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Ruth Edmonds Hill

Congregational minister and civil rights advocate, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to William and Jennie Harrison, slaves of John Bolton from Savannah, Georgia. His widowed mother, a family servant, was freed in 1821, and they moved to New York City with the Bolton family. Harrison attended school until he was nine years old, at which time his mother sent him to Philadelphia to get away from his alcoholic stepfather and become apprenticed to an uncle who was a shoemaker. His mother later left her husband and also moved to Philadelphia. At the age of seventeen, Harrison attended meetings at the black Second Presbyterian Church and soon joined the church.

Desiring more education, Harrison went to school in the morning and worked in the shoe shop in the afternoon. In 1836 with the help of the American Education Society he attended the Peterboro Manual Labor School founded by ...

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Paul Finkelman

athlete, actor, singer, civil rights activist, and Communist sympathizer. Paul Leroy Robeson was born in Princeton, New Jersey, the youngest of five children. In 2004 the United States Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp for Paul Robeson. The press release issued by the Post Office recounted his career as an All-American college athlete, a film star, and an internationally acclaimed singer. The release also noted his fearless opposition to racism, describing him as

well known as an activist and an outspoken participant in labor and peace movements [whose] public appearances were infused with his strong political beliefs, especially his principled stand against racism in the U.S. and around the world. He was opposed to colonialism in Africa and worked to assist and support African liberation Movements. Alarmed by the spread of fascism in Europe, Robeson was also a prominent supporter of the Allied war effort during World War II.

The ...

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Steven B. Jacobson

athlete, minister, political leader, entrepreneur, and commentator, was born Julius Caesar Watts Jr. in Eufaula, McIntosh County, Oklahoma, the fifth of six children of Helen Pierce and J. C. “Buddy” Watts Sr., a policeman, preacher, cattle owner, handyman, and local entrepreneur. The Eufaula area, part of the Creek Nation Indian Territory until 1907 had a historical tradition of Native American slaveholding and racial segregation persisted there during Watts s youth Only blacks were allowed to attend Watts s first elementary school and Eufaula s only public swimming pool excluded blacks until his father and his uncle Wade Watts who later became head of the NAACP s Oklahoma chapter and a member of the U S Civil Rights Commission successfully lobbied to open it to all races Watts had other experiences with segregation Until he was in high school whites sat on the ground ...

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Rachelle Gold

Republican politician. Born in Eufaula, Oklahoma, J. C. Watts Jr.—who has said that although “J. C.” does not stand for anything, he has often joked that it stands for “Julius Caesar”—was the fifth of six children. His parents, Buddy and Helen Watts, raised their children in the Baptist Church and urged them to excel in academics and athletics through hard work and personal responsibility. As a boy J. C. was one of two black children to integrate Eufaula's all-white elementary school. He graduated from high school in 1976 and then, recruited by the famous coach Barry Switzer, attended the University of Oklahoma. As quarterback for Oklahoma, Watts led the team to two consecutive Big Eight championships and Orange Bowl victories, in 1980 and 1981, and was voted most valuable player in both Orange Bowls. He graduated from Oklahoma with a degree in journalism in 1981 From ...