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Dexnell G.L. Peters

was born Raymond Quevedo on 24 March 1892 in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. He was born to a Trinidadian mother and Venezuelan father. Quevedo won a government scholarship, receiving his secondary education at St. Mary’s College or the College of Immaculate Conception, a prestigious Port of Spain school. He likely spent the years 1904 to 1908 at the college. It should be noted that secondary education at the time was a privilege only afforded to those of the wealthier classes or those able to attain one of the few available government scholarships. Although this privilege allowed Quevedo the opportunity to pursue various career options, he eventually decided to become a calypsonian and later was popularly known by the sobriquet “Attila the Hun.” In 1911 he sang his first calypso publicly and later began singing in calypso tents venues where calypsonians performed regularly and where he grew tremendously ...

Article

Stewart King

was born on 16 December 1753 in Torbec, on the southern peninsula of Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). His father, François Boisrond (1711–1772), a mixed-race small planter, married Marie Hérard (1724–1773), from a prominent free colored family from the nearby parish of Aquin, sometime before 1743. Louis François was the tenth of their eleven children. (Louis-François’s surname sometimes appears as Boisrond-Jeune. The cognomen “Jeune” means “the younger,” and it was commonly used to distinguish a person from an older relative with the same name. In this case, we do not know who the older Louis-François Boisrond was; perhaps there was an older brother who died in childhood, or perhaps the intent was to distinguish Louis-François from his father, François.)

François Boisrond, along with other free colored and white planters of the regions, participated in an uprising against obligatory militia service in 1763 he suffered no punishment ...

Article

was born on 16 September 1916 in St. Paul’s Village, St. Kitts, to domestic worker Mary Jane Francis, and blacksmith and laborer William Bradshaw. His interaction with trade unions began at an early age. His grandmother often sent him to pay her union dues to her union representative, one Gabriel Douglas, on his way to school. Like many boys in his community, Bradshaw worked on the neighboring sugar estate after completing his education. At the age of 16, he was apprenticed to the foreman in the machine shop at the St. Kitts-Bassetere Sugar Company. He joined the St. Kitts Workers League on the recommendation of his boss in the machine shop. In 1935 another boy pushed Bradshaw and his right hand went through a glass window during the altercation severing all the tendons After he recovered Bradshaw was promoted to the office of the machine shop This accident changed ...

Article

Wigmoore Francis

is known primarily for his advocacy on behalf of the black and colored population of Jamaica, for his resistance to Crown rule, and for his impact on constitutional reform in the late nineteenth century. Samuel was born in Kingston, Jamaica, to William Burke, a wealthy watchmaker, and Elizabeth Staines Burke, a housewife. William owned four residences in Kingston’s upscale districts, and together, he and Elizabeth produced ten children, all of whom were colored.

Burke who may have been born on Harbour Street near the Kingston waterfront grew up on Church Street in downtown Kingston at a transitional time when the residential areas there were being overrun by business operations Here the absence of clear lines of demarcation between business and residence and the physical proximity of poorer black families resulted in a motley demographic arrangement of class color and race From a young age Samuel would therefore have been exposed ...

Article

Ruramisai Charumbira

Zimbabwean educator, political activist, member of parliament, cabinet minister, and the Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) politburo member, was born Victoria Fikile Mahamba-Sithole on 27 March 1928 in Natal South Africa, to an immigrant family from Manicaland, from then Southern Rhodesia. Young Victoria grew up in South Africa and got her secondary education from Adams College, Amanzimtoti, Natal, one of South Africa’s oldest secondary schools for black education. While at Adams College she met another student who would go on be her husband, an illustrious Zimbabwe (then Southern Rhodesian) nationalist named Herbert Wiltshire Tapfumanei Chitepo. Victoria Chitepo also earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Birmingham, England, and became a teacher and political activist in Natal until about 1955 when she joined her husband in Southern Rhodesia where he had just become the first African barrister From that time on Victoria s life like many wives of ...

Article

Patricia Glinton-Meicholas

was born in 1922 to Charles Darling, an Acklins, Bahamas, fisherman and farmer, who took cyclical work in Panama. Termed “The Bahamas Nazareth” by Sir Arthur Foulkes (eighth Bahamian governor-general of The Bahamas), Acklins was one of the chronically depressed southern islands of the Bahamas archipelago, which forced its people to migrate to Nassau, the capital, or elsewhere in search of work. Charles married Aremilia Johnson, and Clifford, the seventh of their eleven children, was born on 6 February 1922 in Chester’s, Acklins.

Darling’s limited formal education began at Chester’s all-age school and continued at public schools in New Providence. Quietly ambitious, he seized opportunities for learning whenever they appeared. That he was intelligent was evidenced by his appointment as school monitor (pupil teacher) at age 14. His six shillings per month wage was a boon to his family following his father’s death in 1933.

In 1938 Darling ...

Article

James Kilgore

Zimbabwean freedom fighter and politician, grew up in a politically minded family. Her father, a bricklayer, was frequently detained by the white minority government, and Dongo recalled visiting him in prison when she was just seven years old. At fifteen she left secondary school and walked two hundred miles to Mozambique to join the freedom fighters of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU, later ZANU-PF, for “Patriotic Front”). ZANU was conducting a liberation war against the colonial regime led by Ian Smith, leader of Rhodesia (modern-day Zimbabwe). Dongo trained as a medical assistant. She took the Chimurenga (“liberation war”) name of “Tichaona Muhondo” (“We shall see on the battlefield”).

At independence in 1980 she returned to Zimbabwe, completed a typing course, and worked as the Secretary for Women’s Affairs in the national headquarters of ZANU-PF in Harare. In 1983 she took a position in the Ministry of State Security ...

Article

Leyla Keough

Bernie Grant was a controversial parliamentarian, more at home with grassroots organization and black radicalism than with establishment politics in the House of Commons. Described as “a leader walking the rope between street heroism and government office,” Grant defended his black constituents and articulated their views.

Grant grew up in Georgetown, the capital of Guyana, where he attended a Jesuit school. In 1963 he and his parents, Eric and Lily Grant, moved to Great Britain, where Bernie attended Tottenham Technical College and then studied mining engineering at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. He left the university because of racist policies that refused to admit blacks into a program of study in mining in South Africa. He worked as a railway clerk and a postal employee until he became a trade union official.

During the 1970s Grant led a campaign against the National Front a white supremacist organization active ...

Article

Hassoum Ceesay

Gambia’s first woman cabinet minister and first female education officer, was born on 23 January 1922 in Banjul. She is also known as “Aunty Lou.” Her father, Sir John Mahoney, was the first speaker of the Gambian Legislative Council in 1954, and her mother Hannah was the first Gambian woman to work as a clerk in the Government Secretariat in the 1910s.

She attended the St. Joseph’s Infants School, the Methodists Girls High School, Banjul, and obtained the Cambridge School Certificate in 1942. She attended the prestigious Achimota Teachers College in Accra, Ghana, from 1942–1945. Upon her return, she taught at the Methodist Girls’ High School from 1942 to 1949; from 1949 to 1955, she taught at Bakau Primary School. She was school headmistress from 1957 to 1963. In 1958 she was appointed to the Royal Visit Committee responsible for the welcome of Queen Elizabeth ...

Article

Aaron Myers

Born in Recife, Brazil, into an aristocratic and politically active family, Joaquim Nabuco spent the first eight years of his life on his family's large Sugar plantation in the northeastern province of Pernambuco. He later moved with his parents to Rio de Janeiro, then attended the prestigious law academies of São Paulo and Recife. At the former he met Antônio De Castro Alves, “the Poet of the Slaves,” and the abolitionist Rui Barbosa. Between 1873 and 1876 he made several trips to Europe and the United States, where he learned about abolitionists such as William Lloyd Garrison, in the process strengthening his belief in abolition.

Nabuco opposed slavery for moral reasons At the age of eight he became aware of the cruelties of slavery when a slave from a nearby plantation approached him and begged to be purchased by Nabuco s family explaining that his ...

Article

Kim Miller

South African antiapartheid activist and organizer, was born Dorothy Nomzansi Nyembe in the rural area of KwaZulu-Natal. Her mother, Leeya Basolise Nyembe, was the daughter of Chief Ngedee Shezi. Dorothy Nyembe attended mission schools through the ninth grade and gave birth to her only child at the age of fifteen.

In 1952 Nyembe joined the African National Congress (ANC). In 1954 she was instrumental in establishing the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL), and in 1959 she was elected president of the ANCWL branch in Natal. She was also a leading member of the Federation of South African Women (FSAW).

Dorothy Nyembe worked tirelessly as an activist for both the ANCWL and the FSAW and took on leadership roles in regards to a number of issues She was the chairperson of the Two Sticks Branch Committee she was a key figure opposing forced removals from Cato Manor in 1956 and she led ...

Article

Hannington Ochwada

Kenyan politician and first Kenyan woman elected as mayor and Member of Parliament (MP), was born at Gobei, Sakwa District, in Kenya’s Nyanza Province. She was educated at primary schools in Sakwa before enrolling in Ngiya Girls Secondary School. She later graduated as a teacher from Vihiga Teachers Training College in 1954. She married Onyango Baridi, with whom she had six children, and worked as a primary school teacher before being appointed principal of Ng’iya Women’s Teachers’ Training College. She also served as an assistant commissioner of the Girl Guide movement and chaired the Kisumu Branch of the Child Welfare Society in Kisumu District.

Onyango was drawn to community service even before she entered the realm of electoral politics. When she was elected to the Kisumu Municipal Council in 1963 she found it not only composed of European and Asian entrepreneurs but also dominated by men This led ...

Article

Kathleen Sheldon

political activist in Angola, and leader of the Organização Mulher Angolana (OMA; Angolan Women’s Organization), was born in the village of Bengo, just north of Luanda. Van-Dúnem has been involved in politics her entire life. Her father, Guilherme Pereira Inglês, was a Methodist minister who encouraged her education, and enrolled her in classes in Luanda when she was a child. He was tortured and killed by the Portuguese colonial regime in 1961. Her mother died soon after that, and Van-Dúnem left with her two older sisters and joined the Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA; People’s Liberation Movement of Angola) when she was just thirteen years old; two younger brothers also accompanied them. She lost several family members during the armed struggle, including one sister who died in 1963 and one brother who was killed in 1968.

Van-Dúnem spent 1964 to 1967 in Kinshasa in the ...