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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 ...

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Travis Boyce and Winsome Chunnu-Brayda

civil-rights activist, soldier, commercial banker, and stock broker, was born Joseph Alfred McNeil on 25 March 1942 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Even prior to entering college, civil-rights activism was not new to McNeil. As a youth in Wilmington, he participated in a boycott of Pepsi-Cola for discriminatory hiring practices. By attending a segregated school, McNeil was shielded from the hostility that one would otherwise experience at an integrated school. His teachers constantly emphasized to him and his classmates that they are entitled to the same rights and opportunities as their white counterparts.

McNeil graduated from Wilmington's Williston High School in 1959 and that fall entered North Carolina Agriculture and Technical College in Greensboro on an alumni association scholarship. An engineering-physics major, McNeil was also a cadet in the Air Force ROTC program. During his freshman year, McNeil befriended Franklin McCain, David Richmond, and Ezell Blair (later Jibreel Khazan ...

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Tiffany T. Hamelin

civil rights activist, was born on the Wilkin plantation in Grenada County, Mississippi. He was the grandson of a former slave who had accumulated remarkable wealth and land that was eventually lost during the Great Depression. Moore worked alongside his family as a sharecropper when his mother died unexpectedly in 1925, leaving the fourteen-year-old on his own while his father took custody of his younger brother and sister. Amzie then traveled from the hill country of his birth to the Mississippi Delta to find work picking cotton in order to provide himself food and shelter and an education. Moore attended Stone Street High School in Greenwood, Mississippi, from 1926 to 1929, before settling in Cleveland to begin his lengthy career with the U.S. Post Office, a tenure that was interrupted in 1942 when he was drafted into the U.S. Army.

Like many African American veterans of World ...