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Thomas Clarkin

scholar and diplomat, was born Ralph Johnson Bunche in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Fred Bunch, a barber, and Olive Agnes Johnson. His grandmother added an “e” to the family's last name following a move to Los Angeles, California. Because his family moved frequently, Bunche attended a number of public schools before graduating first in his class from Jefferson High School in Los Angeles in 1922. He majored in Political Science at the University of California, Southern Branch (now University of California, Los Angeles [UCLA]), graduating summa cum laude and serving as class valedictorian in 1927. He continued his studies in political science at Harvard, receiving his MA in 1928, and then taught at Howard University in Washington, D.C., while working toward his PhD at Harvard. In 1930 he married Ruth Ethel Harris they had three children Bunche traveled to Europe and Africa researching ...

Article

Lawrie Balfour

Born in Detroit, Michigan, Ralph Johnson Bunche spent his early years with his parents in Detroit and in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He attributed his achievements to the influence of his maternal grandmother, Lucy Johnson, with whom he lived in Los Angeles, California, after he was orphaned at age thirteen. Johnson not only insisted that her grandson be self-reliant and proud of his race, but also that he, a high school valedictorian, go to college.

Bunche enrolled at the University of California at Los Angeles, and after graduating summa cum laude in 1927, he entered graduate school at Harvard University in Massachusetts. He was the first black American to earn a Ph.D. degree in political science from an American university. Bunche won the prize for the outstanding doctoral thesis in the social sciences in 1934 He conducted his postdoctoral research on African colonialism He did his research ...

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Joseph C. Heim

scholar, university professor, diplomat, UN administrator, and Nobel Peace Prize recipient. In the 1950s and 1960s Bunche was the most visible African American on the world stage. But his accomplishments were far in the future when he was born in modest circumstances in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Fred Bunche, a barber, and Olive Bunche. His parents, however, were constantly in poor health, and after their early deaths Bunche was raised by his grandmother, Lucy Johnson, in Los Angeles.

His grandmother s diligence and inspiration guided and shaped Bunche s youth and he compiled a record of stellar achievement both in athletics he later was a guard on the basketball team of the University of California at Los Angeles UCLA and in academics This he did while holding numerous jobs from delivering newspapers to laying carpets on merchant ships His early years also ...

Article

Arlene Lazarowitz

newspaper publisher and ambassador, was born in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, the son of William Beverly Carter and Maria Green. After a childhood spent in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Carter graduated in 1944 from Lincoln University, a historically black institution in Pennsylvania. As a student he was a member of Alpha Boule, Sigma Pi Phi, and Kappa Alpha Psi, and he served as executive secretary of the alumni association from 1952 to 1955. He attended Temple University Law School from 1946 to 1947 and the New School for Social Research from 1950 to 1951.

Early in his professional career, from 1943 to 1945, Carter worked as a reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune. He was city editor of the Philadelphia Afro-American from 1945 to 1948 and publisher of the Pittsburgh Courier newspaper group from 1955 to 1964. In 1958 he served as president of the National Newspaper Publishers ...

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John Craig Hammond

“I do not set up for being perfect: far from it!” wrote the Kentucky antislavery agitator Cassius Marcellus Clay to the abolitionist John Fee in 1855. “I wish I were,” he continued, but “a good balance sheet of good against evil is all I aspire to!” Judged by his own standards as well as by those of black and white antislavery advocates, Cassius Clay succeeded in fulfilling his ambition, through his battles against the evil of slavery. A former slaveholder and one of the few antislavery leaders to remain in the South after 1830, Clay became something of a hero to northern abolitionists, who appreciated his willingness to challenge slaveholders on their own turf.

Cassius Clay was born in Kentucky s Bluegrass region to the planter Green Clay and his wife Sally in Clermont Clay lived to the age of ninety three and spent much of his life ...

Article

Thomas M. Leonard

diplomat, lawyer, and journalist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Samuel Durham and Elizabeth Stephens. Two of his uncles, Clayton Durham and Jeremiah Durham, were noted clergymen who helped Bishop Richard Allen establish the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. Durham, who could almost pass for white, studied in the Philadelphia public schools and graduated from the Institute for Colored Youth in 1876.

For five years after leaving high school Durham taught in Delaware and Pennsylvania. In 1881 he entered Towne Scientific School, a branch of the University of Pennsylvania, from which he earned a bachelor's degree in 1886 and a civil engineering degree in 1888. He held several positions during his college career, including reporter for the Philadelphia Times. He excelled as a newspaperman, and his unique abilities eventually led him to the assistant editorship of the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin ...

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Michaeljulius Idani

conservative activist, diplomat, and radio personality, was born in Long Island, New York, the youngest of the five children of Allison L. Keyes, a U.S. Army sergeant, and Gerthina Quick Keyes, a homemaker. Keyes spent the majority of his childhood on various military bases. He developed a close relationship with his mother, whom he admired greatly for raising a family under difficult circumstances. Both parents instilled in Keyes a strong sense of faith, which would underpin his later political activism.

From an early age Keyes displayed a talent for public speaking viewing it as an effective means of influencing others particularly in regards to moral issues While attending Robert G Cole High School in San Antonio Texas Keyes became active in debating clubs and civic organizations He competed in numerous speech contests winning the majority of them His oratorical skills aided in his elections to ...

Article

Wesley Borucki

diplomat, political commentator, and Republican presidential and U.S. Senate candidate. Alan Keyes was born in the U.S. Naval Hospital in Long Island, New York. His father, Allison Keyes, was a U.S. Army sergeant major who served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Young Alan moved often, completing his high school education at Robert G. Cole High School in San Antonio, Texas. At age sixteen he was the first African American president of the American Legion Boys Nation. In a 2001 interview on C-SPAN, Keyes stated that the civil rights movement's “deep questions of justice” moved him toward public service.

Keyes attended Cornell in 1969. While at Cornell, he developed a relationship with the conservative philosopher Allan Bloom. Bloom described Keyes (though not by name) in his book The Closing of the American Mind in an anecdote about an African American student who received death threats from ...

Article

Linda M. Carter

lawyer, diplomat, educator, and editor, was born John Henry Smyth in Richmond, Virginia, the son of Sully Smyth, a slave, and Ann Eliza Goode Smyth, a free African American. Smyth was also born free because at the time of his birth, slave codes decreed that a child's status followed that of the mother. Ann Smyth then paid Sully Smyth's owner $1,800 to gain her husband's freedom, but Virginia law prohibited her from freeing him, and she willed her husband to Smyth.

Another African American woman in Richmond taught him Smyth how to read, and he was able to take advantage of better educational opportunities beyond Virginia's borders. In Philadelphia African American youth attended private schools as early as 1770 and public schools as early as 1822 When he was seven years old Smyth s parents sent him to Philadelphia where he attended a ...

Article

Alisha Lola Jones

clergyman, founder of Organization for a New Equality, and former ambassador to Tanzania, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Charles J. Stith, a jazz musician and Dorothy Stith, a nurse. His parents later divorced. Stith's mother was very active in the Methodist church. She made church participation an integral part of Stith's upbringing. He had two younger siblings, Rebecca Fanning and James Butler.

A 1963 graduate of Soldan High School in St. Louis, he matriculated into the St. Louis junior college system. During a trip to build churches in Africa in 1969, Stith was inspired to enter the ministry and acquired an interest in international development and justice issues in Africa. He transferred to Baker University in Baldwin, Kansas, graduating in 1973.

During a conference at St Paul School of Theology in Kansas City Missouri in which Stith participated ...

Article

After graduating from the New York public school system, Franklin Williams acquired a bachelor's degree from Lincoln University and a law degree from Fordham Law School. Following service in World War II, he worked as an assistant to Thurgood Marshall, then assistant counsel to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), until 1950. Williams served as West Coast director of the NAACP until 1959.

After conducting voter registration dinners that helped elect John F. Kennedy president, Williams was selected to head the African branch of the newly created Peace Corps. Part of his job entailed traveling throughout Africa with Peace Corps director Sargent Shriver to plan the organization's future. His experiences in a wide range of foreign nations primed him for a diplomatic post. In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Williams to serve on a delegation to the Economic and ...