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Connie Park Rice

newspaper editor and civil rights lawyer, was born in Williamsport, Virginia (later West Virginia), the youngest of three sons born to Isaac Clifford, a farmer, and Mary Satilpa Kent, free blacks living in Hardy County. John Robert joined the Union army on 3 March 1865, rising to the rank of corporal in the 13th U.S. Heavy Artillery. After serving in Kentucky, Tennessee, and eastern Virginia under General Ulysses S. Grant, Clifford volunteered for service at Chicago, Illinois.

After the Civil War, Clifford remained in Chicago, staying from 1865 to 1868 with the Honorable John J. Healy, an acquaintance of his father, and graduating from Chicago High School. Clifford worked as a barber before going to live with an uncle in Zeno, Muskingum County, Ohio, where he attended a school taught by Miss Effie McKnight and received a diploma from a writing school conducted by a Professor ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


Christopher Phelps

outspoken Philadelphia civil rights leader, attorney, and city councilman, was born in Yukon, West Virginia, to Alexander Moore, a physician, and Beulah Moore, a teacher whose maiden name is now unknown. A student during the Great Depression, he attended West Virginia State College from 1933 to 1934 and Bluefield State College from 1935 to 1939. He failed the final literature class needed to graduate from Bluefield State, but considered himself its alumnus ever after and took part in its alumni association.

After working in Athens, Georgia, as an insurance salesman, Moore enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1942. He saw combat against the Japanese during World War II in the Pacific. His time in the Marines imbued Moore with discipline, toughness, and command experience, emboldening him to insist on his rights.

In 1946 Moore married Theresa Wyche Lee a Howard University graduate ...


Jamie Christy

Ernest Morial (b. 9 October 1929; d. 24 December 1989), lawyer, civil rights activist, assistant U.S. attorney, judge, and mayor of New Orleans, was the father of Marc Haydel Morial (b. 3 January 1958), lawyer, civil rights activist, state senator, and mayor of New Orleans.

Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Ernest Nathan “Dutch” Morial was the youngest of six children. His parents, Walter Etienne Morial, a cigar maker, and Leonie Moore Morial, a seamstress, were devout Catholics, and Ernest attended the Holy Redeemer and McDonough No. 35 schools in New Orleans. At Xavier University, the country's only historically black Catholic college, also in New Orleans, Morial was president of the first black Greek fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, and he graduated in 1951.

In 1954 Morial was the first African American to graduate from Louisiana State University ...


judge, politician, civil rights activist, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the youngest of six children of Leonie V. and Walter Etienne Morial, the latter a “black Creole” cigar maker. Morial attended public and private schools, graduating from Xavier University in 1951, and was the first African American graduate of Louisiana State University Law School in 1954. After serving two years in the army, he returned to his law partnership in New Orleans in 1956 and served as general counsel to the Standard Life Insurance Company from 1960 to 1967, and he was appointed assistant U.S. attorney for New Orleans from 1965 to 1967 before embarking on a career in electoral politics.

In the intervening years he lectured at Tulane University. Sybil Gayle Haydel, the daughter of a prominent New Orleans family, became his wife on 17 February 1955 and the ...


Cecily Jones

Nickname of Rahasya Rudra Narayan (1938–1998), barrister and civil rights activist. He was born in British Guiana (now Guyana), the ninth of ten children of Indo‐Guianan parents. He arrived in Britain in 1953, and after a series of menial jobs enlisted in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, where he served until 1965, before leaving with the rank of sergeant. He then read for the Bar, at Lincoln's Inn, where he helped to found the Bar Students' Union, and later also became the Union's first president. He was called to the Bar in 1968, a year before his marriage to Dr Naseem Akbar, with whom he had two daughters.

When, in 1973, Narayan and Sighbat Kadric QC founded the Association of Commonwealth Lawyers (the predecessor to the Immigrant Lawyers' Group, which became the Society of Black Lawyers in 1981 the chairman of the ...


Alice Bernstein

lawyer, civil rights leader, and federal jurist, was one of three children born to Matthew Perry, a tailor, and Jennie Lyles in Columbia, South Carolina. He grew up in the Jim Crow era and his parents, who had a limited education, passionately wanted their children to have more opportunities. His father served in World War I and his exposure to mustard gas left him with a debilitating illness. While Perry Sr. received treatment in a Veterans Hospital in Tuskegee, Alabama, the family lived there and in Columbia. Matthew was twelve when his father died, and the children were then raised in Columbia by their maternal grandfather, William Lyles, a brakeman on the Southern Railroad. During the Depression Perry helped support the family by working after school digging ditches, among other jobs, while his mother found work in New York as a seamstress.

He attended segregated ...


Christine Knauer

civil rights activist, army chaplain, and lawyer, was born in Delray Beach, Florida, the son of Frank Reynolds and Emma. He attended Hampton Institute (later Hampton University), an institution of higher education for blacks in Virginia.

When he graduated from Hampton in 1928, Reynolds intended to study medicine; however, because he lacked financial resources, he had to give up this dream. With the financial support of a white patron, Reynolds entered Michigan State University, but he was later expelled due to racial flare-ups. He continued his education at the Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, which wanted to integrate its facility and granted Reynolds a scholarship. Graduating in 1937, he became the minister of the Mount Zion Congregational Temple in Cleveland, Ohio. Little is known about his personal life.

With the onset of World War II, Reynolds joined the army in 1941 ...


Mou Chakraborty

civil rights lawyer and New York state jurist, was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, the sixth of nine children of Netti and Charles Sandifer. His father died when Sandifer was four, and Nettie raised all the kids with some help from her oldest child, Herbert, a hotel baker. In Greensboro, he was known as “John” but he thought that name was too common so he changed the spelling to Jawn while at Johnson C Smith University Growing up within a short walk from North Carolina A T State University Sandifer wanted out of Greensboro after finishing in the first class to graduate from Dudley High School in the early 1930s He was disillusioned with the racial discrimination he faced regularly in his boyhood in Greensboro A caddy master from one of the country clubs stood outside the black school Sandifer attended and urged students to skip ...


Ralph E. Luker

civil rights attorney and judge, was born in Fort Valley, Georgia, the son of Jeff Walden and Jennie Tomlin, former slaves. Walden earned a BA at Fort Valley Industrial School in 1902 and an MA at Atlanta University in 1907. He entered law school at the University of Michigan, where he received several prizes in oratory and an LLB in 1911.

Walden practiced law in Macon, Georgia, from 1912 until he entered the U.S. Army for service in World War I. He commanded Company I of the 365th Infantry in France and was a trial judge advocate in the Ninety-second Division. Walden returned from the war to marry Mary Ellen Denny, a Baltimore public-school teacher, in 1918; they had two children.

In 1919 Walden was commissioned a captain in the Officers Reserve Corps and moved his legal practice from Macon to Atlanta His ...


Alice Bernstein

state senator and federal jurist, was the third of four children born to Violet M. Lopez and James S. Watson, who immigrated from Jamaica in the early 1900s. His father was the first naturalized person of West Indian descent admitted to the New York State Bar in 1914, and in 1922 he was appointed special assistant corporation counsel of New York City, in the Special Franchise Tax Division. In 1930 he was one of the first two justices of African descent elected to judicial office, serving as a municipal court judge. Watson's sisters were lawyers: Grace Watson worked with the U.S. Department of Education, and Barbara Mae Watson was ambassador to Malaysia and assistant secretary of state for consular affairs. His brother, Douglas Watson, was the first African American aeronautical engineer.

Watson was born in Harlem where he lived all his life and was known to ...


Charles Rosenberg

military veteran, attorney, civil rights advocate, and publisher, was born in Houston, Texas, the son of Harry and Mabel Green Wesley.

Carter Wesley lived with his mother, a public school teacher, after his parents separated. Attending early grades in Houston's racially segregated public schools, he graduated from Booker T. Washington High School, then arrived at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, by 1910.

Like many students at historically black colleges and universities at that time, he may have taken college preparatory classes at Fisk, but did not enroll in college level courses until 1913–1917, earning a bachelor's degree, magna cum laude. He was listed in the 1910 census twice, once at a Fisk dormitory, and also at his mother's home, 3200 Washington in Houston, where his older brothers Harry and Freeman were working, respectively, as a general laborer and a Pullman car porter.

Registered ...