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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 ...


Stephen L. Harris

civil rights and community activist, business leader, state legislator, and Tuskegee Airman, was born in New York state to Henry Johnson, a World War I hero and recipient of the American Distinguished Service Cross. His maternal grandfather, Herman Phoenix, was in the early 1900s a leader in organizing the Niagara, New York, branch of the NAACP. Johnson himself was thirteen when he joined the NAACP. Although he lived and worked in several cities, he was most connected with Kansas City, Missouri. He earned a bachelor's degree in economics from Cornell University in 1938 and a master's degree in business administration from the University of Chicago in 1940.

Soon after earning his master s degree Johnson was a statistician for the War Production Board During World War II he enlisted and fought with the 332nd Fighter Group known as the Tuskegee Airmen Attaining the ...


J. Todd Moye

military pilot and veteran, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, to Lewis Allen McGee Sr., a World War I veteran, teacher, social worker, and African Methodist Episcopal minister, and Ruth Elizabeth Lewis. Ruth McGee died in 1921, leaving three small children. Almost constantly in search of work, Lewis McGee Sr., a graduate of Wilberforce College, moved his family at least nine times before Charles finished high school. Charles was introduced to the Boy Scouts of America as a youngster, and he thrived under the scouts' program rewarding loyalty, discipline, and service.

In spring 1938 McGee graduated ninth out of a class of 436 from DuSable High School in Chicago and took a job with the Civilian Conservation Corps in northern Illinois. He entered the University of Illinois at Champaign in 1940 studied engineering enrolled in the ROTC and pledged Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity He worked in ...


Yvonne Jackson Edwards

community and civil rights activist, was born the youngest of five children of Charles Henry and Cornelia Tate Mease in Buxton, Iowa, a coal-mining town called a “Black Utopia.” At different times Charles was a coal miner, union organizer, and justice of the peace. Cornelia was a seamstress and came from a long line of freeborn persons of color.

For the first twelve years of his life, Mease lived in Buxton, where he spent many hours at the YMCA that was the town's center of activity. The Buxton YMCA was established by the Consolidated Coal Company in an attempt to prevent its workers from joining unions. Considered “welfare capitalists,” the company executives hoped the Y would improve the lives of its workers and families and thus make unions less attractive.

In 1918 Mease s father died and his mother moved the family to Des Moines Iowa Mease completed ...


Millery Polyné

World War II pilot, entrepreneur, and airline executive, was born in Westfield, New Jersey, the son of a Jamaican dental technician. His parents' names are unknown. A driven and determined student at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, where he graduated with a bachelor of arts in 1935, Plinton was a solid student-athlete who participated on the varsity soccer, wrestling, tennis, and track teams. He was also a member of the dramatic society and the glee club and was president of the German society. An accomplished musician, he played the piano and organ well and one summer played the organ at Tuskegee Institute. With the encouragement and unbending rearing of his father, it was evident that the black college experience was critical to his development as a future leader and visionary who would defy the odds against systematic racial injustice. In a 1973 interview Plinton revealed Going ...


Mou Chakraborty

civil rights lawyer and New York state jurist, was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, the sixth of nine children of Netti and Charles Sandifer. His father died when Sandifer was four, and Nettie raised all the kids with some help from her oldest child, Herbert, a hotel baker. In Greensboro, he was known as “John” but he thought that name was too common so he changed the spelling to Jawn while at Johnson C Smith University Growing up within a short walk from North Carolina A T State University Sandifer wanted out of Greensboro after finishing in the first class to graduate from Dudley High School in the early 1930s He was disillusioned with the racial discrimination he faced regularly in his boyhood in Greensboro A caddy master from one of the country clubs stood outside the black school Sandifer attended and urged students to skip ...


Karen Jean Hunt

newspaper editor,-columnist, and civil rights activist, was born Charles Sumner Stone Jr. in a segregated hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, to Charles Sumner Stone Sr., a business manager at Poro College in St. Louis, and Madalene (Chafin) Stone, a payroll director. The Stones moved to New England when Chuck was three, and he grew up with his three sisters, Irene, Madalene, and Anne, in Hartford, Connecticut.Stone trained to be a navigator and bombardier in World War II as part of the famous Tuskegee airmen squadron. After leaving the military he continued his education at Wesleyan University, where he was the only black student on campus. Stone graduated in 1948 with a BA in Political Science and Economics, and he received an MA in Sociology from the University of Chicago in 1951 He spent eighteen months studying law at the University ...


Lisa M. Bratton

Tuskegee Airman who was court-martialed at Freeman Field, was born Roger Cecil Terry in Los Angeles, California, the son of Edith Frances (Ross) Terry and Joseph Roger Terry, a driller for Standard Oil. In 1920 Joseph Terry had secured employment in the oil fields in Venezuela, but before departing for Venezuela, he worked in the California oil fields where a drilling accident took the life of his partner. Fearing for her husband's life, Roger's mother decided that her husband should not continue as an oil driller and the family remained in California.

Terry attended elementary and high school in Compton, California, attended Compton Junior College, and graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) at the age of nineteen. At UCLA Terry played basketball, and he and Jackie Robinson the first African American to play in major league baseball were the only two African Americans ...