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Angie Colón Mendinueta

was born on 8 November 1908 in San Casimiro, in the state of Aragua, Republic of Venezuela. He was the son of Miguel Acosta Delgado, a native of Maturín in the state of Mongas, and Adela Saignes Roulac, from the village of Saignes Roulac, of French origin. From childhood onward, Miguel received a good education, and he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1927. After graduation, he became a teacher in the Colegio San Pablo de Caracas (San Pablo de Caracas High School), where he had formerly been a student, and the vice principal of the Zamora School (also in Caracas).

In 1928 Acosta began medical school at the Universidad Central de Venezuela That same year along with several of his classmates he was arrested and taken to prison for his participation in student protests against the regime of the military dictator Juan Vicente Gómez They were taken to ...

Article

was born 30 December 1936 in the village of Ewouta in the southern coastal Fernan-Vaz region of Gabon, to Anina Germaine, a member of the coastal Nkomi ethnic community. Agondjo-Okawé only met his biological father when he was fourteen years old. His mother, Anina, originally came from the nearby town of Kongo, but had difficulties with having children and turned to an herbalist in Ewouta for help. She later divorced Agondjo-Okawé’s biological father and married Charles Ping, a Chinese immigrant living in Fernan-Vaz. Their son, Agondjo-Okawé’s half-brother, Jean Ping went on to become a major figure in Gabonese politics.

In 1946 Agondjo Okawé s uncle Jean Remy Ayouné decided to have him study at the Roman Catholic mission school of Sainte Anne de Fernan Vaz It was around this time that the young boy witnessed an African colonial guard assault a woman in his village Disgusted Agondjo Okawé learned ...

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Jeremy Rich

Chadian politician and sociologist, was born on 21 January 1959. Her father, a high-ranking army officer in the army of dictator François Tombalbaye from the early 1960s until the coup that led to Tombalbaye’s death in 1975, was an extremely influential man. He remains extremely unpopular among many northern Chadians for his alleged brutality in crushing rebel groups. Allafi had nine siblings, many of whom went on to receive advanced educations. Since her father was often transferred on military postings, Allafi studied at Fort-Lamy, Sarh, the Chadian capital of N’Djamena, and she passed her baccalaureate examination at Bongor in December 1980. The chaotic political situation in Chad from 1980 to 1982 prevented her from immediately commencing her undergraduate education. She married a Protestant customs officer on 11 April 1981, and she had two children with him. She worked as a teacher in 1981 and ...

Article

Thiven Reddy

South African academic, human rights campaigner, and respected veteran of the African National Congress (ANC) in exile, was born in Stanger, a small rural town in what is now KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Asmal was a founder of the British and Irish antiapartheid movements. He was also an academic, who taught law for almost three decades at Trinity College Dublin, during his exile from South Africa.

In the broad array of constituencies and opinions that has historically constituted the ANC, Asmal has consistently stood for liberal constitutionalism and human rights. This position was most strongly associated with the ANC during the latter days of apartheid, when the international solidarity movement, based largely in Western countries, was at its height.

A key member of the ANC s Constitutional Committee during the post apartheid negotiations period Asmal directly influenced the content of the democratic constitution which was hailed internationally as a truly progressive ...

Article

Philip Zachernuk

Obafemi Awolowo (1909–1987), although often neglected among African political intellectuals because he did not become a head of state in postcolonial Nigeria, produced a significant body of writing which deserves attention for its extended engagement with problems of development, socialism, democracy, and constitution-making. As a politician as well as a political thinker, his intellectual work combines pragmatic calculation with an exposition of foundational principles. This double engagement inevitably generates compromises and inconsistencies, but it also makes Awolowo something of an exemplar for Nigerians (and others) seeking both rigorous and realistic debate about both the fundamental questions and the practical problems of African politics.

Chief Awolowo was born to farmers and educated at mission schools. He acquired considerable wealth over a career characterized by business and political entrepreneurship. Coming of political age in the 1930s Awolowo advanced his education while also engaged as among other things a newspaper ...

Article

Baqi<ayn>e Bedawi Muhammad

Sudanese intellectual, educator, political leader, and women’s advocate, was born on 1 January 1932 in the city of El Obeid, Province of Kordofan, and raised by an Islamic family. Her grandfather, al-Shaykh Mohammed al-Badawi, was a prominent Islamic scholar, and his house in Omdurman was a gathering place for well-known Islamic scholars from North Africa, such as al-Shaykh Mohammed Abdu of Egypt. Al-Badawi’s father, al-Fatih Mohammed al-Badawi, was a district commissioner who replaced the position of the British officer after Sudan independence in 1956. Although girls’ formal education was boycotted by the masses for being based on Western values, he was an open-minded and progressive individual with liberal ideas regarding girls’ education. In this atmosphere al-Badawi and her two sisters were raised.

As a district commissioner al Badawi s father s moved and worked in different regions of Sudan This situation compelled al Badawi to receive her elementary intermediate ...

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María Teresa Cortés Zavala

(who during the regime change in Puerto Rico in 1898 led the Republican Party), was born on 7 September or 27 July 1857 in the town of Bayamón, located in the north central area of the island of Puerto Rico. Celso Barbosa was the eldest son of Hermógenes Barbosa, a bricklayer, and Carmen Alcalá. The Barbosa family was part of a wave of immigration to Puerto Rico in the first half of the nineteenth century. Hermógenes Barbosa was descended from a group of Dominican exiles who left Santo Domingo during the Franco-Haitian occupation. They were black people who were artisans, farmers, and ranchers. His mother, although born on the island, belonged to a second generation of Venezuelans living in Puerto Rico who witnessed their economic situation diminish, and were compelled to express their reformist position at a time of economic and political crisis.

The Barbosa Alcalá family was part of ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

educator and politician, was born 17 February 1909 in Kinshasa, then known as Leopoldville, in the Belgian Congo, and now the capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo. His family, which originally came from the town of Umangi near the city of Lisaka in the Equateur Province of northwestern Congo, identified with the Ngombe ethnic community. He received his primary and secondary education from the Catholic Sheut religious fathers from 1919 until 1926. That year he received his teaching license, and then taught at various schools for the next thirty-two years. Bolikango later recalled his experience as a veteran teacher: “I spent 32 years in the mission schools where I earned my pay. I was a teacher. Can you believe I never became the head of a small school in 32 years? But the past is the past” (Artigue 1961 p 46 By the 1940s Bolikango ...

Article

academic and politician, was born on 12 January 1956 in the town of Teke-Kalamba located in the province of Kasai Occidental in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). He belonged to the Kuba ethnic community, known for its strong monarchical tradition, which survived the colonial period. Unlike many Kuba in the colonial era who did not seek out a Western education, Boshab's family pushed their son to further his studies. After he completed his primary and secondary education, Boshab continued to excel at university. He eventually completed a doctorate in law at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium in the early 1980s. Boshab returned to his homeland in 1984 where he worked for two years as a legal representative of the Union Nationale des Travailleurs du Zaïre UNTZA the sole legal trade union under the dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko His career moved in several new ...

Article

Katya Leney-Hall

Egyptian diplomat, jurist and scholar who, during 1992–1996, served as the sixth Secretary-General (SG) of the United Nations (UN), the first African and Arab to hold the position, was born in Cairo on 14 November 1922 into a distinguished Coptic Christian family. His grandfather, Boutros-Ghali Pasha, was the Egyptian minister for finance and, from 1894, foreign affairs. He was prime minister from 1908 to 1910 when he was assassinated by a nationalist angered with his advocacy of the extension of the Suez Canal Company s concession Boutros Boutros Ghali pointed out in an interview that the reality was that the population was happy to get rid of a Christian and his grandfather s assassination set off a wave of Coptic Muslim clashes Although not overtly religious himself his family s history status and influence on the Coptic Church were to form Boutros Ghali who would later perceive ...

Article

Robert Fay

Boutros Boutros-Ghali was born to a prominent Coptic Christian family in Egypt. His grandfather, Boutros Pasha Boutros-Ghali, served as prime minister of Egypt under the British protectorate from 1908 until his assassination in 1910. The younger Boutros-Ghali graduated from the University of Cairo in 1946 with a bachelor’s degree, and went on to earn a doctorate in international law in 1949 from the Sorbonne in Paris. Boutros-Ghali pursued postdoctoral work at Columbia University in New York City, and then assumed a post as professor of international law and international affairs at the University of Cairo. He worked as a journalist, writing for the daily Al Ahram. He also held teaching posts at Princeton University in the United States, and at universities in India, Poland, and Tanzania. In October 1977 Boutros-Ghali left his academic career to serve in the government of Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat as ...

Article

Lawrence Vernon

was born in 1903 in Belize City, Belize. Born Floss Kemp, she was the youngest of seven children. Her father, Joseph Kemp, died when she was 1 year old, and she grew up with her mother Diana Kemp. While receiving her elementary education at Wesley School in Belize City, her sister, a versatile piano player, inspired Floss to take piano lessons, and she eventually became an accomplished piano teacher who taught two of Belize’s greatest musicians and composers: Dr. Colville Young (Belize’s governor general) and the concert pianist Francis Reneau.

On completing elementary school, Casasola entered the pupil–teacher training system, and after being certified as a trained teacher in her early teens she began teaching at Wesley School and then Ebenezer School, both in Belize City. A major hurricane devastated Belize City in 1931 and the years spent in reconstruction also affected Casasola s life as she relocated to ...

Article

Joseph Ephraim Casely-Hayford spent his life working for the advancement of Africans in British West Africa. Born into the coastal elite of the Gold Coast (present-day Ghana), Casely-Hayford studied at the Wesleyan Boys High School at Cape Coast and then at Fourah Bay College in Sierra Leone. During his early career he was principal of Wesleyan High School in Accra and later of Wesleyan High School at Cape Coast. In 1885 Casely-Hayford turned to journalism and wrote for the Western Echo, the Gold Coast Echo, and the Gold Coast Chronicle. Although his career would focus on bringing political change to West Africa, he continued to write for the Gold Coast Leader from 1902to1930 . In addition, he wrote the novel Ethiopia Unbound (1911) and the nonfiction work Gold Coast Native Institutions (1903 It was as a politician and activist that Casely Hayford earned renown ...

Article

clerk, farmer, historian, and scion of several chiefly Kaonde lineages was born in Chimimono in present-day northwestern Zambia in 1899. The title chibanza, first held by Jilundu's father, Kunaka Mwanza (d.1916), was brought into being when Kunaka inherited one of the names of Kasongo Chibanza, his mother's maternal uncle. Muyange (d.1901), Jilundu's mother, was a daughter of Kamimbi, son of Kabambala, holder of the kasempa title until his assassination in around 1880. Muyange's mother was Lubanjika, sister of Nsule, holder of the bufuku title. The history of these titles and his defense of their prerogatives were to dominate Jilundu's later life. By 1912 or 1913 Jilundu had moved to the center of his mother's matrilineage, the village of Nsule Bufuku, and enrolled in the South Africa General Mission's (SAGM) newly established Lalafuta boarding school. In 1916 Kunaka Mwanza Chibanza died and was succeeded ...

Article

Owen J. M. Kalinga

Malawi politician lawyer teacher and human rights activist was born in Mzimba district Nyasaland Malawi Both sides of her family were associated closely with Christian missionary work education and politics in the British colony Her paternal grandfather Jonathan P Chirwa was one of the first Africans to be ordained as a church minister in the Livingstonia Synod of the Church of Scotland he served briefly as a missionary at Mwenzo in Northern Rhodesia now Zambia and was to the first African to serve as the moderator of the synod Her maternal grandfather Yesaya Mlonyeni Chibambo was also a distinguished church minister in the same synod a close adviser to the Northern Ngoni paramount ruler Inkosi ya Makhosi M Mbelwa II and a founding member of the Mombera Native Association one of the early African welfare and political organizations in Nyasaland Her uncle Mackinley Qabaniso Chibambo was a prominent political activist ...

Article

Crystal Renée Sanders

educator, administrator, and politician, was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, to the educators John Bias and Frances Lane Bias. Cofield was reared on the campus of the historically black Elizabeth City State Teachers College (now Elizabeth City State University), where her father served as vice principal and later university president. In 1938 she earned an undergraduate degree in elementary education from Hampton Institute (now Hampton University). Five years later she received a master's degree in administration and supervision from Teachers College, Columbia University. In 1941 she married James Edward Cofield, a member of the first four-year graduating class at Elizabeth City State Teachers College. Two children were born of this union, James Jr. and Juan.

Like her six siblings, Cofield was a lifelong educator. She began working as an instructor in 1946 at Shaw University in Raleigh During her forty year career at the oldest historically black ...

Article

Hassoum Ceesay

Gambian teacher, feminist, speech expert, and politician, was born Cecelia Mary Ruth Rendall in 1921 in Bathurst (now Banjul, Gambia) into a staunch Methodist family headed by Emmanuel Rendall. She attended the Methodist Girls’ High School in Bathurst, where she was a star pupil, winning the top national prize in the Cambridge Certificate Exams in 1937.

Cole developed passion for drama, public speaking, and performance, which would drive her public career. For two decades, starting in 1964, she trained and mentored Radio Gambia staff in speech and voice techniques, thereby helping develop a whole generation of Gambian broadcasters. She was an advocate for drama teaching and public performances in schools and viewed drama and public speech as a tool for building self-confidence and motivation in pupils for later leadership service to the nation. She helped popularize drama competitions in Gambian schools.

Cole was ...

Article

Willard B. Gatewood

public official and businessman, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of the prominent African American clergyman and educator John Francis Cook (1810?–1855) and Jane Mann. Educated first at his father's school, Union Seminary, he later attended Oberlin College in Ohio from 1853 to 1855. Upon the death of their father, he and his brother George F. T. Cook, also a student at Oberlin, returned to Washington to assume direction of Union Seminary. Except for a brief tenure in New Orleans as a schoolteacher, John Cook was connected with the seminary until it ceased operation in 1867 after the District of Columbia opened public schools for blacks While his brother remained in the education field and was for many years superintendent of the separate colored school system in the District of Columbia John Cook embarked upon a career in government service Republican politics and ...

Article

Eric Gardner

educator and journalist, was born in Chillicothe, Ohio, the son of William Corbin and Susan, both Virginia-born former slaves. Corbin's parents eventually settled in Cincinnati to raise their family of twelve children. Corbin attended school sporadically because of economic circumstances (one of his classmates was John Mercer Langston), though his family emphasized education. In the late 1840s Corbin and his older sister Elizabeth moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where their father had family. Both lived with the Reverend Henry Adams, the pastor of the black First Baptist Church. Though the 1850 census takers listed him as a cook, Corbin taught at least some of the time in a school supported by Adams.

Thirsty for further education, Corbin traveled north to Ohio University, where he earned a BA in 1853 and an MA in 1856 He settled in Cincinnati worked as a bank messenger and steward gained prominence ...

Article

Tom W. Dillard

Joseph Carter Corbin was born in Chillicothe, Ohio, on March 26, 1833, of free parents, William and Susan Corbin. By attending several small schools he secured a basic education, and in 1850 he entered Ohio University, of Athens, Ohio. He received his bachelor's degree in 1853 and his master's in 1856. Before receiving his graduate degree, Corbin had accepted employment with a bank in Cincinnati, Ohio. Later, he taught at a school in Louisville, Kentucky. During the Civil War (1861–1865) Corbin edited a Cincinnati newspaper, the Colored Citizen. In 1866 he married Mary Jane Ward. The couple had six children, only two of whom survived their father.

Corbin and his family moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1872, where he worked as a reporter for the Republican Party newspaper, the Daily Republican Like many other African Americans of that day ...