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Cajetan N. Iheka

Nigerian entrepreneur, philanthropist, politician, and publisher, was born on 24 August 1937 in the southwestern town of Egba, Abeokuta, in the present-day Ogun State, to Alhaji Salawu Adelekan Akanni Abiola and Zeliat Wuraola Ayinke Abiola (née Kassim). Although Abiola was the twenty-third child of his parents, he was their first surviving child as his older siblings had died at infancy or were stillborn. Because of several deaths that had plagued the family, Abiola was named “Kashimawo,” meaning “Let us wait and see.” It was not until his fifteenth birthday that his parents gave him a regular name, Moshood, having been convinced that the young Abiola had come to stay.

Although he was born and raised in a poor family the young Abiola exhibited some entrepreneurial tendencies when he started gathering and selling firewood at the tender age of nine With the proceeds from his business he was able to support ...

Article

On June 12 1993, the popular businessman Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola won a long-awaited presidential election in Nigeria, only to have the country's military leader, Ibrahim Babangida, annul the election results. When Abiola declared himself the country's legitimate leader a year later, Babangida's successor, General Sani Abacha, jailed him for treason. As a political prisoner, Abiola became the rallying symbol for Nigerians’ democratic aspirations.

Abiola was born into a poor, polygamous household of Yoruba-speaking Muslims in the ancient town of Abeokuta None of his parents first twenty two children had survived past infancy so Abiola the twenty third was given the middle name Kashimawo meaning Let s see if he will survive He began his education at the Islamic Nawar Ud Deen School and then transferred to the Christian run African Central School As an indigent student at the Baptist Boys High School Abiola ...

Article

Sean Patrick Adams

James Gillespie Birney was born in Danville, Kentucky, to a slaveholding family. He attended Transylvania University in nearby Lexington, Kentucky, and eventually graduated from Princeton University in 1810. After admittance to the bar, Birney returned to Danville to practice law and soon married into an influential Kentucky family. By the time he moved to Madison County, Alabama, in 1818, he already owned several slaves.

Following a brief stint in Alabama's General Assembly and some financial difficulties, Birney relocated to Huntsville, Alabama, to begin a law practice. After selling many of his slaves, he became involved with the colonization movement and supported the idea of restricting the internal slave trade. By 1832 Birney was an active agent for the American Colonization Society and made a lecture circuit around the South supporting the idea of emancipating slaves and transporting them to the new African colony of Liberia He ...

Article

James Sellman

Rubén Blades is one of the creators of the Latin musical style known as Salsa, which blends various traditions of Afro-Caribbean—particularly Afro-Cuban—dance music. He first gained recognition while singing with Willie Colón and the Fania All-Stars (1976–1981). In 1978 Blades and Colón recorded the breakthrough album Siembra; after two decades, it remains the best-selling salsa album. Since that time, his recordings have enjoyed great success and have broadened the popularity of salsa, bringing Afro-Caribbean dance rhythms not only to Spanish-speaking listeners but also to a large English-speaking and international audience.

During the late 1960s and 1970s, Fania Records and other recording companies of New York City popularized the term salsa as a catchier alternative to the labels Afro Cuban or Afro Caribbean Dance Music Salsa draws from the musical traditions of those who settled the Caribbean basin making particular use of the styles and instruments ...

Article

Curt Johnson

professional soccer player, later became the charismatic leader of the Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA; Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) forces in eastern Angola during the Angolan Revolution. He subsequently broke with the leadership of the MPLA and led a faction opposed to MPLA President Dr. Agostinho Neto. In the Angolan Civil War, his faction was allied with Holden Roberto’s Frente Nacional de Libertação de Angola (FNLA; Front for the National Liberation of Angola) and Jonas Savimbi’s União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA; National Union for the Total Independence of Angola) against Neto’s MPLA.

Daniel Júlio Chipenda, an Ovimbundu, was the son of Jesse Chipenda, a prominent Protestant clergyman and activist who died in a Portuguese prison camp in 1969 The younger Chipenda associated with Angolan dissidents in Luanda He later was a popular student athlete at Coimbra University in Portugal 1958 ...

Article

Nigerian human rights advocate and legal scholar, was born on 22 April 1938 in Ondo, a city in southwestern Nigeria. His father, Saheed Tugbobo Fawehinmi, was a wealthy businessman who promoted political reforms in the colonial administration, such as lower taxes for poor people. Fawehinmi shared his father’s Muslim faith, which was highly unusual in Ondo. Lisa Alujanu Fawehinmi, one of his grandfathers, had fought the British occupation of Ondo in the late nineteenth century. Fawehinmi’s predisposition for rebellion thus made him part of family tradition. Gani, as he was known, impressed his teachers at various primary and secondary schools. He attended Ansar-Ud-Deen primary school from 1947 to 1953 and the Victory College secondary school in Ikare under the noted teacher Reverend Akinrele His headmaster at Victory College wrote a letter to Fawehinmi s father telling him that his son would make an outstanding attorney Fawehinmi became known as ...

Article

Lois Kerschen

Clinton Bowen Fisk, the sixth son of Benjamin and Lydia Fisk, was born in Livingston County, New York. His father had been a captain in the army, and his grandfather served as a major general under George Washington. The Fisk family moved to a settlement they called Clinton in Lenawee County, Michigan, while Clinton Bowen was still an infant. Benjamin Fisk died when Clinton was six, however, and Lydia was not able to hold onto the property. At age nine, Clinton Fisk apprenticed himself to a local farmer, but one year later he had to return home because his younger brother died. When Fisk was thirteen, his mother married William Smith, a successful farmer from Spring Arbor, who sent Fisk to Albion Seminary, a Methodist school in Michigan.

Fisk later went into business as a clerk for L. D. Crippen of Coldwater Michigan and married Crippen s ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Beninese feminist activist and politician, was born on 29 November 1954 in the town of Mankono in the Ivory Coast. She attended primary and secondary school in Benin, and then moved to Paris, where she received an advanced degree in business law from the Université de Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne. She became a lawyer in France in 1985. After she received her degree, Gbedo became an activist for women’s rights in Benin, while it was under the dictatorship of Mathieu Kérékou in the late 1980s. Among her goals were to incorporate more protections for women’s individual rights into the Beninese legal code. Her life as a young woman was quite eventful. In her 2009 autobiography Gbedo stated that she had been one of the many lovers of the Togolese dictator Étienne Gnassingbé Eyadéma and that she chose to keep her independence rather than marry one man Gbedo eventually became ...

Article

Martha I. Pallante

Horace Greeley's formidable editorial, journalistic, and oratorical skills in espousing abolition, temperance, and other reform causes influenced audiences at the national level. According to his biographer Don C. Seitz, “No rival American journalist ever created an influence that penetrated so deeply.”

Greeley was born on 3 February 1811 and during his sixty-one years pursued a life that remains something of a study in contradictions. The son of the failed New England farmers Zaccheus and Mary Woodburn Greeley, he rose from his poverty-stricken roots to the top of the journalistic profession in a manner that marks him as an archetype for Horatio Alger's rags-to-riches characters. Like the title character of Alger's Paul Prescott's Charge, Greeley “battled bravely with the difficulties and the discouragements that beset him in early life” to attain the pinnacle of his profession.

In contrast to his professional success disappointment marked Greeley s personal life As ...

Article

Eric D. Duke

Moseley Braun made history in 1992 when she became the first African American woman—and first African American Democrat—elected to the U.S. Senate. With her election to the nation’s top legislative body, she instantaneously became a symbol of both racial and gender diversity. However, Moseley Braun’s career as a U.S. Senator was only one highlight in her successful career as both a lawyer and public official. With a résumé composed of service at the local, state, and federal levels, Moseley Braun proved to be more than simply a “symbol.” She established herself as one of the premier public officials in the United States, for any race or gender.

Article

Aili Tripp

, Kenyan politician, was born on 1 January 1952 in Mbooni, Makueni District, of Kamba lineage. She obtained management and secretarial training at Government Secretarial College, Kianda College, and the Kenya Institute of Administration for Business. She first worked as a secretary and eventually became a successful plastics and bakery businesswoman. Prior to going into politics, Ngilu had held the position of managing director of a food manufacturing company. She was elected a Member of Parliament for Kitui Central in 1992, 1997, 2002, and 2007.

In 1997 Ngilu became the first woman in Kenya to run for president Later in the race environmentalist and Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai also announced her candidacy making her the second woman to join the presidential race During the race Ngilu earned the nickname Mama Masaa a term that plays on her party s symbol the clock suggesting that she is ...

Article

colonel in the Nigerian army and first president of the breakaway Republic of Biafra, was born in the town of Zungeru, near Kaduna in Nigeria. The son of Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu, a prolific businessman and first president of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Ojukwu was educated at King’s College in Lagos and Epsom College in Surrey before earning a master’s degree in history from Lincoln College, Oxford University.

After returning to Nigeria in 1955, Ojukwu joined the civil service and was initially stationed at Udi, a small village near Enugu, and later at Umuhaia and Aba. After a transfer to Calabar was scuttled, allegedly by interference from his influential father, Ojukwu left the civil service in 1957 and joined the fledgling Nigerian army After a tumultuous start he was given a commission as an officer cadet and sent to Eaton Hall the National Service Officer Cadet School near Chester ...

Article

Eddie Enyeobi Okafor

Although he was born in northern Nigeria, Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu is an Igbo; he hails from Nnewi in Anambra State in eastern Nigeria. His father, a knight of the British empire, Sir Louis Philippe Odumegwu Ojukwu (1908–1966 , was a multimillionaire and one of the richest African businessmen of his day, who sent his son to the best school in Nigeria, King’s College, Lagos, and later sent him to Epson College in Surrey, England.

The young Ojukwu received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Oxford University. At the age of twenty-two, he returned to Nigeria. Contrary to his father’s wish, he joined the colonial government service as a district admistrative officer in a rural Igbo village. In 1957 he joined the Nigerian army as a private. However, after attending the Officer Cadet School in England in 1958 he rose rapidly to higher military ranks lieutenant in ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Togolese politician, was born on 26 December 1936 in the Togolese capital of Lomé. He was the third child of Sylvanus Olympio and Dinah Olympio. Sylvanus was one of the leading Togolese politicians of the late colonial and early independence era and was president of Togo from 1958 to 1963.

Like his siblings, Olympio received an advanced education thanks to the affluence of his family. He attended primary school at Notre Dame de Sacré Coeur de Lomé. After attending secondary school at Prince of Wales College in Accra, Ghana, he commenced his undergraduate studies at Hamilton College in the United States in 1958. There he developed his lifelong passion for economics. He continued his studies at the London School of Economics in 1959 and then at Oxford University Olympio eventually received a doctorate in economics from Oxford thanks to a scholarship from the Oppenheimer Foundation He completed ...

Article

Nigerian economist and academic, was born to a Urhobo family in Sapele, a town located in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria on 22 May 1933. While his last name was Urhobo, his middle name was Itsekiri, the lingua franca of trade in his home region.

His parents were firm believers in order and discipline, which helped to form his own self-controlled persona later in life. Onosode’s father was a Baptist minister, and so he was sent to the Baptist primary school in the nearby town of Oginibo from 1940 to 1946. In 1943 he had a born-again experience, and he remained a fervent Baptist for the rest of his life. Onosode graduated from this school and enrolled in the Government College secondary school at Ughelli from 1947 to 1952. Onsosode then entered the University of Ibadan and graduated with a degree in classics in 1957 ...

Article

Inge Mariëtte Ruigrok

founder and leader of the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA), was born on 12 January 1923 in São Salvador (present-day M’banza-Kongo, the old capital of the Kongo kingdom) in Angola. His father was a Baptist pastor. In 1941, the family moved to Belgian Congo, where the young Roberto was educated. After graduation, he became a finance clerk for the colonial Belgian government for eight years before starting his political career.

On 14 July 1956, Holden Roberto founded together with Barros Necaca the Union of Peoples of Northern Angola (UPA), the predecessor of the FNLA (Marcum, 1969). This national liberation movement was organized in the Belgian Congo, emerging from “messianic movements, ethnic and clan networks and self-help associations within a Congo political climate marked by racial affirmation and a strong Bakongo sub-nationalism” (Messiant, 1998, p. 136). Holden Roberto launched an incursion into Angola on 15 March 1961 ...

Article

Richard A. Bradshaw and Juan Fandos-Rius

Central African educator, government minister, businesswoman, political prisoner, and reportedly the first African woman to run for president, was born Jeanne-Marie Ruth on 17 June 1937. She was the daughter of a French father and an African mother in Bangassou, a predominantly Nzakara region in the southeastern corner of the French colony of Ubangi-Shari (now the Central African Republic [CAR]). As a métis offspring of a French father, Jeanne Marie had privileged access to whatever French education was available in the region during the last two decades of colonial rule, which was particularly rare for Ubangian women at this time. In 1956, when she was only twenty-three years old, she became a monitor or supervisor for the educational system in the colony, which became an independent nation in 1960 This was certainly an exceptional position for a young woman to have at this time She remained active ...

Article

Christine Deslaurier

Burundian journalist and politician, was born on 5 May 1966 in Kamenge, a working-class borough of the north of Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi. Son of André Sinduhije (Tutsi, soldier) and Léocratie Bungungura (Tutsi), he grew up in a modest family in the capital while keeping family ties in the Karuzi region. His studies took place mostly in Bujumbura. Between 1971 and 1979, he received primary education in Ngagara, and secondary education from 1980 to 1984 at the Collège du Saint-Esprit, before spending two years at the Collège Notre-Dame in Gitega, between 1984 and 1986. Sinduhije then returned to the Lycée du Saint-Esprit in Bujumbura for the last year of his humanities studies in 1986–1987. In 1987 he enrolled in the journalism school of the Université du Burundi, from which he graduated in the early 1990s.

At the time of the coup d’état of 21 October 1993 ...

Article

Cyril Daddieh

Ivorian student activist, rebel leader, author, and prime minister of the Ivory Coast, is a Senoufou born on 8 May 1972 in the village of Kofiplé, located in the Diawala county of the Ferkessédougou district in the north, just a few kilometers from the Malian border. His late parents were Muslim, although Soro is a practicing Catholic, having attended a Catholic seminary in Katiola and then the Lycée Classique in Bouaké.

A graduate of the University of Abidjan-Cocody with a degree in English, he was actively engaged in campus politics as a member of the radical student movement, Fédération Estudiantine et Scolaire de Côte d’Ivoire (FESCI), rising to become the secretary-general of the movement from 1994 to December 1998 He was replaced by Charles Blé Goudé his current nemesis and the leader of the Jeunes Patriotes Young Patriots the militantly partisan supporters of President Laurent Gbagbo who have been ...

Article

Rwandan politician, was born on 3 September 1968 in Rwanda to a Hutu family. She attended primary and secondary schools in Rwanda. Little else is known about her early life before the civil war and genocide of the early 1990s. Umuhoza was visiting one of her cousins who was living at The Hague in the Netherlands at the outbreak of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. She learned by telephone from her husband that her brother and neighbors had been killed by militias. Her husband managed to evade attacks and fled to Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where Umuhoza was able to help her husband and some other family members to find sanctuary in the Netherlands.

They settled in Zevenhuizen a small town in southern Holland but initially faced difficulties there Her husband had been a veterinarian in Rwanda but his certification was not recognized in the Netherlands ...