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Margaret Wade-Lewis

linguist educator early computer language translator Africanist scholar of Arabic and Berber was born in Wildwood New Jersey to Joseph Henry Applegate and Nancy Berkley Applegate His father was a second generation New Jersey resident whose father was a Native American from Maine Applegate s mother whose father was also Native American migrated from Virginia to Philadelphia where Applegate s parents met around the time of World War I Neither parent had more than an elementary school education Hardworking and ambitious they held high aspirations for their children Applegate and his sister enjoyed the advantages of a small town working class upbringing along with direct contact with black artists and entertainers who frequented the seaside summer boarding house their parents operated in Wildwood New Jersey Although the family was not affluent Applegate s environment was sophisticated and urbane He recalled awakening to the sounds of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington ...


Cheikh Anta Diop is regarded as one of the greatest scholars of the twentieth century. A central figure in African-centered scholarship, his intellectual range and work spanned many disciplines. At the 1966 World Festival of the Arts in Dakar, Senegal, Diop shared with the late W. E. B. Du Bois an award as the writer who had exerted the greatest influence on black thought. He is most known for his work to reaffirm the African character of ancient Egypt through scientific study and to encourage African scholars to use ancient Egypt as a source of valuable paradigms to enrich contemporary African life and contribute to new ways of understanding and improving the world.

Cheikh Anta Diop was born in Diourbel Senegal a town that has a long tradition of Muslim scholarship and learning fostered by the Mouride Brotherhood He began his education at the age of four in ...


Joseph E. Harris

historian of Africa, was born in Gloster, Mississippi, the son of Harriet Pauline Bailey and Eldon Hayes Hansberry, a professor at Alcorn A&M College in Mississippi. His father's personal library inspired him to pursue history as a career. According to Hansberry, by the time he entered Atlanta University in 1914 he had become “something of an authority on the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome.”

A second major influence on Hansberry was W.-E.-B. Du Bois's book, The Negro, published in 1916. For the first time, Hansberry learned about the societies and achievements of Africans in ancient and medieval times. Unable to pursue the subject in depth at Atlanta University, he transferred to Harvard University, where he studied anthropology and archaeology and received a BA in 1921 and an MA in 1932 Although Harvard did not offer courses on Africa it ...


Thomas E. Carney

cultural anthropologist. Melville Jean Herskovits was born in Bellefontaine, Ohio, the son of Herman and Henrietta Hart Herskovits, Jewish immigrants from Europe. Originally he intended to pursue a career in religion and enrolled at the University of Cincinnati and Hebrew Union College. In 1917, World War I interrupted his education, and he enlisted in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. Upon his return from the service, he went to the University of Chicago, where he received his BA in history in 1920. He then changed his focus for his graduate studies: he studied anthropology at Columbia University, receiving his MA in 1921 and his PhD in 1923. He began his teaching career at Howard University, where he taught from 1925 to 1927; in 1927 he married Frances S. Shapiro, who died in 1972 Then Herskovits moved to Northwestern University for the remainder of his ...


Adebe DeRango-Adem

was born in Nedjio, Ethiopia, to a Yemenite Jewish father, Yishaq, prominent in the Dire Dawa Jewish community as a silversmith, and an Ethiopian Christian mother, Ruth, who later converted to Judaism. He received his early education in Ethiopia and in 1937 came to the United States, where he dedicated his life to scholarship on Africa and became the founder and first professor of Afro-American Studies at Harvard University.

Professor Ephraim Isaac earned his secondary education in Ethiopia and was later given a scholarship to go to college in the United States. He earned B.A. degrees in philosophy and chemistry in 1958 from Concordia College in Minnesota. During this time, he was President of the Ethiopian Student Association in North America. He later received an M.A. from Harvard Divinity School and a doctorate in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University.

Professor Isaac was one of the ...


Sibyl Collins Wilson

anthropologist, university professor, and diplomat, was born in Trinidad and Tobago (then in the British West Indies) to Ettice Francis and Joseph McDonald Skinner. His parents’ professions are not recorded. One of five children—two girls and three boys—Skinner was raised by an aunt from Barbados. Although he was not raised to recognize personal limitations in his ability to learn and was exposed to many different cultures, he recognized that his color limited his economic opportunities in the British Caribbean. His family life also prefigured his scholarly interest in class differences, with his mother's family regarded as more modest in achievements and means than his father's Barbadian forebears, who were landowners and merchants. In 1943 he moved to the United States to live with his father in Harlem New York but instead of finding a job Skinner decided to enlist in the Army as the U S ...


Yolanda L. Watson Spiva

educator, Africanist, and anthropologist, was born Gloria Albertha Marshall in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; nothing is known of her parents. She attended Dillard Elementary School and Dillard High School. A student of high academic prowess and promise, she skipped grade levels because of her exceptional ability and mastery of her school work and was classified as a high school junior at the age of fourteen. At fifteen she was offered and accepted early admission to Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, on a Ford Foundation Early Entrant Scholarship. In 1955, while a student at Fisk, Gloria attended Oberlin College as part of an academic exchange program and was exposed to an educational setting that she perceived to be a better fit for her academic interests. Consequently she transferred from Fisk to Oberlin to complete her undergraduate degree.

Sudarkasa received her bachelor s degree in Anthropology and English ...


Bethany K. Dumas

linguist and cultural historian, was born in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. His father, Rooks Turner, earned a bachelor's degree from Howard University, then founded a school that later became the site of a state university. His mother, Elizabeth, was educated in the public schools of the state. Two of his brothers studied medicine and law. His family background provided inspiration for his great academic success.

Turner earned three academic degrees, contributed to American linguistic research in methodology and publications, founded and edited a newspaper, served as professor and administrative head at universities, founded journals, studied West African languages and participated in a Peace Corps project. He received a BA in English in 1914 from Howard University (in Washington, D.C.), an MA in English in 1917 from Harvard University, and a PhD in English in 1926 from the University of Chicago. His dissertation, Anti Slavery Sentiment in American ...