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Elizabeth P. Stewart

Arctic explorer, science teacher, and newspaper correspondent, was born Herbert Milton Frisby in South Baltimore, the oldest of the seven children of Ida Frisby (née Henry) and Joseph S. Frisby, a keeper of grain tallies in the port of Baltimore. Born into poverty, young Herbert Frisby worked his way through school by selling peanuts, working as a butler, and playing jazz piano. He graduated from Baltimore Colored High School in 1908 and earned his BA in Liberal Arts from Howard University in 1912. He received an MA in Education from Columbia University in 1936. Frisby married Annie Russell in 1919; they had one son, H. Russell Frisby Sr.

As a sixth-grader Frisby was inspired by the accomplishments of the explorer Matthew Henson, the first African American to reach the North Pole in 1909 with Admiral Robert E. Peary. When Henson ...

Article

Kathleen Thompson

It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of the writer and educator Paula Giddings to the study of black women’s history. Possibly even more important is the role she played in disseminating that history to the American public. A rigorous scholar, graceful writer, and committed advocate of black women, Giddings was a writer of history who made history herself.

Paula Giddings was born in Yonkers, New York. Her father, Curtis G. Giddings, was a teacher and guidance counselor and, later, the first black firefighter in Yonkers. Her mother, Virginia I. Giddings, was also a guidance counselor. In an interview in Essence in 1995 Giddings said of her parents My father was the race conscious person in my family but it was my mother who gave me my voice She did this I know now by clearing a space where mywords could fall grow then find ...

Article

Katrina D. Thompson

chemist, social scientist, and writer, was born in Garfield Heights, Washington, D.C., the son of William Harrison Lewis and Mary (Over) Lewis, of whom little else is known. In 1899 there were only four academic public schools in the segregated Washington, D.C., area, and only one of these was open to African Americans. Lewis attended the noted Dunbar High School, then known as M Street School. Because African Americans with advanced degrees had few other opportunities, during the 1920s three Dunbar teachers held the PhD degree, which was certainly unusual and perhaps unique in American public secondary education.

After attending Dunbar, Lewis graduated from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, with a bachelor's degree in Philosophy in 1925 While at Brown Lewis became the first undergraduate initiate of the Alpha Gamma Chapter of the first African American fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha Two years after graduating ...

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Charles Rosenberg

by all available evidence the first American of African descent to earn a Ph.D. in anthropology, was a founding father of that science as it became an organized professional field in America, and a leading pioneer in the development of linguistics, doing field research in Haiti, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and southern Africa. His wide range of professional affiliations included the American Anthropological Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Sociological Association, the International African Institute, and the International Linguistic Association. In 1933, he was one of the first three African Americans admitted to the Society of Sigma Xi (Wright, p. 889).

Born in Huntsville, Texas, he was the son of Walter Watkins, a Baptist minister, and Laura Williams Watkins (Wright), whose Republican politics are reflected in naming their son for the party leader and wealthy Ohio senator, Mark Hanna He was the youngest ...

Article

Maggie Gerrity

poet, editor, and teacher, was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, to Azzie Young, a chemist and healthcare administrator, and Paul Young, an ophthalmologist. The family moved frequently during his childhood, living in the Boston area, Chicago, Illinois, and Syracuse, New York, before settling in Topeka, Kansas, where Young graduated from high school in 1988. After graduating from Harvard University with an AB in English and American Literature, in 1992 Young received a Stegner Fellowship in poetry at Stanford University. He went on to study at Brown University, where he studied with Michael Harper. He was the recipient of two fellowships from the MacDowell Colony in 1993 and 1995.

His debut collection of poems, Most Way Home, was selected for the National Poetry Series by Lucille Clifton and published in 1995; it received the John C. Zacharis First Book Award from Ploughshares ...