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Beckham, Ruth Winifred Howard  

Tiffany K. Wayne

psychologist, social worker, and educator, was born in Washington, D.C., the eighth and youngest child of Reverend and Mrs. William James Howard. Ruth Howard loved reading as a child and originally considered becoming a librarian but, after three years at Howard University, she transferred to Simmons College in Boston and changed her major to social work.

In the early decades of the twentieth century social work was a new professional field for women and especially for black women Most African American women in the early decades of the twentieth century were confined to jobs as domestic workers or if they entered the professional class as teachers But at Simmons Howard was introduced to new role models and new career possibilities Through a summer internship with the National Urban League she became inspired by the need for community programs for disadvantaged youth including education recreation and job ...


Delaney, Emma B.  

Brandi Hughes

nurse, foreign missionary, and school founder, was born to Anna L. Delaney and Daniel Sharpe Delaney in Fernandina Beach, Florida. Emma Beard Delaney came of age in the postbellum generation that witnessed the collapse of Reconstruction and the fading of the early promise of African American emancipation. Against the rising tide of segregation and racial violence, however, Delaney's family managed to sustain a measure of economic security and educational advancement. Her father, Daniel, held the distinction of being the only African American helmsman commissioned for service on the Revenue Cutter Boutwell, a federal ship that patrolled the ports of Savannah, Georgia; Jacksonville, Florida; and Charleston, South Carolina, as a forerunner of the U.S. Coast Guard. The unique benefits of her father's government employment enabled the Delaney family to support an expansive education for Emma and her sister, Annie. In 1889 shortly after completing secondary classes ...


Whipper, Ionia R(ollin)  

Rosalyn Terborg-Penn

Ionia Whipper was born in Beaufort, South Carolina, the daughter of William J. and Frances A. Rollin Whipper. Her paternal grandfather, William Whipper, was a prominent moral reformer and conductor on the Underground Railroad, helping fugitive slaves escape to safety in the North. Her father was a delegate to the 1868 South Carolina Constitutional Convention, a municipal judge, and a member of the 1895 state constitutional convention. In 1889 he had published a pamphlet portraying the attempt of Democrats to win by fraud in the 1888 election in Beaufort County. Her mother and aunts were noted activists in Charleston, South Carolina.

After coming to Washington, D.C., at an early age, Whipper graduated from the Howard University College of Medicine in 1903 where she specialized in obstetrics With a heritage steeped in social reform she would later dedicate her life to helping others Frances Whipper ...


Whipper, Ionia Rollin  

Teresa R. Taylor

Ionia Rollin Whipper was born in Beaufort, South Carolina, into two prominent families. Her grandfather, William Whipper, was a wealthy Pennsylvania businessman and an outspoken abolitionist who conducted a station on the Underground Railroad. Whipper’s father, William James Whipper (1834-1907), was a native of Philadelphia and a Union Army veteran. At the close of the Civil War, Whipper moved to South Carolina to be part of the Reconstruction effort. In Beaufort, he cofounded the first black law firm in the United States—Whipper, Elliott, and Allen. He was elected a circuit court judge in 1875 and served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention from South Carolina. He married Frances Rollin (1847-1901), daughter of a distinguished black landholder in antebellum Charleston, South Carolina. Frances Rollin was the author of The Life and Public Services of Martin R. Delaney which she published under the ...