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J. D. Bowers

civil rights activist, religious pioneer, dentist, and investor, was born in Kingston, Jamaica, the youngest son of Thomas Gustavius Somerville, an Anglican minister. Little is known about his mother. He was educated in the Jamaican public schools, where he learned that social status and racial attitudes often triumphed over equality, and between 1897 and 1900 he attended and graduated from Mico College in Kingston with a teaching degree.

Rather than strain against the prevailing practices, Somerville left home for the United States in December 1901 at age nineteen in the company of a childhood friend seeking both adventure and a future devoid of racial intolerance Arriving in San Francisco with some money from his father Somerville quickly settled in Los Angeles a city whose prospects he considered promising Even in Los Angeles however he felt the pangs of America s racial prejudice He was ...