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Floyd Jr. Ogburn

physician and politician, was born near Orangeburg, South Carolina. Born free and the youngest of seven children in a family with German African ancestry, he matured on an Orangeburg plantation, which his father, Darius, had inherited from his German father, who had settled in South Carolina in the early nineteenth century. The Crums owned and used forty-three slaves to farm their plantation, yet the close of the Civil War marked the death of Darius and their fortune.

The dissolution of the family fortune drove Crum's older brothers north in search of employment, but they helped him get an education. He graduated in 1875 from Avery Normal Institute in Charleston, South Carolina, and briefly attended the University of South Carolina shortly thereafter. In 1881 he obtained an MD degree from Howard University, establishing a medical practice in Charleston two years later. After setting up his medical practice Crum married Ellen ...

Article

Robert L. Harris

educator, diplomat, and administrator, was one of thirteen children born to Robert and Viola Bagsby Holland in Auburn, New York. Most of the children did not survive childhood. One of his younger siblings affectionately called him “Brudder,” later shortened to “Brud,” which he was called by relatives and friends throughout his life. His father was a gardener and handyman for several families in Auburn. “Brud” Holland began to work with his father at age eight to support their poor family. He determined early in life that education was the key to success.

Holland was a stellar basketball and football player. He played four years on the varsity football team for Auburn High School and twice earned statewide honors. His high school coach years later referred to him as the best all-around athlete ever to play for Auburn. Holland entered Cornell University's College of Agriculture in 1935 ...

Article

Elizabeth R. Schroeder

journalist, businessman, military leader, and diplomat, was born in Albany, Georgia, to Richard and Eliza (Brown) Jones. Richard Lee Jones, also known as Dick Jones, moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, with his family at fifteen saying

In the South, I was not the submissive kind, but I learned respect for authority. Many Negroes have not learned that yet. They come up here and try to run away with the town. I had no trouble in the South. I avoided trouble. If you see a nail, why sit on it? Much trouble could be avoided by Negroes in the South if they tried to. Get me straight! I am not for conditions down there. They are bad, but could be bettered.”

(Wilson, “Interview with Dick Jones, Manager of South Center,” Negro in Illinois Papers)

He attended the University of Cincinnati from 1912 to 1915 and later abandoned his law ...

Article

Alonford James Robinson

Cecil Rhodes was born on July 5, 1853, in Bishop's Stortford, England. At the age of seventeen he was sent from his home in England to live with his brother in what is now South Africa. Diamond fields had been discovered at Kimberley in Cape Colony that year, and Rhodes became a diamond prospector. By the time he was nineteen years old he had accumulated a large fortune. At the age of twenty he returned to England to study at the University of Oxford, and for the next eight years he divided his time between the university and the diamond fields. During this period he consolidated the Cape Colony's diamond-mining claims to form De Beers Mining Company.

Rhodes s control over this important industry earned him an audience in the colonial Parliament where he advocated the use of military might to secure a cheap African labor force ...

Article

Robert Rotberg

British imperialist in southern Africa, diamond mine entrepreneur, and Cape Colony politician, was born the fourth son and sixth child in a family of nine. Rhodes grew up in a vicarage in Bishop’s Stortford, England, performed well but not brilliantly in the local schools, and set sail for Africa at the age of sixteen.

For a year from age seventeen to eighteen he attempted to grow cotton in the central section of what is now KwaZulu Natal South Africa Then he joined his brother on the newly opened diamond fields of Kimberley in the Cape Colony There he made his fortune gradually gaining ascendancy among hard scrabble diamond seekers and consolidating his holdings over first one and then over the several pits from which rough diamonds were dug As a very young man he also gained a broad personal following because of his ideas about imperial might and the glory ...

Article

Bill Dickens

economist, educator, businessman, and diplomat, was born Clifton Reginald Wharton Jr. in Boston, Massachusetts, one of four children of Clifton Reginald Wharton, an ambassador, and Harriette B., a social worker in Boston and a French and Latin teacher at Virginia State University. His father was the first African American to pass the Foreign Service examination and became the first black career ambassador.

Wharton attended the prestigious Boston Latin School and graduated in 1943. The precocious Wharton enrolled at Harvard University at age sixteen. At the age of nineteen he served as an army aviation cadet and was stationed in Tuskegee, Alabama. However, with five weeks remaining to earn his aviator wings, he decided to return to Harvard to complete his undergraduate degree. He earned his AB in History in 1947 Wharton was the first African American to enroll in the Johns Hopkins School ...