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Marilyn Demarest Button

educator, administrator, writer, and activist, was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, the daughter of Thomas Cornelius Cuthbert and Victoria Means. She attended grammar and secondary school in her hometown and studied at the University of Minnesota before transferring to Boston University, where she completed her BA in 1920.

Following her graduation, Cuthbert moved to Florence, Alabama, and became an English teacher and assistant principal at Burrell Normal School. Promoted to principal in 1925, she began to lead students and faculty in bold new perspectives on gender equality and interracial harmony.

In 1927 Cuthbert left Burrell to become one of the first deans of Talladega College in Talladega, Alabama. In her essay, “The Dean of Women at Work,” published in the Journal of the National Association of College Women (Apr. 1928 she articulated her belief that covert sexism at the administrative level of black colleges limited their ...

Article

Jennifer L. Freeman Marshall

anthropologist, educator, sociologist, was born Ellen Irene Diggs in Monmouth, Illinois, to Henry Charles Diggs and Alice Scott. Her working-class parents lived in a community of about ten thousand, about two hundred of whom were black. They supported their precocious child, one of five, who read voraciously and achieved the highest grade average in her school. Recognizing her ability, the Monmouth Chamber of Commerce awarded her a scholarship to attend Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois. In 1924 she transferred to the University of Minnesota, which offered a far larger number of courses, where she majored in sociology and minored in psychology. She received an AB degree in 1928 and then attended Atlanta University, a premier institution for the education of African Americans founded in 1865 and located in Atlanta, Georgia. The institution began to offer graduate degrees in 1929 and in 1933 under the direction ...

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Joyce A. A. Camper

sociologist, social worker, writer, and teacher, was born Ophelia Settle in Red River County, Texas, one of seven children of Sarah Garth, who died when Settle was four years old, and Green Wilson Settle, a teacher and later principal at the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind Institute in Raft, Oklahoma. The emphasis the Settle family placed upon education influenced Settle's aspiration to become a teacher. She graduated from Howard University with an AB in English in 1925 and taught at the Orange County Training School in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, for a year. She then completed a master's degree in Sociology in 1928 at the University of Pennsylvania.

In 1929 Settle embarked on a journey that culminated in the project that became her lifelong passion. Charles Spurgeon Johnson then director of the newly formed Department of Social Science at Fisk University hired Settle as ...

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Jan Marie Fritz

civil rights activist, clinical sociologist, and educator, was born in Johnston, a small town in rural Edgefield County, South Carolina. His father, Charles, a laborer, was illiterate, and his mother, Flora, a cook who took in washing, could barely read and write. Both of his parents encouraged him and the three younger children to work hard, be frugal, ask questions, and read. Gomillion remembered going alone and with his mother to ask “white folks to give us magazines,” and remembered that his mother regularly brought home copies of the Chicago Defender and the NAACP's Crisis.

When he was sixteen years old Gomillion left home to pursue his high school education at Paine College in Augusta Georgia He was admitted on probation because he had completed only twenty six months of formal education Although he worked the whole time he was at Paine to pay for ...

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Mary E. Huddleston

civil rights leader, was born Cernoria McGowan in Alto, Texas, a farming town east of Dallas, Texas, the oldest child of John McGowan, a construction worker, and Mollie. While McGowan was still a young child, she and her family moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, in search of a better life. During the Tulsa race riot of 1921 McGowan and her siblings were hauled to safety in a truck to the state fairgrounds. In the aftermath of the riot, her family relocated to Oklahoma City, where McGowan attended Douglas High School. She graduated in May 1926 and was awarded a scholarship to attend Langston University in Oklahoma, where she received her undergraduate degree in sociology with honors. While at Langston she married William W. Johnson, a school teacher; the couple had two daughters, Judy and Janice.

After a brief period spent teaching twenty six year old Cernoria Johnson ...

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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 ...

Article

Yollette Trigg

sociologist, journalist, and publicist. Robert Ezra Park was born in Harveyville, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. His parents, Hiram Park and Theodosia Warner Park, were first cousins whose fathers were physicians. After serving two enlistments in the Union army, Hiram Park moved his schoolteacher wife and young baby to Red Wing, Minnesota, when the Civil War ended. Red Wing, a small town located approximately forty miles south of Minneapolis on the west bank of the Mississippi River, was home to a diverse mix of transplanted New Englanders, Scandinavian immigrants, and Native Americans. There Hiram established a wholesale grocery business to serve the needs of the burgeoning prairie town and the surrounding frontier communities.

Robert Park spent the first eighteen years of his life in Red Wing where he first became a student of the human condition Having few outlets for entertainment he read dime novels voraciously which fueled ...