be worshipped as a nationally recognized god.

Imhotep built Djoser s mortuary complex in the Sakkara cemetery close to the city of white walls Memphis The complex included Egypt s first pyramid Imhotep s original design was for an unusual square solid stone structure with corners oriented to the flow of the Nile and the rising and setting of the sun This was then extended to form a two stepped structure cased in fine white limestone A third extension converted the square tomb to an oblong this then became the bottom ...

Article

Gregory Eiselein

In his third-person autobiography, From the Virginia Plantation to the National Capitol (1894), John Mercer Langston recounts his career as one of the most influential African American leaders of the nineteenth century. Born in Virginia and educated at Oberlin, Langston became in 1854 the first African American admitted to the Ohio bar and in 1855 the first elected to public office in the United States (town clerk of Brownhelm, Ohio). Throughout the 1850s he worked within antislavery and civil rights movements, advocating a nationalist, pro-emigration position before becoming a Republican party activist. Heading recruitment of African American soldiers in the West during the Civil War, he rose to national prominence after the war as the president of the National Equal Rights League (a forerunner of the NAACP), an educational inspector for the Freedmen's Bureau, and a Republican party organizer. In 1868 he accepted a professorship at Howard ...

Article

Aimee Lee Cheek and William Cheek

John Mercer Langston was born free in Louisa County, Virginia, the son of Ralph Quarles, a wealthy white slaveholding planter, and Lucy Jane Langston, a part–Native American, part-black slave emancipated by Quarles in 1806. After the deaths of both of their parents in 1834, Langston and his two brothers, well provided for by Quarles's will but unprotected by Virginia law, moved to Ohio. There Langston lived on a farm near Chillicothe with a cultured white southern family who had been friends of his father and who treated him as a son. He was in effect orphaned again in 1839, however, when a court hearing, concluding that his guardian's impending move to Missouri (a slave state) would imperil the boy's freedom and inheritance, forced him to leave the family. Subsequently, he boarded in four different homes, white and black, in Chillicothe and Cincinnati worked ...

Article

Aimee Lee Cheek and William Cheek

political leader and intellectual, was born free in Louisa County, Virginia, the son of Ralph Quarles, a wealthy white slaveholding planter, and Lucy Jane Langston, a part-Native American, part-black slave emancipated by Quarles in 1806. After the deaths of both of their parents in 1834, Langston and his two brothers, well provided for by Quarles's will but unprotected by Virginia law, moved to Ohio. There Langston lived on a farm near Chillicothe with a cultured white southern family who had been friends of his father and who treated him as a son. He was in effect orphaned again in 1839 when a court hearing concluding that his guardian s impending move to slave state Missouri would imperil the boy s freedom and inheritance forced him to leave the family Subsequently he boarded in four different homes white and black in Chillicothe and Cincinnati worked ...

Article

Thomas Adams Upchurch

Born in Virginia to a wealthy white planter and a slave mother, John Mercer Langston was one of the most influential African Americans of the nineteenth century. Widely regarded by contemporaries and historians alike as second in importance only to Frederick Douglass, Langston actually superseded the venerable Douglass in certain ways. Although Douglass enjoyed more widespread renown, Langston held more government positions and had a more varied career. The two men first met in 1848 and maintained a friendship for many years thereafter. They disagreed on some important racial issues, however, which sometimes led to hard feelings and, near the end of their lives, an intense rivalry that most observers would say made them bitter enemies.

Langston was about ten years younger than Douglass and while they were both mulattoes born to slave mothers their upbringings could hardly have been more different Whereas Douglass endured the most abhorrent circumstances ...

Article

Nicola Cooney

Jorge de Lima was the son of José Mateus de Lima, a wealthy businessman, and Delmira Simões Lima. He studied humanities at Maceió, the seaport capital city of Alagoas State, Brazil, and earned a degree in medicine, which he practiced in Maceió and Rio de Janeiro. He went on to become a university professor and local politician in Rio de Janeiro.

Lima's talent for writing emerged at an early age. He published his first poems, including “O Acendedor dos Lampiões” (The Street Lamp Lighters, 1907 in a small literary paper he produced while still in secondary school He spent his childhood living either at the stately house of a sugar plantation or the family s second home in the city These experiences inspired much of his literary work Both his father and his maternal grandfather were white abolitionists who refused to accept slave labor on ...

Article

Evan Mwangi

is a Kenyan writer, publisher, painter, graphic designer, musician, philosopher, numerologist, and politician. With an extensive canon of over sixty books, David Maillu is undoubtedly East Africa’s most prolific writer, but his works have not been taken seriously by academia, because of the sexual explicitness of the pocket-size, he published himself in the 1970s.

Although the unrecorded date of his birth remains uncertain to him, Maillu has made 19 October 1939 his birthday based on numerological estimation and interviews with his mother Born as what he has described as an extra ordinarily dark child to Mulwa Kioko and Esther Kavuli his father s fifth wife the writer was given the name Maillu which is a derivative of the Kikamba word for black or dark His biological father died when Maillu was very young and Esther Kavuli returned to her parents home before marrying Joseph Mulandi an orphan with ...

Article

Justin J. Corfield

An Afro-Brazilian scholar and writer, Abdias do Nascimento was born on 14 March 1914 in Franca, in Sao Paulo State, Brazil. His grandparents were slaves from Africa. After slavery was abolished in Brazil in 1888, his father worked as a cobbler and musician and his mother made sweets and candy for sale to local children. Abdias Nascimento left school at the age of sixteen and joined the military, but only remained with them for a few years, gaining a discharge on account of disorderly behavior. He then decided to complete his education and in 1938 he completed his Bachelor of Arts degree from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and began a career in the arts.

During his time in Rio de Janeiro Nascimento became involved in a group of poets called Santa Irmandad Orquidea Holy Brotherhood of the Orchid and with them he toured parts of Latin ...

Article

Aaron Myers

Abdias do Nascimento grew up in Franca, São Paulo, Brazil, where his father was a shoemaker and his mother worked as a sweetmaker, cook, and seamstress. Very early he distinguished himself as an excellent student, and by the age of thirteen he was teaching primary school and working as an accountant for local farmers. Nascimento served in the army from 1930 to 1936, during the dictatorship of Getúlio Vargas. At this time Nascimento began his career as a black activist by joining the Frente Negra Brasileira (United Black Front). In 1937, when Vargas established the Estado Novo dictatorship, the Frente Negra was shut down, along with all other political organizations.

Nascimento's first major Afro-Brazilian project was the theater group Teatro Experimental do Negro (TEN), which he founded in 1944 For the next twenty four years he worked as its director and as a playwright Nascimento created ...