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Sharon L. Barnes

actress and writer, was born in Jacksonville, Florida, the daughter of Daniel Marshall Gilbert, the owner of a furniture business, and Edna Earl Knott, the owner of a dressmaking business. In an unfinished autobiographical manuscript Gilbert wrote that because of her parents' jobs, she was cared for and educated by a nurse. She enrolled in the Boylan Home, a seminary for girls in Jacksonville, when she was in the fourth grade. After her family moved to Tampa, Florida, Gilbert attended a Catholic school and the Orange Park Normal and Industrial School. She went to Edward Waters College in Jacksonville and after graduation taught school in southern Florida before deciding that she wanted a different profession. She then entered the Brewster Hospital Nurses Training School and graduated three years later, staying on the staff for two more years as the assistant superintendent.

After moving to New York City ...

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Jeff Berg

was born in Brooklyn, New York to Ruby Nottage, a child psychologist, and Wallace Nottage, a schoolteacher. She describes her parents as “black bohemian folks” since her childhood home was often visited by artists, writers, and musicians (Iqbal). Her mother and maternal grandmother, who was from the Barbados, both worked in support of civil rights and women’s rights, ultimately serving as sources of inspiration for Nottage and her work.

Nottage attended St. Ann’s School in Brooklyn and the High School of Music and Art in Manhattan, where she also studied piano, graduating in 1982. Following her graduation from Brown University in 1986 and the Yale School of Drama in 1989, Nottage went to work for Amnesty International as its national press officer until resigning in 1993 to pursue a full time career in writing Her interest in writing began at age eight when she was motivated by ...