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Lesley S. Curtis

from a prominent Haitian family of both European and African ancestry. Céligny’s date of birth is listed as 1801 on a birth certificate filed in 1805, which has created some confusion as to his real age. His father was Alexis Antoine Ardouin and his mother was Lolotte Félix Galez. Birth certificates of his younger siblings reveal that he grew up in close contact with his father, his father’s wife, Suzanne Léger Ardouin, and their seven children, including the famous historian Beaubrun Ardouin and the poet Corolian Ardouin. Céligny married Marie Angélique Liautaud in 1823 and had six children.

Céligny’s most significant work, Essais sur l’histoire d’Haïti (Essays on the History of Haiti) was written and published in sections in the late 1830s. It appeared as a revised collection in 1841, but was only published in its entirety in 1865 sixteen years after the author s death Beaubrun ...

Article

Bernard Gainot

There is little documentation on his life before he moved to mainland France. Even though the surname “Boisson” was common in Cap-Français (now Cap-Haïtien), there is evidence that Joseph belonged to the community of free blacks who advanced through the military on the eve of the Haitian Revolution. He was a captain in the Saint-Domingue Gendarmerie when he was elected to the National Convention, the assembly held in Paris from 1792 to 1795 to draft a new constitution following the overthrow of the French monarchy. Reliable sources mention two sisters: Madeleine, who married a black sergeant of the First Battalion of Colonial Troops, and Marguerite, who was living with a white adjutant from the Battalion of the Cap-Français.

Like other representatives of Saint-Domingue, Boisson traveled first to Philadelphia, and then departed from New York on 20 March 1794 along with two parliamentarians Etienne Laforest a mulatto and Pierre Nicolas ...

Article

Elvin Holt

teacher, historian, and folklorist, was born in Goliad, Texas, one of five children of John Henry Brewer, a cattle drover, and Minnie Tate Brewer, a teacher. John Mason grew up with his three sisters, Jewel, Marguerite, Gladys, and his brother Claude in a household that provided a fertile environment for his imagination. His father told exciting stories about his adventures on the cattle drives from the Media Luna Ranch in Texas to the cattle market in Kansas. His mother, a teacher in Texas for over forty years, read the poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar to John Mason during his early childhood. As an adult poet, Dr. Brewer would write dialect verse in the manner of Dunbar. Dr. Brewer's love for the oral tradition in African American culture was also nurtured by his grandfathers, Joe Brewer and Pinckney Mitchell, who told him folktales. John Mason ...

Article

Theresa A. Hammond

consumer markets specialist and business school professor, was born in Chesterfield County, Virginia, to Thomas D. Harris Jr. and Georgia Laws Carter. Thomas Harris was a messenger for the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad and also worked as an embalmer, and Georgia Carter Harris was a homemaker. Thomas stressed the importance of education for his three children, tutoring them in math, anatomy, and English after dinner. Harris attended Kingsland Elementary School (one of the black primary and secondary schools funded by Sears, Roebuck philanthropist Julius Rosenwald to improve education for black southerners) in Chesterfield County, Virginia, and D. Webster Davis High School, the Virginia State College laboratory school, in Petersburg, Virginia. While in high school, Harris earned a certificate in barber practice and science. He cut soldiers' hair on the nearby Fort Lee army base to help pay for his education at Virginia State College.

Harris s education ...

Article

Bruce Nemerov

sociologist and folklorist, was born in Cuero, DeWitt County, Texas, the eldest child of Wade E. Jones and Lucinthia Jones. His parents were literate and before Lewis's tenth birthday they were farming near Navasota in Grimes County, Texas. His upbringing would inform his later sociological and folkloric interests regarding the status of African Americans in the rural South.

Jones was admitted to Fisk University in 1927. In 1931 he received his AB degree. At Fisk he came under the influence of Charles Spurgeon Johnson, head of the Social Sciences Department. He did postgraduate work at the University of Chicago as a Social Science Research Council Fellow (1931–1932).

Upon his return to Fisk, Jones was an instructor in the Social Sciences Department and served as a research assistant and supervisor of field studies for Charles S. Johnson In this capacity Jones collected data in ...

Article

Sean Jacobs

South African parliamentarian and guerrilla fighter for the military wing of the African National Congress (ANC), was born on 6 July 1963 in a Coloured section of a government hospital in Durban, a port city on South Africa’s northeast coast. McBride has two sisters. His parents, Derrick and Doris McBride, were both schoolteachers. Doris’s father, Colin Campbell van Niekerk, was an Afrikaner, and her mother Grace the daughter of a Zulu-speaking mother and a Coloured father. Robert McBride grew up in Wentworth, a Coloured township in Durban next to an industrial area and a toxic oil refinery. At his trial in 1987 it also emerged that McBride was related to Major John MacBride, an Irish Republican major who had fought on the side of Afrikaners against the British in the Anglo-Boer War.

McBride was politicized at an early age by his father who introduced him to the history of Coloured ...

Article

Gary Kerley

conservative economist, political writer, and educator, was born in Gastonia, North Carolina, to Willie (maiden name unknown), a domestic, and Henry Sowell, who died before his son's birth. Because they already had four other children, Thomas's parents, even before he was born, asked for help in rearing the baby. Henry turned to his aunt, Molly Sowell, who was sixty; she and her husband named the baby Thomas Hancock Sowell, nicknamed “Buddy,” and raised him as their own. Willie Sowell died a few years later in childbirth and Sowell did not know until he was an adult that his aunt and uncle were not his real parents He was a fourth grader when in the 1930s the family moved to Harlem New York where Sowell grew up and attended the prestigious Stuyvesant High School He dropped out in the tenth grade to go to ...

Article

Larvester Gaither

economist. Born in the town of Gastonia in segregated North Carolina, Thomas Sowell grew up in Harlem, New York. Due to difficult circumstances, he dropped out of high school and worked toward achieving his equivalency diploma by attending night school. He later joined the U.S. Marine Corps, where he developed a passion for photography. After passing Howard University's entrance exam, he studied there for a year and a half, then transferred to Harvard University to study economics. Sowell graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in 1958, received a master's degree in economics at Columbia University in 1959, and completed his doctorate in economics at the University of Chicago in 1968.

Since the late 1960s he has taught economics at several universities including Howard University the University of California at Los Angeles Cornell University and Amherst College His most prestigious post however has been as the Rose ...

Article

George Baca

anthropologist, was born Council Samuel Taylor in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Walter Knight Taylor and Odelle Grace Robinson Taylor. “Count,” as his intimates called him, was dynamic, tall, a stylish dresser, and a great storyteller, using his deep voice for dramatic effect. Colleagues, students, and teachers remembered him adorned with a French beret, ascot, and an ornate walking stick.

Taylor passed as a white man during the 1940s. From 1942 to 1946 he served in the marines—well before President Harry Truman issued Executive Order 9981 to desegregate the U S Armed Forces where he saw combat duty with the Air Delivery Squadron and Aviation Supply during World War II A most striking feature of his biography is that as a gay black man Taylor served as a platoon sergeant in aviation supply in several locations in the South Pacific and near China during the war ...

Article

Jennifer Vaughn

author, educator, and economist, was born Walter Edward Williams in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His father and namesake was a latherer, someone who prepared foundations for the plasterer during the construction of plaster houses; he divorced Williams's mother, Catherine (Morgan) Williams, when Williams was a young child. Williams's mother was left to raise him and his younger sister alone in the Richard Allen housing projects, a predominantly low-income black neighborhood in North Philadelphia, until her marriage later to Thomas Burchett.

In his teens Williams held a number of low-wage jobs to help support his family while attending Benjamin Franklin High School from 1950 to 1954. Despite being economically one of the lowest-ranking schools in Pennsylvania, Benjamin Franklin provided Williams with a solid learning experience including no nonsense teachers and a first class curriculum Being black was not an excuse to do poorly in school Williams had ...