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Louis M. Abbey

periodontist, public health specialist, and educator, was born Clifton Orin Dummett in Georgetown, British Guiana (later Guyana), the youngest of four children of Eglantine Annabella Johnson, a homemaker, and Alexander Adolphus Dummett, a pharmacist and registered dentist. Clifton attended St. Phillips Elementary School from 1924 until 1930 and Queen's College high school from 1930 until 1936, both in Georgetown, British Guiana. His values were strongly influenced by his father, mother, and uncle, Reginald Johnson, an Edinburgh-trained public health physician in Georgetown. “I came from a family that believed in the equality of man. I respected all peoples and demanded similar respect from those with whom I came in contact” (personal communication with the author).

Right after high school, in 1936 Alexander Adolphus Dummett obtained a student visa for his son to study in the United States at Howard University in Washington D ...

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Robert Fikes

dentist, civil rights activist, and art and book collector, was born Jack Johnson Kimbrough in Lexington, Mississippi, the son of Samuel Gulbridge Kimbrough, a blacksmith, and Mary Hoover. Jack was named after the famed African American boxer Jack Johnson. When he was seven, the Kimbroughs, intimidated by local Ku Klux Klansmen and seeking better economic opportunities, moved from Mississippi to Alameda, California, where relatives resided. After graduating from Alameda High School in 1926 Jack attended Sacramento Junior College He continued his studies at the University of California at Berkeley where he studied chemistry while working as a janitor waiter cook and landscaper His interest in science as well as the relatively shorter time that it took to earn a dentistry degree than a medical degree persuaded him enroll in the University of California Dental School in San Francisco from which he graduated with ...

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Brian Purnell

librarian, community activist, and six-term member of the House of Representatives (1983–2007). Major Robert Odell Owens was born 28 June 1936 in Collierville, Tennessee, near Memphis. He was the second of eight children born to Edna Owens, a homemaker, and Ezekiel Owens a furniture factory worker During Major Owens s childhood Memphis was racially segregated and African Americans were forced to live in separate neighborhoods attend inferior schools and make do with other Jim Crow public facilities Despite these poor conditions the Owens parents nurtured in their children a belief that advancement would come through thrift diligence and academic success In the Owens household Ezekiel gave small monetary gifts when one of his children memorized a historic speech and Edna organized games that quizzed the children on their knowledge of state capitals and advanced spelling From an early age Major excelled in these academic ...

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Jeff Bloodworth

librarian, civil rights activist, state senator, and congressman, was born in Collierville, Tennessee, one of the eight children of Ezekiel Owens and Hannah Owens. During Owens's childhood his family moved to Memphis, where Owens graduated from Hamilton High School in 1952 at the age of sixteen. After graduation and upon the receipt of a Ford Foundation scholarship, Owens attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, where he majored in mathematics, earning his bachelor's degree in 1956. In 1957 Owens earned a master's degree in Library Science from Atlanta University.

After earning his master's degree Owens married Ethel Werfel, whom he met at Morehouse College, and moved to New York City. Employed in the Brooklyn Public Library system, Owens also became active in politics and civil rights in the early to mid-1960s. In 1964 he was named community coordinator for a federal program to encourage ...

Article

Christopher Harter

publisher, poet, and librarian, was born Dudley Felker Randall in Washington, D.C., the son of Arthur Clyde Randall, a Congregational minister, and Ada Viola Randall, a teacher and later a full-time housewife. He was the middle son of five children.

The Randall family moved to Detroit in 1920. Arthur Randall instilled in his sons his interest in politics and would take them to hear black speakers such as W. E. B. Du Bois and James Weldon Johnson. Although Dudley Randall inherited his love of poetry from both parents, he mirrored his mother's calmer demeanor. Randall wrote his first poem when he was four years old, and his first published poem appeared in the Detroit Free Press when he was thirteen He excelled in his studies graduating from high school at sixteen He found work at a Ford Motor Company foundry and he ...

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Darshell Silva

(also known as Cromwell Ashbie Hawkins West, Carlos Ashbie Hawk Westez, Ashbie Hawkins West, and Namo S. Hatirire) activist, linguist, storyteller, performer, and shaman, was born in Newport, Rhode Island. There are varying accounts of Red Thunder Cloud's parentage and upbringing. According to his own account, he was born Carlos Ashibie Hawk Westez. As a young boy, he was brought up among the Narragansett Indians of Rhode Island by his Catawba mother, Roberta Hawk Westez, and his Honduran father, Carlos Panchito Westez. He is believed to have lived among the Shinnecock Indians of Long Island in the late 1930s. His actual home during much of this time was said to be on the Catawba Reservation in South Carolina, but he traveled extensively, visiting many Indian groups. This account of his early life has been challenged by Smithsonian anthropologist and ethnologist Ives Goddard who claimed ...

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Barry T. Ryan

Spingarn, Arthur Barnett (28 March 1878–01 December 1971), lawyer, was born in New York City, the son of Elias Spingarn and Sarah Barnett. He received an A.B. from Columbia University in 1897, as well as an A.M. in 1899 and an LL.B. in 1900. Spingarn also received an LL.D. from Howard University in 1941 and an L.H.D. from Long Island University in 1966. In 1918 he married Marion Mayer, a social worker; they had no children.

Admitted to the New York bar in 1900 Spingarn began private practice in New York City He was soon associated with what later would be known as civil rights activism both in and out of the courtroom Consequently in 1911 he was appointed vice president and chairman of the national legal committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People NAACP a position he held until 1940 His work ...

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Carolyn Wedin

lawyer, NAACP official, and bibliophile. Arthur Barnett Spingarn was one of four sons born to Elias and Sarah Barnett Spingarn in New York City. His father, who had emigrated from Austria—his mother was from Hull, England—entered the wholesale tobacco business in 1861, and the family became wealthy and socially prominent in Manhattan. Spingarn received his BA from Columbia College in 1897, his MA from Columbia University in 1899, and his LLB from Columbia Law School in 1900, when he was also admitted to the New York bar. He married Marion Mayer, a social worker, on 27 January 1918; she died in 1958.

With his oldest brother, Joel Elias Spingarn, Arthur Spingarn joined the fledgling NAACP soon after its founding in 1909 and was made a vice president in 1911 and director of legal defense work separately incorporated as ...