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Article

Esther Aillón Soria

of three oral history books, was born on 27 January 1950 in the Dorado Chico community, in the municipality of Coripata (Yungas region of La Paz). His parents were Santiago Angola Larrea, born in Cala Cala, and Irene Maconde Zambrana, also born in Dorado Chico. Both were illiterate, and they served as pongo (man) and mitani (woman), a system of servitude for peasant laborers until 1947, at a “hacienda” (latifundia after which they worked as farmers in the coca and citrus fields Based on his experience and a self taught quest Angola Maconde became a researcher and in the twenty first century he has embraced a historical perspective from his experience as an Afro descendant in Bolivia in his numerous published works He is part of the first Afro Bolivian generation born in the Yungas region who have migrated to the city of La Paz though many ...

Article

Wanda F. Fernandopulle

farmer and centenarian, was born in Pamplico, South Carolina, one of six daughters of Daisy Timmons Blaine and Ben Blaine, sharecroppers. As a child she lived on the land of Joe Law, one of the richest African Americans in the state of South Carolina. Both parents worked in the fields planting and gathering cotton, tobacco, wheat, and corn, and the family attended the local St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church. As a youth Spears attended the McKnight School, finishing ninth grade. She would recall of her schooling that biscuits and ham were the morning school breakfast, that books were read by kerosene lamps, and classes ended at noon. Spears was then picked up by her father from school in a mule and wagon to help him set tobacco, which was tied and hung and brought to the market.

Looking back on her early life Spears recalled that she rolled ...

Article

Joellyn Pryce El-Bashir

Thomas Campbell was born on February 11, 1883, on a small farm in Elbert County, Georgia. His father, William Campbell, was a Methodist preacher and tenant farmer; his mother died when he was five years old. Possessing little but the determination to get an education, Campbell began, in January 1899 at the age of fifteen, a trek to Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute (now Tuskegee University) in Macon County, Alabama. Arriving a few months later, he enrolled in the lowest grade of the agricultural course of the school. In his largely autobiographical work The Movable School Goes to the Negro Farmer (1936), Campbell gives a poignant account of his impoverished childhood, the arduous journey to Tuskegee, and his long struggle to receive an education there. By 1906 he had worked his way through to completion of the agricultural course That same year he ...

Article

Hassoum Ceesay

district colonial chief and master farmer, was born in Njau Village, in the Upper Saloum District of present-day Gambia in 1890. His name is also spelled Sise or Sisi. He was among the few formally educated Gambian colonial chiefs, having attended the prestigious Mohammedan School in Bathurst (now Banjul) in the 1910s before working as an interpreter for the Traveling Commissioner North Bank Province. Interpreters were central to the running of the colonial machinery. As the intermediaries between the local people who could not speak English and colonial officials, they wielded influence because of their perceived proximity to the colonial powers. European officials also did not always trust the interpreters, who were occasionally sacked or jailed for suspected treachery.

Unlike the French colonizers who completely replaced local chiefs with French officials the British in West Africa administered their colonies through preexisting traditional authorities and used local customary institutions ...

Article

clerk, farmer, historian, and scion of several chiefly Kaonde lineages was born in Chimimono in present-day northwestern Zambia in 1899. The title chibanza, first held by Jilundu's father, Kunaka Mwanza (d.1916), was brought into being when Kunaka inherited one of the names of Kasongo Chibanza, his mother's maternal uncle. Muyange (d.1901), Jilundu's mother, was a daughter of Kamimbi, son of Kabambala, holder of the kasempa title until his assassination in around 1880. Muyange's mother was Lubanjika, sister of Nsule, holder of the bufuku title. The history of these titles and his defense of their prerogatives were to dominate Jilundu's later life. By 1912 or 1913 Jilundu had moved to the center of his mother's matrilineage, the village of Nsule Bufuku, and enrolled in the South Africa General Mission's (SAGM) newly established Lalafuta boarding school. In 1916 Kunaka Mwanza Chibanza died and was succeeded ...

Article

Laura A. Lewis

was born in 1923 in San Antonio Ocotlán, a small town north of Pinotepa Nacional, Oaxaca, Mexico. His mother was an indigenous Amuzgo woman from Cacahuatepec, Oaxaca, and his father was of African descent, from San Nicolás Tolentino on the Costa Chica of Guerrero state. Melquiades was a sickly child, and when his parents separated, soon after his birth, his father brought him back to San Nicolás, where his paternal grandmother and aunt raised him. His paternal grandmother was Zapotec. Thus, Domínguez is indigenous on both his mother’s and his father’s side. He is also one of the most well-known residents of the African-descent community of San Nicolás.

Domínguez’s paternal grandmother and grandfather never married. The Costa Chica is a strongly patrilineal region, but in the tradition of the era, “illegitimate” children—who were said to be “of the wilderness” (del monte inherited their mothers surnames Domínguez s father ...

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

Fernando Cajías de la Vega

was born the son of the farmers Francisco Gemio and Braulia Medina in Tocaña, part of the municipality of Coroico, located in the province of North Yungas in the department of La Paz, Bolivia. Yungas, an agricultural region, lies on the borderlands between the Andean and Amazonian parts of the country and is home to a significant proportion of Bolivia’s African-descended population.

Gemio is also known as a songwriter famous for his compositions of saya, a uniquely Afro-Bolivian form of music and dance, which combines drumming and traditional folk songs sung by both men and women of the Bolivian Yungas. Saya has played an important role in the efforts of Afro-Bolivians to highlight their distinct culture and secure recognition of that culture from the broader Bolivian society. In the 1980s, Gemio was a pioneer in the revival of saya and popularization of Afro Bolivian music throughout the country ...

Article

Hassoum Ceesay

also called Tamba Jammeh, a Gambian colonial chief, farmer, and political figure, was born probably in 1880, to Jatta Selung Jammeh, a Serere-Mandinka, and Awa Job, a Wollof in the Baddibu district of Gambia. He retired in 1964 and died on 13 October 1987. When the British colonialists declared a colonial protectorate in Gambia in 1893, Jatta Selung was allowed to become the first chief of the Illiasa district. His son, Mama Tamba, attended the Muhammedan School in Bathurst (now Banjul) from 1905 to 1913. Soon after, he was employed as a scribe in his father’s court. In 1925, he was appointed deputy chief, as his father was infirm. Mama Tamba Jammeh became chief of Illiasa on 28 February 1928.

The new chief of Illiasa embodied tradition modernity sagacity and innovation At a time when only European colonial officials could afford cars Mama Tamba ...

Article

Neil ten Kortenaar

sharecropper in the Transvaal, South Africa, was born in 1894 to Sekwala Maine, who came from a BaSotho family that had emigrated to the Transvaal, and his wife Motheba. Kas Maine was also known as Ramabonela Maine and Kas Teeu. Maine was raised among SeTswana-speakers. His full name, Kasianyane, was a SeTswana praise name alluding to where he was born, in the southwestern corner of the Transvaal. Teeu was a Tswana pronunciation of “dou,” the Afrikaans translation of phoka meaning “dew,” the family totem. As an adult, Maine was baptized Philip in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Maine spent his long life working on other people’s land, growing grain and raising livestock. He also worked as a cobbler and saddle-maker, a ngaka or traditional healer and diviner, a transport rider, a stable hand, a buyer and seller of livestock, and a cook.

When researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand ...

Article

Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni

Zimbabwean schoolteacher and farmer, one of the early colonially educated elite in present-day Zimbabwe, was born on 17 July 1920 in Matshetsheni at a place called Mgwanda near Mgwanda Mountain west of the Shake ward and east of the Lumene River in the district of Gwanda His full name was Phinda Mfakazi Sayimana Ndlovu Gatsheni His father Sayimana Simpa Ndlovu Gatsheni traced his historical roots from the Zulu people of South Africa owned a large herd of cattle and was a successful peasant farmer His mother Mnqgibanto Nale Moyo hailed from the Kalanga people of the Matopo area Ndlovu Gatsheni s father was born during precolonial times and experienced the colonial conquests of the 1890s during which white settlers appropriated the land of many Africans Ndlovu Gatsheni was born into a hardworking family that fought fiercely for grazing land for their cattle To this family which treasured its large ...

Article

Marsha C. Vick

Dori Sanders, the popular storyteller and lifelong peach farmer in Filbert, South Carolina, made her literary debut with Clover (1990), a novel about a ten-year-old black farm girl whose widowed father dies only hours after marrying a white woman. Clover Hill and her stepmother, Sara Kate, build a life together in rural South Carolina while coming to terms with their grief, with Clover's extended family, and with their cultural differences. The child's perceptive and humorous first-person narrative depicts their experiences as they learn to live with and love each other.

Her Own Place (1993), Sanders's second novel, traces fifty years in the life of Mae Lee Barnes a World War II bride who raises five children and runs her own farm in South Carolina after her husband abandons the family She finds inner strength and meaning through her love of family community and the land ...

Article

Pedro de Weever

was born Lionel Bernard Scott in Cul de Sac, St. Maarten (the Dutch half of the island of St. Martin), on 28 January 1897, the son of Eliza Constance Gerot and John Francis Scott. Born into a poor, working-class family, Scott, also called Brother Bo, had six brothers and ten sisters. He attended the Cul de Sac School until the age of 14, after which he began to learn the trade of carpentry and, like many of his peers, entered the workforce to help his family make ends meet.

In 1917 at the age of 20 Scott married his first wife Louisa Mathilda Proctor That same year he left for the Dominican Republic to work in the sugarcane fields and to find work as a carpenter Economic opportunities on his home island were limited in the 1920s and many people from St Martin were forced to seek work ...

Article

Diane Austin-Broos

a leading Jamaican Pentecostal bishop for more than thirty years, was born at Alston in the far north of Clarendon Parish, Jamaica, to a family who were successful small-scale farmers. At 14, Smith ran away to Kingston and worked as a waiter. He lived with his sister in the Kingston area of Allman Town. Drawn to a group of Pentecostal missionaries from the United States, Smith was converted and baptized in 1921. These missionaries included Nina Stapleton, who, according to oral accounts, may have arrived in Jamaica as early as 1917. Later, in 1923, she was joined by George F. Walters. Both were associated with the Church of God based in Cleveland, Tennessee.

Smith returned to north Clarendon as an independent missionary and established a Trinitarian Pentecostal church at Main Ridge. He evangelized widely and built congregations in numerous Clarendon villages. Among his early converts, in 1922 ...

Article

Richard Pankhurst

Ethiopian Minister of Posts, Telephones and Telegraphs, musician, singer, poet, and wit, was born in Minjar in eastern Ethiopia in 1876. He was the son of Ato Eshete Gobe, a servant of Ras Mekonnen, Emperor Menilek II’s governor of Harar, and Weyzero Woleteyes Habtu. Young Tesemma spent his early childhood in Harar, where he learned reading and writing in a church school, but upon his father’s death he moved to Addis Ababa. Later in 1908, at the age of thirty-one, he was chosen by Menilek to go to Germany with two other Ethiopians. They accompanied a departing German visitor, Arnold Holz, who in the previous year had driven to Addis Ababa in a Nache motor car, the second car to reach the Ethiopian capital—the first, a Wolseley driven by Bede Bentley, had arrived in the Ethiopian capital only a few months earlier.

While in Germany where he spent ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Beninese trader and political leader, was born in the mid-nineteenth century in the kingdom of Dahomey (present-day Benin). His father Padounou Houénou was a leading adviser to Gele, king of Dahomey from 1858 to 1887. His son eventually would follow his father’s career in trade, since Padounou’s main task was to watch over European and Afro-Brazilian traders in the southern port city of Porto-Novo, a vassal of Dahomey. Unfortunately, Tovalou-Quenum’s father backed a rival heir of Glélè to Kondo, the future king of Dahomey. Kondo (later known as Behanzin) had Padounou jailed as a result, and he died in prison in 1887 Tovalou Quenum first chose to settle in Ouidah in part to avoid the court intrigues that had brought so much adversity to his father By the late 1880s Tovalou Quenum had become one of the most wealthy and innovative businessmen in the city Later he moved ...

Article

Fernando Cajías de la Vega

was born in 1964 in Tocaña, part of the municipality of Coroico, located in the province of North Yungas in the department of La Paz, Bolivia. Yungas, an agricultural region, lies on the borderlands between Andean and Amazonian parts of the country and is home to most of the nation’s people of African and partial African descent. Although Bolivia’s African-descended population is smaller than that in most Latin American nations, and despite the government’s long neglect of Afro-Bolivian traditions and history, recent censuses suggest that there may be as many as 30,000 Afro-Bolivians. Vásquez was the son of Carlos Vásquez Zabala and Jacoba Larrea. He married Raymunda Rey, who was also an Afro-Bolivian, with whom he had five children: Nenrry (who would also be a political leader), Nilo, Diego, Denisse, and Fabricio.

Vásquez completed high school in Tocaña and primarily worked in agriculture distinguishing himself as a leader in the ...

Article

Cyril Daddieh

Ivorian teacher, trade unionist, war veteran, deputy, mayor, spiritual leader, senator, cabinet minister, and wealthy planter/businessman, was born on 23 January 1920 in Jacqueville, not far from Abidjan. His father had served as a customs official in Abidjan. He attended primary school in Grand Bassam and then the École Normale Supérieur William Ponty in Senegal from 1937 to 1940. He taught for two years before joining the French war effort in 1942. He was deployed in North Africa, Italy, France, and Germany and was awarded the Croix de Guerre for bravery. After his military service in the French army ended in 1946 he returned home to teach in Aboisso As an ethnic Alladian Yacé was widely recognized as the spiritual leader as well as the titular political representative of the 3A Alladian Aïzi Akouri located in the area around Abidjan between the lagoon and the sea Yet teachers ...