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The business leader Alonzo Franklin Herndon (1858–1927) was the son of a white farmer and a slave mother. Following his emancipation, he spent several years as a laborer before settling in Atlanta and finding work as a barber. Over time, he built his clientele to include some of the city’s most prominent citizens, from politicians to businessmen. He eventually expanded his activities, starting an insurance firm in 1905 that allowed him to become a part of the African American elite, a growing force in the city. Several major publications, including Fortune Magazine, recognized Herndon’s business success and philanthropy. The profile excerpted below included photos of his family and his estate as Herndon prepared a trip to Europe for his second marriage.

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Alice Bernstein

carpenter, newspaper editor, and state representative during Reconstruction, was born free, of “unmixed African blood,” in New Bern, North Carolina, to Israel B. Abbott and Gracie Maria Green. His father died in 1844, and Abbott was raised by his mother and maternal grandmother, Hannah, the wife of Bristow Rue (Rhew). His mother's second husband was Nelson Brown, with whom she had a daughter, Hannah Cora, and stepsons Samuel H. Brown and George M. Brown. She married her third husband, the Reverend Joseph Green, a Methodist Episcopal Zion Church minister, in 1854. When Abbott was four, his grandmother contributed one dollar toward his education, and he attended a school taught by Mrs. Jane Stevens. He went to school regularly until age ten, when he began serving two years as apprentice to a carpenter, completing his trade with his stepfather, Joseph Green ...

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Khwezi Mkhize

South African-born poet, journalist, essayist, and novelist, was born on 19 March 1919, in Vrededorp, a slum in Johannesburg, though he later became an adopted citizen of Britain. His father was James Henry Abrahams Deras (or De Ras), an Ethiopian itinerant who settled in Johannesburg as a mine laborer. His mother, Angelina DuPlessis, was a Coloured woman whose first husband was a Cape Malay resident, with whom she had two children. His parents met and married in Vrededorp. Abrahams grew up as a Coloured, “a by-product of the early contact between black and white” (Abrahams, 1981 p 10 which made him aware of the social and political consequences of racial formation in South Africa His father died when he was still young Upon his father s death his family was thrown into poverty Abrahams later wrote that his mother went to work in the homes of white folk ...

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Christopher Phelps

a Philadelphia radio journalist who became an international icon in debates over race and the death penalty after he was convicted for the murder of a police officer, was born Wesley Cook to Edith and William Cook, migrants from the South. The family subsisted on welfare in the housing projects of North Philadelphia. As a boy Cook read avidly and sought enlightenment, attending services with his Baptist mother and Episcopalian father, then dabbling in Judaism, Catholicism, and the Nation of Islam. When he was about ten years old his father died of a heart attack, prompting him to assume a protective role toward his twin brother, Wayne, and younger brother, William.

The black liberation movement shaped Cook's coming of age. In a 1967 school class in Swahili, a Kenyan teacher assigned him the first name Mumia. In 1968 at age fourteen he and some friends protested ...

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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 ...

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Mark Clague and John H. Zimmerman

flutist, composer, bandmaster, music educator, journalist, and hotelier, was born in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, Danish West Indies (later U.S. Virgin Islands) and is remembered as the U.S. Navy's first African American bandmaster. Adams was the son of Jacob Henry Adams, a carpenter, and Petrina Evangeline Dinzey, a tailor; both his parents were members of the black artisan class centered around St. Thomas's port. This culture celebrated music and literature and instilled the young Adams with values of hard work and self-education. Although professional musicians were unknown in the Virgin Islands in his youth, Adams dreamt of a musical career inspired by his deeply held belief that music was not just entertainment, but vital to community health.

Adams attended elementary school and apprenticed as a carpenter and then a shoemaker choosing his trade based on the musical abilities of his master ...

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Benjamin R. Justesen

journalist and public official, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the younger son of the Reverend Henry and Margaret Priscilla (Corbin) Adams. Their father administered a respected school in Louisville. Cyrus and his older brother, John Quincy Adams (1848–1922), received excellent educations, Cyrus graduating from preparatory school and college at Oberlin College. In 1877 Cyrus began to teach in the Louisville public schools, and soon pooled savings with his brother to open the weekly Louisville Bulletin. They ran the newspaper until 1885, when it was acquired by the American Baptist newspaper owned by William Henry Steward, chairman of trustees at State University, a black Baptist university in Louisville, where Cyrus taught German. Already a dedicated traveler, Cyrus had spent much of 1884 in Europe, and was also fluent in Italian, French, and Spanish.

Both brothers had served as Louisville correspondents for the Western Appeal ...

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Wilbert H. Ahern

John Quincy Adams was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the son of Henry Adams, a prominent minister and educator, and Margaret Corbin. Both his parents were free persons of color. Following private schooling in Wisconsin and Ohio, Adams graduated from Oberlin College. After a brief teaching stint in Louisville, in 1870 he followed his uncle, Joseph C. Corbin, to work in Arkansas in the Reconstruction. By 1874 he had risen from schoolteacher to assistant superintendent of public instruction. His lifelong activism in the Republican Party began in Arkansas; there he twice served as secretary to Republican state conventions, was elected as justice of the peace on the party ticket, and held the offices of engrossing clerk of the state senate and deputy commissioner of public works. The defeat of the Arkansas Republican Party in 1874 and the racial repression that followed led Adams to return ...

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Wilbert H. Ahern

newspaper editor and publisher, civil rights leader, and Republican Party activist, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the son of Henry Adams, a prominent minister and educator, and Margaret Corbin. Both of his parents were free persons of color. Following private schooling in Wisconsin and Ohio, Adams graduated from Oberlin College. After a brief teaching stint in Louisville, in 1870 he followed his uncle, Joseph C. Corbin, to work in Arkansas during Reconstruction. By 1874 Adams had risen from schoolteacher to assistant superintendent of public instruction. His lifelong activism in the Republican Party began in Arkansas; there he twice served as secretary to Republican state conventions, was elected as justice of the peace on the party ticket, and held the offices of engrossing clerk of the state senate and deputy commissioner of public works. The defeat of the Arkansas Republican Party in 1874 and the ...

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Joseph S. Mella

painter, graphic artist, printmaker, and publisher, was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Ned Adams, an electrician and occasional sign painter, and Laura. Adams first explored art making by mimicking his father, who, according to Adams, enjoyed drawing. After the divorce of his parents around 1944, Adams lived with his aunt and uncle, Claudia and Caleb Spivey. Although he sought to attend a program for gifted children at the Detroit Institute of Arts, his uncle vehemently prohibited it, preferring that Adams spend his free time working jobs such as delivering newspapers. Adams attended Northwestern High School in Detroit while continuing to live with the Spiveys until age fifteen, when he moved to his father's home.

After graduating from high school in 1951 Adams moved to Romeo Michigan a then rural town forty one miles north of Detroit There Adams worked at ...

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Julia A. Clancy-Smith

Tunisian labor activist, women’s rights activist, and journalist, was born in the town of Gabes in southern Tunisia. Adda rose to prominence owing to her mother’s emphasis upon female education, although her parents were of modest means. One branch of Adda’s family, who are North African Jews, was originally from Batna in Algeria; her maternal grandfather had left French Algeria to seek his fortune in Tunisia, where he managed a small hotel in the south. For her parents’ generation, it was somewhat unusual for women to attend school; to achieve the “certificate of study,” as Adda’s mother did, was a noteworthy achievement. Gladys Adda’s life trajectory illustrated a number of important regional and global social and political currents: nationalism and anticolonialism, organized labor and workers’ movements, socialism and communism, women’s emancipation, and fascism and anti-Semitism against the backdrop of World War II.

In primary school Adda attended classes with Muslim ...

Primary Source

Herndon’s Barber Shops were among the most prominent examples of the boom in African American–owned businesses in Atlanta at the turn of the century. Founded by former slave Alonzo Franklin Herndon (1858–1927), the flagship store was located at 66 Peachtree Street, later renamed the Crystal Palace because of its upgraded size (over 25 chairs, along with other services), ornate decorating, and white-jacketed barbers. The advertisement below boasts of the barbershop’s commitment to quality and service. Two others were established at 7 North Broad Street and 100 North Pryor Street. Even with the upgrade, the barbershop’s prices remained accessible for blue-collar laborers, making it one of the most popular businesses in the city. Not surprisingly, Herndon’s entrepreneurial skills, along with his philanthropic work, earned him attention on a national scale—both Fortune Magazine and New York World wrote articles on his success, and W. E. B. Du Bois in his magazine The Crisis ...

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Michael Niblett

Newspaper first published in Liverpool in April 1903 as the West African Mail. The paper was founded by Edmund Dene Morel (1873–1924). Born in Eastbourne, Sussex, Morel became a journalist and prominent campaigner against colonial abuses in Africa, and played a significant role in the movement against misrule in the Congo. After publishing a series of articles in 1900 on Belgian atrocities in the region, Morel was forced to resign from his job as a clerk in a shipping firm. He subsequently established his own illustrated weekly journal, through which, with total editorial control, he could continue his campaign.

Always insistent upon absolute veracity Morel used his newspaper to publish the many letters and copies of documents sent to him by whistle blowers including damning official reports that revealed how Congolese women and children were being kidnapped and held hostage to compel their husbands to work without ...

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Paul Nugent

Newspaper founded in London in November 1914 by John Eldred Taylor, a Sierra Leonean businessman and journalist. In 1911Taylor travelled to London, where he conceived the creation of a magazine to be concerned with West African issues. Three years later he had established the African Telegraph, with himself as editor. During the war, the paper remained loyal to British foreign policy. Once hostilities were over, however, it became a harsh and vocal critic, particularly as regards the treatment of Africa. Taylor formed the Society of Peoples of African Origin, which, with the Telegraph as its official news organ, called for an end to racial discrimination, the promotion of racial unity, and sociopolitical reforms in the colonies. In December 1918 it published an eyewitness account of the public flogging of two naked women in northern Nigeria The officer who sanctioned the punishment Captain Fitzpatrick sued for libel ...

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Michael Niblett

The first political journal produced by and for black people ever published in Britain. It was founded in London in July 1912 by the Egyptian‐born Duse Mohamed Ali in partnership with John Eldridge Taylor. From 1883 to 1921Ali lived mainly in Britain. Inspired by the ideas of Pan‐Africanism, he began as a freelance writer, penning a series of anti‐imperialist articles. Following the Universal Race Congress, held in London in 1911, Ali decided to launch his own, militant magazine. As he wrote in the journal's first issue, the Congress had shown the need for ‘a Pan‐Oriental, Pan‐African journal at the seat of the British Empire which would lay the aims, desires, and intentions of the Black, Brown, and Yellow Races—within and without the Empire—at the throne of Caesar’.

Despite limited resources Ali kept the journal alive Aside from its exposure of various colonial injustices for example nude public ...

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John Marinelli

teacher and abolitionist, said in a letter of protest to the Hartford Courant that he was born to enslaved parents, but their names are unknown. Slavery was not formally abolished in New York State until 1827, and the census of 1820 recorded 518 slaves in New York City. One source suggests that Africanus was born in New York City in 1822; it is possible that he may have been connected to the brothers Edward Cephas Africanus and Selas H. Africanus, who taught at a black school in Long Island in the 1840s. Africanus is now remembered only through his few published writings and journalistic documentation of his actions; the earliest records of his activity in Connecticut date from 1849 when he attended a Colored Men s Convention and a suffrage meeting His most notable publication was the broadside he created to warn Hartford African Americans about ...

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Jara Michelle Rios-Rodriguez

Angolan journalist and writer, was born in Huambo, Angola, on 13 December 1960. He considered himself to be African, Brazilian, Portuguese, and Luso-Afro-Brazilian. This multiculturalism that he defends comes from his Portuguese and Brazilian heritage. Before becoming a journalist and a writer, he studied silviculture and agronomy. It wasn’t until the 1990s that he started dedicating himself entirely to his writing. He lived in Recife and in Rio de Janeiro between 1998 and 2000, although, according to David Brookshaw, there still exists debate surrounding the date of Agualusa’s departure from Angola. According to Brookshaw, some believe that it was in 1975 during the general exodus resulting from Angola’s newly acquired independence and the new Portuguese politics regarding the former colonies. Others claim that it was after the attempted coup against Agostinho Neto in 1977, and others say that it was in 1998 a date that ...

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Donna L. Halper

was born and raised in Miami, Florida. Her parents, whose names she has not made public, were born in Haiti and emigrated to the United States. They met while attending Boston College. Her mother is a school social worker, and her father runs a Haitian-based non-profit that helps people with disabilities. She was raised in a bilingual home, and is fluent in Haitian Creole.

From the time she was a child, Alcindor loved to write; she wrote poems and short stories but was not planning a journalism career. That changed when she was sixteen and still in high school; she got a job interning at the Miami Herald where she watched how the reporters covered the local neighborhoods As she helped them with their work she became more interested in telling the stories of local people and covering the issues that affected them But when she decided to be ...

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David Dabydeen

Africanjournalist and nationalist born in Egypt of Egyptian and Sudanese parentage. At the age of 9 or 10 Ali was sent to England to be educated. He never returned to Egypt and spent most of his time between 1883 and 1921 living in Britain. During this period, he was poverty‐stricken, attempting to earn a living through his pen and tour acting. Ali published Land of the Pharaohs in 1911, an anti‐imperialist book that became a significant contribution to the decolonization efforts in the United States and West Africa.

In 1912Ali and John Eldred Taylor, a journalist from Sierra Leone, inaugurated the African Times and Orient Review (1912–20), a magazine that sought to deal with anti‐colonial issues that not merely embraced Pan‐African matters, but incorporated Pan‐Oriental topics as well. The journal was inspired by the Universal Races Congress in London in 1911 which advocated ...