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David Killingray

Pan‐Africanist and Africantraveller. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, of black and white parents, Campbell began his working life as a printer's apprentice but gained some formal education and became a teacher. In the 1850s he emigrated to the United States, via Central America, where he worked as a teacher at an African‐American institute in Philadelphia. Campbell, ambitious for further education, was largely self‐taught.

In 1858 Martin R. Delany invited him to become a member of the Niger Valley Exploring Party, to find a site in southern Nigeria for an African‐American farm colony. ‘Return to Africa’ was controversial and divided African‐American opinion; many argued that, even with its pervasive racism, America was their home and not Africa; a further problem was that black emigration was supported by the white African Civilization Society. Campbell came to Britain in 1859 and although he failed to gain the support of missionary and ...

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Kimberly Curtis

visual artist, educator, and activist, was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, the second of the seven children of Dana C. Chandler Sr., a longshoreman, and Ruth Chandler. At age five Dana Chandler Jr. and his family moved to Roxbury, Massachusetts, a predominantly African American community. Chandler's parents, who had not attended school beyond the ninth and eleventh grades, raised their children to recognize the importance of completing high school and earning a college degree. Chandler grew up in a poor, working-class family and attended Boston's public schools throughout childhood and adolescence. He received primary and elementary education at the Asa Gray and Sherwin schools. After a six-month hospital stay to treat rheumatic fever, he transferred from Boston Latin School to J.P. Timility Junior High School. At Boston Technical High School his art teachers Ralph Rosenthal and Gunnar Munnick inspired him to become an artist. In 1959 Chandler graduated ...

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David A. Gerber

educator, politician, and civil rights leader, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of Michael Clark, a barber, and his wife (name unknown). Clark was the product of a complex, mixed racial ancestry that formed the basis for a lifelong struggle to find a place for himself in both the white and African American worlds. The oral tradition of Peter Clark's family and of the Cincinnati African American community contends that Michael Clark was the son of the explorer William Clark, a Kentucky slaveowner who had children by his biracial slave Betty. Major Clark is said to have freed Betty and their children and settled them in Cincinnati. There she married and started another family with John Isom Gaines an affluent black man who owned a steamboat provisioning business Though it was never authenticated there is little doubt that Peter Clark himself believed the story of this ...

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Jocelyn L. Womack

activist, educator, and lawyer, was born Kathleen Neal in Dallas, Texas, to Ernest Neal and Juette Johnson, educators. Activism and scholarship were staples of the Neal family home, as both of her parents held advanced degrees. Ernest and Juette met while attending the University of Michigan in the 1940s. Juette held a master's degree in mathematics, and Ernest earned a PhD in Sociology. Ernest was working as a Wiley College sociology professor in Marshall, Texas, at the time of Kathleen's birth.

Shortly after Kathleen s birth Ernest accepted a job at Tuskegee Institute relocating the family to Alabama In addition to Kathleen s early exposure to academia her father s work in foreign aid promoted a family environment in which social progress was frequently discussed At the age of nine Kathleen had already embarked upon a life of global travel and had an appreciation of diverse cultures Her father ...

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Sholomo B. Levy

writer and educator, was born in Petersburg, Virginia, to parents about whom little is known but who were only briefly married before Harold's father took his young son to New York City during the black migration to the North. The elder Cruse found work as a custodian with the Long Island Railroad; however, he soon realized the he could not care for a small child alone and placed Harold with a foster family in Queens. During the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s his foster mother, Aunt Henrietta, instilled a love for the black theater in the young Harold, frequently taking him to performances. With the coming of the Depression the family lost their home and was forced to move into an apartment in Harlem, where Cruse became more deeply immersed in black culture. There he would witness performances by Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Bill Robinson, and Florence ...

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Tomeiko Ashford Carter

literary critic and Black Arts proponent, was born in Newport News, Virginia, the son of Addison Gayle Sr., a Communist Party spokesperson, and Carrie (Holloman) Gayle. Gayle was born during the Depression, and his parents divorced early in his life. Despite his mother's well-paying job at a nearby military base during World War II, Gayle and his immediate family remained well acquainted with poverty. He grew up in a black enclave and rarely saw whites. Still, he envied the apparent success that he believed all whites had.

In his autobiography Wayward Child: A Personal Odyssey, Gayle maintains that he was penalized by many of his high school teachers for being racially unmixed, poor, and seemingly arrogant. They despised him because he excelled on state exams and because he boasted about reading works by the Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky and the African American writer Richard Wright Gayle ...

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S. Sherrie Tartt

educator, human rights and community activist, was born Ericka Jenkins in Washington, D.C., to Cozette Jenkins, a secretary for the State Department, and Gervazae Jenkins, a clerk at the Pentagon. In high school Ericka was conscious of the inequality and discrimination African Americans experienced and participated in community service projects. Her first opportunity to partake in the excitement of the civil rights movement was with the 1963 March on Washington, which her parents did not want her to attend. Yet at age fifteen her rebel spirit was awakening as she defied her parents and stood among the multitude of marchers. She recalled that the powerful voice of Lena Horne singing the word “freedom” inspired her. The historic march cemented her determination to serve people for the rest of her life.

After high school Ericka was one of the first women to attend Lincoln University after transferring ...

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Elizabeth Heath

Louis Hunkanrin was born in Porto-Novo, Dahomey (present-day Benin). One of the earliest critics of French colonialism in Dahomey, Hunkanrin spent most of his adult life imprisoned for challenging colonial policies and attempting to win new respect and rights for Africans in French West Africa. A descendant of the royal family of Porto-Novo, Hunkanrin received an exceptional early education and matriculated at the école Normale in Senegal, where he graduated with a teaching degree in 1904. Immediately afterward he accepted a teaching position at a public school in Whydah and began vocalizing his criticism of France's arbitrary colonial policies.

Hunkanrin was dismissed from the school in 1909 after a series of disputes with the headmaster. He subsequently accepted a job at the Compagnie Française de l'Afrique Occidentale (C.F.A.O.), but in 1912 he was fired tried and convicted for insulting and threatening his superior He was sent to prison ...

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Allison Blakely

Hunt was born Ida Alexander Gibbs on November 16, 1862, in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Her father, Mifflin Wistar Gibbs, was a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who had achieved great success as an entrepreneur in California and then in British Columbia. In the late 1860s, while he continued business ventures in Canada, he sent the family to live in Oberlin, Ohio, where Ida's mother, the former Maria Alexander, had attended college. Ida completed two degrees at Oberlin College, specializing in English. She received a B.A. degree in 1884 and an M.A. degree in 1892. A classmate and friend in Ida's class of 1884 was Mary Church Terrell, later known as a civil rights leader. Ida's younger sister, Harriet Gibbs Marshall, likewise later became well known as the founder of the Washington, D.C. Conservatory of Music After college Ida Gibbs taught ...

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A. Kia Sinclair

creator of the holiday of Kwanzaa. Maulana Ndabezitha Karenga was born Ronald McKinley Everett in Parsonsburg, Maryland. Karenga left Maryland in 1958 and relocated to Los Angeles. While in Los Angeles, Karenga developed into a key intellectual, political, and cultural figure. Karenga attended Los Angeles City College, where he became the first black to serve as student-body president. He received his BA and MA degrees in political science and African studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. Karenga received two PhDs, the first in political science from the United States International University (1976) and the second in social ethics from the University of Southern California (1993). Karenga was also awarded an honorary PhD from South Africa's University of Durban-Westville.

In the 1960s with the Black Power movement on the rise African Americans were asserting their blackness by sporting Afros and dashikis and by abandoning the ...

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Boyd Childress

historian, teacher, and author. Rayford Whittingham Logan was a marginal civil rights figure yet a key voice in post–World War I race relations. Born in Washington, D.C., and educated in the district's segregated school system, Logan graduated from Dunbar High School, where Carter G. Woodson—later to play a key part in Logan's life—was an instructor. After continuing his education at Williams College in Massachusetts, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1917, Logan returned home and joined the District of Columbia National Guard, seeing combat in Europe as an infantry second lieutenant.

The U.S. Army in 1917 was segregated and like so many World Wars I and II black veterans Logan was deeply affected by his military experience After the war he was discharged but chose to remain in France an expatriate bitter against white Americans At home racial violence was widespread from Chicago ...

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Larvester Gaither

educator and activist, was born to parents Walter and Vera Henry in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as Richard Bullock Henry. Known later as Imari Obadele, he became one of the most recognized organizers of the reparations movement in the United States.

An important influence in Obadele's decision to become an activist was his older brother Milton Henry (1919–2006), who joined the military around the time Richard joined the Boy Scouts at age eleven. Milton eventually achieved the rank of second lieutenant, but against the harsh waves of Jim Crow segregation he surfaced as one of the leading opponents of the rigid forms of discrimination then endured by black officers Because of his dissent he eventually was court martialed and dishonorably discharged Nevertheless even without the benefits of the GI Bill he went on to graduate from Lincoln University and after being denied admission to Temple University attended Yale ...

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David Dabydeen

Guyanesehistorian and revolutionary. Rodney was born in Georgetown, British Guiana (now Guyana). His father was a tailor and his mother a seamstress, and despite hailing from a working‐class background, Rodney excelled academically and won various scholarships to further his education. He was awarded a Ph.D. in African history in 1966 from the School of Oriental and African Studies. His doctoral thesis, which was on slavery between 1545 and 1800 on the Upper Guinea Coast, was published in 1970 Rodney was a daring academic and challenged Western suppositions of history and historiography His first teaching post was in Tanzania but he soon returned to the Caribbean to advocate the strengths of the Black Power Movement The notion of Black Liberation was one that he spread across the poor in Jamaica disclosing his knowledge of African history to the Rastafarians Rodney s closeness to the lower classes incited suspicion ...

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Peter J. Duignan

fifth president of the Republic of Liberia, was born in Newark, Ohio, the son of John Roye, a wealthy merchant. His mother's name is unknown. His father died in 1829, leaving some personal property and land to Roye. He went to public schools in Ohio, attended Oberlin College, and taught for a few years in Chillicothe. He also tried his hand as a sheep trader and shopkeeper in various parts of the Midwest. After his mother died in 1840 he was influenced by the emigration movement to escape American prejudice. He rejected the idea of going to Haiti and instead traveled to Liberia in 1846 just before an independent republic was installed there in July 1847, taking with him a stock of goods.

At the time of Roye s arrival the new republic faced a variety of ills The dominant Americo Liberians remained a small minority threatened ...

Article

James Lance Taylor

activist, was born Betty Dean Sanders in Pinehurst, Georgia (though she later claimed Detroit, Michigan), to Shelman “Juju” Sandlin, a Philadelphia steelworker, and Ollie Mae Sanders, who conceived her out of wedlock as a teenager. Rumors of maternal neglect (Sandlin was an absent father) landed Betty in Detroit, Michigan, with her devout Catholic foster parents Helen Lowe, a grammar school teacher, and Lorenzo Don Malloy a shoemaker and proprietor. She was their only child.

Growing up with the Malloys, young Betty witnessed Helen Malloy's activism in social uplift causes through a Detroit affiliate of the National Housewives League the National Council of Negro Women and the then militant National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Betty participated in the Detroit League s youth program where she competed in debutant contests studied Negro history and affiliated with the well regarded Del Sprites social club Long ...

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There is some uncertainty about Betty Shabazz's origins and early life. Reportedly the daughter of Shelman Sandlin and a woman named Sanders, she was born Betty Sanders and grew up as a foster child in the Detroit, Michigan, home of a black family named Malloy. As a youth she was active in her local African Methodist Episcopal Church. She briefly attended Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) in Alabama but moved to New York City to escape Southern racism and to study at the Brooklyn State Hospital School of Nursing. During her junior year, she attended the Nation of Islam's Temple No. 7 in Harlem. There she taught a women's health and hygiene class and was noticed by Malcolm X, who was a minister at the temple. He proposed to her by telephone from Detroit, and they were married in 1958.

Shabazz converted to Islam ...

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Deborah Bingham Van Broekhoven

scholar, preacher, and teacher, was born at the Colored General Hospital in Knoxville, Tennessee, to Annie Beatrice Moore Washington and James W. Washington. Raised with six siblings (Louise Hill, Helen Brown, Howard Moore, Willie Moore, Charles Washington, and Ray Washington) in the Austin Homes Project and at Mount Olive Baptist Church, Washington felt the call of God to preach in 1961 while attending a meeting of the National Baptist Young People's Union (Conversations, xxvii). In 1971 Washington married Patricia Anne Alexander, with whom he had a daughter, Ayanna Nicole Washington.

As a youngster from a working class family in a segregated city Washington s only source of books was a small library for colored After reading in the newspaper that Knoxville libraries were no longer segregated he visited the magisterial Lawson McGhee Library with its ...