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Liberian lawyer and diplomat and the first African woman to preside over the General Assembly of the United Nations, was born on 24 August 1928 (or 1929, according to some accounts) in Virginia, Montserrado County, Liberia. Her parents were of mixed ethnic background representing several of Liberia’s indigenous groups, and her father was a Baptist minister. As one of nine children, she was fostered out to a widowed seamstress as a child and attended Monrovia public schools. Although she had a great desire to continue her education, she entered an early marriage with Richard A. Henries (1908–1980 a member of a prominent Americo Liberian family who was twenty years her senior Her husband was a lawyer and politician who eventually became the speaker for the Liberian House of Representatives She and Henries had two sons but the marriage ended in divorce and she turned her attention to ...

Article

Sarah B. Buchanan

, Togolese filmmaker and international legal adviser for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, was born Ayele Folly-Reimann on 31 March 1954 in Lomé, Togo, to Amah Folly (a producer at the French world-music recording company OCORA and then at Radio France International) and Juliette Reimann. She has one sister. Folly studied law in Paris at the Université de Paris II–Panthéon-Assas. She began her career as an international legal adviser for UNESCO in 1981.

In the early 1990s Folly began making films In spired by Sarah Maldoror a French Guadeloupean filmmaker and Safi Faye a Senegalese filmmaker and ethnologist whom she has called des militantes dont le travail cinématographique est inspirant car il interroge l essence des problématiques des Africaines militants whose cinematographic work is inspiring because it interrogates the heart of the problems confronting African women Folly turned to film because she considers it similar to ...

Article

Leland Conley Barrows

Beninese jurist, historian, international civil servant, human rights activist, and chief justice of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Benin, was born on 15 March 1934 in the town of Zinvié, not far from Abomey, the former royal capital of the Fon Kingdom of Dahomey. Because Glélé’s intellectual talents were recognized by his Roman Catholic primary school teachers, he was enabled to complete his secondary education at the Lycée van Vollenhoven in Dakar, Senegal, where he earned the lettres classiques baccalaureate in 1955. After a year of studying law at the newly founded University of Dakar, he entered the preparatory section of the prestigious Lycée Louis-le-Grand in Paris in order to qualify, in 1958, for the diploma of civil administration, awarded by the National School for the Training of Overseas Administrators (the former École Coloniale). He then went on to earn the licence in law in 1960 ...

Article

Hannington Ochwada

Senegalese educator and director-general of the United Nations Education and Scientific Organization (UNESCO), was born in Dakar, Senegal, on 20 March 1921, to Farah Ndiaye M’Bow, a leatherworker and farmer, and Ngoné Casset, a homemaker. M’Bow’s father was a devout Muslim and prominent local leader. Raised in a traditional Senegalese family compound, from a very young age M’Bow, like most African children, performed the family and community obligations of farming and herding. After serving in the colonial French army in North Africa in World War II, he passed his baccalaureate exam in Dakar before attending the Sorbonne University in Paris. Upon graduating in 1951 with a degree in geography, he taught geography and history in the Senegalese school system prior to serving as director of basic education for the colonial Senegalese Ministry of Education from 1952 to 1957. Appointed as minister of education and culture in 1957 he ...

Article

The son of Limas and Dora Lee Brooks McHenry, Donald Franchot McHenry was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He grew up in poverty in East St. Louis, Illinois, where a public school is now named in his honor. McHenry received a B.S. degree from Illinois State University in 1957 and an M.S. degree from Southern Illinois University in 1959. As a student he was president of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). McHenry was involved in negotiations to end segregation in area housing and restaurants.

McHenry then moved to Washington, D.C. He taught English at Howard University beginning in 1959 and entered the graduate program in international relations at Georgetown University. His public career began when he joined the U.S. Department of State in 1963. In 1968 he was made assistant to the secretary of state. From 1971 ...

Article

Rachelle Gold

civil rights activist, politician, and ambassador. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Andrew Jackson Young Jr. was the son of Andrew Jackson Young Sr., a dentist, and Daisy Fuller Young, a schoolteacher. With his younger brother Walter, Andrew and his parents lived in an upper-middle-class neighborhood with white families. In the fifth grade Young's civics teacher took the class to observe Thurgood Marshall arguing a legal case, and this experience inspired Young. He graduated early from a private high school in 1947. He entered Howard University that same year, participating on both the track and the swimming teams and planning to become a dentist. In 1951 he earned his biology degree from Howard.

That summer after graduating, Young felt called to become a preacher instead of a dentist. So he entered divinity school at Hartford Seminary in Connecticut. Receiving his bachelor of divinity degree in 1955 ...

Article

Elizabeth Heath

Born and raised in an affluent African American family in New Orleans, Louisiana, Andrew Young had opportunities as a child that were available to few blacks in the South, including an exceptional education. He attended Howard University and Hartford Theological Seminary. Ordained a Congregational minister in 1955, he soon after accepted a pastorate in Thomasville, Georgia. This experience made him keenly aware of the poverty African Americans suffered in the rural South and inspired his work as a civil rights activist.

In 1959 Young moved to New York to become assistant director of the National Council of Churches and to raise financial support for activities related to the Civil Rights Movement in the South. He returned to Georgia two years later and joined the Southern Christian Leadership Conference SCLC His energetic work as funding coordinator and administrator of the SCLC Citizenship Education Programs soon won him the ...