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Leigh Kimmel

politician and the first African American statewide elected officeholder in Illinois, was born in Centralia, Illinois, the son of Earl, a worker with the Illinois Central Railroad, and Emma Burris. His family also ran a store to supplement his father's railroad wages. Because both of his parents were busy during the day, when Burris was four years old he would often accompany his older siblings to school, where he would sit on the platform outside the door, listening to the class being conducted inside.

While he attended Centralia Township High School he was active in sports becoming an All State defensive safety in football in spite of being only five feet six inches inches tall He also became increasingly aware of racial discrimination in his community during high school and at sixteen he helped to integrate the Centralia public pool When the city unofficially designated the pool for whites only ...

Article

Eric Young

Sylvie Kinigi rose to prominence as a commercial banker and senior officer of Burundi's structural adjustment program. After Melchior Ndadaye, an ethnic Hutu, was elected to the presidency in June 1993, he appointed Kinigi, a Tutsi married to a Hutu, prime minister in an act of national reconciliation and as part of a policy of appointing women to top posts. Kinigi and Agathe Uwilingiyimana, the premier of neighboring Rwanda, served simultaneously as the first female prime ministers in Africa. Kinigi, a member of the former ruling Union for National Progress (UPRONA) Party, was a political moderate, but her leadership was quickly eclipsed by events beyond her control.

In October 1993 after a military coup killed President Ndadaye and threw Burundi into violence Kinigi sought asylum in the French embassy Her appeals for international support convinced the military to return to its barracks allowing Kinigi to ...

Article

E. C. Foster

physician, attorney, and political leader, was born in Holmes County, Mississippi, near the town of Ebenezer, the son of Charles Redmond, a former slave and blacksmith, and Esther Redmond, a former slave. In 1871 large numbers of blacks were elected to state and local government positions. Less than two years earlier a new state constitution had been put into effect that promised to make democracy a reality for both black and white Mississippians. Moreover, the abolition of slavery in the United States had occurred six years before Redmond's birth. After leaving the farm near Ebenezer along with the rest of his family, Redmond settled in Holly Springs, Mississippi, where he later attended Rust College. Upon graduation from Rust College in 1894 he entered the field of education and served both as a principal at Mississippi State Normal School in Holly Springs and as a ...

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Steven J. Niven

banker, lawyer, and political activist, was born on the campus of Kittrell College in Vance County, North Carolina. He was the younger of two children born to John Leonidas Wheeler, the president of Kittrell College, and Margaret Hervey. Shortly after John was born, his father left Kittrell to work for the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company in nearby Durham. The family moved again in 1912 to Atlanta, Georgia, where John’s father took a position as a regional supervisor for the North Carolina Mutual. The move ensured that John Hervey Wheeler enjoyed a relatively comfortable childhood among Atlanta’s black elite. He was a member of the prestigious Big Bethel African Methodist Episcopal church, attended public school in Atlanta up to the seventh grade, earned local fame as an accomplished violinist, and completed his high school education at Morehouse College. Wheeler graduated summa cum laude from Morehouse in 1929 ...