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Carmen Rosario

was born on 4 July 1897 in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, one of twelve children of José Celso Barbosa, among the most prominent Puerto Rican politicians of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and Belen Sanchez. Pilar received her primary and secondary education in her hometown, where early on she was immersed in politics. Her father, a black man who graduated first in his class at the University of Michigan, was a leader of the autonomist movement that demanded autonomy for Puerto Rico from the Spanish government at the end of the nineteenth century as well as the founder of the Partido Republicano (Republican Party) in 1899, which advocated statehood for Puerto Rico following the American invasion of the island the prior year. After graduating from high school, Pilar attended the University of Puerto Rico. While still an undergraduate, in 1921 she became the first woman and certainly ...

Article

was born in Panama City, Panama, on 24 February 1952, to Barbadian descendants. He attended the Instituto Fermin Naudeau in Panama City and in 1973 went on to the University of Panama, graduating in 1980 with a degree in law and political science and certification to practice before the Supreme Court of Panama.

Barrow began his career as a practicing labor attorney and later went on to work at several nongovernmental organizations including the World University Service SUM Panama Workshop of Labor and Social Studies the Latin American Regional Office of the International Federation of Building and Wood Workers based in Geneva Switzerland and the regional offices of the Union Network International He served in various capacities in the Ministry of Education as a legal assistance attorney and as the director of copyrights for the Republic of Panama He also served in the Office of Equal Opportunity for the ...

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Ralph E. Luker

attorney, educator, and civil rights activist, was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, the son of Joe Blackwell and Blanche Mary Donnell. Randolph attended the city's public schools for African Americans and earned a BS in Sociology from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University in Greensboro in 1949. Four years later he earned a JD degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C. In December 1954 Blackwell married Elizabeth Knox; the couple had one child. After teaching economics for a year at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical College in Normal, Alabama, Blackwell became an associate professor of social sciences at Winston‐Salem State Teachers College in North Carolina.

Because of Blackwell's legal background, Wiley Branton, the director of the Voter Education Project (VEP), hired Blackwell as its field director in 1962. Secretly encouraged by the Kennedy administration, the VEP was launched in April 1962 with funding from private ...

Article

E. J. Alagoa

Nigerian student leader, teacher, policeman, and revolutionary, was born in the Niger Delta Region community of in Oloibiri, on 10 September 1938. He was the son of Jasper Pepple Boro, a schoolmaster at Kaiama in the Kolokuma-Opokuma district of Bayelsa State in present-day Nigeria. He took the name Adaka, meaning “lion,” when he began his revolutionary campaign to create an independent Niger Delta Republic and secede from Nigeria in 1966. The movement was crushed by the Nigerian armed forces in only twelve days.

Born in Oloibiri, the community near which oil was first discovered and exploited in the Niger Delta, Boro became more and more agitated by the neglect that his Ijaw people (also known as Izon or Ijo) suffered from the federal government of Nigeria after the country gained independence from Britain in 1960 The Izon were possibly the most vociferous group expressing fear of ...

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Mary A. Waalkes

civil rights and voting rights activist, was born in Savannah, Georgia, the seventh of ten children born to Anna Eliza Hicks and George Platts, the latter of whom owned and operated a wood supply business for years before moving to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and engaging in real estate.

Amelia Platt's childhood was idyllic; she was raised in Savannah and its outskirts in an affectionate middle-class family and community that encouraged her aspirations. She graduated from Tuskegee Institute (later Tuskegee University) in 1927 later adding course work from colleges in Tennessee Virginia and Georgia She briefly taught school in Georgia before being named home demonstration agent for the Dallas County Alabama Cooperative Extension Service In the early 1930s she served alongside Samuel William Bill Boynton who was the county agent for Dallas County The Cooperative Extension Service at that time was segregated by both race and gender in the South ...

Article

Miguel Gonzalez Perez

was born in Bilwaskarma, in Nicaragua’s North Atlantic Autonomous Region, on 10 November 1947. She is best known for the leading role she played in promoting the peace negotiation process that in 1986 ended a ten-year military conflict that pitted the FSLN (Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional, or Sandinista National Liberation Front) revolutionary government against the Miskito indigenous rebels who were struggling for autonomy along the Nicaraguan Caribbean coast. She is also an international advocate for the rights of indigenous peoples.

Cunningham grew up in Waspam the capital city of the Wangki River region near the border with Honduras which is considered the motherland of the Miskito people She was born to Nester Judith Kain Nelson and Wilfred Bill Cunningham Davis both from Pearl Lagoon on the southern part of the Caribbean coast She grew up in a working class family of mixed cultural heritage of Miskito African and ...

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DeCarlous Spearman

attorney, judge, poet, and activist, was one of ten children born to Albert, a laborer, and Mary Burleson Doyle, a laundress, in a four room house in Austin, Texas. In 1928 Doyle graduated Salutatorian from Anderson High School and magna cum laude from Samuel Huston College (later Huston-Tillotson College) in 1933. After college he taught in the Austin public school system and later took graduate courses at Columbia University.

On 4 March 1947 the Texas State University for Negroes (later Texas Southern University) was established to keep Heman Sweatt, a black applicant, from entering law school at the University of Texas (UT). This new school offered something unavailable to blacks in Texas, the opportunity to attend law school in their own state. On 22 September 1947 Doyle was the first student to register at the new law school This would be ...

Article

Erin L. Thompson

jurist and professor. Edwards was born in New York, the son of George H. Edwards, a member of the Michigan state house of representatives from 1955 to 1978, and Arline Ross Lyle, a social worker. Edwards graduated from Cornell University in 1962 and the University of Michigan Law School in 1965, then worked at a law firm in Chicago until 1970. He then returned to the University of Michigan Law School, teaching as a tenured professor from 1970 to 1975 and 1977 to 1980. Edwards also taught at Harvard Law School (1975–1977) and held visiting professorships at the law schools of Duke University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Georgetown University. He also taught at the Harvard Institute for Educational Management between 1976 and 1982.

Edwards s academic specialty was labor law and he was appointed as arbitrator under a number ...

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Damon L. Fordham

lawyer, entrepreneur, educator, and journalist, was born near Orangeburg, South Carolina, the son of the former slaves Benjamin Frederick and Henrietta Baxter. A Renaissance man among African Americans in South Carolina, Frederick earned a bachelor of arts degree from Orangeburg's Claflin College in 1889 and degrees in history and Latin from the University of Wisconsin in 1901. Shortly after graduating from the latter institution, Frederick moved to Columbia, South Carolina, where he began an eighteen-year career as the principal of the Howard School, one of the first public schools for blacks in that city. He rose to early prominence as an educator and served as president of the South Carolina State Teacher's Association, an organization of that state's black teachers, from 1906 to 1908. He married Corrine Carroll in 1904; they would have four children.

By 1913 Frederick was searching for ...

Article

Andre D. Vann

lawyer, educator, and first black chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, was born in Ellerbe, North Carolina, the eighth of the twelve children of Walter Frye and Pearl Motley, farmers. In the late 1920s his father sought to ensure financial security for his family by purchasing a forty-six-acre tobacco and cotton farm with the assistance of a loan from a local bank, which made him one of only a handful of blacks who owned land in Ellerbe. Later his father purchased a small sawmill from white owners. Frye attended the segregated Mineral Springs School in Ellerbe and graduated as valedictorian in 1949. In June 1953 he earned a BS in biology with highest honors from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College later North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U S Air Force and served ...

Article

Kelsey Schurer and Marina Reasoner

sheriff and college president, was born in Jacksonville, Florida. His father, Nathaniel Glover Sr., was a part-time Baptist pastor, and his mother, Arsie Singletary Glover, cleaned houses; together they raised five children in a two-room house in downtown Jacksonville. As a boy, Glover worked to provide funds for his family, first selling copies of the city's black newspaper, and later working at a local cafe. While walking home from work in 1960 Glover encountered a crowd of white segregationists protesting against the integration of the food counter at the cafe The group noticed he was a dishwasher and clubbed him with an ax handle When he appealed to a white officer for help Glover was told to Get out of town The incident was a defining moment in Glover s life and he became resolved that it might have been prevented had his tormentors been given proper ...

Article

Olive Hoogenboom

educator, lawyer, and diplomat, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Richard Wesley Greener, a seaman who was wounded during the Mexican War while serving aboard USS Princeton, and Mary Ann Le Brune. When he was nine, Greener and his parents moved to Boston but soon left for Cambridge, where he could attend “an unproscriptive school.” Greener's father, as chief steward of the George Raynes, had taken his son on a voyage to Liverpool but then abandoned the sea in 1853 for the California gold fields He was taken sick met with losses and was never heard from again When Greener was twelve years old he left school to help support his mother Although he quit one of his positions after an employer struck him those whom he met while knocking around in different occupations often helped educate him sharing their ...

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Luther Brown

activist, lawyer, and businesswoman, was born in Lynch Station, Virginia (near Lynchburg), the eighth of eleven children of Mary Elizabeth Robinson, a domestic, and John Milton Haden, a junk dealer. John Haden was almost totally absent from his children's lives, leaving it to Mary Elizabeth Haden to both rear and educate her progeny. She worked exceptionally hard scrubbing floors and clothes and serving white families to ensure that her children were provided for and received good educations. John Haden often turned to his white father for money allegedly to support the family. But Mabel recounted that her mother made the money to support the family and that her father kept the money from his junk business for himself.

Mabel was named for the white woman president of the boarding school the Allen Home School in Asheville North Carolina that she later attended She was always ...

Article

Luther Brown

teacher, lawyer, and judge, was born Norma Holloway in Lake Charles, Louisiana, to H. Lee Holloway, a laborer, and Beatrice Williams Holloway, an elementary school teacher. Norma was the elder of two children; a son named Lionel was born later. The family left Lake Charles for Washington, D.C., when Norma was fourteen years old, during the Great Migration of blacks to Northern cities. H. Lee died shortly after the move. Beatrice continued to teach, although in Washington she began to teach adults, which offered better pay and was to her more personally rewarding. Beatrice Holloway believed strongly that a good education would be the salvation of African Americans, and she strongly encouraged academic achievement in her children.

The children thrived in the outstanding public schools of the District of Columbia which at the time were renowned for their rigorous and academically excellent curricula Norma attended ...

Article

Erin L. Thompson

lawyer, executive, and civil rights activist. Jones attributes her commitment to civil rights activism to the reactions of her parents—a schoolteacher and a Pullman porter who was a member of America's first black trade union—to the racially charged atmosphere of her childhood in Norfolk, Virginia. Particularly influential was a visit to Chicago in the early 1950s when her family was turned away from hotels because of whites-only policies.

After graduating with honors in political science from Howard University in 1965, Jones taught English from 1965 to 1967 as one of the first African Americans to serve in Turkey as a member of the Peace Corps. She then became the first black woman to enroll in the University of Virginia's law school, graduating in 1970.

Jones then immediately joined the NAACP Legal Defense Fund an organization dedicated to using the legal system to fight discrimination and civil ...

Article

Melissa Nicole Stuckey

educator and newspaper editor, was born John Carter Leftwich in Forkland, Alabama, the eldest of the eight children of Frances Edge and Lloyd Leftwich. From 1872 to 1876 Lloyd Leftwich served as one of Alabama's last black state senators. John Leftwich and his siblings grew up on the 122-acre farm his parents purchased from Lloyd Leftwich's former owner. The former slaves instilled in their children the importance of religion and education. Not only did the couple learn to read and write after the Civil War but they also donated a portion of their property for the construction of Lloyd Chapel Baptist Church and Lloyd Elementary School. Remarkable for the time period, most of their eight children became college graduates.

In 1886 Leftwich entered Selma University in Selma, Alabama. Unhappy there, he wrote to Booker T. Washington for permission to transfer to Tuskegee Institute and he offered to ...

Article

Laura Murphy

writer, lawyer, and doctor, was born a slave to Doc and Rosa Lewis probably just prior to the Civil War. In his narrative he writes that he was born at a time when “reconciliation was futile and that disruption and secession hung like a cloud over the horizon.” The Lewis family was owned by Colonel D. S. Cage Sr. who on the day of Lewis s birth celebrated by recording the event in the family Bible with a short annotation that the birth would increase his wealth by one thousand dollars For his part Lewis was mostly oblivious to the fact that he was enslaved at all as he was relatively young when slavery was abolished The end of slavery was a confusing moment for all the people on Cage s plantation they were set free but encouraged to remain on the plantation to work for ...

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Kristal L. Enter

lawyer, author, and motivational speaker, was born in Queens, New York, to Earl Martin (onetime singer with the doo wop group, the Del Vikings), and his wife Alma Martin. Lesra Martin had seven younger brothers and sisters. The family eventually moved to the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Beauford-Stuyvesant and Bushwick. The Martin family lived in poverty with seven other families in a four-storey house that had long been condemned, and Lesra Martin was illiterate until he was sixteen because he began working at the age of ten to help support his family. One of his brothers died of AIDS in prison after being convicted of manslaughter, while another brother was murdered after intervening in a fight.

Martin's life however changed radically at the age of sixteen A group of Canadian business owners living in a commune visited New York City to test a gas saving ...

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Linda W. Reese

educator and civil rights pioneer, is a person about whom. Little is known prior to his residence in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in 1942. He earned a bachelor's degree from Langston University and in 1943, a master's degree in Education from the University of Kansas. Throughout his career McLaurin taught education courses at Langston University, Oklahoma's segregated institution of higher education for African Americans. McLaurin and his wife, Peninah, placed a high value on education. Peninah also graduated from Langston, taught there, and operated a bookstore out of their home. In 1923 she applied for admission for a graduate degree at the University of Oklahoma and was rejected because of her race. However, Peninah and all three of their children, Dunbar, J. C., and Phyllis completed master s degrees McLaurin s sons Dunbar and J C completed doctorates after their military service during World War ...

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Francesca Gamber

civil rights attorney and educator, was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the oldest of eight children born to James Madison Nabrit Sr., a Baptist pastor, and Augusta Gertrude Nabrit. As a child in the Jim Crow South, Nabrit was exposed to racial violence at an early age. He was just ten years old when he saw an African American man lynched and burned for celebrating the victory of the black boxer Jack Johnson over his white opponent Jim Jeffries. Nabrit attended Morehouse College High School and went on to Morehouse College, where he was captain of the debate team. Nabrit received a BA with honors in 1923 and enrolled at Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago While in law school Nabrit supported himself by working as a baggage handler at a train station and he also taught English and political science at Leland College in ...