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Thomas Adams Upchurch

One of the most polarizing political figures in American history, James Gillespie Blaine, “the Plumed Knight of Maine,” was the most prominent presidential candidate of the late nineteenth century never to be elected. His chameleon-like character kept him at the top of the Republican Party machinery during both Reconstruction and the Gilded Age. He supported the Union during the Civil War and the Radical cause in the late 1860s, took a conciliatory view of the southern question in the early 1870s, and ultimately all but abandoned the African American civil rights agenda in the late 1870s and thereafter. As much as any other Republican, he influenced the course of the party in selling out African Americans after Reconstruction for the joint benefits of sectional reconciliation and national business interests. He did so, however, without necessarily alienating black voters or friends. Frederick Douglass for instance supported him throughout his career ...

Article

Rebecca Stefoff

In January of 2001, soon after President George W. Bush took office, he named Condoleezza Rice as his national security advisor. In this role, Rice has had significant influence in shaping the Bush administration's policies toward other international affairs. Her appointment followed several decades of study, research, and activity in the field of foreign policy, with special focus on Russia (the former Soviet Union) and Europe.

Condoleezza Rice was born in 1954 in Birmingham, Alabama. Her father was a college administrator. Her mother was a music teacher who chose her daughter's name—a musical term that means “play with sweetness”—and Condoleezza displayed her own musical talent by becoming a skilled pianist at an early age. She grew up during a difficult era for blacks in the American South. The Civil Rights Movement had not yet eliminated Segregation in the United States and Birmingham experienced some of the worst ...

Article

Steven J. Niven and John McDermott

secretary of state, national security adviser, educator, was born in Birmingham, Alabama, the only child of John Wesley Rice Jr., an educator and minister, and Angelena Ray, a teacher. Her mother, an accomplished pianist, named her after the Italian musical direction con dolcezza, meaning to play “with sweetness.” The Rices viewed the restrictions of Jim Crow Alabama as obstacles for their daughter to overcome. She did so effortlessly, taking early lessons in ballet, French, flute, and piano. Extra tutoring from her father enabled her to skip the first and seventh grades.

Though she enjoyed a comfortable, if by no means wealthy, childhood, Rice was not immune to the harsh realities of Birmingham under Bull Connor, the city's notoriously racist commissioner of public safety. Like everyone else in the city, she attended segregated schools, and one of her classmates was killed in the 1963 ...

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Greg Sidberry

the first African American female secretary of state. Condoleezza Rice was born in Birmingham, Alabama. Her father, John Wesley Rice III, was a school guidance counselor, football coach, and pastor of the Westminster Presbyterian Church. Her mother, Angelena Ray, taught science, music, and speech and was an accomplished pianist who served as the church musician. The Rices wanted their daughter to have a professional career in classical music and created her name, Condoleezza, from an Italian musical term, con dolcezza, which means “with sweetness.”

The Rice family lived in the segregated neighborhood of Titusville a middle class enclave of schoolteachers and professionals High priority was given to education and academic success and the importance of dress grooming and manners was emphasized as well Condoleezza exceeded all expectations She was given lessons in piano ballet French and anything else that would help her be twice as good as ...

Article

Patricia Washington

Condoleezza Rice skipped first and seventh grades, entered college when she was fifteen, finished her doctorate by the time she was twenty-six, and was immediately tapped for a tenure track position at Stanford University. There, in 1993, she became the youngest person, the first woman, and the first black to be named provost. Rice came to national attention six years later when she left her academic post to become foreign policy adviser for presidential candidate George W. Bush. After Bush won the 2000 election, Rice was appointed national security adviser, the first woman and only the second black named to this position. And in 2005 Rice replaced Colin Powell as secretary of state for George W. Bush’s second presedential term. Given the trajectory of Rice’s career, it is not surprising that the Washington Post characterized her as the first Black woman in just about any job she ...