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Glenn Allen Knoblock

Revolutionary War sailor, is known for his service on the Continental navy sloop Ranger under Captain John Paul Jones. A story passing as truth has been written about Scipio Africanus stating that he was a slave owned by Jones and accompanied him on the ships he commanded. In fact virtually nothing is known about Africanus except for the fact that he was a free man when he enlisted to serve on board the eighteen-gun Ranger for one year while she was building at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, sometime between March and July 1777.

While we know little about Scipio Africanus the man some guesses as to his servitude and character may be ventured That he was a slave prior to his naval service as suggested by his first name is likely Classical Roman names such as Scipio Cato and Caesar were commonly given at birth by owners to slaves ...

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Pedro L V Welch

was born to the Reverend Reginald Grant Barrow and his wife, Ruth Alberta Barrow (née O’Neal), in St. Lucy Parish, Barbados, on 21 January 1920. His family lineage provided some of the strong influences that would eventually lead him to local and Caribbean prominence. His father was certainly not averse to using the pulpit to challenge the prevailing racist social and economic order. Indeed, in 1922 he was deported from St. Croix for his radical comments in a local newspaper. He eventually migrated to the United States, leaving his children behind. There can be little doubt that Reverend Barrow’s radical stance played an important role in the later development of Errol Barrow’s political philosophy.

Errol Barrow s uncle Charles Duncan O Neal was another pivotal influence in the young Barrow s life O Neal a medical doctor who was trained at Edinburgh University in Scotland returned to the Caribbean ...

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Minor Ferris Buchanan

slave, soldier, hunter, guide, and pioneer, was born on Home Hill plantation, Jefferson County, Mississippi, the son of slaves Harrison and Daphne Collier. Little is known of Daphne Collier, although it is believed that she had some Native American ancestry. In 1815Harrison Collier accompanied the famed General Thomas Hinds when he fought alongside General Andrew Jackson during the War of 1812 at the Battle of New Orleans. As house servants the Colliers maintained a higher status on the plantation, and from all indications young Holt was a favorite of the Hinds family. At age ten he was taken into the upriver wilderness to serve as a juvenile valet and hostler on Plum Ridge plantation in what would later become known as Washington County in the Mississippi Delta.

At Plum Ridge plantation Holt was trained to hunt and kill anything that could be used as food for the growing ...

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Steven J. Niven

paramilitary leader and agrarian activist, was born of unknown parentage, perhaps in Mississippi. He appears in the historical record on two occasions. The first was in the bloody political conflict known as the “campaign of 1875,” when white Democrats used tactics ranging from fraud to intimidation to violence and assassinations to wrest control of state government from the Republican Party.

In early September 1875, Cromwell traveled to the town of Clinton in Hinds County, Mississippi, to address a gathering of at least six hundred black men—some sources claim there were more than a thousand—who had organized into armed, paramilitary political clubs to defend their families, the black community, and the few remaining white Republicans against violent intimidation by white Democrats and their allies. Like other communities in the central part of the Magnolia State, a slight majority of citizens in Clinton were African American. Black Clintonians, notably Charles ...

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J’Vaughn Joseph and Vince J. Mack

first black police officer in Hartford, Connecticut; Tuskegee Airman; and government worker, was born in New York City to Mary and Charles Custis. Very little is known about his life as a child, except that he was the youngest child in his family. Custis attended Hartford Public Schools and graduated from Howard University. In 1939, he joined the Hartford Police Department in Connecticut, becoming the first black police officer in Hartford.

When World War II broke out, having heard of the program at Tuskegee to train black pilots, Custis joined the Army Air Corps as an Aviation Cadet and because of his outstanding background and qualifications was admitted to the first class- 42-C and graduated in 1942 Custis flew ninety two combat missions and received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his effort in the war After Custis left Hartford he was missed for several months until his ...

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Glenn Allen Knoblock

Revolutionary War soldier and civic leader, is a man about whom few early personal details are known. Probably a former slave he was a free man and resident of New Hampshire when he joined the Continental army in July 1779 from the town of Gilmanton.

Dailey's service in the Revolutionary War mirrored that of many other blacks in New England, both slaves and free men, including such soldiers as Lambert Latham, Oliver Cromwell (1752–1853), and his fellow New Hampshire resident Prince Whipple. Whether or not Dailey was a free man before he joined the army is an open question. He may have already been a free man, or he could have used the bounty money he received for enlisting to purchase his own freedom, a method by which many slaves throughout New England gained their freedom during the war.

Once he joined the Continental army ...

Article

Michael L. Krenn

boxer, was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Little is known of Foster's life before he began boxing. Foster himself admitted that he got into numerous fights as a child and a high school student and was once taken to court for fracturing the skull of another young man with one punch. With few options open to him and a close scrape with the law motivating him, Foster signed up for the U.S. Air Force in 1957, shortly after graduating from high school.

Foster's tremendous punching power soon became evident to his air force commanders during informal inter- and intra-unit boxing matches, and they put him on the service's boxing team. For four years Foster traveled with the team all over the United States and the world. He engaged in well over one hundred fights, losing only three. In 1960 he won the light heavyweight title at the ...

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Antje Daub

athlete, scholar, soldier, and judge, was born in Jacksonville, Florida, one of nine children of Walter Holmes Gourdin, a meat cutter and part Seminole Indian, and Felicia Nee, an African American woman who was a housekeeper. Little is known about his early school career, other than that he was valedictorian of his high school class in 1916. Although poor, Gourdin's parents recognized their son's talents and educational potential and, following his high school graduation, moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to further his career. There, Gourdin attended Cambridge High and Latin, which helped prepare him for the high academic demands of an Ivy League education.

By the time he enrolled in his freshman year at Harvard in 1917 Gourdin appears to have been a conscientious and responsible student To pay tuition he supported himself by working as a postal clerk He also became a ...

Article

Daniel Donaghy

civil rights attorney. Oliver White Hill was born in Richmond, Virginia, to William Henry White Jr. and Olivia Lewis White. His parents separated when he was very young, and Hill eventually took his stepfather's surname. His family lived in Roanoke for a time and then moved to Washington, D.C., where Hill attended Dunbar High School. After graduation, he attended Howard University, where he earned his bachelor's degree in 1931 and his law degree in 1933. At Howard, Hill befriended the future Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall.

From the beginning of his law career, Hill was interested in civil rights work. He opened a practice in Richmond in 1939, and the next year he worked with Marshall and others to win Alston v. School Board of Norfolk, Virginia which secured equal pay for African American teachers As World War II mounted in Europe Hill enlisted he ...

Article

Brian J. Daugherity

NAACP attorney, politician, and civil rights activist, was born Oliver White in Richmond, Virginia, the son of William Henry White Jr. and Olivia Lewis White, both resort employees. His parents divorced in 1911, and when his mother married Joseph C. Hill, Oliver took his stepfather's last name.

Oliver Hill spent much of his youth and adolescent years in Roanoke, Virginia. For most of these years he lived with friends of his family—the Pentecosts—while his mother and stepfather lived and worked in Hot Springs, Virginia, and then in Washington, D.C. Hill went to school in Roanoke until the eighth grade, when he moved to Washington, D.C., to join his mother and stepfather. He then went to Dunbar High School there, which enjoyed a reputation for academic excellence.

Hill obtained his bachelor's and law degrees from Howard University, completing his studies in 1933 He was ...

Article

H. Zahra Caldwell

philanthropist, activist, and numbers banker, was born in the Danish Virgin Islands. Holstein emigrated with his mother to the United States when he was nearly 12 years old. Little is known about his early childhood in the Virgin Islands. He attended high school in Brooklyn, New York, and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1898. He was stationed, for a time, on the islands of his birth. After completing his tour of duty he settled in Harlem in New York City. Holstein began working as a porter and bellhop at a Wall Street brokerage firm. As he swept floors and carried packages he also observed the intricacies of the stock market. He had ambitions that stretched far beyond his work as a porter.

Holstein had arrived in Harlem when the numbers game known as Bolito was a waning but still popular recreational pastime for blacks ...

Article

Richard L. Aynes

World War II veteran, city councilman, and judge, was born in Lake City, Florida, the youngest of fifteen children of William and Hattie (Howard) Jackson. He spent his early years in Orlando, Florida. Courage was his touchstone for life. When he was seven, an armed mob with torches came to his home looking for one of his older brothers on trumped-up charges. His mother sent him out the back door into the darkness to call together armed family members while she led the mob by a circuitous route to the brother's home. The family members Jackson brought escorted the brother to jail and successfully prevented the brother's lynching.

Jackson earned a BA from Morehouse College in 1943 and an MA in Business Administration from Atlanta University in 1946. On 7 September 1945 he married his college sweetheart Gilberta Jackson in Atlanta Georgia They had ...

Article

Thomas E. Carney

jurist and civil rights activist. Judge Nathaniel R. Jones was born in 1926, the son of a steelworker and the grandson of a slave. He grew up on the south side of Youngstown, Ohio, a major steel-producing town during the twentieth century. His mother and J. Maynard Dickerson, a family friend, prominent local attorney, and local NAACP leader, inspired the young Jones to pursue his education. After serving in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II, he attended Youngstown College (now Youngstown State University), where he received his bachelor's degree in 1951 and his law degree in 1956.

Jones began his legal career as the executive director of the city of Youngstown's Fair Employment Practices Commission. He held that position until 1959, when he went into private practice. He returned to the public sector in 1962 to accept the position of assistant U ...

Article

David Childs

military corporal, town marshal, and gunslinger, was a Civil War soldier of the seventh Illinois Rifles. Little is known about his life in the three decades before the war. After the war ended, Kennard struggled to find employment and enlisted in the Ninth Cavalry, an entirely African American unit. His unit served in Fort Bliss, Texas, and then moved to the Arizona Territory at Fort Davis, where they fought against Apache Indians. He earned a reputation for having a talent with weaponry and became an arms instructor for nearly twenty-five years. In the summer of 1874 Kennard responded to an ad, in the Rocky Mountain News, for a town marshal in Yankee Hill, located in the Colorado Territory, for $100 per month. He travelled to the town and sought out the local leaders to inquire about the position.

He was directed to Yankee Hill s five city councilmen who ...

Article

judge, politician, civil rights activist, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the youngest of six children of Leonie V. and Walter Etienne Morial, the latter a “black Creole” cigar maker. Morial attended public and private schools, graduating from Xavier University in 1951, and was the first African American graduate of Louisiana State University Law School in 1954. After serving two years in the army, he returned to his law partnership in New Orleans in 1956 and served as general counsel to the Standard Life Insurance Company from 1960 to 1967, and he was appointed assistant U.S. attorney for New Orleans from 1965 to 1967 before embarking on a career in electoral politics.

In the intervening years he lectured at Tulane University. Sybil Gayle Haydel, the daughter of a prominent New Orleans family, became his wife on 17 February 1955 and the ...

Article

Cecily Jones

Nickname of Rahasya Rudra Narayan (1938–1998), barrister and civil rights activist. He was born in British Guiana (now Guyana), the ninth of ten children of Indo‐Guianan parents. He arrived in Britain in 1953, and after a series of menial jobs enlisted in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, where he served until 1965, before leaving with the rank of sergeant. He then read for the Bar, at Lincoln's Inn, where he helped to found the Bar Students' Union, and later also became the Union's first president. He was called to the Bar in 1968, a year before his marriage to Dr Naseem Akbar, with whom he had two daughters.

When, in 1973, Narayan and Sighbat Kadric QC founded the Association of Commonwealth Lawyers (the predecessor to the Immigrant Lawyers' Group, which became the Society of Black Lawyers in 1981 the chairman of the ...

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Glenn Allen Knoblock

Seminole Negro Scout and Medal of Honor Recipient, was a native of Florida. While nothing specific is known about Payne's life prior to his military service, his ancestors were formerly enslaved before running away and seeking refuge with the friendly Seminole Tribe in Florida. Indeed, the Seminoles treated the large number of black runaways that sought freedom so well that many became assimilated within the tribe, adopting its language and culture. When Payne left Florida for the southwest is unknown; he may, as several biographers claim, have been among the last group of native peoples that traveled on the Trail of Tears after 1842 when the U.S. government forcibly expelled most of the remaining Seminole Tribe after the end of the long-running Seminole War to territory in what is now Oklahoma.

Payne began his military service on 12 November 1873 enlisting in the U S Army as an Indian ...

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Donnamaria Culbreth

circuit court judge, was born in Birmingham, Alabama, the third of four children born to William and Eva Poole. In 1918 the family moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, when Poole was four years old.

In 1932 Poole entered the University of Michigan, graduating in 1936 and earning a law degree in 1938. A year later Poole went on to earn a master of law degree from Harvard University. In 1940 Poole passed the Pennsylvania bar, and in 1941 he obtained a job as an attorney for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which investigates unfair labor practices. Poole studied federal laws covering labor and labor relations and advised the NLRB board members on cases.

Poole was drafted into the army in 1942 and married Charlotte Crump that same year Poole s experiences in the segregated army were harsh From Poole s experience the duties of black soldiers ...

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Anthony Gerzina

freed black slave, New England property owner, and husband of Lucy Terry, is thought to have been born in or near Wallingford, Connecticut, near New Haven. He was the slave of the Reverend Benjamin Doolittle, and accompanied Doolittle and his wife, Lydia Todd, from Connecticut to Northfield, Massachusetts, in early 1718, when Doolittle, after graduating from Yale, was named minister of that town. Based on what is known of other nearby towns, the nature of Prince's years in Northfield can be surmised. Northfield, in the Connecticut River Valley just south of the modern Vermont border, was then a small frontier town. Originally settled in 1673, it was abandoned soon afterward, following strife with the native population during King Philip's War. Resettlement began around 1685, but in 1718 it held perhaps only a dozen households none of which owned slaves Although slaveholding ...

Article

Stephanie Gordon

the first black deputy marshal west of the Mississippi, was born in Paris, Texas, although some historians believe he was born near Van Buren, Arkansas. The son of slaves, Reeves spent his early years on a small farm in Grayson County, Texas, owned by George Reeves a former colonel in the Confederate army Very little is known about Reeves s early life and even less is known about his parents Early on he labored in the Texas cotton fields as a water boy where he learned stories and songs about black outlaws He liked them so much according to one source that he worried his mother with his preoccupation with badmen violence and guns Reeves was chosen as companion for Colonel Reeves s son and he served in this capacity until he was a young adult The relationship came to a quick end however when the two argued during ...