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Sheila T. Gregory

radio and television pioneer, Masonic Christian Order founder, ordained Baptist minister, lawyer, community advocate, and business leader, was born on a sharecroppers' farm in Geneva, Kentucky, the son of Richard and Clara Banks, both tenant farmers. In June 1922 Banks graduated from the Lincoln Institute of Kentucky and moved to Detroit, Michigan, where he secured a job at the Dodge automobile main plant. He graduated from Wayne State University in 1926 and the Detroit College of Law in 1929. He briefly opened a criminal law practice, but after two years he discontinued his criminal work and invested in property during the Depression, while helping elect liberal Democrat and future Supreme Court justice Frank Murphy as Detroit's mayor in 1930.

In 1931 Banks was the head of the International Labor Defense League ILDL a legal organization known for defending numerous labor unions which at that time were ...


Charles F. Casey-Leninger

first black mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio, was born in Maysville, Kentucky, to a white farmer whom he never knew and Cora Berry. When he was a toddler, Berry's mother brought him to Cincinnati, where they settled in the emerging African American community in the city's West End. Severely hearing impaired and with difficulty speaking, his mother earned little as a domestic, and Berry's sister Anna, fifteen years his senior, eventually assembled the family in her own household.

Berry attended the segregated Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary School and graduated from the racially mixed Woodward High School in 1924 as valedictorian, the first black student in Cincinnati to achieve that honor in an integrated high school. Berry received his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1928 and his juris doctorate from the UC College of Law in 1931 He worked his way through school by selling ...


Daryl A. Carter

mayor of Newark, New Jersey, was born Cory Anthony Booker in Washington, D.C., the younger of two sons of Carolyn and Cary Booker, executives at IBM. Booker graduated from North Valley Regional High School at Old Tappan, after which he entered Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. At Stanford Booker studied political science and was active in student politics, serving in student government as senior class president. He played football and was awarded for his talent. Upon graduating with a B.A. in 1991, Booker decided to stay at Stanford for another year. In 1992, Booker received his M.A. in Sociology and was awarded one of the highly coveted Rhodes Scholarships. In Great Britain, he continued his studies at The Queen's College of Oxford University. In 1994 Booker received a degree in modern history with honors After completing his studies in England Booker enrolled at Yale Law ...


Cheryl Dudley

attorney, judge, and civil rights activist, was born in Huntington, West Virginia, to the Reverend William Roderick Brown and Maria Wiggins Rowlett Brown. He attended Virginia Union University in Richmond and in 1923 earned a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh, graduating third in a class of twenty-two students.

Following his graduation in October 1923, Brown joined the Allegheny County Bar Association and became active in his community to reduce crime and improve the quality of life for youth. He married Wilhelmina Byrd in 1927, and the couple had one son, Byrd Rowlett Brown who also became a well known attorney and civil rights activist in Pittsburgh During the 1930s when there was an increase in crime as a result of the Great Depression Brown chaired the Friendly Service Bureau a committee established to help reduce crime in Pittsburgh Along with the help of the ...


Bret A. Weber

law enforcement officer, community organizer, and mayor, was born in Stamps, Lafayette County, Arkansas, but lived most of his life and built his career in the state capital, Little Rock. His mother, Annie Bussey, lived in Stamps, with his father Charlie Bussey, who worked at the local sawmill. A childhood friend of Maya Angelou's, Bussey and his sister, Delvira Bussey, who became a schoolteacher, shared a deep concern for the welfare and future of children. He moved to Little Rock in the 1940s and opened an appliance shop and on 11 October 1945 married Maggie Clark. Though unsuccessful in the appliance business, by 1950 he had become the state s first black deputy sheriff and was later assigned to the prosecuting attorney s office as an investigator As deputy sheriff he founded the Junior Deputy Baseball program and many of those ...


Elisa Larkin Nascimento

whose full name was Aguinaldo de Oliveira Camargo, was probably born around 1916 in the midsize city of Campinas, São Paulo State, Brazil, where he was raised from early infancy. He had access to an education of exceptional quality for a black child, at Salesian institutions following the philosophy of the Italian Catholic educator Don Bosco. He obtained his degree in agronomy early in life and became respected in the field, traveling to various states on research missions. As a youth, he was friends with Geraldo Campos de Oliveira, who had moved with his family to Campinas from Franca, where they were close to the family of the black activist Abdias do Nascimento. Visiting his friend Geraldo Campos de Oliveira, Nascimento met Aguinaldo Camargo in Campinas, where racial segregation was common in clubs, movie houses, and public places. The three young men organized the Afro-Campineiro Congress in 1938 bringing ...


SaFiya D. Hoskins

U.S.congressman, was born Artur Genestre Davis in Montgomery, Alabama, and raised in a religious home by his grandmother (name unknown) and mother (name unknown), the latter an employee of the Montgomery County school system for thirty years. Davis lived a humble life on the lower-income west side of Montgomery. Upon graduating from Jefferson Davis High School with honors, he left his hometown to attend Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In 1990 he graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor's degree in government from Harvard and then began graduate studies at Harvard University Law School. During his tenure at Harvard he made the acquaintance of Barack Obama, the future president of the United States. Obama, then attending Harvard Law School and president of the Harvard Law Review delivered a speech to students that made a lasting impression on Davis the two men soon became friends As a ...


Eric R. Jackson

was born on February 13, 1945 in Washington, DC, to Leslie and Bernice Gaines. The family then moved to Sandy Spring, in Montgomery County, Maryland, where his father worked as a custodian at one of the city’s African American high schools. From the time that he was a child, Gaines believed that one day he would be a community activist or become a member of the legal profession. For example, despite being told by a high school counselor that he should quit school and find a manual laboring job, Gaines’ journey to the legal profession started as soon as he finished his undergraduate degree at Maryland State College, an HBCU in Princess Anne (now the University of Maryland Eastern Shore) in 1967.

In 1968 he entered Howard Law School in Washington DC without the submission of any LSAT scores which Gaines proclaimed many years later is the system ...


Charles Rosenberg

the first African American to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, sprang from a talented family with deep roots in the Methodist Episcopal and African Methodist Episcopal (AME) churches, free a generation before the Civil War. Mossell spent a good part of his adult life in Cardiff, Wales, after a sojourn in South Africa.

The youngest son of Aaron Albert Mossell and Eliza Bowers Mossell, Mossell was born in Canada, where his father owned a brickyard in Hamilton, Ontario. The family had moved there from Maryland due to limited educational opportunities and social restrictions on free people of African descent, although his grandmother, Mrs. Catherine Mossell, remained a life-long member of Baltimore's Sharp Street United Methodist Church until her death in 1891. Before Mossell's second birthday, the family moved again, to Lockport, New York, where he grew up.

Like his older brothers, Charles Wesley Mossell ...


Terri A. Karis

civil rights and antipoverty activist, was born John Anthony Powell in Detroit, Michigan, the sixth of nine children born to Marshall Powell, an autoworker and minister, and Florcie Mae Rimpson, a nurse. Both parents were former sharecroppers. From a young age powell had exceptional abilities and unconventional ways of thinking that challenged his deeply religious family.

At age eleven he decided to leave the church where his father was minister At issue was the church s teaching that all non Christians would go to hell powell was concerned about what this meant for the millions of people who were non Christian Around this same time his great grandmother with whom he had a special bond died as a result of poor medical care Powell s grief was amplified by the sense of exclusion he already felt in his family because of having left the church and his ...


Elizabeth K. Davenport

community activist and lawyer, was born Margaret Wilhelmina Jackson in Portsmouth, Virginia, to Margaret and John Jackson. One of three children, she had two siblings, Gwendolyn E. Bowie, a public school teacher, and Horace Jackson, a physician. Until the seventh grade, she attended Truxon Elementary School in Truxon, Virginia, and in 1933 she graduated from J. C. Norco High School in Portsmouth.

Upon high school graduation Rolark attended Howard University from 1933 until 1937, earning bachelor of arts and master's degrees in Political Science while studying under Ralph Bunche, a civil rights leader and later a member of President Harry Truman's “black cabinet.” As a young political scientist Rolark was one of several researchers who went to the Deep South to collect data for the Swedish economist Gunnar Myrdal, for his seminal book An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy ...


Luther Brown

lawyer, community activist, and judge, was born Leah Jeanette Sears in Heidelberg, Germany, where her father, Colonel Thomas E. Sears, a young U.S. Army officer, and her mother, Onnye Jean (maiden name unknown), an elementary schoolteacher, were stationed. Colonel Sears would later become a Presbyterian minister; he died in 1989. Leah had an older brother, William Thomas, and a younger one, Michael Euric.

Military assignments kept the family moving; after leaving Germany, Thomas and Onnye moved several times eventually settling in Maryland where Leah began school at the height of the turbulent civil rights movement Leah and her brothers by integrating the schools they attended became some of the youngest civil rights activists in their area They lived in all white neighborhoods and attended all white public schools first in Maryland and later in Georgia circumstances that made for some difficulty but ...