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Mary T. Henry

bishop, civil rights leader, and educator, was born in Columbia, South Carolina, to Rev. Eugene Avery Adams and Charity Nash Adams. He and his three siblings, Avery, Charity, and Lucy Rose, were raised in a spiritual and intellectually stimulating home. His father, an African Methodist Episcopal (AME) minister and social activist, in the 1920s organized the first African American bank in Columbia and the first modern statewide civil rights organization in South Carolina. None of these activities went unnoticed by young John and they helped to define his later focus and commitments. Adams was educated in the segregated Columbia school system and graduated from Booker T. Washington High School. His undergraduate work was completed at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he earned an AB degree in History in 1947 After studying at Boston University School of Theology he received a bachelor of ...

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Black Los Angeles: American Dreams and Racial Realities is an anthology edited by Darnell Hunt and Ana-Christina Ramon providing a multifaceted analysis of neighborhoods of metropolitan Los Angeles that are either currently or historically predominantly black. The contributions selected by the editors highlight the rich history of accomplishment and survival in Los Angeles's community of color as it continuously confronts challenges to the geographical space of the community; shifts in local and national policy; the changing dynamics around race, social class, gender, and sexual identity; shifts in the opportunity structure for residents; and the realities of environmental and economic risk. The volume is organized into four parts: Space, People, Image, and Action It begins with a look at the historical foundations of the black community of Los Angeles and ends with a more contemporary question of now what for readers via series of action research chapters ...

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Adam Meyer

Little remembered today, Edward Wilmot Blyden was the most important African thinker of the nineteenth century, leading one of the most varied careers of any Black man in that era. Born in Saint Thomas, Blyden came to America in 1850 to attend Rutgers Theological College but was rejected because of his race. He subsequently emigrated to Liberia, grew enamored of African life, and became a staunch supporter of his new homeland. Feeling called upon to undermine misconceptions about “the dark continent” and to encourage Blacks throughout the diaspora to repatriate, Blyden spent the remainder of his life serving this cause in several capacities. As a journalist, Blyden edited the Liberia Herald and founded and edited the Negro and the West African Reporter two of the first Pan African journals As an educator he served as principal of Alexander High School Monrovia Liberia s educational commissioner to Britain and America ...

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Althea E. Rhodes

educator and author, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the daughter of Joseph Bonner, a machinist and laborer, and Mary A. Nowell. Educated in the Brookline, Massachusetts, public schools, Bonner applied to Radcliffe College at the urging of her high school adviser and was one of the few African American students accepted for admission. She majored in English and comparative literature and founded the Radcliffe chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, a black sorority. A gifted pianist and student of musical composition, Bonner won the Radcliffe song competition in 1918 and 1922. Bonner also studied German, a language in which she became fluent. During her last year in college she taught English at a Cambridge high school. After graduating with a BA in 1922, she taught at the Bluefield Colored Institute in Bluefield, Virginia, until 1924 and at Armstrong High School in Washington, D.C., from 1924 to 1930 ...

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John C. Gruesser

Born a slave in Maryland, John Edward Bruce grew up in Washington, D.C. Developing an interest in journalism, he worked as a general helper in the office of the Washington correspondent for the New York Times in 1874. By the time Bruce was twenty he was writing for newspapers, using the pen name “Rising Sun”, and in 1879 he started his own paper, the Argus, in Washington, D.C. In 1884 Bruce began writing under the name “Bruce Grit” in the Cleveland Gazette and the New York Age, eventually becoming one of the most widely read and influential African American journalists of his era. In his writings and speeches, Bruce decried mixed-race marriages, denounced Euro-American imperialism, aggressively promoted race pride and solidarity, championed self-help, and advocated the study of black history to combat the anti-Negro rhetoric of the post-Reconstruction period.

Bruce served as a conduit linking people ...

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Florence M. Coleman

educator, literary scholar, and biographer of the English novelist Daniel Defoe, was one of five sons born to Helena Burch in Saint George's, Bermuda. Nothing is known of his father. Charles Burch was educated in the elementary and secondary schools of Bermuda. Burch met and married Willa Carter Mayer, who at one time served as a professor of education at Miner Teacher's College in Washington, D.C. She also served as a supervisory official of the public schools of the District of Columbia and authored Clinical Practices in Public School Education (1944). Whether or not they had children is not known.

Burch attended Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio, from which he was awarded a BA in 1914. Four years later, he earned a MA from Columbia University. Fifteen years later in 1933 he was awarded a PhD in English from Ohio State University He taught ...

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SallyAnn H. Ferguson

writer. Charles Waddell Chesnutt was born in Cleveland, Ohio, to free parents, Ann Maria Sampson Chesnutt and Andrew Jackson Chesnutt, who in 1856 had fled the slave-holding South for better opportunities in the North. Chesnutt, the oldest of his father's eleven children from two marriages, became the first black author that the American literary establishment took seriously. Greatly influenced by his intellectual mother—a teacher who shortly after Chesnutt's birth moved her family from Cleveland to Oberlin, Ohio, because of the educational opportunities that Oberlin College might provide—and his abolitionist father, the blue-eyed and white-looking Chesnutt from the age of eight grew up black in Fayetteville, North Carolina (the Patesville of his fiction), where his family resettled at the end of the Civil War.

In The Journals of Charles W. Chesnutt, published posthumously in 1993 Chesnutt documents how he read voraciously to nourish a mind so constituted ...

Article

Frances Richardson Keller

Cooper, Anna Julia Haywood (1858?–27 February 1964), author, educator, and human rights activist, was born, probably on 10 August 1858, in Raleigh, North Carolina, the daughter of Hannah Stanley, a slave. Though her paternity is uncertain, she believed her mother’s master, Dr. Fabius J. Haywood, to have been her father. She later described her ancestry: “The part of my ancestors that did not come over in the Mayflower in 1620 arrived … a year earlier in the fateful Dutch trader that put in at Jamestown in 1619… . I believe that the third source of my individual stream comes … from the vanishing Red Men, which … make[s] me a genuine F.F.A. (First Family of America).”

In 1867 Anna entered the new St Augustine School in Raleigh Because there were then few teachers for African American pupils she became a student teacher at age nine Functioning ...

Article

Elizabeth J. West

Born in New York City to Charity and Boston Crum-mell, Alexander grew up in a family that placed great emphasis on freedom, independence, and education. Although his parents had not experienced the privilege of a formal education, they placed Alexander in the Mulberry Street School and hired additional private tutors for him. When Crummell decided to enter the priesthood, he applied for entry into the theological seminary of the Episcopal Church. According to Crum-mell's own account in his 1894 retirement address, “Shades and Lights”, the admissions board denied his application because its policy was to exclude blacks from positions in the church hierarchy. Crummell was then forced to study privately with sympathetic clergy. These early studies shaped the stoic and methodical style that remained evident throughout his long career as writer and orator. Although he was ordained an Episcopal priest in 1844, it was not until 1847 ...

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Carol Baker Sapora

anthropologist, writer, and educator, was born in Montgomery, Alabama, the daughter of Georgia Fagain and Moses Stewart. Day was of African American, Indian, and European descent. The Stewart family lived several years in Boston, Massachusetts, where Caroline attended public schools. After her father's death, Caroline and her mother moved to Tuskegee, Alabama, where Georgia Stewart taught school and married John Percy Bond, a life insurance executive. The couple had two children, and Caroline adopted Bond's name. She attended Tuskegee Institute and in 1912 earned a bachelor of arts degree from Atlanta University. She taught English at Alabama State College in Montgomery for a year and then worked for the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) in Montclair, New Jersey. In 1916 she began studying English and classical literature at Radcliffe College of Harvard University, earning a second bachelor's degree in 1919 At Radcliffe she impressed her anthropology professor ...

Article

R. Baxter Miller

scholar and educator, was born in Washington, D.C., the daughter of James Stanley Dykes and Martha Ann Howard. Eva graduated from M Street High (later Paul Laurence Dunbar High School) in 1910. As valedictorian of her class, she won a $10 scholarship from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority to attend Howard University, where in 1914 she graduated summa cum laude with a BA in English. After a year of teaching Latin and English at the now defunct Walden University in Nashville, Tennessee, and for another year elsewhere, she was urged by James Howard, a physician and uncle on her mother's side, to enter Radcliffe College in 1916. Subsequently, she earned a second BA in English, magna cum laude, in 1917. Elected Phi Beta Kappa, she received an MA in English in 1918 and a PhD in English philology in 1921 Her dissertation was titled ...

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Arnold Rampersad

novelist and essayist, was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the oldest of two sons of Lewis Ellison, a former soldier who sold coal and ice to homes and businesses, and Ida Milsaps Ellison. (Starting around 1940 Ellison gave his year of birth as 1914; however, the evidence is strong that he was born in 1913.) His life changed for the worse with his father's untimely death in 1916, an event that left the family poor. In fact, young Ralph would live in two worlds. He experienced poverty at home with his brother, Herbert (who had been just six weeks old when Lewis died), and his mother, who worked mainly as a maid. At the same time, he had an intimate association with the powerful, wealthy black family in one of whose houses he had been born.At the Frederick Douglass School in Oklahoma City ...

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Peter S. Field

Born in Boston and a resident of Concord, Massachusetts, for most of his life, Ralph Waldo Emerson was the ninth in a line of Congregational ministers. His father, William, died before Emerson's eighth birthday, and he and his siblings were raised by their mother, Ruth Haskins Emerson. Educated for the ministry at Harvard, Emerson ultimately quit his pastorate shortly after the death of his first wife in 1831. Dissatisfied with the structure and ritual of the church, Emerson sought a more expansive, democratic venue from which to preach. This he found on the lyceum lecture circuit. In the course of the following decades, he became one of the nation's most beloved and famed public lecturers. Many of his lecturers provided the material for his celebrated essays, which have not gone out of print since their initial publication.

Emerson ranks as the nineteenth century's greatest American liberal thinker. With Frederick ...

Article

Charles Rosenberg

chair of the Howard University Department of Philosophy following Alain Locke, worked with Locke to interweave philosophy with his understanding of the black experience. Holmes is sometimes described as one of the only two Marxist philosophers of African descent in the United States (along with C. L. R. James), from the 1930s until Angela Davis began teaching philosophy in the 1960s.

He was born in Patterson, New Jersey (McClendon, p. 37), to Samuel and Arabella Holmes, who had been born, like their own parents, in Virginia. Samuel Holmes worked as a bartender and later as a hotel waiter; Arabella washed laundry, sometimes on her own, sometimes as a commercial employee, retiring a few years earlier than her husband. Growing up in nearby Passaic and later in Pleasantville, Atlantic County, Holmes had a brother Lawrence, one year older, and sister Gladys, two years younger (Census, 1910 ...

Article

Lisa Clayton Robinson

Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins was the most prolific African American woman writer at the turn of the twentieth century. During her career as an editor and writer, she used essays, editorials, fiction, and biographies to promote her views on racial uplift and pride.

Hopkins was born in Maine and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. She won her first essay contest at the age of fifteen; the veteran abolitionist and writer William Wells Brown presented her with the ten-dollar prize. As a young woman, Hopkins became a playwright, actress, and singer with a family theatrical troupe, the Hopkins Colored Troubadors. But she eventually decided to take the government's civil service exam in order to have a steady income, and during the 1890s she worked as a stenographer. Her professional career as a writer and editor began in 1900 with the founding of Colored American magazine.

The journal was published by the Colored ...

Article

Stephen Truhon

educator and university president, was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, the only child of David W. and Josephine Miller Jenkins, the former a civil engineer. He attended Booker T. Washington elementary school, which was segregated, and graduated in 1917. He then attended Wiley High School, an integrated school, where he became captain of the track team. He then went to Howard University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in engineering in 1925.

Jenkins returned to Terre Haute to work with his father in highway contracting. Lack of success led him to take classes at Indiana State Normal School (now Indiana State University). In 1927 he married Elizabeth Lacy. With her encouragement he completed his bachelor's degree in education at Indiana State in 1931.

Jenkins was hired to teach at Virginia State College from 1931 to 1933 Convinced that his career lay in education ...

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Jennifer A. Stollman

educator, writer, activist, and suffragist. Born in Sparta, Georgia, in February 1863, the educator and activist Adella Hunt Logan was the fourth child of a white planter and a free African American woman, Henry and Mariah Hunt Raised in the wealthier African American section of Sparta Hunt s Hill Logan enjoyed a relatively privileged childhood After attending Bass Academy and being recognized by educators as a student who possessed the skills and abilities to become a teacher Logan was given free tuition to attend Atlanta University While there Logan completed a four year degree and a master s degree in education After graduating she declined an offer to teach at Atlanta University and instead taught in southwest Georgia at the American Missionary School and later at Tuskegee Institute While at Tuskegee she led courses on the humanities and social sciences During her tenure at ...

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Sylvie Coulibaly

mathematician, sociologist, academic, essayist, and columnist. Miller was born a slave in Winnsboro, South Carolina, to Elizabeth Roberts, a slave, and Kelly Miller Sr., a free black who fought in the Confederate army. He grew up poor during Reconstruction, working with his sharecropper parents and eight siblings. In 1878 Miller enrolled at the Fairfield Institute in South Carolina, where he studied until 1880. An exceptional student, Miller went on to Howard University in 1882. He financed his undergraduate studies by working at the U.S. Pension Office in Washington, D.C., and graduated in 1886.

In 1886 Miller enrolled in the PhD program in mathematics at Johns Hopkins University, becoming the first African American to do so. Financial hardship prevented him from staying at Johns Hopkins, and he left the program in 1889 He then began teaching at M Street High School ...

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LaNesha NeGale DeBardelaben

educator and author, was born in Flat Creek, Kentucky, the younger of two children of William Morton, a grocer and small truck-business owner, and Susie Anna Stewart Morton, a schoolteacher. Shortly after her birth, Morton's family relocated near Lexington, Kentucky. Her early childhood was defined by several moves between Lexington and various small towns in Kentucky; the family finally settled in Winchester, Kentucky, a community of approximately eight thousand people.

Morton's maternal grandfather, the Reverend H. A. Stewart, was the minister in the local Colored Methodist Episcopal Church. The Reverend Stewart, born enslaved in 1846 played a monumental role in guiding Morton s development and he challenged her to think critically independently and to pursue all things with excellence As a result Morton excelled academically in the all black schools of Winchester including the high school which lacked the resources to matriculate students or award ...

Article

For information on

African American intellectuals: See American Negro Academy; Appiah; Baldwin; Davis; Du Bois; Frazier; Gates; hooks; Johnson; Jordan; Karenga; Locke; Lorde; W. E. B. Du Bois: An Interpretation; West; Wilson; Woodson

African ...