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Article

Carolyn Wedin

internal revenue collector and Republican politician. Charles Anderson was the black Karl Rove of his day; he was Booker T. Washington's most trusted confidante and an activist in Washington's cause from his location in New York City. There is some dispute as to whether Anderson was born in Oxford, Ohio, or in Tennessee, as census records seem to suggest. Though for the most part self-educated, he did attend public schools in Oxford and Middleton, Ohio, as well as Spencerian Business College in Cleveland and the Berlitz School of Languages in Worcester, Massachusetts. Moving to New York City in 1886, he immediately became involved in Republican politics, stumping in the Negro wards. In 1890 he became president of the Young Men's Colored Republican Club of New York County, and by 1895 he was considered a “prominent” black New Yorker by the Times which reported him among members of the ...

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Martha Pitts

editor, writer, publisher, lawyer, and government official, was born in Montgomery, Alabama, the son of Viola (Lovett) Bibb and Joseph D. Bibb, an African Methodist Episcopal (AME) minister and a prominent teacher and advocate for the employment of black teachers. Bibb used his earnings from working in the railroad industry and southern factories to pay for his college education; he attended Atlanta University, Livingstone College, and Howard University, and completed his legal training at Yale and Harvard Universities.

After the completion of his formal education, Bibb moved to Chicago, the destination of thousands of job‐seeking African Americans from the South. This mass exodus from the South—the Great Migration—saw blacks pour into urban areas between 1915 and 1925 Chicago and other cities such as Detroit and New York saw their black populations double and triple these cities offered relative freedom from the violence and lack of opportunity in the ...

Article

politician, was born on Cincinnati's segregated west side, the older of two brothers born to George Blackwell, a meatpacker, and Dana Blackwell, a part-time nurse. Until he was six years old, the family lived in the Laurel Homes housing project. Blackwell would later attribute his character to his father's work ethic, his mother's reading and lessons from the Bible, and the parents' strong promotion of education. He graduated from Hughes High School in 1966, and attended Cincinnati's Xavier University on a football scholarship. A well-regarded and physically imposing athlete—he stood at 6 feet 4 inches, 220 pounds—Blackwell was also seen by his peers as a radical black campus leader, donning daishikis and wearing his hair in an Afro, serving as president of the black students association, and lobbying the administration in civil rights issues.

In his sophomore year, Blackwell married his childhood girlfriend, Rosa whom ...

Article

Katya Leney-Hall

Egyptian diplomat, jurist and scholar who, during 1992–1996, served as the sixth Secretary-General (SG) of the United Nations (UN), the first African and Arab to hold the position, was born in Cairo on 14 November 1922 into a distinguished Coptic Christian family. His grandfather, Boutros-Ghali Pasha, was the Egyptian minister for finance and, from 1894, foreign affairs. He was prime minister from 1908 to 1910 when he was assassinated by a nationalist angered with his advocacy of the extension of the Suez Canal Company s concession Boutros Boutros Ghali pointed out in an interview that the reality was that the population was happy to get rid of a Christian and his grandfather s assassination set off a wave of Coptic Muslim clashes Although not overtly religious himself his family s history status and influence on the Coptic Church were to form Boutros Ghali who would later perceive ...

Article

Robert Fay

Boutros Boutros-Ghali was born to a prominent Coptic Christian family in Egypt. His grandfather, Boutros Pasha Boutros-Ghali, served as prime minister of Egypt under the British protectorate from 1908 until his assassination in 1910. The younger Boutros-Ghali graduated from the University of Cairo in 1946 with a bachelor’s degree, and went on to earn a doctorate in international law in 1949 from the Sorbonne in Paris. Boutros-Ghali pursued postdoctoral work at Columbia University in New York City, and then assumed a post as professor of international law and international affairs at the University of Cairo. He worked as a journalist, writing for the daily Al Ahram. He also held teaching posts at Princeton University in the United States, and at universities in India, Poland, and Tanzania. In October 1977 Boutros-Ghali left his academic career to serve in the government of Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat as ...

Article

Arthur Matthew Holst

politician, was born Willie Lewis Brown Jr. in Mineola, Texas, to Lewis Brown, a part-time waiter, and Minnie Collins, a maid. From the age of four he was raised by his mother and his grandmother, Anna Lee Collins, after his father abandoned the family. What Brown lacked in wealth was more than made up for by the caring and love given to him by these two women and his three siblings. Driven by his desire to make his mother and grandmother proud, he tackled any task given to him with determination. Later in life he said of his family, “They believed in me, taught me the value of hard work and the importance of education, and nurtured my sense of dignity of self worth.”

Willie Brown s childhood was plagued by segregation racism and hatred In a society where Jim Crow laws were the norm Brown excelled ...

Article

Christine G. Brown

writer and editor, was born in 1890; his parents’ names and his birthplace are now unknown. Little is known of his early life and education. He married Thelma Johnson, with whom he had one daughter. Carter and his wife lived in New York City at the same address, 409 Edgecombe Avenue, from the 1940s until their deaths.

A devoted New Yorker, Carter was a prolific writer and speaker for civil rights, especially concerning jobs, housing, and public office. A committed member of the National Urban League, on 23 July 1928 he delivered a speech on employment and fair housing issues during Negro Week on the Common. In September of that year he took over the editorship of Opportunity: Journal of Negro Life, the Urban League's in-house magazine, when Charles Spurgeon Johnson stepped down as editor With more than 10 000 subscribers when Carter took over the ...

Article

Adam W. Green

United States congressman, was born in the poor North Side Chicago neighborhood of what would later be known as Cabrini-Green to Washington and Leanna Collins. Collins graduated from Waller High School in 1943, and immediately entered the armed forces as a private. He served for three years in the army, stationed with the Engineer Corps in the South Pacific until he was discharged as a sergeant in 1946. Upon returning to the states, Collins entered Central Y.M.C.A. College in Chicago, and graduated in 1954, going on to receive his business law degree from Northwestern University three years later.

Collins began his career in civil service and involvement in the Chicago Democratic Party machine in the 1950s while still in graduate school. He was appointed precinct captain in 1954 for Chicago s 24th Ward on the West Side and later served as deputy sheriff of Cook ...

Article

Charles Rosenberg

reporter and columnist for the Pittsburgh Courier, New York City radio journalist, special assistant to New York governor Nelson Rockefeller, and member of several government panels on women's advocacy and cultural institutions, was born Evelyn Elizabeth Long in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. She was the only daughter and eldest child of Clyde L. and Mary Irvin Whitehurst Long.

Her father ran a pool hall in Elizabeth City, then moved the family, including son Clyde W., born in 1918, to New York. He found work there as a hotel bellman, and later drove a taxi, while Mary Long found work as a dressmaker to a private family. In New York, Evelyn Long graduated from Hunter College High School in 1934 During a life of ninety four years she married four times outliving all four husbands She had no children and took the name she used professionally ...

Article

Gerald Horne

publisher and political figure, was born in Dawson, Georgia, the son of Mike Davis (who changed his name from Mike Haynes in 1868 or 1869) and Katherine Davis, farmers and former slaves. Benjamin's formal education ended after the sixth grade, and he worked as a bricklayer and teacher before becoming a printer. He learned the trade while working for Tom W. Loyless, a white Dawson publisher and printer, and then opened his own printing business. He soon became a moderately wealthy man, living in a two-story, fifteen-room house while his siblings eked out their livings as sharecroppers. In 1898 he married Jimmie Willard Porter, a Dawson native who had been educated at Hampton and Tuskegee institutes; they had a son and daughter.

In 1903 Davis began publishing the Independent a black weekly newspaper that was sold throughout Georgia and that within a year ...

Article

Susan Love Brown

journalist, educator, politician, and statesman. Mervyn Malcolm Dymally, born in Cedros, Trinidad, achieved many “firsts” in American politics. His mother, Andreid Richardson, of Trinidadian descent, and his father, Hamid Dymally, of South Asian descent, educated him through high school, at Naparima College in San Fernando, Trinidad, after which he worked as a reporter for the Oilfields Workers Trade Union newspaper, The Vanguard, in Trinidad. This spurred his interest in a journalistic career, which took him to Lincoln University in Missouri at the age of nineteen. Eventually, he moved to Los Angeles State College of Applied Arts and Sciences, where he majored in education, receiving his bachelor's degree in 1954. From then on he combined education, politics, and involvement in international issues as the interests that guided his career.

While working as a science special education teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District ...

Article

Mamie E. Locke

social worker and clubwoman, was born in Ocala, Florida, the daughter of Charles McCoy and Mamie Ellis. She grew up in Chicago, where her mother moved after her parents divorced in 1903. Beginning in 1905 she attended the Fisk University Normal School in Nashville, Tennessee, from which she graduated in 1910.

Returning to Chicago after her graduation, McCoy could not find work as a teacher because of racism. She engaged in the kind of drudgework most black women were able to find at that time: laundry and cleaning, earning as little as five dollars per week. In 1914 she married Harris B. Gaines, a Chicago lawyer; they had two sons. She returned to school in 1918, studying social work at the University of Chicago until 1921. She eventually did further study at Loyola University's School of Social Administration from 1935 to 1937 ...

Article

Susan J. McWilliams

legislator and activist, was born Grace Towns in Atlanta, Georgia, the second of five children of George Alexander Towns, a professor of English and pedagogy at Atlanta University, and Nellie McNair, a graduate of the same institution. Both of her parents placed a high premium on education, civic involvement, and political activism. George Towns was a protégé and friend of W. E. B. Du Bois, publicly supporting his clashes with Booker T. Washington and independently striving to increase the ranks of African American voters. Nellie Towns, meanwhile, volunteered extensively in the community; she worked with the First Congregational Church and the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA), and she helped found the Gate City Free Kindergarten Association, which assisted children of the black working poor. In this environment, the young Grace Towns grew up with senses of relative privilege and social obligation.

For a time Towns was ...

Article

Sowande' Mustakeem

Grace Towns Hamilton is best known as the first African American woman to serve in the Georgia legislature. Throughout her political career, Hamilton upheld the ideals of interracial cooperation, but her continued activism reflected her faithful commitment to political empowerment and the improvement of social conditions for African Americans.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Hamilton was the eldest of the four surviving children of George Towns and Nellis McNair Towns Raised in the close knit community of Atlanta on the campus of Atlanta University Hamilton was protected during her early life from the racism that was common throughout much of Georgia Within the Towns s home education church community involvement and service to the black race were emphasized Hamilton s mother a housewife and committed volunteer for the African American branch of the Young Women Christian Association YWCA played a role in Hamilton s later community activism and personal ...

Article

Debra A. Reid

teacher, home demonstration agent, and administrator, was born in Finchburg, Alabama, to Elijah E. and Frances (Moore) Edwards. Mary Evelyn V. Edwards was the fifteenth of their seventeen children, and she worked as a bookkeeper at her father's store, sawmill, and gin. She was a senior in the local high school when she married J. A. Hunter, the high school principal. The couple moved first to Woodville, Texas, and then relocated to La Porte, Texas, where they leased a ranch on Jennings Island. They had two sons, John McNeile Hunter in 1901 and Ira T. Hunter in 1905. M. E. V. Hunter taught school, and after her husband's death in the early 1910s, she began taking courses at Prairie View State Normal and Industrial College (later Prairie View A&M) to gain teaching credentials. She ultimately earned a BS from that school in 1926 ...

Article

Anthony Matthews

bank teller and Connecticut's first African American state representative, was born Wilfred Xavier Johnson in Dawson, Georgia. His parents were Eugene and Griselda Johnson, who arrived in Hartford in 1925 as part of the Great Migration. Wilfred Johnson was educated in Hartford, attending Northeast School and then graduating from Weaver High School in 1939. He later attended Hillyer College at the University of Hartford and the American Institute of Banking. After serving in the U.S. Army as a technician in World War II, in 1943 Johnson started work for the Hartford National Bank as a messenger. He was then promoted to the analysis department, later becoming the first black bank teller at any bank in Connecticut. As such he was warned that he might face opposition from customers and employees who did not want African Americans in such positions.

Johnson first entered politics in 1953 as a ...

Article

Timothy M. Broughton

civil rights leader and politician, was born John Luzine LeFlore in Mobile, Alabama, the son of Dock LeFlore and Clara Barber. The fifth of five children, John LeFlore was born two years after the ratification of Alabama's Sixth Constitution. Aware of the limited opportunities afforded to blacks, Dock LeFlore taught his family to be proud and hardworking, and he brought them into Mobile's black middle class. Although he died when John LeFlore was only nine months old, his values and work ethic had a lasting influence. John LeFlore sold newspapers at the age of ten and landed a job at the local shipyard at thirteen.

In 1920 LeFlore graduated from Owens Academy in Mobile, one of the few good schools for black students. In 1922 he married Teah Jessie Beck and began work as a postal worker. While riding on the city's railcar in 1925 a white ...

Article

Karen Mason

public librarian and activist, was the second of three children born to the painter Reuben Hearde Matthews and the homemaker Fannie Elijah Matthews in Pensacola, Florida. Matthews's paternal grandparents were schoolteachers, and her maternal grandfather, Zebulon Elijah, was Pensacola's first postmaster. Despite a relatively comfortable life the Matthews chose to move Miriam and her siblings, Ella Shaw and Charles Hearde, to Los Angeles in 1907 in order to shield them from the inevitable limitations of racism and segregation in the South. The entire family flourished socially and professionally in their new city. Miriam Matthews distinguished herself as a trailblazer by becoming in 1927 the first known credentialed African American librarian in the Los Angeles Public Library system, where she enjoyed a thirty-three-year career first as a branch librarian, then as a regional librarian after 1949 During her tenure she became recognized for her expertise in documenting ...

Article

Anne K. Driscoll

politician and social worker, was born Carrie Saxon in Hartford, Connecticut, the only child of Mabel Lee Saxon. Growing up in Hartford's housing projects exposed Perry to the crushing effects of poverty and crime. But rather than being defeated by it, Perry persevered and went on to become a force for change. Perry graduated from high school in 1949 and then attended Howard University, where she earned a bachelor of science in Political Science in 1953. During this time she married James Perry Sr. They had one child, James Perry Jr. Perry entered Howard's School of Law that same year, but did not complete the law program. Instead she returned in 1955 to Hartford where she became a social worker While she served in many professions they all had one element in common The positions involved helping the people of Hartford to have better ...

Article

Jane Brodsky Fitzpatrick

civil rights activist, first African American to serve on the Miami City Commission, and first since Reconstruction to head a state agency, was born Mary Athalie Wilkinson in Key West, Florida, to Edward L. Wilkinson, a cigar factory and loading dock foreman, and Grace Shultz.

Range's family moved to Miami around 1921. She graduated from Booker T. Washington Senior High School in Overtown, a historically black town established when blacks were not allowed to live in segregated Miami. During World War II, she worked picking up trash from railroad cars. In 1937 she married Oscar Range. A certified funeral director, he opened the Range Funeral Home in Miami in 1953. They had four children.

When her husband died of a heart attack in 1960 Athalie Range enrolled in the New England Institute of Anatomy Sanitary Science and Embalming Boston Massachusetts where she earned her ...