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Carlos Dalmau

A passionate speaker and outspoken critic of United States imperialism and the 1898 invasion and occupation of Puerto Rico, Pedro Albizu Campos spent many years in prison for his role in the pro-independence nationalist movement, during the turbulent years of the 1930s through the 1950s. He opposed the annexation of Puerto Rico by the United States when the island was ceded by the Spanish after the Spanish-Cuban-American War (1895–1898). For Albizu, Puerto Ricans—ethnically mixed and culturally different—were not, and should not be, Americans. Independence was the only legitimate and anti-imperialist solution to the island's status.

From an early age Albizu stood out as an excellent student He grew up in the city of Ponce a municipality in southern Puerto Rico where he received a grant that gave him the opportunity to study chemical engineering at the University of Vermont He later graduated from the Harvard Law School where ...


Jeremy Rich

Algerian anticolonial leader and politician, was born on 25 December 1916 in the town of Maghnia in western Algeria. His family was relatively affluent, and he was the youngest child of five boys and several girls.

Although Ben Bella’s father was a practicing Muslim, Ben Bella himself never managed to master Arabic. He attended primary schools in Maghnia and graduated in 1930. Ben Bella was a phenomenal football (soccer) player at school, and he seriously considered becoming a professional athlete. However, he ended up joining the French army and served in numerous campaigns during World War II. His bravery and skill made him a legend in his own unit, and he eventually reached the rank of Sergeant Major. At the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy, he carried his wounded company commander 1500 yards to safety and then took charge of the company Charles De Gaulle his future ...


Jeremy Rich

Algerian politician and anticolonial military leader, was born Mohammed Ben Brahim Boukharouba in the Algerian town of Aïn Hesseinia, near Guelma, on 23 August 1932. Although Boumedienne was fluent in French through his primary school studies at a public school, he also chose to attend Islamic schools where the language of instruction was Arabic. Unlike some other future Algerian leaders who lacked a firm command of classical Arabic, Boumedienne thus could express himself in both French and Arabic as a result of his education.

The brutal crackdown of Algerian nationalists by European settlers and the French military on 8 May 1945 dramatically shaped Boumedienne s life Rather than accept eventually being forced to join the French military as a conscript he moved to Tunisia where he attended classes at the Zitouna University known for its advanced courses in Islamic law and theology After some time Boumedienne attended the ...


Ari Nave

Nkologo (John) Chilembwe was born in Sangano, Chiradzulu district, in what is now Malawi. He received primary schooling at a Presbyterian mission school in Blantyre, then in 1892 went to work as a house servant for the British Baptist missionary Joseph Booth, an advocate for African self-rule. In 1897 Chilembwe traveled with Booth to the United States and attended the Virginia Theological College, a black Baptist seminary, where he became familiar with aspects of the African American experience, such as segregation and racism, and was influenced by such writers as W. E. B. Du Bois.

In 1900 Chilembwe returned to his homeland By then an ordained Baptist minister he purchased some forty hectares ninety nine acres of land with the help of African American backers and built the Providence Industrial Mission PIM with the goal of educating and encouraging self confidence among his people A number of African ...


Richard Watts

Jean-Jacques Dessalines was born to Congolese parents on a plantation in Saint-Domingue (as Haiti was known prior to independence). He was given the name of the plantation owner, Duclos, before adopting the name of the freed black landowner, Dessalines, who purchased his services as a slave. Unlike his future comrade-in-arms, François Dominique Toussaint Louverture, Dessalines was treated harshly as a slave and joined the ranks of maroons (runaway slaves) at a young age. In 1792 he became a partisan of the slave uprising led by Boukman, a slave of Jamaican origin, and impressed his compatriots with his courage. Yet Dessalines committed acts of cruelty that frightened some in the rebellion. His capacity for violence would contribute in equal measure to his precipitous rise and fall.

Following the abolition of slavery in Saint-Domingue in 1793 Toussaint Louverture allied himself with the French Dessalines joined him eventually becoming Toussaint ...


Elwood Dunn

military leader and twenty-first president of Liberia, was born 6 May 1950 to Krahn-Liberian parents in Tuzon, Grand Gedeh County. He was the first Liberian of ethnic heritage, as opposed to descendants of New World immigrants, to become president though his route to power was through a bloody military coup d’état staged in the early morning of 12 April 1980 resulting in the overthrow of the government of President William R. Tolbert Jr. (1971–1980). The coup ended more than a century of immigrant rule and opened Liberia to the prospect of inclusive governance.

Doe began his formal education in his hometown, moving on to Zwedru, the county’s capital where he enrolled in a Baptist junior high school, which he completed in 1967 Perhaps following in the footsteps of his father Private Matthew K Doe he enlisted into the Armed Forces of Liberia AFL two years later Assigned to duties ...


Graham Russell Hodges

Born to petit bourgeois parents in Vého, Lorraine, in rural France, Henri-Baptiste Grégoire was educated at a Jesuit college. He then became a teacher and was consequently ordained as a priest in Lorraine at the age of twenty-five. Frustrated by hierarchical barriers to advancement, he turned to writing.

Grégoire's first essays, published in the late 1770s, advocated tolerance of Jews, a position that placed Grégoire in opposition to the wave of anti-Semitism in France. In 1785 he won awards for a book reflecting his passion for Jewish rights Grégoire contended that temporal salvation by which he meant absorption into the Roman Catholic Church was individual rather than racial or national He defined his duty as working for the creation of conditions under which Jews could convert to Catholicism and be eligible for salvation To avoid social corruption he believed Jews were to be encouraged to migrate to the countryside ...


Mustafa Kabha

was a member of the Free Officers, a group that succeeded in engineering a coup against the monarchist regime of Egypt in July 1952. Kamal al-Din Husayn was born in Kaylubiyya, Egypt, in 1921, and graduated from the Egyptian Military Academy in 1939. At the outbreak of World War II he enlisted in the Egyptian army and served in an artillery unit in the Western Desert. He took part in the War of 1948 in Palestine and upon his return to Egypt was appointed a teacher at the school of artillery and at the military staff college. In January 1949 he joined the Free Officers who were operating clandestinely within the Egyptian army together with ʿAbd al Latif al Baghdadi However he also maintained a strong relationship with the Muslim Brothers long serving as their liaison with the Free Officers His association with the Muslim Brothers ...


Gaim Kibreab

Eritrean head of state, was born on 2 January 1946 in the village of Tselot, outside the capital, Asmara. Isaias studied at Prince Mekonnen Secondary School, where he was inducted into the nationalist Eritrean student movement in the first half of the 1960s. He joined the Faculty of Engineering at Haile Selassie University, Addis Ababa, in 1965.

In September 1966, he left the university and traveled to Kassala, Sudan, via Asmara to join the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF). In 1967, the Chinese government donated to the ELF some light weapons and a small amount of cash to cover the cost of transportation and provided training first to five and later to 28 combatants. Isaias was among the first group that went to China in 1967 There he received intensive military and ideological training at the height of the Cultural Revolution Upon his return he was appointed ...


Barrymore Bogues

Former slave, and political and military leader during the late eighteenth century of the revolutionary slave army in the Caribbean French colony of Saint Domingue, Toussaint L’Ouverture is a historical figure of world significance. By the early nineteenth century, he was known as one of the most remarkable men of those times. The English Romantic poet William Wordsworth honored him with a sonnet; major Western newspapers wrote editorials about him, and when he died in a French prison, one newspaper called him a “truly great man.” In the late nineteenth century, the American writer Henry Adams devoted a chapter of his nine-volume history of the United States to Toussaint L’Ouverture. In Adams’s judgment, “The story of Toussaint Louverture [sic has been told almost as that of Napoleon but not in connection with the history of the United States although Toussaint exercised an influence as decisive as that of any ...


first prime minister of the Republic of the Congo (later Democratic Republic of the Congo), was born 25 July 1925 in Onalua a small village in Kasai Province Belgian Congo His parents belonged to the small Tetela ethnic group known for its resistance to Belgian colonial domination which in Onalua was well anchored and brutally asserted Lumumba was a curious even audacious child with a sharp intelligence He did not allow himself to be ruled by adults or his comrades and was remembered as a leader always ready to defend his friends His assertive temperament distinguished him but also got him into trouble for he could not succeed in an environment like the colonial Congo where docility passed for a primary virtue An autodidact he was shaped by neither family school nor religion he observed everything keenly imposing himself on his society and surprising above all the Belgian colonial ...


Frances B. Henderson

political leader and former first lady of Mozambique and South Africa, was born Graça Simbine in Gaza Province in rural Mozambique, the youngest of six children. She was born two weeks after the death of her father, and she and her siblings were raised by her mother. Machel attended a Methodist mission school starting at the age of 6, and upon completion of primary and secondary school in the early 1970s, she received a mission scholarship to study romance languages at the University of Lisbon in Portugal. In Lisbon she met other African students from the Portuguese colonies and began to develop her liberation politics. In 1973, upon her return to Mozambique, she joined the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO) in its struggle for independence from Portuguese rule. Later in 1973 Machel fled to Tanzania to join FRELIMO in exile where she met her future husband ...


Clapperton Mavhunga

prime minister and then president of the Republic of Zimbabwe, was born on 21 February 1924 to Bona Shonhiwa and a carpenter named Gabriel Matibiri. The couple, who lived near the Catholic-run Kutama Mission, had their first child, Michael, in 1919 and a second, Raphael, in 1922. Their third son, Robert Gabriel, was born two years later at Matibiri village near Murombedzi. After him came another brother, Donato, and a sister, Sabina.

In his boyhood, Mugabe accompanied his devoutly Catholic mother to mass, a filial attachment that grew even more after 1934 when his father left the family to seek work in the western Southern Rhodesian city of Bulawayo a decision prompted by Michael s death Schoolmates say Mugabe kept to himself avoided distractive things like sports and made books his only friends The cattle pastures were an extension of the library to him and he herded with ...


Nelson Kasfir

guerrilla leader and president of Uganda for more than twenty- five years from 1986, was the firstborn child of Amos Kaguta, a nomadic cattle keeper, and Esteeri Kokundeka in what was then Ankole Kingdom in the British Protectorate of Uganda. Named for the Ugandan troops who served in the Seventh Battalion of the King’s African Rifles during World War II, Museveni is a member of the Basiita clan of the Bahororo, an ethnic group closely related to the Bahima and often considered part of the Banyankole people.

He was educated at Mbarara High School 1959 1960 and Ntare Senior Secondary School 1960 1966 where he became a born again Christian He chose to attend the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania 1967 1970 instead of the more prestigious Makerere University because he wanted exposure to more leftist political ideas in that university and to Eduardo Mondlane the leader ...


Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni

Zimbabwean nationalist, was born in June 1917 at Semokwe Reserve in Matabeleland South Province (in what was then called Southern Rhodesia). Nkomo was a third child, a sister having been born in 1910 and a brother in 1913. His grandfather, Thomas Mutsumi Ramatshatshe, traced his roots from the Kololo of Sebetwane, and his mother (maHadebe) hailed from the Nguni group. His parents, Mqabuko Nyongolo and maHadebe, were Christians, and his father worked first as a driver and later as a teacher for the London Missionary Society (LMS). His mother worked as a cook. Nkomo received his primary education at the Tsholotsho Government School, where he studied carpentry. After completing primary-level studies, he worked as a driver, delivering bread for Osborn’s Bakery in Bulawayo. He later worked as a carpenter in Kezi and Tsholotsho.

In 1941 Nkomo traveled to South Africa and enrolled at Adams College in Durban for ...


Paul Bjerk

the first president of Tanzania, was born in Butiama, in what was then Tanganyika, in 1922. His oft-cited birth date of 13 April coincides with the rainy season that inspired his given name, “Kambarage,” referring to a rain-giving ancestral spirit. He was one of twenty-six children in the polygamous family of Nyerere Burito, the colonial chief of the Zanaki people, who resided between the eastern shore of Lake Victoria and the Serengeti plains. He spent the first twelve years of his life in his father’s hilltop compound in the village of Butiama. British colonial policy offered free education to sons of chiefs, and a family friend recommended him for admission to school. He attended Mwisenge Primary School from 1934 to 1936 and excelled. He then transferred to Tabora Government School, an elite school that offered the best education in the territory. In 1943 he was sponsored by the ...


Alva Moore Stevenson

revolutionary, governor, city councilman, landowner, and businessman, was born Pío de Jesus Píco at the San Gabriel Mission in California, the fourth of the ten children of José María Píco, founder of the Píco family in Southern California, and a native of Fuerte, Sinaloa, Mexico, and María Eustaquia Gutiérrez, from San Miguel de Horcasitas, Sonora, Mexico. Pío's ancestry was a combination of African, Hispanic, Native American, and European. José Píco migrated to California in 1801 with the Anza Expedition, which was authorized in 1775 by the viceroy of Spain. Soldiers and their families were recruited from Sonora to occupy and settle the port of San Francisco. A successful overland emigration and supply route was established between Sonora and Alta California. Among the positions he held were sergeant and corporal Many members of the Píco family served in the military including Pío Píco s ...


Inge Mariëtte Ruigrok

founder and leader of the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA), was born on 12 January 1923 in São Salvador (present-day M’banza-Kongo, the old capital of the Kongo kingdom) in Angola. His father was a Baptist pastor. In 1941, the family moved to Belgian Congo, where the young Roberto was educated. After graduation, he became a finance clerk for the colonial Belgian government for eight years before starting his political career.

On 14 July 1956, Holden Roberto founded together with Barros Necaca the Union of Peoples of Northern Angola (UPA), the predecessor of the FNLA (Marcum, 1969). This national liberation movement was organized in the Belgian Congo, emerging from “messianic movements, ethnic and clan networks and self-help associations within a Congo political climate marked by racial affirmation and a strong Bakongo sub-nationalism” (Messiant, 1998, p. 136). Holden Roberto launched an incursion into Angola on 15 March 1961 ...


Joseph Goakai

leader of Sierra Leonean rebel group the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), was born Foday Saybana Sankoh in Masumbiri, Kholifa Rowala Chiefdom, Tonkolili District in the northern province of Sierra Leone on 17 October 1937. His father, Morlai Sankoh, was an ethnic Temne from Masang, Tonkolili District, who for a long time moved between farming and dealing in gold. His mother, Mbalu Serry, was also a Temne from Robis, in the Kholifa Rowala Chiefdom, Tonkolili District.

Sankoh descended from a fierce local warrior family on his father s side and a prominent local ruling family on his mother s side His paternal grandfather Pa Fosekie Fosiki Sankoh was a local warrior from a town called Yunkro Yonkro in the Kafu Bollom Chiefdom Port Loko District and was a chartered mercenary in the Temnedom According to the family oral history Pa Fosekie was hired from Yonkro during the tribal wars of ...