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Raymond Pierre Hylton

minister, author, and educator, was born near Burgess in Northumberland County, Virginia, to Robert, a fisherman, and Maggie Ellison, a homemaker. Coming from an impoverished background, he received a rudimentary education and had to work at age fourteen as a farm laborer earning seven dollars per month. His first stroke of good fortune occurred in 1906 when he entered the Virginia Normal and Industrial Institute (later Virginia State College and still later Virginia State University) in Ettrick, Virginia. Getting into Virginia Union University in Richmond was not so easy; there was initial skepticism on the part of its president, Dr. George Rice Hovey, who saw no academic promise in the young man. In 1909 Hovey reluctantly admitted Ellison to the Wayland Academy (as Virginia Union's high school program was then called), and he then went on to the collegiate undergraduate program, graduating in 1917 ...

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Reidulf K. Molvaer

Ethiopian scholar and teacher in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, was born at Silalo (also known as S Amanuel, or Debre-Silalo, after the church and monastery around which the village was built) in Gojjam Province in western Ethiopia. Her father, Haddis Kidan, was an expert in an Ethiopian kind of poetry called qiné, and he transmitted his knowledge to his daughter Gelanesh. This was particularly unusual given that Gelanesh was blind from the age of eight, and people with physical disabilities at that time more commonly ended up as beggars. He must have realized her exceptional talents from an early age, and indeed, Gelanesh would become a famous qiné teacher in her own right. She also became an expert in the uniquely Ethiopian mode of biblical interpretation called andimta which consists largely of memorizing received interpretations of biblical scholars of the past although some innovation is occasionally admitted Her ...

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Ervin Dyer

professor of religion and culture, was born Charles Eric Lincoln in Athens, Alabama. Lincoln never knew his father, and his mother, Bradonia Lincoln, left the family when he was just four years old. Until late in his life Lincoln was removed from his immediate family, which grew to include six half brothers and sisters. Lincoln was reared instead by his maternal grandmother, “Miss Matt,” and grandfather, Less Lincoln, on their farm. They were poor, and a nine-year-old C. Eric was forced to take a job walking nearly three miles every morning as a delivery boy for a dairy farmer for thirty five cents a week At a time when most black children in rural Alabama dropped out of school by the sixth grade Lincoln was able to enroll in Trinity School a private missionary academy He was a bright student who finished high school in ...