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Charles L. Hughes

record executive, producer, and activist, was born Alvertis Isbell in Brinkley, Arkansas, in 1940 or 1941. In 1945 his family moved to Little Rock, where Bell later graduated with a bachelor's degree in Political Science from the city's Philander Smith College, following this with uncompleted ministerial training; he worked as a disc jockey throughout high school and college. In 1959 Bell began working at workshops run by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. His SCLC involvement was short-lived, which Bell attributed to a difference in philosophy, explaining that King's strategy of nonviolent confrontation differed from his belief in the power of black capitalist entrepreneurship in effecting social change.

Bell then worked full time at several radio stations first at WLOK in Memphis where his laid back style helped boost ratings and then at WUST in Washington D C where he introduced ...


Mohammed Badrul Alam

one of the most articulate and progressive black politicians of the latter half of the twentieth century. Mfume was born Frizzell Gerald Gray in Baltimore, Maryland, on 24 October 1948. He was educated first at the Community College of Baltimore and later at Morgan State University, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1976. Even as a young man, Mfume showed his leadership skills through his election as head of the Black Student Union at the Baltimore college. Mfume earned a master's degree in liberal arts with a concentration in international studies at Johns Hopkins University. For a brief period he was also an adjunct professor at Morgan State University, teaching political science and communications. During the early 1970s he legally changed his name to Kweisi Mfume—a Ghanaian name meaning “conquering son of kings.”

Mfume s political career started when he won a seat on the Baltimore City ...


Alonford James Robinson

The eldest of four children, Kweisi Mfume (born Frizzell Gray) was raised in a poor community just outside Baltimore, Maryland, by his mother and stepfather, Mary and Clifton Gray. After years of physical abuse, Mary Gray left her husband in 1960 and moved the family to a neighborhood closer to the city. Four years later she was diagnosed with cancer and within a short time learned the disease was terminal. Mfume and his sisters were devastated by the news and suffered another traumatic blow when she died, literally, in the arms of her only son. In his autobiography, No Free Ride, Mfume recalls just how difficult it was losing his mother. Mfume quit high school after his mother died and worked to support his three sisters. Disillusioned, he also began hanging out on the streets, becoming a gang leader and fathering several illegitimate children.

Disappointed with ...