1-20 of 46 results  for:

  • Military and Intelligence Operations x
  • Civil Rights Activist x
  • 1941–1954: WWII and Postwar Desegregation x
Clear all

Article

Crystal L. Keels

missile engineer, trailblazer, and advocate for social reform, was born in 1924 in Detroit, Michigan to parents Carrie and Chester Banfield. His grandfather Moses was born into slavery and managed to move his family up North. The family moved to Detroit from Dublin, Georgia during the Great Migration and settled in Black Bottom, near the Detroit River. Moses brought his wife, Odessa, who was half Blackfoot Indian, and their five sons and four daughters to live a better life outside of the South.

One of six siblings William Banfield s early interests included a love of learning As a child he was particularly inspired by the story of the black revolutionary Toussaint Louverture in Haiti that he read about in an adventure book Reading was an important part of his life and in grammar school he was chosen to represent his school for his work on ...

Article

Kathryn Lofton

community organizer and Pentecostal bishop, was born in a Hyde Park apartment on Chicago's South Side. His parents were among the waves of African Americans who migrated from the South to the North in pursuit of greater economic opportunity and social mobility during the Great Migration. His mother, Geneva, was a household domestic and lay Pentecostal preacher, eventually leading the Universal Church of Christ in Chicago. His father, Robert, was a maintenance man at the Hyde Park Laundry Company from 1921 to 1940. One of five children, Brazier grew up in a highly segregated black community, since restrictive covenants bound blacks to certain areas of the city.

From his early teenage years, Brazier worked whenever he wasn't in school, first as a milkman's helper for the Bowman Dairy Company and later as a parking attendant at the Chicago World's Fair in 1933 and 1934 During the Depression Brazier ...

Article

Edward L. Lach

business executive and civic leader, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of Hayward G. Burrell and Fannie Miles. Although his parents’ occupations are unknown, both his father and his mother were natives of the District of Columbia, and Burrell's roots in the area ran deep. After graduating from Dunbar High School at the age of fifteen, he worked as a driver for a local pharmacy and apparently also drove a cab for a while. He married at age sixteen (his wife's name is unknown), and the marriage produced a son before ending in divorce seven years later.

In 1941 Burrell gained a position at the federal Bureau of Standards, where he worked in the glass section producing prisms and bombsights. He also attended nearby Howard University between 1941 and 1943 but did not graduate. He entered the U.S. Army in 1945 and rose to the rank of ...

Article

Janelle Harris

activist and author, was the eldest of six children born to working-class parents in Orangeburg, South Carolina. When Carson was three years old, his parents moved the family to Brooklyn, New York, where they were among the first African Americans to integrate the predominantly Irish-Italian neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant. This racially charged environment and the young Carson's experience as a black student in a white school helped shape his later beliefs as an activist.

In his teenage years Carson was an excellent student but showed an equal propensity for street life He became a ranking member of a neighborhood gang the same year he entered junior high school By the time he was sixteen years old Carson had been arrested several times for petty crimes ranging from stealing cigarettes to throwing a snowball at a teacher He committed his first serious crime when he robbed a Western Union messenger of $100 ...

Article

Benjamin Letzler

law professor, dean, and diplomat, was born in Wilmington, North Carolina, to the Reverend Clarence Clyde Ferguson Sr. and Georgeva Ferguson. After a childhood in Baltimore he served in the U.S. Army from 1942 to 1946, earning a Bronze Star, before attending Ohio State University on a football scholarship. He soon left the football squad to focus on his academic work, completing his AB cum laude in two and a half years. Ferguson earned his LLB cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1951, one of three black members of the class.

After a year as a teaching fellow at Harvard Law School and a year in private practice in New York, Ferguson served as assistant general counsel to the Moreland Act Commission to Investigate Harness Racing. Ferguson married the artist and sculptor Dolores Zimmerman in 1954 After her death in the late ...

Article

Kimberly M. Curtis

politician. Arthur Allen Fletcher, the reputed “father of affirmative action enforcement,” was born in Phoenix, Arizona, and raised in Junction City, Kansas. He graduated from Junction City High School in 1943 and enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was wounded in combat in Germany and earned a Purple Heart. As a World War II veteran, Fletcher enrolled at Washburn College in Topeka, Kansas, where he studied history and political science, set football records, and participated in Republican politics. He graduated from Washburn College in 1950.

In 1954 Fletcher served as Kansas governor Fred Hall's legislative liaison agent. Fletcher was vice chairman of the Kansas Republican Party from 1955 to 1957. In 1965 he and his wife and children moved to Pasco Washington As a city councilman Fletcher developed the East Pasco Self Help Cooperative which enabled East Pasco s poor black residents to purchase stock in ...

Article

M. A. Peterson

politician, teacher, and executive director of the United Negro College Fund, was born in Phoenix, Arizona, the son of Cotton Fletcher, a buffalo soldier in the U.S. Ninth and Tenth Cavalry, and Edna Miller Fletcher, a nurse and graduate of Prairie View A&M. Arthur was raised on military bases in the American west and southwest with periods spent in central Los Angeles and Oklahoma City. In 1936 when Fletcher was in the seventh grade in Oklahoma City, he heard Mary McLeod Bethune speak. He was later inspired by the way she had persuaded Eleanor Roosevelt and Secretary of Labor Francis Perkins to convince President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the need for an executive order mandating fair employment practices in federal hiring. (Roosevelt would not implement such a plan, however, until further pressured by Bethune, the NAACP's Walter White, and A. Philip Randolph s ...

Article

LaNesha NeGale DeBardelaben

civil rights lawyer, U.S. civil rights commissioner, was born Marie Frankie Muse in Danville, Virginia, the oldest of eight children of William Brown Muse, a railroad postal clerk, and Maud Beatrice Smith Muse. Maud Muse, a 1911 graduate of the historically black Hampton University and her husband William who was one of the first African Americans employed as a railroad postal clerk in Danville exemplified for their children lives of dignity despite the indignities of Jim Crow life around them The Muse family and other black Danville residents had to travel forty eight miles to the nearest black movie theater Danville blacks also attended segregated schools and faced racial discrimination in public accommodations Frankie Muse learned at an early age to overcome these obstacles through self discipline and perseverance These were lessons that she and her siblings gleaned from their parents who taught them that moral ...

Article

Brian J. Daugherity

pastor, educator, civil rights activist, was born Calvin Coolidge Green at Laneview, Essex County, Virginia, the son of James H. Green and Levalia C. Green. One of eleven children, Green spent most of his youth and adolescent years in Middlesex County, Virginia, graduating from high school in Stormont (later Saluda), Middlesex County, in 1950. Green's father worked a variety of different jobs, often as a lumberman, but also as a farm laborer and general laborer. His mother was a homemaker. Green himself worked many of the same jobs, supplementing the family income until he left Middlesex after high school.

In 1950 Green attended Virginia State College (later Virginia State University) for a semester, before leaving for financial reasons, and joined the military, spending the next two years overseas. In 1951 he fought and earned commendations in the Korean War with the First Cavalry Division ...

Article

John Bryan Gartrell

basketball player, was born Harold Everett Greer in Huntington, West Virginia. After graduating from Douglass High School in Huntington, Greer would become one of the greatest high school basketball players in the history of West Virginia. He broke a significant racial barrier when he enrolled at Marshall University in his home state in 1954. He became the first African American to receive a scholarship to Marshall and the first African American to play a sport at the university. Listed at six feet two inches and 175 pounds, Greer averaged 19.2 points per game during his college career, earning all-conference honors in 1957. In his senior year of 1958 he not only made the all-conference team for a second consecutive year, but he was also named a college All-American.

Greer was known as a quick shooting guard with a near unstoppable mid range jump shot Following his graduation ...

Article

Jennifer Jensen Wallach

civil rights activist and politician. Born in Dublin, Mississippi, to sharecroppers who encouraged him to get an education, Aaron Henry joined the U.S. Army after high school and then, with the help of the GI Bill, attended Xavier University in New Orleans. He graduated with a pharmacy degree in 1950 and that same year opened a drugstore in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

A charismatic and successful businessman, Henry was a natural civil rights leader. In 1951 he was a cofounder of the Regional Council of Negro Leadership, and in 1959 he was elected president of the Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP, a position that he held until 1993. During the 1960s he was arrested thirty-eight times for civil rights activities. In an attempt to damage his effectiveness as a leader and to prey upon local prejudices, Henry's opponents spread rumors that he was a homosexual. In 1962 he ...

Article

Françoise N. Hamlin

civil rights activist, was born to sharecroppers in Coahoma County in the Mississippi Delta. When Henry was five years old, his birth parents died, and he went to live with his maternal uncle and his wife, Ed and Mattie Henry, whom he considered his parents thereafter. He spent his early years on the Flowers Plantation in Coahoma County before the family moved to Clarksdale and he could attend the black Coahoma Agricultural High School, graduating in 1943.

As with many men who played major roles in the civil rights movement, including his fellow Mississippians Medgar Evers and Amzie Moore Henry s World War II experience in the segregated military affected him profoundly He remembered that his fellow black servicemen knew little about the rich African American history crediting his teachers for supplementing the curriculum with black history lessons When he returned home from his station in ...

Article

Daniel Donaghy

civil rights attorney. Oliver White Hill was born in Richmond, Virginia, to William Henry White Jr. and Olivia Lewis White. His parents separated when he was very young, and Hill eventually took his stepfather's surname. His family lived in Roanoke for a time and then moved to Washington, D.C., where Hill attended Dunbar High School. After graduation, he attended Howard University, where he earned his bachelor's degree in 1931 and his law degree in 1933. At Howard, Hill befriended the future Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall.

From the beginning of his law career, Hill was interested in civil rights work. He opened a practice in Richmond in 1939, and the next year he worked with Marshall and others to win Alston v. School Board of Norfolk, Virginia which secured equal pay for African American teachers As World War II mounted in Europe Hill enlisted he ...

Article

Brian J. Daugherity

NAACP attorney, politician, and civil rights activist, was born Oliver White in Richmond, Virginia, the son of William Henry White Jr. and Olivia Lewis White, both resort employees. His parents divorced in 1911, and when his mother married Joseph C. Hill, Oliver took his stepfather's last name.

Oliver Hill spent much of his youth and adolescent years in Roanoke, Virginia. For most of these years he lived with friends of his family—the Pentecosts—while his mother and stepfather lived and worked in Hot Springs, Virginia, and then in Washington, D.C. Hill went to school in Roanoke until the eighth grade, when he moved to Washington, D.C., to join his mother and stepfather. He then went to Dunbar High School there, which enjoyed a reputation for academic excellence.

Hill obtained his bachelor's and law degrees from Howard University, completing his studies in 1933 He was ...

Article

Kitty Kelly Epstein

civil rights activist and school board president, was one of six boys born in Montrose, Arkansas, to Chester and Maggie Hodges. His family moved from Arkansas to Oakland, California, in 1946. Sylvester attended Prescott Elementary, Lowell Junior High School, and McClymonds High School. He married Lola Ingram in 1965, and the couple had one son.

Hodges became a passionate reader while serving in the U.S. military. He was influenced by The Autobiography ofMalcolm X and was particularly interested in the changes in Malcolm's strategic thinking that took place immediately before his death in 1965.

Hodges s first foray into electoral politics occurred when he attended Merritt College in Oakland during the late 1960s the same school at which the Black Panthers were organizing at the time There were no African Americans in student government positions although African Americans made up a large portion of ...

Article

Raymond Pierre Hylton

physician, medical administrator, and activist, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of Dr. John Lawrence Sullivan Holloman Sr., minister of the Second Baptist Church, and Rosa Victoria Jones, a homemaker. Little is known of his early education, but John L. S. Holloman Jr. attended Virginia Union University, as had his father, graduating in 1940 with a bachelor of science degree. Three years later, he would matriculate at the University of Michigan Medical School, earning his MD in 1943. Entering the armed services in that year, Holloman served in the medical corps for the duration of World War II and was honorably discharged on 2 November 1946 with the rank of captain. He married Charlotte Patricia Wesley, a concert pianist, who was the daughter of the historian and minister Dr. Charles Harris Wesley The couple would go on to have four daughters ...

Article

J. D. Jackson

journalist, newspaper editor, and civil rights activist, was born in Buena Vista, Georgia. In 1919 he moved with his parents and six siblings to Birmingham, Alabama. There he attended the city's first, oldest, and once the South's largest high school for African Americans, Industrial (now A. H. Parker) High School. After graduation Jackson returned to Georgia—not to his hometown of Buena Vista but to Atlanta, the home of his college of choice, the historically black Morehouse College. At Morehouse he majored in labor relations. He also laid the foundation for his future career by writing for the school newspaper, the Maroon Tiger. He graduated from Morehouse in 1932, two years into the Great Depression.

After graduating from Morehouse Jackson did not immediately enter the newspaper business Instead he returned to Alabama and taught school at Carver High School in Dothan and at Westfield High ...

Article

Thomas E. Carney

jurist and civil rights activist. Judge Nathaniel R. Jones was born in 1926, the son of a steelworker and the grandson of a slave. He grew up on the south side of Youngstown, Ohio, a major steel-producing town during the twentieth century. His mother and J. Maynard Dickerson, a family friend, prominent local attorney, and local NAACP leader, inspired the young Jones to pursue his education. After serving in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II, he attended Youngstown College (now Youngstown State University), where he received his bachelor's degree in 1951 and his law degree in 1956.

Jones began his legal career as the executive director of the city of Youngstown's Fair Employment Practices Commission. He held that position until 1959, when he went into private practice. He returned to the public sector in 1962 to accept the position of assistant U ...

Article

Donald F. Tibbs

federal judge, was born to Nathaniel B. and Lillian J. (Rafe) Jones in Youngstown, Ohio. His father worked at a mill and as a janitor, while his mother worked numerous domestic jobs to help support their family. Coming from humble beginnings Jones used his circumstances of poverty and discrimination to motivate him through South High School in Youngstown, and through his service in the U.S. Air Force during World War II. In 1946 Jones returned home to attend Youngstown College (later Youngstown State University). As an undergraduate, he embarked on his lifelong association with the NAACP by joining the Youngstown College Chapter.

Jones had many positive influences in his life during his tenure at Youngstown, notably black community leaders such as the attorney Clarence Robinson and the businessman J. Maynard Dickerson. As an undergraduate, Jones worked as a reporter on the Buckeye Review an African American weekly ...

Article

David Michel

Islamic leader, was born Benjamin Goodman, the only child of Mary Goodman, a hairdresser, and an unknown father in Suffolk, Virginia. Goodman was given his mother's last name because his parents were not married. The family was poor and both he and his mother lived in his grandmother's house. He went to the Easter Graded School in black Saratoga and in 1947 moved to New York for a year. Finding rural Virginia dull, Goodman joined the U.S. Air Force at the age of seventeen and was immediately sent to Flackman Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, for training, after which he was transferred to Japan in 1950 He worked as a radar operator in both Japan and Korea where he experienced discrimination from white American officers Though acknowledged as the best radar operator for his work in Japan and on the war front in Korea ...