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April Taylor

Born Wesley Cook in Philadelphia, Mumia Abu-Jamal was a political activist from adolescence. At the age of fourteen he was arrested and beaten for demonstrating against segregationist presidential candidate George Wallace. He was a founding member of the Philadelphia chapter of the Black Panther Party in 1968 and worked on the party's newspaper in California during the summer of 1970.

Returning to Philadelphia, Abu-Jamal became a radio journalist with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and had his own talk show on station WUHY. He was highly critical of Philadelphia's police department and of the city's “law and order” mayor, Frank Rizzo. He provided coverage of the police treatment of MOVE, a Philadelphia black militant group, which further alienated the authorities. Forced to leave his position as a journalist, Abu-Jamal took a job as a taxi driver.

While Abu Jamal was driving his cab on the ...

Article

Todd Steven Burroughs

radical prison journalist and author. Mumia Abu-Jamal was born Wesley Cook in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As a teenager in the 1960s he was attracted to the Black Panther Party (BPP). Cook—christened “Mumia” by one of his high school teachers—helped form the BPP's Philadelphia chapter in spring 1969 and became the chapter's lieutenant of information. He wrote articles for the Black Panther, the party's national newspaper, and traveled to several cities to perform BPP work. He left the party in the fall of 1970 because of the split between Eldridge Cleaver and Huey Newton.

After attending Goddard College in Plainfield Vermont Cook now calling himself Mumia Abu Jamal the surname is Arabic for father of Jamal Jamal being his firstborn returned to Philadelphia and began a radio broadcasting career in the early 1970s Abu Jamal was part of the first generation of black journalists to become professional newscasters for ...

Article

Abdulai Abubakari

king of Dagombas and victim of murder at Yendi, the capital of the Dagomba traditional area, was born in August 1945 at Saganarigu, a suburb of Tamale in present-day northern Ghana. His father was Andani Yakubu, also the king of Dagbon, who reigned from 1968 to 1969, and his mother was Zenabu Mahama, who hailed from Savelugu. He was named after his grandfather, Na Yakubu I (1824–1849). He was the first son of his father, who had about thirty children, and the only child of his mother. He attended Yendi Primary and Middle schools and taught as a pupil teacher for several years.

He became the Ya-Na, the title given to the king of the Dagombas, in 1974. The previous incumbent, Ya-Na Mahamadu Abdulai IV (1969–1974 was said to have been improperly installed as king The matter was contested in court amid great tension ...

Article

Richard A. Bradshaw

military officer, president, and emperor of the Central African Republic/Empire, was born on 22 February 1921 at Bobangui, Lobaye region, then in the French Equatorial African territory of the Middle Congo (now part of the Central African Republic) He was the son of headman Mindogon Mgboundoulou, who was murdered at the regional colonial headquarters in the Lobaye, and Marie Yokowo, who died a week after her husband. Bokassa belonged to the same Mbaka (Ngbaka) ethnic group as Central African Republic (CAR) leaders Barthélemy Boganda and David Dacko. His grandfather MʿBalanga took care of Bokassa until 1921, when he entered the Catholic missionary école Sainte-Jeanne-d’Arc at MʿBaiki. Bokassa then attended Bangui’s École de St. Louis (1928–1929), which was run by Father Charles Grüner, and an école missionnaire at Brazzaville (1929–1939). Enlisting in the French army on 19 May 1939, Bokassa became a corporal (1940 ...

Article

Eric Young

A career soldier who had endured a tragic childhood, Jean-Bédel Bokassa ruled the impoverished Central African Republic with brutal repression, used its revenues for his personal enrichment, and crowned himself emperor. He committed barbarities that caused an international outcry and led to his removal from power.

When Bokassa was six years old, his father, a village chief of the Mbaka people, was murdered. Bokassa became an orphan a week later, when his mother committed suicide. Missionaries raised him until age eighteen when, at the outbreak of World War II, Bokassa joined the French Colonial Army. He participated in the 1944 landings in Provence and later served in Indochina and Algeria, attaining the rank of captain and earning the Legion d’Honneur and the Croix de Guerre. In 1960, after Oubangui-Chari became the independent Central African Republic, Bokassa helped create its army and, in 1964 was given the rank of ...

Article

Mason R. Hazzard

police officer, civil rights activist, and litigant, was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, to Cicero B. Booker Sr., the first African American police officer in the town of Waterbury, and Addie Booker, a homemaker.

Booker attended and graduated from the local public schools before going on to further his education, earning an associate's degree in Police Science and Administration from Mattatuck Community College, now known as Naugatuck Valley Community College, in Waterbury in 1978. He also attended Western Connecticut State University. In 1955, at the age of seventeen, Booker enrolled in the US Marine Corps as a private, remaining on active duty for three years until he left the military in 1958 at the rank of corporal.

Booker then joined the police department in his hometown of Waterbury in 1961. He quickly ascended to the rank of patrol officer, but by 1985 his ...

Article

Jamason Pestana

policeman and community leader, was born in Corapeake, Gates County, North Carolina to Emilie P. Benton, a homemaker, and John Zebedee Booker, a farmer. He was the third child in a family of seven and attended the local segregated schools in Gates County.

Booker moved to Connecticut in 1926, where he settled in Waterbury in New Haven County. There, in about 1934, he married Addie (maiden name unknown), a woman from South Carolina, and the couple had three children: Ann, Sally, and Cicero Jr. In 1943 Booker was appointed to the City of Waterbury supernumerary police force, an informal black citizen group. By 1946 a committee was formed in the African American community to recruit one of their own to the Waterbury police force. In January 1946 Booker was appointed to the police force as a patrolman He was the first African American police officer ...

Article

W. S. Tkweme

militant political activist and religious leader, was born Hubert Geroid Brown in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the youngest child and second son of Eddie C. Brown, a laborer for Esso Standard Oil, and Thelma Warren, a teacher. According to his own account, Brown was a rebel from the earliest days against the color biases of his community as well as the authoritarianism and Eurocentric curricula of the schools in Baton Rouge. He identified with youth street culture and its heroes, whose verbal and physical jousting he extolled in his 1970 memoir Die Nigger Die! His facility at signifying or “playing the dozens” earned Brown the “Rap” sobriquet that he was to carry throughout the first phase of his public career.Brown attended Southern University in Baton Rouge from 1961 to 1963 but dropped out to pursue his growing interest in the civil rights movement Following his brother Ed whose ...

Article

Jennifer Jensen Wallach

civil rights activist and religious leader. Hubert Gerold “H. Rap” Brown was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 1943. He attended Southern University in Baton Rouge, studying sociology from 1960 to 1964. He then relocated to Washington, D.C., where he became chairman of the Nonviolent Action Group (NAG), a civil rights organization. During his brief tenure with the NAG, Brown attended a high-profile meeting with President Lyndon B. Johnson. Much to the chagrin of more moderate black leaders, Brown refused to show deference to the president, instead rebuking him for the state of American race relations.

In 1966 Brown joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), becoming director of the Alabama Project. In 1967 at the age of twenty three he was elected chairman of the organization Brown led SNCC in a transition away from the nonviolent philosophy of the early days of the civil ...

Article

Alonford James Robinson

Hubert Brown was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In 1962 he dropped out of Southern University to join the Nonviolent Action Group (NAG) at Howard University. In 1965 he became chairman of NAG. Labeled an extremist by the media for his nationalist views, Brown was an outspoken advocate of Black Power in the United States. In May 1967, when Stokely Carmichael stepped down, Brown was elected national chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

That same year, Brown was charged by the states of Maryland and Ohio with inciting violence. He was harassed by the police and targeted by the Counterintelligence Program (COINTELPRO) of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). While under indictment, Brown was arrested for transporting weapons across state lines. He resigned as SNCC chairman in 1968 Later that year he was sentenced to five years in prison on federal weapons charges ...

Article

Cary D. Wintz

law enforcement officer, mayor, cabinet secretary, and professor. Lee Brown is best known as a high-profile law enforcement officer who held the position of chief of police or its equivalent in four major U.S. cities, served in President Bill Clinton's cabinet as drug czar, and was the first black mayor of Houston, Texas.

Lee Patrick Brown was born in Wewoka, Oklahoma, on 4 October 1937 to Andrew and Zelma Brown, who worked as farm laborers. When Brown was five the family moved to Fowler, California, about ten miles south of Fresno. As a child Brown often joined his parents in the fields, picking crops. But he also stayed in school, and he attended Fresno State University on a football scholarship, studying sociology and criminology.

In 1960 one semester before graduation Brown left college and took a job as a patrolman with the San Jose ...

Article

Caryn E. Neumann

a black teenager whose death at the hands of a white police officer sparked weeks of rioting in the St Louis Missouri suburb of Ferguson The son of Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr Brown came from a poor background He sold candy in middle school to make money Brown attended the predominantly black Normandy High School in Wellston St Louis County in the large and poverty stricken Normandy School District In his freshman year he joined Junior ROTC In his sophomore year Brown played football along with some of his friends For his junior year Brown attended McCluer High School in the neighboring Ferguson Florissant district before returning to Normandy By the time that he finished high school Brown stood 6 feet 4 inches and weighed 292 pounds Described by teachers as a gentle giant Brown had no reputation for causing trouble A quiet boy with a sharp sense ...

Article

Luise White

barrister and politician, was born Herbert Wiltshire Tfumaindini Chitepo in Inyanga District in the eastern highlands of Southern Rhodesia. His father died when he was three; he was brought up and educated at mission schools before training as a primary school teacher at Adams College in Natal, South Africa. He went on to Fort Hare University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1949. He had hoped to go to London to study law, but he was awarded a research assistantship in Shona at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. There he wrote an epic poem, Soko risina musoro (Tale Without a Head), which was published in 1958. After a few years he was able to study at King’s College, London, and at the Inns of Court, and he became a barrister in 1954, when he returned to Southern Rhodesia.

Before he could practice ...

Article

was born on 13 March 1969 in Kingston, Jamaica, allegedly to Lester Coke, the leader of the violent drug gang known as the “Shower Posse,” and his wife, Patricia Halliburton. Some journalists believe that Christopher Michael Coke was an adopted child, though Patricia Halliburton denied this shortly before her death. He was referred to as “Michael” in school, but the fact that Christopher Michael had a brother with the same first name may also speak to the idea that the parent who christened him may not have been either Lester Coke or Patricia Halliburton. According to court transcripts, Christopher Michael Coke also had another sister, Pamela, who lived in Tivoli Gardens and stored drugs in her apartment for him. She is otherwise unacknowledged as a member of the family in any published form, and her parentage thus remains uncertain, too.

Michael Coke began his life in the Tivoli Gardens neighborhood ...

Article

has not had his birth details published. He grew up on Milk Lane in Denham Town, a poor part of West Kingston in Jamaica. To residents, he was known as “Ba-Bye,” a friendly youth who held apprenticeships at various times as a welder, a cabinetmaker and a locksmith. Sometime around the age of 20, he married Patricia Halliburton, with whom he would have at least five children.

In Lester Coke s teens the homes in the nearby slum of Back O Wall were torn down to make way for a concrete housing project called Tivoli Gardens providing a vast material improvement in the circumstances of the residents in the area The project was led by Edward Seaga the Jamaican government s minister of development and welfare and the member of Parliament for West Kingston Seaga represented the Jamaican Labour Party JLP and his government stocked the rebuilt neighborhood with JLP ...

Article

Norman Weinstein

Prince Far I was born Michael Williams in Spanish Town and grew up in the Waterhouse area of Kingston, Jamaica. His musical career began in 1970 when he convinced the Reggae producer Coxsone Dodd (who employed him as a security guard at Studio One, Jamaica's most famous recording studio) to let him record when a scheduled musician failed to appear for a session. Dodd was so taken by Prince Far I's talent as a DJ (someone chanting or talking-singing spontaneously over prerecorded rhythm tracks) that he released several Prince Far I recordings under the name he created for the performer, King Cry-Cry As he gained confidence and sought other producers for his recordings Williams changed his name to Prince Far I Distinguishing features of his recordings under the name King Cry Cry or Prince Far I include a thunderously deep bass delivery of intensively personal lyrics laced ...

Article

Efraim Barak

, Egyptian writer, journalist, politician, and intellectual, was born on 20 August 1945, to a middle-class family. The eldest of five children, Fuda spent his childhood in the village of Zarqa, which is located in the district of Dumyat, on the coast of the Mediterranean. His father, ʿAli, who was a devout Muslim and very involved in community life, studied mechanical engineering at the University of Alexandria; he then went on to a career overseeing maintenance at the iron and steel firm in Hilwan. Fuda’s mother died when he was fourteen.

Fuda finished high school in 1962 and began studying agriculture at university, at the decree of the governmental coordination office, which determined higher education placement. In 1967 he graduated with honors from ʿAin Shams University in Cairo and took a position teaching there A year later he was involved in student demonstrations and was detained for two ...

Article

Caryn E. Neumann

a street merchant who died at the hands of police during an arrest for selling untaxed cigarettes, was born in New York City to Gwen Carr and her husband. He grew up in the Gowanus Houses, public housing projects in the Boerum Hill section of Brooklyn. Described by friends as a genial, generous, neighborhood peacemaker, Garner completed his education at Ohio Diesel Tech Institute in 1988. Garner met his wife, Esaw “Pinky” Garner, in the 1980s on a telephone party line, an early version of a chat room. The couple raised six children and had two grandchildren.

Garner had a history of arrests for marijuana possession and selling untaxed single cigarettes He typically worked from the corner of Bay Street and Victory Boulevard in Staten Island where he sold bootleg cigarettes at $7 a pack and 75 cents for single cigarettes or loosies New York City places a tax ...

Article

Virginia A. Shadron

Rosa Lee Ingram became the focus of national and international attention following her 1948 conviction for murder in rural southwest Georgia. The granddaughter of slaves and the recently widowed mother of twelve children, Ingram was accused of killing a white man on the small farm both worked as sharecroppers. Hers was one of several southern criminal cases taken up by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Civil Rights Congress (CRC) in the late 1940s. Rosa Lee Ingram served as a symbol of the many outrages and daily indignities black women suffered in the rural south—from rape and sexual assault to the unrelenting, demeaning reminders of second-class citizenship.

The news coverage of Ingram’s appeal portrayed her as having merely defended herself against lewd advances, a case of self-defense. But Ingram’s own description of the events suggests that her neighbor John Stratford s death resulted ...

Article

Efraim Barak

Egyptian army officer who commanded the assassination of the Egyptian president Anwar al-Sadat, was born on 14 November 1957 at Malawi, a village in the El Minya region. His father, Ahmad Shawqi, was a lawyer and head of the legal department of the Najʿ Hamadi sugar refinery. Islambuli began his elementary school studies at the Notre Dame missionary school of Malawi, later spent three years in a school run by the sugar company in Najʿ Hamadi, and completed his high school studies at the Al-ʿAruba school of Asyut. He applied to the Police Academy and to the Air Academy but was rejected by both. Finally, he was accepted by the Military College, from which he graduated with honors as an officer in 1978. He was assigned to the Artillery Corps as a commander of an artillery unit and stationed at Unit 333’s base, near Cairo.

Islambuli s thinking was ...