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Sibyl Collins Wilson

lawyer, State Supreme Court Justice, mayor of Detroit, Michigan, and president of the American Bar Association, was born in Detroit to Ernest and Frances Archer, and was raised in Cassopolis, Michigan. Determined to raise himself from poverty, and encouraged by his parents to value education, Archer was steadfast in his studies. He graduated from Cassopolis High School in 1959 and entered Western Michigan University that fall. While attending Western Michigan he pledged Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the first black collegiate fraternal organization. He graduated in 1965.

Archer had a desire to teach, so he relocated to Detroit and took a position in the Detroit schools teaching and assisting emotionally disturbed students. He met Trudy Duncombe, another young teacher, during this tenure, and they married on 17 June 1967 Although dedicated to education Archer began to prepare himself for another level of public service when he entered ...

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Charles F. Casey-Leninger

first black mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio, was born in Maysville, Kentucky, to a white farmer whom he never knew and Cora Berry. When he was a toddler, Berry's mother brought him to Cincinnati, where they settled in the emerging African American community in the city's West End. Severely hearing impaired and with difficulty speaking, his mother earned little as a domestic, and Berry's sister Anna, fifteen years his senior, eventually assembled the family in her own household.

Berry attended the segregated Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary School and graduated from the racially mixed Woodward High School in 1924 as valedictorian, the first black student in Cincinnati to achieve that honor in an integrated high school. Berry received his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1928 and his juris doctorate from the UC College of Law in 1931 He worked his way through school by selling ...

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Daryl A. Carter

mayor of Newark, New Jersey, was born Cory Anthony Booker in Washington, D.C., the younger of two sons of Carolyn and Cary Booker, executives at IBM. Booker graduated from North Valley Regional High School at Old Tappan, after which he entered Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. At Stanford Booker studied political science and was active in student politics, serving in student government as senior class president. He played football and was awarded for his talent. Upon graduating with a B.A. in 1991, Booker decided to stay at Stanford for another year. In 1992, Booker received his M.A. in Sociology and was awarded one of the highly coveted Rhodes Scholarships. In Great Britain, he continued his studies at The Queen's College of Oxford University. In 1994 Booker received a degree in modern history with honors After completing his studies in England Booker enrolled at Yale Law ...

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politician, was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, to Ralph Campbell, a janitor, and June Campbell, a secretary. With both parents involved in activism—Ralph was a NAACP chapter president, and June organized civil rights events at schools and churches—Campbell was thrust into public service at a young age. At age six, he and his older brother, Ralph Jr. handed out leaflets for the NAACP at age seven when Raleigh nominally adopted integration Campbell became the first black child to attend a white public school when he enrolled at Murphy Public School Though thirty black families had originally registered their children after intimidation and Ku Klux Klan threats Campbell was the only child not to be withdrawn by the start of the school year Though his father received a threatening phone call from the KKK and though he himself was the subject of frequent taunts Campbell endured and ...

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SaFiya D. Hoskins

politician, was born Adrian Malik Fenty in Washington, D.C., the second-oldest son of Jan and Phillip Fenty. His Italian American mother and Afro-Panamanian father, both avid runners, are owners since 1984 of Fleet Feet, an athletic apparel and shoe store in the multicultural Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Fenty was raised in Mount Pleasant, a middle-class community in northwest Washington, D.C., along with his older brother Shawn and his younger brother Jess He attended Macklin Catholic High School and graduated from Woodrow Wilson Senior High School both in the District of Columbia Fenty inherited his parent s appreciation for running and participated in high school track and field Having also adopted their zeal for social and political activism early on he aspired to a career in law Desiring a rural experience compared to his familiar urban lifestyle Fenty declined acceptance at Columbia University in New York ...

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SaFiya D. Hoskins

politician, was born Shirley Clarke in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Eugene Haywood Clarke, an attorney, and Ruth Lyons White. Clarke graduated from the Philadelphia High School for Girls in 1963, a historic and highly competitive institution. Clarke had early aspirations of becoming a dancer. Despite her lack of participation in high school student government, upon graduating, Clarke became active in the civil rights movement as an undergraduate at Howard University in Washington, D.C. In 1968 Clarke earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Howard, then, returned to her hometown to attend the University of Pennsylvania. She graduated from Penn in 1969 with a Master of Arts degree in Sociology.

In 1972, Clarke married the entertainment attorney David McCoy Franklin; together the couple settled in Atlanta, Georgia. The couple, who divorced in 1986, had three daughters; Kai Ayanna, Cabral Candice ...

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Bonnie Newman Davis

attorney and first African American mayor of Dallas. Ronald Kirk was born in Austin, Texas, the son of Lee Kirk, a postal clerk, and Willie Mae Kirk, a schoolteacher. The youngest of four children, Kirk grew up in largely segregated Austin. Kirk's mother was strict, making sure that her children had good manners, spoke well, and received good grades in school. Kirk complied, becoming a cellist in the orchestra, state president of the Teenage March of Dimes, and an officer in Jack and Jill, a service and leadership organization.

When Kirk was in junior high school, Austin's school system became integrated, and racial and ethnic tensions were common. Later, at the integrated John H. Reagan High School Kirk s early political aspirations took hold when he was elected president of the student council Still he struggled to find his self identity Black students called him Uncle Tom ...

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Daryl A. Carter

U.S.Trade Representative, was born Ronald Kirk in Austin, Texas, the youngest of four children of Lee Kirk, a postal worker, and Willie Mae Kirk, a schoolteacher. Kirk attended public schools in Austin and, like his family, was politically active from a young age. He was elected to serve as president of the student council during his senior year. Following his high school studies, he enrolled at Austin College in Sherman, Texas, where he studied political science and sociology. Kirk received his B.A.in 1976. Afterward, Kirk decided on a career in law and enrolled at the University of Texas Law School. In 1979 Kirk was awarded his law degree and set out to practice in the private sector. He married Matrice Ellis in 1987; the couple had two daughters, Elizabeth and Catherine.

Using his knowledge of the law and his political acumen Kirk accepted in ...

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Greta Koehler

politician and mayor of New Orleans, was born Marc Haydel Morial in New Orleans, Louisiana, as the second of five children to Sybil Haydel Morial, a teacher, and Ernest N. “Dutch” Morial, a lawyer and New Orleans's first African American mayor. Morial graduated from New Orleans's all-male Jesuit High School in 1976 and went on to complete a Bachelor's degree in Economics and African American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania in 1980. During this time he served as coordinator for his father's mayoral campaign. After receiving a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University in 1983, Morial worked for two years in a law firm in New Orleans before opening his own in 1985. During this time he served as board member for the Louisiana American Civil Liberties Union and received the Louisiana State Bar Association's Pro Bono Publico Award in 1988 for his ...

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Jessica Christina Harris

lawyer, mayor, and law school dean, was born Kurt Lidell Schmoke in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Murray A. Schmoke Sr., a civilian chemist in the U.S. Army, and Irene Bennett Reid, a social worker. Schmoke had two half siblings, a sister, Karla Reid Young, and a brother, Murray A. Schmoke Jr., who died tragically in a traffic accident in South Africa in 1994. Coming of age in the Deep South during the Jim Crow era, Schmoke's parents experienced the viciousness of racism firsthand. Their pursuit and successful completion of college degrees at that time exhibited to their son that, with steadfast faith, courage, and self-assurance, opportunity and success would be plentiful to him.

Schmoke received his early education in Baltimore's public school system. A beneficiary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education (1954 Supreme Court decision Schmoke attended ...

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Wesley Borucki

attorney, former mayor, Howard Law School dean. Kurt L. Schmoke was born into a middle-class professional family in Baltimore, Maryland. His father, Murray Schmoke, was a civilian chemist for the U.S. Army, and his mother, Irene Schmoke, was a social worker. Schmoke attended Baltimore's premier public high school, Baltimore City College, where he quarterbacked the varsity football team to two state championships. The judge Robert Hammerman mentored him in the Lancers Club, an organization of prominent Baltimore professionals that prepared young men for political careers. Schmoke entered Yale University in 1967 Yale s administration was trying to invite more minority students and Schmoke has acknowledged that he benefited from affirmative action Schmoke was clearly qualified however he showed his eloquence political acumen and leadership when he deferentially convinced the faculty to suspend university operations when violent protests threatened the campus during the murder trial of ...

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Arthur Matthew Holst

Philadelphia councilman and mayor, was born on 15 October 1945 in Norristown, Pennsylvania, to poor rural farmers. He was third child of James and Elizabeth Street. Street grew up without electricity or indoor plumbing and often helped his mother tend to the farm while his father was working at a brick manufacturing plant. After graduating from Conshohocken High School in suburban Philadelphia, he attended Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama. He worked his way through college and eventually graduated in 1964 with a degree in English. Street then attended Temple Law School and graduated with a Juris Doctor in 1975. To pay for tuition, he worked as a sidewalk vendor.

Four years later John Street was elected as a Democrat to the Philadelphia City Council For the next twenty years of his life Street would represent the Fifth Council District one of the most diverse both racially and economically ...

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Hugh C. MacDougall

soldier and politician, was born in Columbia, Pennsylvania, the son of Peter Swails, an African American boatman, and his wife Joanna Atkins Swails, who was usually listed as white; both were from Maryland. After living in Columbia and Manheim the Swails family moved about 1856 to Elmira, New York.

In 1860 Stephen A. Swails worked as a waiter at the Keyes Hotel in Cooperstown, New York, where he married Sarah Thompson, from a local black family; they had two children. On 8 April 1863 Swails enlisted in the newly formed 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, one of the Union's first African American regiments, and was immediately promoted to first sergeant. On 18 July 1863 he fought in the attack on Fort Wagner south of Charleston South Carolina that established the regiment s reputation for valor and led to the formation of the United States Colored Troops ...

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Gerard Robinson

civil rights leader, housing administrator, and mayor, was born Walter Edward Washington in Dawson, Georgia, to William L. Washington, a millworker, and Willie Mae Washington, a schoolteacher. Two months after Walter's birth, the family moved to Jamestown, New York, where Washington would spend the next eighteen years. After the death of his mother, when Washington was six years old, his father and extended family cared for him. In 1933 he graduated from Jamestown High School and moved from his small, upstate New York town to attend Howard University, in the District of Columbia, a city he called home for the next seventy-one years.

Living in the nation s capital exposed Washington to the ugliness of segregation he had not experienced in Jamestown But for District of Columbia natives this was a way of life The Jim Crow mores Washington encountered upon his arrival in the ...

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Charles Rosenberg

the son of Aiken and Jane Bruce Williams. His year of birth has occasionally been recorded as 1861 or 1862.

Although various private genealogies identify his parents as being from markedly different family trees, some traced to South Carolina, an address left by Williams in the records of Yale University after graduation matches an 1880 census entry for Aiken and Jane Williams, both born in Georgia, as were their parents. Aiken Williams’s parents were George and Lucretia Williams, living in the same household at that time. Aiken Williams worked all his life as a teamster, and Jane Williams taught school. Although Williams’s Yale classmates believed his father had died before he went to college, census records show both his parents living into the early twentieth century. He had one sister, Lucretia, named for her paternal grandmother, about whom little else is known.

Historian Leroy Davis has identified Williams as ...

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Charles Rosenberg

the first mayor of Oakland, California (and the first Alameda Superior Court judge) of African descent, and an active member of the East Bay Democratic Club, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Jules and Louise Wilson. His father was a carpenter and plasterer.

The family moved to Oakland in 1918 when Wilson was three years old, at the urging of a maternal uncle, Ponce Barrios, who had found work in the shipyards. Living first with Barrios, the family settled in the northern end of West Oakland between 28th and 32nd streets, near Myrtle, Chestnut, and Linden. The Wilsons had five more children in Oakland. Wilson later recalled that schools in the neighborhood were predominantly attended by children of Portuguese, Italian, and Irish ethnic families, with 10 to 15 percent African Americans.

In 1932 Wilson graduated from McClymonds High School and entered the University of California ...