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Jennifer Jensen Wallach

civil rights activist and religious leader. Hubert Gerold “H. Rap” Brown was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 1943. He attended Southern University in Baton Rouge, studying sociology from 1960 to 1964. He then relocated to Washington, D.C., where he became chairman of the Nonviolent Action Group (NAG), a civil rights organization. During his brief tenure with the NAG, Brown attended a high-profile meeting with President Lyndon B. Johnson. Much to the chagrin of more moderate black leaders, Brown refused to show deference to the president, instead rebuking him for the state of American race relations.

In 1966 Brown joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), becoming director of the Alabama Project. In 1967 at the age of twenty three he was elected chairman of the organization Brown led SNCC in a transition away from the nonviolent philosophy of the early days of the civil ...



Timothy J. McMillan

slave and accused witch, was one of the few blacks in colonial New England to be born in the English colony of Barbados. Candy came to Salem Village, Massachusetts, with her owner Margarett Hawke sometime in the years immediately preceding the notorious witchcraft panic of 1692. As with many of the key players in the Salem witch trials, Candy has left little in the historical record other than the accusations against her, court testimony, and the judgment against her. Still, even this small amount of information is compelling. There were strong economic and political ties between Salem and Barbados, resting on the shipping industry and trade in slave-manufactured goods, particularly sugar and cotton. In fact the Reverend Samuel Parris and his famous Amerindian slave Tituba also were from Barbados and it was in his household that the witch panic of 1692 began.

On 2 July 1692 Candy was ...


Trevor Hall

who defended Native American rights and promoted African slavery, only to later condemn it, was born in Seville, Spain. His father, Pedro de Las Casas, had sailed to the Americas as a merchant on Christopher Columbus’s second voyage. He was educated in law at the University of Salamanca. Las Casas is renowned because he recommended that the Spanish king purchase enslaved Africans from Portuguese merchants and ship them from Portuguese colonies in West Africa directly to the Spanish Caribbean. In 1493 Las Casas was living in Seville, where he witnessed the arrival of Columbus following his maiden voyage to the Americas. Columbus brought a number of exotic, colorful tropical birds and a dozen half-naked Native Americans back with him. To fifteenth-century Spaniards, half-naked people were savages. The experience has a profound effect on the young Spaniard.

In 1502 Las Casas boarded an armada that sailed from Spain to Hispaniola ...


Donna L. Halper

religious leader, fugitive, and political activist, was born David Hill in Nashville, Arkansas. Details of his early years are sketchy, although in interviews he claimed to have served in the navy during World War II and said that he spent many years as a civil rights activist and was persecuted by the government for it.

The government told a different version of Hill's story: it sought him because he was a con man with an arrest record dating back to the 1940s who had jumped bail after being arrested for defrauding people in several states. In 1957, for example, under the name “Reverend Frank Williams Hill had a small church in Chicago where he claimed to be either a bishop or a minister In reality he had never been ordained He also won the trust of a number of Chicago residents including at least ...


Graham Russell Hodges

Born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to free but poor black parents, Hodges received no education in his early years and at the age of ten shipped out as a “waiting boy” on a schooner bound from Philadelphia to the West Indies. Over the next few years he visited many European ports. During the American Revolution a British warship forced his vessel into New York harbor; destitute, friendless, and illiterate, he wandered throughout the region before settling in Warwick, in Orange County, New York. His employer, a man named Jennings, had acquired much property through litigation, actions that prompted his legal victims to plot to kill him. The conspirators brought Hodges into the plot and took advantage of his intemperance, developed during his years as a seaman, to persuade him to perform the killing. On 21 December 1819 Hodges shot his master in the woods The bullet severely wounded Jennings ...


Greg Sidberry

civil rights leader. Benjamin Hooks was born in Memphis, Tennessee, to Robert B. Hooks Sr., a self-made businessman and co-owner of the Hooks Brothers’ Photography Studio, which closed in 1939 but reopened after the depression. His mother, Bessie White, was a stay-at-home mother of seven children. Despite the existence of institutionalized racism, Hooks's family expected him to excel without offering excuses. He learned to read at an early age and, before starting high school, had read all of the classics found in their small home library. Reading—especially newspapers—was the primary source of information and entertainment for the family. Dinnertime was family discussion time; each child had an opportunity to participate as current events and daily activities were reviewed and analyzed. Hooks says he heard repeatedly: “You got to be twice as good.”

Benjamin skipped the sixth and was promoted out of the seventh grade He started Booker T Washington High ...


Patrick Cliff

religious leader known as the “Prophet,” was born in Birmingham, Alabama, the only son of Catherine and James Jones. He was consistently evasive about his youth, though he did speak of being raised by his devoted mother and not by his alcoholic, absentee father (from whom Jones always remained distant). He claimed also to have been called to God at a young age, and at age eighteen he was ordained a minister of Triumph, the Church and Kingdom of God in Christ, an unaffiliated Christian church. While Jones frequently said that the only book he ever touched was the Bible, he claimed to have a degree from Johnson C. Smith University, a black school in Charlotte, North Carolina (hence his fake “Doctor” title). In fact Jones had no degree.

Using Birmingham as a home base, he was an itinerant preacher until 1938 During that time Jones s following ...


church founder and former Catholic priest, was born in New Bern, North Carolina, the oldest of six children of George Augustus Stallings Sr. and the former Dorothy Smith, a convent housekeeper. Stallings's early upbringing took place in the Catholic faith, but his grandmother introduced him to black Baptist worship, which led him to aspire to become a Protestant preacher. His mother, however, persuaded him to become a Catholic priest. He completed Asheville Catholic High School and later matriculated at Saint Pius X Seminary in Erlanger, Kentucky, where he was awarded a BA in Philosophy in 1970. Later that year Stallings enrolled at the North American College in Italy. In Rome he obtained three degrees from the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas: an STB in 1973, an MA in Pastoral Theology in 1974, and a STL in 1975.

In 1974 Stallings was ordained at ...


David Schroeder

educator, minister, lawyer, and justice, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the first of two children born to George Gilchrist Stewart, a blacksmith, and Anna Morris Stewart, a dressmaker, both free blacks. Stewart attended, but did not graduate from, Avery Normal Institute in the late 1860s, and he entered Howard University in 1869. He matriculated at the integrated University of South Carolina as a junior in 1874, and he graduated in December of the following year with bachelor of arts and bachelor of laws degrees. Stewart married Charlotte “Lottie” Pearl Harris in 1876, and they had three children: McCants (1877), Gilchrist (1879), and Carlotta (1881).

Stewart began his career practicing law in Sumter, and he taught math at the State Agricultural and Mechanical School in Orangeburg during the 1877–1878 school year. South Carolina congressman Robert ...


Charles Rosenberg

minister and missionary supervisor of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, historian, founder of the Harriet Tubman Memorial Library, advocate for legal and sentencing reform, particularly concerning abuse of mandatory minimum sentencing, was born in Mocksville, Davie County North Carolina, the daughter of John Hairston and Ida D. Brown Goolsby.

Lula Mae Goolsby grew up in the Cedar Grove Baptist Church in Mocksville and graduated from Davie High School. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Bennett College in Greensboro, with a minor in Library Science, and taught school in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district. In 1961 she spent two weeks at the predominantly white Mt. Holyoke College in Massachusetts, as part of an exchange of students with Bennett, which was historically black. She married Rev. Milton A. Williams, a minister of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AME Zion) church 8 June 1963 as he finished his graduate study ...


Efraim Barak

Muslim activist, terrorist, and leader of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Osama Bin Laden’s second-in-command, and a qualified surgeon. Zawahiri was born on 19 June 1951, in Cairo’s Al-Maʿadi neighborhood, to a distinguished Egyptian family. Zawahiri is also known as Abu-Muhammad, Abu-Fatima, Muhammad Ibrahim, Abu-ʿAbdallah, Abu-al-Muʾis, The Doctor, The Teacher, al-Ustadh, Nur, and Nur al-Din. Zawahiri holds French and Swiss passports under the name of Amin Osman and a Dutch passport under the name of Sami Mahmud al-Hifnawi.

His father, Muhammad Rabi ʿAl-Zawahiri, who died in 1995, was a professor of Pharmacology at the University of ʿAin-Shams. His paternal grandfather, Shaikh al Ahmadi Al-Zawahiri, served as the ʾImam of the Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo. His maternal grandfather, Prof. ʿAbd Al-Wahab ʿAzzam (1894–1959 was a Professor of Oriental Languages at the University of Cairo and served as the dean of the Faculty of Humanities Furthermore he was ...