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Teresa A. Booker

attorney, politician, and diplomat, was born in Louisville, Kentucky. He was the youngest of two children and the only son of Charles W. Anderson Sr., a physician, and Tabitha L. Murphy, a teacher.

Motivated by the high value that his parents placed on education, Charles W. Anderson Jr. entered Kentucky State College at age fifteen and attended from 1922 to 1925. He then transferred to Wilberforce University, one of the earliest universities established for African Americans. Although the reason for Anderson's transfer to Wilberforce University during the penultimate year of his undergraduate career is unclear, it is likely that he, like other black Kentuckians, was forced to pursue higher education outside of the state because of the still-standing Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896 authorizing separate but equal educational facilities Higher educational institutions for blacks did not exist in Kentucky and rather than wait for them ...

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Glenn Allen Knoblock

Marine Corps soldier in the Vietnam War and‐Medal of Honor winner, was born in Nacogdoches, Texas, the son of Frank and Mildred Austin, and‐was raised in Phoenix, Arizona. A graduate of Phoenix Union High School, Austin was inducted for service in the U.S. Marine Corps during the height of the Vietnam War on 22 April 1968. Upon joining the marines, he was sent to boot camp at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, California, and served as a member of the Third Recruit Training Battalion through July 1968. Austin subsequently received individual combat and infantryman training at Camp Pendleton, California, from August to September 1968 as part of the Second Infantry Training Regiment, following which, in October 1968, he was promoted to private first class. Later that month, on 15 October he was sent to the Republic of Vietnam for his first tour of ...

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Nancy Gordon Heinl

Ebenezer Don Carlos Bassett was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, on October 16, 1833, the son of Tobias Bassett, a mulatto, and Susan (Gregory) Bassett, a Native American of the Shagticoke branch of the Pequot tribe. Ebenezer attended the Wesleyan Academy at Wilbraham, Massachusetts, and graduated with honors from the Connecticut State Normal School. While principal of a high school in New Haven, Connecticut, he continued his studies at Yale College, where he seems to have been held in wide respect. From 1857 to 1869 Bassett was principal of the Institute for Colored Youth in Philadelphia, a school founded by Quakers for the education of Colored Youth in school learning and to prepare them to become teachers In addition to his duties as principal Bassett taught mathematics natural sciences and classics he also acted as school librarian The mayor of Philadelphia referred to the school under ...

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 ...

Article

Alonford James Robinson

Walter Carrington, the eldest child of Walter R. and Marjorie Hayes Carrington, was born in New York City. He graduated from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1952 and Harvard Law School in 1955. Carrington was the first student elected to the National Board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). After serving in the U.S. Army, he was appointed to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. At age twenty-seven, he was the youngest person ever appointed a commissioner in that state.

In 1961 Carrington joined the Peace Corps, serving for ten years in Sierra Leone, Senegal, Tunisia, and eventually as the Regional Director for Africa. In 1971 he became the vice president of the African-American Institute (AAI), an organization dedicated to developing human resources in Africa and to fostering better dialogue between Africans and Americans.

In 1980 accepting an ...

Article

Rayford W. Logan

William Demos Crum was born near Orangeburg, South Carolina, the youngest of seven children. His grandfather, a German, had settled in South Carolina early in the nineteenth century. His father, Darius, owned a sizable plantation; little is known about his African ancestry. In 1875 he graduated from the Avery Normal Institute, a school sponsored by the American Missionary Association in Charleston. Crum studied briefly at the University of South Carolina, which was integrated at the time, and received his M.D. degree from Howard University in 1880. In 1883 he married Ellen Craft, the daughter of Ellen and WilliamCraft, who had escaped from slavery to Boston in 1848. Dr. Crum practiced medicine in Charleston, headed the local hospital for blacks, and served as a trustee of the Avery Normal Institute.

In addition to engaging in various business enterprises Crum was active in Republican politics He ...

Article

Michael L. Krenn

diplomat, was born in South Boston, Virginia, the son of Edward and Nellie Dudley. Dudley spent most of his early years in Virginia and then went on to earn his BS from Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina. His original plans for a career as a dentist went unfulfilled, however, and during the harshest years of the Great Depression, Dudley took up a variety of jobs, including as a public school teacher and as a real estate salesman. He eventually ended up in New York City, where for a short time he was able to gain employment with the Works Progress Administration's federal theater project. Dudley returned to school and earned his law degree from St. John's University in 1941 He had become active in New York Democratic Party politics and his hard work resulted in his appointment as New York State assistant attorney general ...

Article

John E. Fleming and Rayford W. Logan

Born in Weston, Platte County, Missouri, George Washington Ellis was the son of George and Amanda Jane (Drace) Ellis. He studied in the Weston elementary schools and the high school in Atchison, Kansas. He received his bachelor of law degree from the University of Kansas in 1893 and was admitted to the Kansas bar. From 1893 to 1897 he practiced law in Kansas to defray the expenses of four years in the university's collegiate department, and received his bachelor of arts degree in 1897. In that same year, he moved to New York City, where he took a two-year course in the Gunton Institute of Economics and Sociology.

After passing the examination of the United States Census Board in 1899, Ellis received an appointment in the Census Division of the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C. where he remained two years Here his spare ...

Article

Vernon J. Williams

lawyer and social scientist, was born in Weston Platt County, Missouri, the son of George Ellis, a farmer, and Amanda Jane Trace. George Ellis left home after completing elementary school, primarily because Weston Platt County could not provide him with the education or training he desired. He moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where he found greater educational opportunities but increased racial hostilities. As a consequence, he soon moved to Atkinson, Kansas, where he completed high school in 1891. Ellis continued his education at the law school at the University of Kansas, receiving an LLB in 1893. While practicing law Ellis pursued a BA at Kansas; it is not known, however, if he completed the requirements for the degree. While at the University of Kansas he was active in Republican politics and debated in Kansas's McKinley Club.

Ellis moved to New York City in 1897 where ...

Article

Paul D. Nelson

lawyer and diplomat, was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, the only child of James and Hattie Francis. Almost nothing of Francis's family and childhood is known, except that his father died before Francis was ten years old. In 1888 he moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, then a booming railroad city of about 130,000 with an African American community numbering perhaps 1,500. At age eighteen Francis found work as a messenger in the headquarters of the Northern Pacific Railroad, then became an office boy, a clerk in the legal department, and finally in 1901 chief clerk, probably the highest position attained by any African American in the railroad at that time. The Twin Cities black community considered Francis's position to be a distinguished one and he remained with the railroad for nearly twenty-five years.

From his earliest days in St Paul Francis distinguished himself as a singer and performed frequently ...

Article

Gloria Grant Roberson

With the support of the Harvard-affiliated educator George Herbert Palmer, Greener participated in a program to expose an African American to a Harvard education. Although poor grades resulted in his repeating his first year, Greener went on to win the Boylston Prize for Oratory in his sophomore year and the inaugural Bowdoin Prize for Research and Writing for his senior dissertation on Irish culture. Greener apparently recognized the advantages of repeating his first year at Harvard, because later, as a professor of mental and moral philosophy at the University of South Carolina, he was instrumental in adding a “subfreshman” class to the curriculum for scholarship students struggling with Latin and Greek.

The only child of Richard Wesley Greener, a seafaring man with an adventurous spirit, and Mary Ann Le Brune, Greener was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania His mother was thrust into single parenthood when her husband failed to ...

Article

Olive Hoogenboom

Richard Theodore Greener was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Richard Wesley Greener, a seaman who was wounded during the Mexican War while serving aboard the USS Princeton, and Mary Ann Le Brune. When he was nine, Greener and his parents moved to Boston but soon left for Cambridge, where he could attend “an unproscriptive school.” Greener's father, as chief steward of the George Raynes, had taken his son on a voyage to Liverpool but then abandoned the sea in 1853 for the California gold fields He was taken sick met with losses and was never heard from again When Greener was twelve years old he left school to help support his mother Although he quit one of his positions after an employer struck him those whom he met while knocking around in different occupations often helped educate him sharing their libraries and tutoring ...

Article

Archibald Henry Grimké was born a slave in Charleston, South Carolina, to parents Henry Grimké, a European-American plantation owner, and Nancy Weston, an African American slave. Henry Grimké's sisters Sarah and Angelina were prominent white abolitionists. After emancipation, Archibald Grimké attended Lincoln University (Pennsylvania). With the help of his aunts Sarah and Angelina, he attended Harvard Law School. Graduating in 1874, he practiced law in Boston, Massachusetts, where he became editor of Hub, a Boston Republican newspaper in 1884. He also wrote for the Boston Herald and Boston Traveler. He left the Republican Party in 1886 because of its indifference to the plight of African Americans, joined the Democratic Party, and quickly became one of the most powerful African American Democrats in Massachusetts.

As a scholar and writer, Grimké published major biographies of William Lloyd Garrison (1891 and ...

Article

Sylvie Coulibaly

lawyer, editor, diplomat, and civil rights activist. Archibald Henry Grimké was born a slave outside Charleston, South Carolina. His white father was the prominent plantation owner Henry Grimké, and his mother was Nancy Weston, a house slave of mixed ancestry. Widowed in 1843, Henry Grimké fathered two more sons with Weston, Francis in 1850 and John in 1852.

When Henry Grimké died in 1852, the family moved to Charleston. Still legally slaves owned by Henry Grimké's son Montague, Weston and her sons lived as free people, according to Henry's wishes. Weston supported the family alone and sent her sons to school at an early age. In 1860 Archibald and Francis became house slaves in Montague's household. They worked for their half brother for two years until Archibald ran away, hiding in Charleston until the Civil War ended.

In 1865 ...

Article

Patricia Roberts Harris was born and raised in a working-class suburb of Chicago, Illinois. She accepted a scholarship from Howard University in Washington, D.C., where in 1943 she participated in one of the country's first student sit-ins, at a whites-only cafeteria in a black neighborhood. She later attended law school at Washington's George Washington University, from which she graduated first in her class. In 1961, she joined the faculty of Howard Law School.

A lifelong member of the Democratic Party, Harris served on several federal commissions concerned with minority rights. In 1965, largely on the strength of this work, President Johnson appointed her U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg. After a brief and noncontroversial posting, she returned to Howard in 1967 and in 1969 was named dean of the law school Immediately after her appointment students protested for greater power in university decisions Harris took a strong ...

Article

Elizabeth Zoe Vicary

William Alexander Leidesdorff was born in St. Croix in the Danish Virgin Islands, the son of William Leidesdorff, a Danish planter, and Anna Marie Sparks, an Afro-Caribbean slave. He was educated by his owner, who reportedly treated him more as a son than as a slave. As a young man he was sent to New Orleans to work for his uncle's cotton business as a master of ships sailing between New York and New Orleans. Both his father and uncle died soon after, leaving Leidesdorff a sizable inheritance. His newly acquired wealth enabled him to propose to a woman he had been courting, Hortense, who accepted. The engagement ended painfully, shortly before the wedding day, when Leidesdorff told his fiancée that he was of African descent through his mother. Hortense called off the wedding, and he, heartbroken, left New Orleans.

Arriving in California in 1841 aboard ...

Article

The son of Limas and Dora Lee Brooks McHenry, Donald Franchot McHenry was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He grew up in poverty in East St. Louis, Illinois, where a public school is now named in his honor. McHenry received a B.S. degree from Illinois State University in 1957 and an M.S. degree from Southern Illinois University in 1959. As a student he was president of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). McHenry was involved in negotiations to end segregation in area housing and restaurants.

McHenry then moved to Washington, D.C. He taught English at Howard University beginning in 1959 and entered the graduate program in international relations at Georgetown University. His public career began when he joined the U.S. Department of State in 1963. In 1968 he was made assistant to the secretary of state. From 1971 ...

Article

Donald Roe

civil rights lawyer, law professor, and university president. James Madison Nabrit Jr., a dedicated civil rights lawyer, educator, and public servant, graduated from Northwestern University Law School and established a law practice in Houston, Texas, in the early 1930s. During this period, he represented Native Americans in cases involving oil and gas issues. He also developed an interest in civil rights law and was involved in cases relating to black voting rights. Nabrit joined the Howard University Law School faculty in 1936. He was among a small cadre of brilliant lawyers, centered at Howard, who led the fight to dismantle legal segregation in the United States. After serving as a law professor, dean of the law school, and university secretary at Howard during a twenty-four year period, Nabrit became president of the university in 1960.

Article

James Madison Nabrit was born in Washington, D.C., to the Reverend James Madison and Gertrude Nabrit. He graduated from Morehouse College in 1923 and from Northwestern University Law School in 1927. In 1930 Nabrit moved to Houston, where he worked as a civil rights lawyer. Nabrit joined the faculty of Howard University Law School in 1936, where in 1938 he taught the first formal civil rights course in any law school in the United States. While a teacher and administrator at Howard from 1936 to 1960, Nabrit was involved in numerous civil rights cases including Bolling v. Sharpe, in which he and attorney George E. C. Hayes challenged segregation in the public schools of the District of Columbia. Bolling was ruled upon by the Supreme Court in conjunction with Brown v. Board of Education wherein the court found segregation to be unconstitutional In ...

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 ...