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Adebe DeRango-Adem

was born Barbara Theresa Christian in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, one of six children of Alphonso Christian, a judge, and Ruth (maiden name unknown).

Christian was admitted to Marquette University in Wisconsin at the age of fifteen, graduating cum laude with a B.A. in 1963. She chose to continue studying literature at Columbia University in New York City, in part because of its proximity to Harlem and resonance with the legacy of the Harlem Renaissance writers, who were still largely foreign to the American literary canon during her term of study. Harlem was also a fertile center for political activism in the 1960s civil rights era and central to the creation of a new black intellectual elite whose activities centered around the bookstore run by Lewis Micheaux, brother of black filmmaker Oscar Micheaux. Christian was also said to have met Langston Hughes personal secretary in ...

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educator, literary and cultural critic, and leading scholar in African and African American studies, was born Louis Smith Gates in Keyser, West Virginia. Gates, nicknamed “Skip” by his mother at birth, grew up in nearby Piedmont, the son of Henry Louis Gates Sr., a mill worker and janitor, and Pauline Coleman Gates, a homemaker and seamstress. Born four years before the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education and encouraged by his parents, he excelled in Piedmont's integrated schools, including the Davis Free School and Piedmont High School, as did his older brother Paul, known as “Rocky,” who would become Chief of Oral Surgery at Bronx Lebanon Hospital.

At age fourteen Gates experienced two cataclysmic events in his young life the first a misdiagnosed slipped epithesis a hip injury that led to three surgeries in a year and the second his joining the Episcopal ...

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Adebe DeRango-Adem

literary scholar and writer of fiction, was born Hortense Jeanette Spillers in Memphis, Tennessee, the eldest child of Curtis and Evelyn (Taylor) Spillers.

She began her scholarly career at Melrose High School in Memphis, from which she graduated in 1960. She began her studies at Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina, to continue at Memphis State University, where she received both a B.A. in English Literature (1964) and an M.A. in English and American Literature (1966). Having grown up in a Baptist community, the African American sermon was to become a focus of her graduate work and after two years of teaching at Kentucky State College (now Kentucky State University) Spillers entered the graduate department of English and American literature of Brandeis University in the fall of 1968 There she continued her teaching throughout the period of graduate study particularly in the ...

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Greta Koehler

professor of English and African American studies, was born in Long Branch, New Jersey, to Harold N. Tate, an engineer, and Mary Austin Tate, a mathematician. Her parents received their degrees from North Carolina Central University in Durham. During World War II they came to Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, where her father served as an engineer in the army and her mother worked for the U.S. Department of Defense. Tate was an honor student at Rumson–Fair Haven Regional High School in New Jersey and received her bachelor's degree in English and American Literature from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1968.

Tate subsequently entered the graduate program in Harvard's English Department, where she was one of only a few black women. She received her Ph.D. in English and American Literature and Language in 1977 Tate started teaching at Howard University in Washington DC and joined ...