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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

Lawrie Balfour

The son of a Baptist minister from Barbados and a Virginia schoolteacher, John Gibbs St. Clair Drake grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Staunton, Virginia. As a student at Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) in Virginia from 1927 to 1931, he majored in biology, but his study of anthropology with Professor W. Allison Davis defined Drake's future.

After graduating Hampton, Drake worked as a high school teacher in rural Virginia and continued his interest in anthropology. His contributions to a social survey of life in a Mississippi town were published as part of Davis's study titled Deep South: A Social Anthropological Study of Caste and Class (1941). Drake also became involved in the peace movement, spending his summers with Quaker activists. Reflecting on the “peace caravan” that took him and other demonstrators through the South during the summer of 1931 Drake commented that he just ...

Article

David A. Spatz

anthropologist. St. Clair Drake Jr. was born in Suffolk, Virginia, moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at the age of seven with his father, a Barbados-born Baptist minister, and then to Staunton, Virginia, with his mother at thirteen. While Drake attended a segregated high school, his father traveled as an international organizer for Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association. Drake's early life was shaped by his family's religious fervor, and by his experiences in a racially integrated section of Pittsburgh contrasted with the stark racial inequality in Virginia. According to Drake, a visit to the West Indies with his father and motivated high school teachers awakened his interest in African and African American culture.

Drake graduated with honors from the Hampton Institute in 1931 While there he participated in student strikes and criticized Hampton s white administration in his work for the school newspaper After college Drake taught high school ...

Article

Frank A. Salamone

anthropologist, was born John Gibbs St. Clair Drake Jr. in Suffolk, Virginia, the son of John Gibbs St. Clair Drake Sr., a Baptist pastor, and Bessie Lee Bowles. By the time Drake was four years old his father had moved the family twice, once to Harrisonburg, Virginia, and then to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The family lived in a racially mixed neighborhood in Pittsburgh, where Drake grew to feel at ease with whites. His strict Baptist upbringing gave him a deep understanding of religious organizations. His father also taught him to work with tools and to become an expert in woodworking, a skill Drake later employed in his field research.

A trip to the West Indies in 1922 with his father led to major changes in Drake s life The Reverend Drake had tried to instill in his son a deep respect for the British Empire but the ...

Article

Michelle Gueraldi

Lélia de Almeida Gonzales obtained several academic degrees, including a bachelor's degree in history and philosophy at the Rio de Janeiro State University, a master's degree in communications at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and a doctorate in social anthropology at the University of São Paulo. She also directed the Department of Sociology at Rio de Janeiro Catholic University.

Gonzales figured prominently in post-1950s intellectual life in Brazil. She was one of the first black women to teach at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and in 1978 was one of the founders of the Movimento Negro Unificado (Unified Black Movement). In 1979 Gonzales was also one of the founders of the Working Group on Themes and Problems of the Black Population in Brazil at Candido Mendes University in Rio de Janeiro The group has produced various unique essays on Afro Brazilian issues A strong ...

Article

Thomas Zitelmann

Ethiopian intellectual, patriot, and politician in post-Italian Ethiopia, as well as the first university-educated anthropologist of Ethiopia, was born in the province of Gojjam. During the 1950s he engaged briefly as a filmmaker. He held the imperial title of dejazmach.

During the 1920s he went to the Teferi Makonnen School at Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. He continued his studies at the American University of Beirut (Lebanon). He then became one of a dozen Ethiopian students who were directly chosen by Emperor Haile Selassie to continue their studies in the United States. He came to Harvard to study medicine, but he soon switched to anthropology (against the wishes of the emperor). Mekonnen Desta returned to Ethiopia in 1935 as a research assistant to the American anthropologist Carleton Coon, who featured him under the pseudonym of “Gabri Zaudu.”

Following the Italian occupation of Ethiopia in 1936 ...

Article

Sibyl Collins Wilson

anthropologist, university professor, and diplomat, was born in Trinidad and Tobago (then in the British West Indies) to Ettice Francis and Joseph McDonald Skinner. His parents’ professions are not recorded. One of five children—two girls and three boys—Skinner was raised by an aunt from Barbados. Although he was not raised to recognize personal limitations in his ability to learn and was exposed to many different cultures, he recognized that his color limited his economic opportunities in the British Caribbean. His family life also prefigured his scholarly interest in class differences, with his mother's family regarded as more modest in achievements and means than his father's Barbadian forebears, who were landowners and merchants. In 1943 he moved to the United States to live with his father in Harlem New York but instead of finding a job Skinner decided to enlist in the Army as the U S ...

Article

Margaret Wade-Lewis

linguist, anthropologist, and activist, was born in Kansas City, Kansas, to Mack Spears Sr. and C. R. Spears. Both his parents were from enterprising, educated, upper-middle-class families. Mack Spears Sr. taught at Lincoln University at Sumner High School and at the black branch of the segregated Kansas City Kansas Community College He received a master s degree in Business at the University of Kansas in the early 1930s and was active in bringing the AFL Teachers Union to the public schools in Kansas City Kansas and in managing his father s estate and other businesses in the twin cities of Kansas City Kansas and Kansas City Missouri Becoming one of the key business leaders in the black community he initiated various projects including the first black housing development the eponymous Spears Crest built on a portion of a tract of property he owned Mack Spears ...

Article

Yolanda L. Watson Spiva

educator, Africanist, and anthropologist, was born Gloria Albertha Marshall in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; nothing is known of her parents. She attended Dillard Elementary School and Dillard High School. A student of high academic prowess and promise, she skipped grade levels because of her exceptional ability and mastery of her school work and was classified as a high school junior at the age of fourteen. At fifteen she was offered and accepted early admission to Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, on a Ford Foundation Early Entrant Scholarship. In 1955, while a student at Fisk, Gloria attended Oberlin College as part of an academic exchange program and was exposed to an educational setting that she perceived to be a better fit for her academic interests. Consequently she transferred from Fisk to Oberlin to complete her undergraduate degree.

Sudarkasa received her bachelor s degree in Anthropology and English ...

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

Yvonne Captain

Manuel Zapata Olivella's frequent use of the word “mulatto” (a person of both African and European descent) to describe his background suggests a biological union as much as a cultural mixture. Focusing less on phenotype and more on what the Afro-Cuban poet Nicolás Guillén would term cultural mulatez, or the mixing of cultures that characterizes the Caribbean, Zapata Olivella explores what unites peoples rather than what separates them. Through his acclaimed works of fiction as well as scholarly studies and public service, Zapata Olivella has significantly advanced the understanding of the contribution of African culture to the world. Together with Nancy Morejón and Quince Duncan he is one of the twentieth century's most admired Afro-Hispanic writers.

Born in the small town of Lorica on the western Caribbean coast of Colombia to parents of African descent, Zapata Olivella used the area's rich folklore in his first novel, Tierra mojada ...