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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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Linda Allen Bryant

editor and publisher, was born in Peoria, Illinois, to Dr. Cecil Bruce Ford and Florence Henderson Ford. She was the granddaughter of Major George Ford and a great-great-granddaughter of West Ford, who may have been the African American son of George Washington. Cecil Bruce Ford, a graduate of Meharry Medical College, was Peoria's first African American dentist, while Elise's mother, Florence, was a well-known seamstress. Elise Ford was baptized at the age of three at Bethel Methodist Church and attended the Peoria public school system with her siblings Bruce, Florence, and Harrison. Later Ford acted as her grandfather's secretary when he was the president of the Springfield chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and wrote his correspondence as his eyesight failed in his later years.

The Ford oral history, which held that she was the three-times great-granddaughter of George ...

Article

Rami Ginat

Egyptian journalist, novelist, scriptwriter, publisher, and politician, was born in Cairo on 21 February 1914. He said, “When I hold my pen I feel that I hug the most beautiful woman in the world; I have therefore lived a long love-story. I cannot imagine myself live a single day without my pen … When I pass away I ask to lay my pen next to me in my tomb since I may need it when I write a journalistic research story about the resurrection day” (Mustafa, p. 6). Mustafa Amin, or al-Ustadh the teacher as he was often referred to by his colleagues and followers was one of Egypt s most eminent journalists of the twentieth century Many in the Arab world have regarded him as the father of Arab journalism His pen Mustafa Amin kept reminding his readers was mightier than the dictator s sword a reference ...

Article

Frank A. Salamone

In 1909—the same year that W. E. B. Du Bois helped found the NAACP and that the African American Matthew Henson went with Robert Peary on what became the first successful journey to the North Pole—James Henry Anderson from South Carolina established the New York Amsterdam News. Anderson was born soon after the Civil War. At the age of twelve he left South Carolina, a runaway who worked an assortment of jobs, finally settling in New York City. He came up with the idea of establishing a newspaper aimed directly at the needs of an African American audience. This was a brave move on his part: at the time, there were only about fifty such newspapers in the entire country.

Anderson's small investment led to the Amsterdam News a newspaper that grew to have a strong influence in the black community He named the newspaper after ...

Article

Charles Rosenberg

spent his childhood and early adulthood in Pennsylvania, and may have been born in Philadelphia. Various censuses suggest his year of birth may have been 1818, 1820, or 1824, but a likely 1850 census entry shows his age as thirty-two.

Anderson’s parents have yet to be identified, and little is known about his life growing up in Pennsylvania. Contemporary accounts in California refer to him having worked as a waiter, and a Peter Anderson referenced as mulatto, who worked as a waiter, was recorded in the 1850 federal census living in Philadelphia’s Spruce Ward. Living with him were a woman named Mary Anderson—possibly his wife, or maybe his sister—two boys named Peter and George Anderson, and an unidentified nineteen-year-old named Elizabeth Purnell.

Anderson arrived in California in 1854, as the Gold Rush of 1849 was declining and established a tailor shop described in some directories ...

Article

Joy Gleason Carew

civil rights lawyer, community activist, editor, and publisher, was born in Winston, North Carolina, the sixth and last son of nine children of Simon Green and Oleona Pegram Atkins. His father was the founder and first president of the Slater Industrial Academy, later known as Winston‐Salem State University. Atkins graduated from the Slater Academy in 1915 and then went to Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, graduating magna cum laude in chemistry in 1919.

When Atkins obtained his LLB cum laude at Yale University in 1922, he was the first African American to graduate with honors from that institution. While there, Atkins was a member of the debate team and served as a monitor of the Yale Law Library, where he oversaw the indexing of thirty‐one volumes of the Yale Law Journal. In 1921 he was the first African American elected to the editorial board of the Yale ...

Article

Kathleen Thompson

journalist, activist, and vice presidential candidate, was born Charlotta Amanda Spears in Sumter, South Carolina, the sixth of eleven children of Hiram Spears and Kate (maiden name unknown). The details of her childhood are unknown, but sometime before her twentieth birthday she went to live with her brother in Providence, Rhode Island, and began work at the Providence Watchman, selling ads and helping in the office. After ten years, suffering from exhaustion, she went for a rest to California on the advice of her doctor.

At the beginning of what was to have been a two-year stay, Spears went against her doctor's orders and took a job at the Eagle, a newspaper with a largely black readership. Her job was to sell advertising and subscriptions. However, when the newspaper's editor, John Neimore became ill he began to turn the operations of the Eagle over to ...

Article

Charlotta Bass, born in South Carolina, was the sixth of eleven children of Hiram and Kate Spears. At the age of twenty, she left South Carolina to live with an older brother in Providence, Rhode Island, where she worked for ten years at a local newspaper. Suffering exhaustion, she moved to Los Angeles, California, to recuperate but soon ran out of money and began collecting subscriptions for the Eagle, the oldest black newspaper on the West Coast.

By 1912 she was the newspaper's managing editor. She renamed it the California Eagle and transformed it into a tool for publicizing and attacking racial discrimination. In 1912 she also met her future husband, John Bass, who had founded the Topeka Plaindealer and who had recently been named editor of the California Eagle.

The Basses won widespread attention for their assault on The Birth of a Nation ...

Article

Norah C. Chase

Bass, Charlotta Spears ( October 1880?–12 April 1969), editor and civil rights activist, was born in Sumter, South Carolina, the daughter of Hiram Spears and Kate (maiden name unknown). Before 1900 she joined her oldest brother (one of her ten siblings) in Rhode Island and worked for a newspaper. In 1910 she went to Los Angeles, California, for her health. She remained in Los Angeles except for a brief stay in New York City. She took journalism courses at Brown University, Columbia University, and the University of California at Los Angeles.

She worked for the Eagle in Los Angeles, the oldest African-American newspaper on the West Coast. It was edited by John Neimore, who soon had Bass running the paper. After Neimore’s death, Captain Hawkins paid fifty dollars in 1912 to own the Eagle and gave Bass ownership in return for a promise of payment She changed ...

Article

Charles Orson Cook

one of the twentieth-century South's most consistent and effective civil rights leaders, perhaps best remembered for her role in the desegregation of Little Rock, Arkansas, Central High School in 1957–1958. Her name has become synonymous with racial integration, and her memoir The Long Shadow of Little Rock (1962) has emerged as one of the standard texts on the subject.

Although accounts vary, she was born Daisy Lee Gaston, probably in 1913 in Huttig Arkansas a small mill town in the southeastern part of the state near the border with Louisiana Her childhood memories are dotted with several episodes of racial discrimination but her recollection that she grew up with foster parents because her mother had died while resisting the assault of white rapists her father subsequently left town and her life left an indelible and horrific mark on her psyche Though her recollections have never been ...

Article

Hayward Woody Farrar

By the end of the nineteenth century a number of black journalists had learned enough from their predecessors to be able to keep normally short-lived black newspapers running. Among these pioneers were W. Calvin Chase of the Washington Bee, T. Thomas Fortune of the New York Age, John Mitchell of the Richmond Planet, Chris Perry of the Philadelphia Tribune, and John H. Murphy Sr. of the Baltimore Afro-American. As of this writing, two of these papers, the Tribune and the Afro-American, are still in existence.

Article

Frederick V. Mills

Episcopal clergyman, was born in Warrenton, North Carolina, the son of George Freeman Bragg Sr. and Mary Bragg (maiden name unknown). He was two years old when the family moved to Petersburg, Virginia, where he studied at the elementary school and at St. Stephen's Parish and Normal School. His family helped found St. Stephen's Church for Negroes in 1867. At age six he was employed as a valet by John Hampden Chamberlayne, editor of the Petersburg Index. In 1879 he entered a school founded by Major Giles B. Cooke, a former chaplain on Robert E. Lee's staff; the school had become a branch of Virginia Theological Seminary. The next year he was suspended for not being “humble” but was appointed a page in the Virginia legislature by the Readjuster Party. After a severe case of typhoid fever and a period of teaching school in 1885 ...

Article

Michael J. Ristich

journalist, musician, and politician, was born James Henri Burch in New Haven, Connecticut, to Charles Burch, a wealthy black minister, and his wife. Burch was the sole black student at Oswego Academy in New York, where he was trained in journalism and music. He lived in Buffalo, New York, before the Civil War, where he became involved in the antislavery movement and taught music. Burch became an active member in the Garnet League, which championed the rights of former slaves. Upon moving to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Burch quickly worked his way in the political circles of Louisiana, serving in the Louisiana House of Representatives and the Louisiana Senate.

At age thirty two with his father s encouragement Burch left the North for Louisiana to aid and educate free blacks during Reconstruction Soon thereafter Burch began directing the local school for blacks and began his rise through the Louisiana state ...

Article

Hal S. Chase

editor and publisher of the Washington Bee and prominent member of the Republican Party. William Calvin Chase was born in 1854, probably at home, 1109 I Street NW in Washington, D.C., to William Chase, a blacksmith who had migrated to the District from Maryland as a free man in 1835, and Lucinda Seaton, a daughter of one of “the best and purest families in the Commonwealth of Virginia” (Gatewood, p. 57). After her husband died from a reported accidental gunshot in 1863, she instilled her extraordinary sense of family pride, her commanding presence, and her studied dignity in her only son and five daughters—to such an extent that three of her daughters lived at home their entire lives, and in the same home, Calvin Chase always maintained the office of his influential newspaper, the Washington Bee The publication s motto Honey for Friends Stings for ...

Article

Connie Park Rice

newspaper editor and civil rights lawyer, was born in Williamsport, Virginia (later West Virginia), the youngest of three sons born to Isaac Clifford, a farmer, and Mary Satilpa Kent, free blacks living in Hardy County. John Robert joined the Union army on 3 March 1865, rising to the rank of corporal in the 13th U.S. Heavy Artillery. After serving in Kentucky, Tennessee, and eastern Virginia under General Ulysses S. Grant, Clifford volunteered for service at Chicago, Illinois.

After the Civil War, Clifford remained in Chicago, staying from 1865 to 1868 with the Honorable John J. Healy, an acquaintance of his father, and graduating from Chicago High School. Clifford worked as a barber before going to live with an uncle in Zeno, Muskingum County, Ohio, where he attended a school taught by Miss Effie McKnight and received a diploma from a writing school conducted by a Professor ...

Article

Emilio Jorge Rodríguez

was born Fabián Jesús Colón López, but he would use various pseudonyms, such as Miquis Tiquis and Pericles Espada throughout his career. Born on 20 January 1901 in Cayey, Puerto Rico; his father, Mauricio, was a baker and his mother, Paula, was a domestic worker. During his childhood while working in a tobacco factory near his home, he enjoyed reading literary works and absorbed the intellectual stimulation that the public readers in the tobacco shop offered workers throughout the day. After his family moved to San Juan, he attended school at the Escuela José Julián Acosta, where he directed the student paper ¡¡¡Adelante…!!! (1917) and ran the Manuel Fernández Juncos literary society. During this chapter of his life he began to write poetry. In 1917 he traveled to New York on the S.S. Carolina and settled in the home of his older brother Joaquín in Brooklyn Colón ...

Primary Source

Darkwater (1920), a collection of essays and short stories by W. E. B. Du Bois (1868–1963), carries on the scholar’s work focusing on what he refers to as “the problem of the color line.” Written following Du Bois’s experiences studying segregated black troops in World War I, Darkwater is an indictment of Western imperialism and the racism it has helped to spread The short story excerpted below The Comet captures these themes with the apocalyptic image of New York devastated by a catastrophic event Much like the horrors of the war the effects of the comet seem to magnify rather than undermine the racist status quo The black protagonist at first notes how things will surely be different following the disaster at one point taking food from a restaurant that would not have served him the day before Yet even after rescuing a white woman the protagonist is threatened ...

Article

 The Crisis: A Record of the Darker Races was first published on 1 November 1910 as the official magazine of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which itself began in 1909. The Crisis's founding editor W. E. B. Du Bois—the leading black intellectual in the United States, who had already published two classic works, The Philadelphia Negro in 1899 and The Souls of Black Folk in 1903—stated the magazine's purpose in an editorial in its first issue. The Crisis would Du Bois wrote show the danger of race prejudice particularly as manifested today toward colored people It takes its name from the fact that the editors believe that this is a critical time in the history of the advancement of men The world stood at a crossroads it could either make the world old dream of human brotherhood approach realization or ...

Article

Eric R. Jackson

composer, journalist, musician, political activist, and publisher, was born in Richmond, Virginia, the son of John Dabney and Elizabeth Foster, both former slaves. John Dabney later became a caterer. Young Wendell completed his elementary and middle school education in Richmond and became influenced by the religious beliefs and political views of his father John Dabney who taught himself to read and write at a young age instilled in his children the ability to use Christianity to combat the harsh effects of racism He also embedded in his sons the belief that only the Republican Party would support African Americans As a teenager during the school year Dabney spent most afternoons selling newspapers while his evenings consisted of homework and playing the guitar with his older brother In the summer months Dabney waited tables at a local restaurant where he learned to disdain whites ...