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Valerie A. Gray

college president, educator, and minister, was born Jared Maurice Arter in Jefferson County, West Virginia, the son of Jeremiah Arter, a slave and a miller by trade, and Hannah Frances Stephenson, a slave. When Arter was seven years old his father died in an accident at the mill. The plantation on which the family lived, the Little plantation, was located four miles from Harpers Ferry. In 1859 Arter witnessed the hanging of four men who participated in John Brown's raid at that city. This childhood memory sparked in him the desire to fight for equality; the schoolroom would be his battleground.

As a teenager Arter applied for a position as a bellboy for which he would have to pass a test demonstrating his ability to read numbers With help from his brother in law he mastered the skill sufficiently in one evening to pass the test This accomplishment ...

Article

Kecia Brown

college president, minister, journalist, and agriculturalist, was born a slave in Portland, Arkansas, to Albert Clark Book and Mary Punsard. Booker was orphaned at three years of age; his mother died when he was one year old and his father was whipped to death two years later, having been found guilty of teaching others how to read. At the end of the Civil War Booker's grandmother sent him to a school established to educate freed slaves.

Booker excelled in school By the time he was seventeen he had earned the right to open his own subscription school subscription schools were established during a time before the wide availability of public schools Parents paid a monthly fee for their children to attend these institutions Booker saved his money from teaching in order to attend college He attended Branch Normal School later the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in Pine ...

Article

Charles Rosenberg

president of Allen University, thirty‐seventh bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, was born in Winnsboro, South Carolina, the son of Henry Chappelle and Patsy McCrory Chappelle. Contemporary sources state that he was born enslaved, as were 98 percent of African Americans in South Carolina on the eve of the Civil War. There remains a possibility that he was free, since his recently widowed mother reported in the 1900 census that she was born in November 1827, and had been married fifty‐four years. Chappelle's maternal grandparents were Samuel and Fanny McCrory. Such stability of family name and marriage bonds may mean that his parents, or one of his parents had known freedom.

Chappelle attended the Fairfield Normal Institute at Winnsboro a school funded by northern Presbyterians staffed by northern educators considered white He experienced a Christian conversion at the age of nineteen making a life long ...

Article

Donna Tyler Hollie

educator, author, editor, and first professional African American classical scholar, was born in Macon, Georgia, the only survivor of three children of Jeremiah Scarborough, a railroad employee, and Frances Gwynn, a slave. His enslaved mother was permitted by her owner, Colonel William de Graffenreid, to live with her emancipated husband. Jeremiah Scarborough was given funds to migrate to the North by his emancipator, who left $3,000 in trust for him should he decide to move to the North. Not wanting to leave his enslaved wife and son, he chose to remain in Macon. According to the Bibb County, Georgia, census of 1870, he had accumulated $3,500 in real property and $300 in personal property.

The Scarboroughs were literate and encouraged their son s academic development They provided a variety of learning experiences for him they apprenticed him to a shoemaker and ...

Article

Michele Valerie Ronnick

William Sanders Scarborough was the son of Frances Gwynn (d. 1912) and Jeremiah Scarborough (d. 1883). His mother was born in Savannah around 1828, and came to Macon about the age of twenty. Of Yamacraw Indian, Spanish, and African descent, she was the slave of Colonel William de Graffenreid (1821–1873) who was general counsel to the Southwestern and Central railroads in Macon. DeGraffenreid was a descendant of the founder of New Bern, North Carolina, the Swiss Baron Christopher DeGraffenreid (1691–1742). Scarborough's father was born near Augusta around 1822. He had obtained his freedom some time before and was employed by the Georgia Central Railroad in Savannah. DeGraffenreid allowed Frances to marry Jeremiah, and permitted the couple to live in their own home on Cotton Avenue. Scarborough became their sole focus, when his siblings, John Henry and Mary Louisa died as small ...

Article

Nancy Elizabeth Fitch

educator, cofounder of the Afro-Virginian state teacher's association, and principal and president of historically black institutions of higher education, was born in slavery, in the governor's mansion in Richmond, Virginia, the son of S. Frank Trigg and Sarah Ann (maiden name unknown), members of Governor John B. Floyd's household staff. According to his obituary, Trigg received an early education in Richmond before returning with the household to Abingdon, Virginia. When the former governor joined the Confederacy, Trigg accompanied him to Tennessee where he served as his body servant. In 1863 after returning to Abingdon, John Floyd died and Trigg became the property of Floyd's son-in-law.

Following a farming accident that cost Trigg his right arm, he decided he should continue his education and he entered Hampton Institute in around 1870. Hampton Institute was founded by General Samuel Chapman Armstrong a leading American advocate of industrial ...

Article

Reginald Ellis

educational leader of the early twentieth century, was born in Newborn, Alabama, a rural town near the bustling coastal city of Mobile, to a slave mother, Susan Smith. Nathan's mother was born in 1842 on a slave plantation in Chatham, Virginia, where her owner died around her fourteenth birthday. Upon his death, Smith was given the choice of being sold to a local owner who was known for his abusive nature or being sold to a slave trader, who would potentially sell her away from her family. After some convincing from her mother, Susan decided that her best option was to be sold to the slave trader, who eventually marched her and a number of other slaves to Alabama.

Once in Alabama, the slave trader sold Susan to a Newborn cotton planter, who in turn sold her to the plantation's overseer in 1862 the same year of Nathan ...