1-20 of 43 results  for:

  • Business and Labor x
  • 1941–1954: WWII and Postwar Desegregation x
  • 1955–1971: Civil Rights Era x
  • Political Figure x
Clear all

Article

Cajetan N. Iheka

Nigerian entrepreneur, philanthropist, politician, and publisher, was born on 24 August 1937 in the southwestern town of Egba, Abeokuta, in the present-day Ogun State, to Alhaji Salawu Adelekan Akanni Abiola and Zeliat Wuraola Ayinke Abiola (née Kassim). Although Abiola was the twenty-third child of his parents, he was their first surviving child as his older siblings had died at infancy or were stillborn. Because of several deaths that had plagued the family, Abiola was named “Kashimawo,” meaning “Let us wait and see.” It was not until his fifteenth birthday that his parents gave him a regular name, Moshood, having been convinced that the young Abiola had come to stay.

Although he was born and raised in a poor family the young Abiola exhibited some entrepreneurial tendencies when he started gathering and selling firewood at the tender age of nine With the proceeds from his business he was able to support ...

Article

On June 12 1993, the popular businessman Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola won a long-awaited presidential election in Nigeria, only to have the country's military leader, Ibrahim Babangida, annul the election results. When Abiola declared himself the country's legitimate leader a year later, Babangida's successor, General Sani Abacha, jailed him for treason. As a political prisoner, Abiola became the rallying symbol for Nigerians’ democratic aspirations.

Abiola was born into a poor, polygamous household of Yoruba-speaking Muslims in the ancient town of Abeokuta None of his parents first twenty two children had survived past infancy so Abiola the twenty third was given the middle name Kashimawo meaning Let s see if he will survive He began his education at the Islamic Nawar Ud Deen School and then transferred to the Christian run African Central School As an indigent student at the Baptist Boys High School Abiola ...

Article

Mussie Tesfagiorgis

Eritrean intellectual, businessman, and politician, was born in the village of Ma’ereba, southeast of Asmara. Abreha Tesemma is the son of one of the famous Eritrean chiefs and statesmen, Raesi Tesemma Asmerom Untura. As a young man, Abreha Tesemma attended both local church and Western school, which enabled him to become one of the most accomplished Eritrean scholars and politicians of his time, as well as a renowned agriculturalist and artist. He mastered a number of languages including Italian, Geez, and Amharic; his paintings fused Eritrean and Western themes and styles. For the greatest part of his life, he was engaged in agricultural activities, business, politics, and painting.

Abreha Tesemma s father Raesi Tesemma Asmerom served as principal chief of at least two districts in the province of Akkele Guzay Hadegti and Egella Hames Based on oral sources Raesi Tesemma was highly respected for his strategies of local conflict resolution ...

Article

Oluwatoyin Babatunde Oduntan

Nigerian trade unionist, nationalist, and political leader, was born in Ikenne, Western Nigeria on 6 March 1909. He survived a difficult childhood following the death of his father in 1920 and the breakup of his family and completed schooling by fending for himself. Awolowo worked as a house-help, fetched firewood for sale, apprenticed as a letter writer, and worked as a typist and clerk, teacher, news reporter, contractor, transporter, and produce buyer on the way to studying for a law degree at the University of London between 1944 and 1946. Through this harsh experience, he developed self-reliance and confidence, a fearless and defiant attitude to authority, as well as skills as a community and labor organizer, qualities that were to serve him in good stead as he thrust into the stormy politics of colonial Nigeria.

The 1930s mark the high point of colonial rule in Nigeria British ...

Article

Kristopher Cote

public servant, politician, and businessman in present-day Uganda, was born in the Kingdom of Buganda in 1894. His father, Thomas Ssemukasa, was a subcounty chief and general of Kabaka (King) Mwanga’s army. His name, which was not a customary clan name, means “it is better to die on the battlefield than to die of a natural death.” He was educated at an elite private school, King’s College in Buddo, and at Sheffield College in England. Upon his return to Uganda he was a clerk in the protectorate government, but soon he became an outspoken politician and businessman who challenged the application of British administration in Uganda.

After several years of service to the protectorate government, Baamuta was appointed secretary of the Lukiiko (the Bugandan parliament). He was a vociferous defender of the rights afforded to the Buganda Kingdom under the terms of the Uganda Agreement (1900 which ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

politician, business leader, and historian, was born in the late nineteenth century in Burundi. He belonged to the Batare royal family that had controlled Burundi prior to the entrance of German military officers in the 1890s. He originally came from southern Burundi as his father was a chief in the Vyanda region not far from the town of Bururi. He received a primary education at a German school at Gitega. After the Belgian government took over Burundi following World War I, Baranyanka became one of the most fervent supporters of the new administration in the entire colony. He was a firm supporter of Catholic missions and the development of cash-crop production. Baranyanka converted to Catholicism after undertaking instruction for four years. He established an extremely large coffee business that consisted of thirty-five thousand coffee bushes by 1935. A young Belgian tourist in 1949 expressed the views of most ...

Article

Ronald Walters

Democratic Party activist and cabinet secretary, was born Ronald Harmon Brown at Freedmen's Hospital in Washington, D.C., the son of William Brown, who worked for the Federal Housing and Home Finance Agency, and Gloria Elexine Carter. The Browns moved to Harlem, New York, in 1947, and Ron grew up in the famed Theresa Hotel, where his father was manager. Joe Louis was a frequent guest, and gave young Ron the nickname “Little Brown.” Ron showed his entrepreneurial skills at an early age by getting autographs of Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson and other celebrity guests at the Theresa and selling them for five dollars each to his friends His parents both graduates of Howard University set Ron on a solid path to join the black middle class which became in many ways the social network that would make possible many of his achievements As a child he ...

Article

Alonford James Robinson

Born in Washington, D.C., Ron Brown grew up in Harlem, New York. He graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont in 1962, after becoming the first black student to pledge a fraternity there. He enlisted in the United States Army. After his service, Brown worked for the National Urban League in New York while earning his law degree at night from St. John's University in 1970. He held several positions in the Urban League from 1968 to 1979, including general counsel, chief Washington spokesperson, deputy executive director, and vice president of Washington operations.

In Washington, D.C., Brown became active in the Democratic Party, and in 1979 he served as deputy manager of U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy's presidential campaign. A year later Kennedy appointed him the chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee. In 1982 Brown resigned from the senate committee to become deputy ...

Article

Lorraine Anastasia Lezama

Though born in Grenada, Tubal Uriah Butler would eventually develop his career as a labor organizer and politician in Trinidad. In Grenada, Butler was affiliated with the Grenada Representative Government Movement, and served as a volunteer in the first contingent of the West Indies during World War I. In 1921 he migrated to Trinidad, where he settled in Fyzabad, a southern industrial town populated by workers from the dominant petroleum industry. He held a variety of positions in the oilfields—pipe fitter, rig man, and pump man—until 1929, when he was seriously injured.

Butler was a charismatic speaker, and he quickly became influential in the Trinidad Labour Party (TLP), an organization committed to expanding the voting franchise and to lobbying for constitutional change. His ascent was matched by his growing disillusionment with the TLP and its leader, Captain Arthur Andrew Cipriani Butler believed that the TLP was both ...

Article

Ntewusu Aniegye

Ghanaian lawyer, diplomat, politician, was born on 7 December 1950 in Bimbilla in the Northern Region of Ghana. His father, Alhaji Alhassan Chambas, was a district commissioner in Kwame Nkrumah’s government from the 1950s to mid-1960s. He was educated at Mfantispim School, Cape Coast (the former Wesleyan High School whose alumni include John Mensah Sarbah, Dr. K. A. Busia, and Kofi Annan), and Tamale Secondary School, Tamale. He is a graduate from the University of Ghana, where he read political science, obtaining his BA in 1973. He then travelled to the United States, where he obtained his MA and PhD degrees at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, in 1977 and 1980, respectively. He later earned a law degree from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.

Having briefly taught and practiced law in America he returned to Ghana where he became a school administrator He later joined the military ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

politician and economist, was born in the town of Khombole, Senegal. His father worked as a railway employee and a policeman. Dia's mother was a member of a “ceddo” family known for its attachment to indigenous spiritual beliefs outside of orthodox Islamic traditions, but his father was from a family of Muslim scholars. Dia's father died when Dia was only ten years old, but his family succeeded in supporting his education. Dia's father could speak French, but was illiterate and never received any formal Western schooling. His willingness to openly complain about poor treatment to his colonial employers also made a deep impression on Dia. As a young man he attended the primary school of École Blanchot in Saint-Louis followed by the École Normale William Ponty, the most respected secondary school in French West Africa. In 1924 Dia visited Dakar for the first time and he was amazed ...

Article

Joseph Wilson

Michigan politician. Born in Detroit, Charles Coles Diggs Jr. attended the University of Michigan and Fisk University and served in the U.S. Army during World War II. Following in his father's footsteps, Diggs worked as a funeral director in his family's business in Detroit, then was elected to his father's seat in the Michigan state senate in 1950. After sponsoring the state's Fair Employment Practices Commission, Diggs was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1954 as the first African American congressman from Michigan.

In the first year of his congressional career Diggs asserted leadership and became involved in the civil rights movement he spoke before ten thousand people attending a Mississippi conference organized by the largest civil rights group in the state the Regional Council of Negro Leadership Returning to Mississippi later that year he attended the notorious trial of the accused murderers of Emmett Till the ...

Article

Harmony O'Rourke

Cameroonian politician, educator, and farmer, was born Ngu Foncha in the fondom (similar to the concepts of kingdom or chiefdom) of Nkwen, of the colonial Southern Cameroons, to Foncha, a prince of the fondom, and his fourth wife, Ngebi. Though his father never became the fon (king or chief) of Nkwen, the boy Ngu grew up in the Nkwen palace precincts. He attended a Christian mission at Big Babanki, where he was baptized in 1924 and took the name John. In 1926 he went to the Bamenda Government School, where he impressed a Nigerian teacher, who enrolled him in Calabar’s St. Michael’s School. In 1934, Foncha returned to Cameroon to serve as a teacher but headed back to Nigeria in 1936 to seek further training at the Saint Charles’ Teachers Training College at Onitsha. From 1939 to 1947 Foncha taught in Njinikom Cameroon a stint that was ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

, Cameroonian business and political leader, was born in the western region of Menoua to a Bamileke family of modest means. Her family encouraged her to work, and she entered the tourism business in the southern Cameroonian port city of Douala at the age of twelve. In 1967 Foning began her long career as an entrepreneur in Douala by creating a restaurant, named New Style. An entire neighborhood of Douala bore this name in the early twenty-first century. Foning soon extended her activity into taxis by buying one car. Foning managed to guide this fledgling operation into a large business, and she had over 150 taxis in her network after a few years. She formed a gravel company, Les Graviers Unis. Her empire eventually included the Socamac food import-export company, the Ovicam import-export firm, and the Anflo furniture business, which eventually sent exports to the United States and Europe.

Although ...

Article

Hassoum Ceesay

Gambian merchant and the first Gambian woman to enter active politics, was born Hannah Johnson on 14 January 1893 in Bathurst (present-day Banjul) to C. C. Johnson, a Krio civil servant on postings from Freetown, Sierra Leone, and Elizabeth Johnson, a schoolteacher. Forster attended St. Mary’s Primary School in Banjul, and in 1907 she proceeded to Freetown to attend high school, as there was no secondary school in Gambia. The death of her mother forced her to cut short her schooling in 1911 to become a teacher in her former school in Banjul. She married in 1913.

When her husband died leaving her with two children Forster left her teaching job to venture into trading She owned shops in Banjul and in the Gambia River ports of Kaur Kuntaur and Kartong Unlike other Banjul merchants who traded upriver only during the five months of the groundnuts trade season from December ...

Article

Maitseo Bolaane

, Botswana politician and businessman, was born 4 March 1942 to Gaolathe Dadanaye and Gasemotho Phathi Ndaba in the small village of Nkange, North-East District. Immediately after his birth, his father, a carpenter, moved his small family from Nkange to the neighboring and prosperous village of Tutume. It was here that young Baledzi Gaolathe lived his early years, often accompanying his father on his assignments and carpentry projects. His father died when he was still young. After his father’s death, Gaolathe’s mother moved the family to Selolwane village, within walking distance of Tutume, where the family stayed with a grandmother, Mmaduwe. Gaolathe did not stay long in Selolwane, as he was taken by a paternal aunt to Changate, where he learned the skills of growing crops and rearing livestock. The slow-paced life of livestock rearing in rural Botswana nurtured his lifelong love for nature and outdoor activities.

In 1952 ...

Article

Gambian politician, schoolteacher and trade unionist, was born in Bathurst (present-day Banjul), the Gambian capital, on 22 November 1912. His father, Momodu Jahumpa (died 1945, reportedly aged 104), was a Wolof shipwright and Muslim community leader known as a strong supporter of the politician and trade unionist E. F. Small. Often known simply as Jahumpa, Garba-Jahumpa attended the Mohammedan School in Bathurst (1925–1930), before winning a government scholarship to St. Augustine’s High School.

After initial employment as a commercial clerk (1933–1935), Garba-Jahumpa obtained his teaching certificate in 1936, and then worked as a teacher at the Mohammedan School until 1944. Formerly Small’s protégé, he set up the Bathurst Young Muslims Society (BYMS) and the Gambia Amalgamated Trade Union (GATU) in 1946–1947 in opposition to Small, but failed to defeat him and win a seat on the Legislative Council in the 1947 election.

After this defeat Garba ...

Article

Ntewusu Aniegye

Ghanaian business leader, nationalist, and politician, was born on 17 June 1913 in Warri, Nigeria, to Emma Dey and Awummee Gbedema from Anyarko, in the present-day Volta region of Ghana. Gbedemah was the eldest son among six siblings. He received his elementary education from 1916–1927 in Keta in the Volta region, and Accra. In 1928 he sat for the Junior School Certificate Examination and passed, enabling him to attend Achimota School.

At Achimota, after failing to earn the required grade in the qualifying examination, Gbedemah could not obtain a scholarship to pursue his dream of a career in medicine. He did, however, gain employment as a part-time proofreader and editor of the Times, owned by J B Danquah a leading Gold Coast as present day Ghana was called during the colonial era nationalist and one of the founding members of the United Gold Coast Convention UGCC His work with ...

Article

Redie Bereketeab

Eritrean politician and businessman, was born in Asmara to a prominent Hamasen family. He was the descendent of the well-known political figure Rasi Welde Mikael Solomon of Tsazegga (1823–1906). A graduate of St. George School in Mendefera, he worked as a low-level clerk during the Italian rule of Eritrea. He made his fortune as a businessman, earning a reputation of political shrewdness and business acumen.

Haregot Abbay was one of the founders of Mahber Fekri Hager (Society for Love of Country) in 1941 After its formation he was elected secretary general of the Society one of the top officials in its twelve man leadership He slowly began to develop the idea of union with Ethiopia a notion that gathered momentum when the state of Eritrea was brought to the attention of the United Nations UN General Assembly Soon Ethiopian intervention had thrown the Mahber Fekri Hager into ...

Article

Mohammed Badrul Alam

public servant and the first African American secretary of labor. Alexis Herman is among the few African American women who as a public servant rose to great heights through innovative and entrepreneurial skills. She was born in Mobile, Alabama, on 16 July 1947 and was educated at Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin (1965–1967), Spring Hill College in Mobile (1967), Xavier University in New Orleans (1969), and the University of South Alabama (1970–1972 Inspired by the civil rights movements of the 1960s as well as by the women s and labor movements of the 1970s Herman worked strenuously to desegregate her old high school in Mobile During her childhood she looked on in awe when her father sued the Democratic Party to let African Americans vote he later became the first African American wardsman in Alabama As a proactive outreach worker in Pascagoula ...