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Jason Philip Miller

mayor and U.S. Congressman, was born in tiny Waxahachie, Texas, into a family of preachers. He came of age in a public housing development near Wichita Falls, Texas, and attended the public schools there. For a time, he wished to pursue a life as a professional football player, but an injury prevented him from seeing that dream to fulfillment. Instead, he attended Texas A&M, from which he graduated in 1968. Falling back onto what was to some large degree the family business, Cleaver earned his Master of Divinity degree from St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Missouri. There, at the behest of Ralph Abernathy he established a chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference He was assigned to St James Church and under his guidance the tiny inner city congregation fewer than thirty regular attendees when Cleaver took over soon blossomed into the one of ...

Article

Kerry Pimblott

politician and trade unionist, was born in Cairo, Illinois, the eldest son of Nevada Bell and Charles Hayes Sr., the latter a farm laborer. Charles Arthur Hayes spent his formative years in Cairo, graduating from that city's Sumner High School in 1935.

After high school, Hayes took a job stacking lumber at E. L. Bruce Company, a leading manufacturer of hardwood flooring. Hayes quickly rose to the more skilled position of machine operator and became active in efforts to organize a union. In 1939, these efforts resulted in the founding of Local 1424 of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. A few months later, Hayes was elected president, marking the beginning of a long career as a labor organizer.

During World War II, Hayes, like thousands of African Americans, migrated north to Chicago in search of better employment opportunities. In 1942 Hayes ...

Article

Thaddeus Russell

politician and mayor of Chicago, was born on the South Side of Chicago, the son of Roy Lee Washington, a stockyard worker, and Bertha Jones, a domestic worker. Harold Washington attended a Benedictine boarding school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, until the age of six. He was then enrolled in Chicago public schools but dropped out of high school after his junior year to take a job in a meatpacking plant. His father, who had become an attorney and a precinct captain for the Democratic Party in Chicago's largely African American Third Ward, secured a job for Washington at the Chicago office of the U.S. Treasury Department. In 1941 he married Dorothy Finch. They had no children and divorced in 1950.

Following U.S. entry into World War II in December 1941 Washington was drafted into the U S Army He was stationed in the South Pacific with ...

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Joseph Wilson and David Addams

career Democratic legislator who made history as the first African American mayor of Chicago, Illinois. Born and raised in Chicago, Harold L. Washington was a decorated World War II veteran and graduated from Northwestern University School of Law in 1952. He practiced law as a city prosecutor and state arbitrator until being elected to the state legislature in 1965. As a state legislator, he helped lead the 1973 campaign to have the state of Illinois become the first in the United States to recognize the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday as a holiday. In 1980, he was elected to Congress, after running for mayor unsuccessfully in 1977. In Congress, Washington used his influence to ensure the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act in 1982.

In 1983, black community activists solicited Washington to run for mayor against the incumbent Democrat, Jane Byrne ...

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Aaron Myers

Harold Washington was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Bertha and Roy Lee Washington, who separated when he was young, and he was raised by his father. After dropping out of high school during his junior year, Washington earned a high school equivalency degree in the Army, after he was drafted during World War II. He graduated from Roosevelt University in 1949 with a degree in political science followed by a degree in law from Northwestern University in 1952.

Washington began his political career when he succeeded his deceased father in 1953 as a Democratic Party precinct captain. After positions as a city attorney (1954–1958) and a state labor arbitrator (1960–1964), he served in the Illinois House of Representatives (1965–1976). He then advanced to seats in the Illinois State Senate (1976–1980 and the United States House of Representatives ...

Article

Rachelle Gold

civil rights activist, politician, and ambassador. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Andrew Jackson Young Jr. was the son of Andrew Jackson Young Sr., a dentist, and Daisy Fuller Young, a schoolteacher. With his younger brother Walter, Andrew and his parents lived in an upper-middle-class neighborhood with white families. In the fifth grade Young's civics teacher took the class to observe Thurgood Marshall arguing a legal case, and this experience inspired Young. He graduated early from a private high school in 1947. He entered Howard University that same year, participating on both the track and the swimming teams and planning to become a dentist. In 1951 he earned his biology degree from Howard.

That summer after graduating, Young felt called to become a preacher instead of a dentist. So he entered divinity school at Hartford Seminary in Connecticut. Receiving his bachelor of divinity degree in 1955 ...

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Elizabeth Heath

Born and raised in an affluent African American family in New Orleans, Louisiana, Andrew Young had opportunities as a child that were available to few blacks in the South, including an exceptional education. He attended Howard University and Hartford Theological Seminary. Ordained a Congregational minister in 1955, he soon after accepted a pastorate in Thomasville, Georgia. This experience made him keenly aware of the poverty African Americans suffered in the rural South and inspired his work as a civil rights activist.

In 1959 Young moved to New York to become assistant director of the National Council of Churches and to raise financial support for activities related to the Civil Rights Movement in the South. He returned to Georgia two years later and joined the Southern Christian Leadership Conference SCLC His energetic work as funding coordinator and administrator of the SCLC Citizenship Education Programs soon won him the ...

Article

Alton Hornsby

civil rights leader, United Nations ambassador, U.S. congressman, and mayor, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Andrew Jackson Young, a dentist, and Daisy Fuller, a teacher. Young received a BS degree in Biology from Howard University in 1951 and a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Hartford Theological Seminary in Connecticut in 1955. In the same year he was ordained as a minister in the United Church of Christ. As a pastor he was sent to such places as Marion, Alabama, and Thomasville and Beachton, Georgia. During this time the civil rights movement was reaching its height under the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr. and others who followed the nonviolent resistance tactics of Mohandas Gandhi, the pacifist who had led Indian opposition to British colonial rule. By the time of the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott in 1955 Young ...