1-12 of 12 Results  for:

  • Literary Inspiration x
Clear all

Article

Baker, Frankie  

John Garst

the inspiration for the “Frankie and Johnny” song, was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. Her parents were Cedric Baker and his wife Margaret (maiden name unknown), and she had three brothers: Charles, Arthur, and James. Charles, who was younger than Frankie, lived with her on Targee Street in 1900. In 1899 Baker shot and killed her seventeen-year-old “mack” (pimp), Allen “Al” Britt. St. Louis pianists and singers were soon thumping and belting out what would become one of America's most famous folk ballads and popular songs, “Frankie and Johnny,” also known as “Frankie and Albert,” “Frankie Baker,” and “Frankie.”

At age sixteen or seventeen Baker fell in love with a man who, unknown to her, was living off the earnings of a prostitute (this kind of man was known as an “easy rider,” a term made famous by W. C. Handy in his ...

Article

Berry, Polly  

Kimberly Cheek

enslavedAfrican-American woman, was born free in Illinois around 1818. The exact date and place of her birth, and the names of her parents are not known. The memoir From Darkness Cometh Light; or Struggles for Freedom, which was published by her daughter Lucy Ann Delany in 1891, provides an account of her mother's life. Despite this extant narrative the chronological record of Berry's origins, movements, and transfer of ownership during her enslavement remains vague.

Her enslavement began in the 1820s, when Polly was abducted, taken to St. Louis, Missouri, and sold into slavery. Shortly afterward she resided in Wayne County, Kentucky. Eric Gardner in Unexpected Places asserts that the Beatty family of Wayne County Kentucky were Polly s first owners p 33 Eventually the Beattys sold her to a poor farmer named Joseph Crockett and she became known as Polly Crockett When she was fourteen ...

Article

Blake, Margaret Jane  

Mary Krane Derr

slave and later servant, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to Perry Blake, a free African American, and his wife Charlotte, a slave in the household of a prominent merchant, Jesse Levering. The couple had several other children. In 1897 Jesse's daughter Sarah R. Levering published a booklet about Margaret Jane Blake's life through the Press of Innes & Son in Philadelphia. As of 2011 other sources concerning Blake s life were unknown Thus we should read this account with care recognizing that it provides only one perspective on Blake s life and that it comes from a member of the family who once owned her It nonetheless offers several insights on the life of an urban African American woman in slavery and freedom Levering designated the proceeds from the booklet s sale to a Presbyterian affiliated manual labor school for the benefit of the ...

Article

Carroll, Hattie  

Adam Rosen

subject of popular civil rights ballad by the renowned American folksinger Bob Dylan, lived her adult life, and possibly childhood, in Baltimore, Maryland. The sensationalist circumstances surrounding Carroll's death, which occurred eight hours after being assaulted by a wealthy white farmer at the hotel where she was working, coupled with the short sentence given to Carroll's victimizer, sparked a national outcry over the treatment of blacks in the United States. Within months of the verdict, Bob Dylan—at the time a relatively unknown twenty-two-year-old—wrote the song “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll,” a haunting elegy that would memorialize the incident, although with considerable inaccuracy. Little information is available on Carroll's early life, but at the time of her death she was a resident of Cherry Hill, the United States' first planned neighborhood for African Americans and a major residence for returning black World War II veterans. Carroll's husband, James ...

Article

Henson, Josiah  

Peter Hudson

Josiah Henson was originally thought to be the model for Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. He was born into slavery in Charles County, Maryland, but showed such loyalty and devotion that his owner, Isaac Riley, granted him exceptional privileges and responsibilities, and allowed him to work as a Methodist Episcopal preacher. Through his meager salary as a preacher, Henson was able to save almost $300, which he hoped would buy his freedom. Riley agreed with Henson on a price of $450, but knowing that Henson was illiterate, Riley changed the contract to $1,000 and then made plans to sell him. Henson learned of these betrayals and fearing forced separation from his family decided to escape to Canada, settling in Dresden, Canada West (Ontario).

Henson became a British patriot while in Canada and led a volunteer brigade against William Lyon Mackenzie and the Americans ...

Article

Henson, Josiah  

Charles P. Toombs

and prototype for the title character in Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852). Josiah Henson was born a slave in Charles County, Maryland, on 15 June 1789. The details of his life are recorded in The Life of Josiah Henson, Formerly a Slave, Now an Inhabitant of Canada, as Narrated by Himself (1849). As a very young child Henson states that he was largely unaware that his life was in any way remarkable. It was not until the death of his master, Dr. McPherson and the sale of his mother and siblings that the real horrors and anxieties of slave life impressed him After his family is sold he recalls earlier times when his mother was sexually assaulted and his father was mutilated In spite of the cruel treatment his mother received at the hands of so called Christians she taught him ...

Article

Henson, Josiah  

Elizabeth Zoe Vicary

escaped slave and preacher, was born in Charles County, Maryland, on a farm owned by Francis Newman. As a child Henson frequently saw his parents abused and severely beaten. On one occasion, as a punishment for defending his wife, Henson's father was sentenced to a physical mutilation that left him permanently scarred. Although he was raised without religion, Henson was immediately converted to Christianity after his first exposure to it at a revivalist camp meeting. As a young boy, he was sold to Isaac Riley.

Because of his unusual strength and intelligence Henson was made superintendent of the farm at a young age He managed the plantation well doubling the annual crop production One day during an argument at a neighboring farm Henson defended his master in an argument with the other plantation s overseer In revenge the overseer and three of his slaves waylaid Henson one ...

Article

Jakes, T. D.  

John G. Turner

pastor, evangelist, and writer, was born Thomas Dexter Jakes in Vandalia, West Virginia, the third and youngest child of Ernest Jakes Sr. and Odith Jakes. Jakes's father owned a fifty-two-employee janitorial service and instilled in his son an appreciation for entrepreneurship and economic empowerment. Jakes's mother taught home economics. As a child “Tommy” Jakes followed in his parents' footsteps by working a paper route and selling vegetables grown by his mother. He grew up in his parents' Baptist church and as an adolescent served as its part-time choir director.

When Jakes was ten his father was diagnosed with a terminal kidney disease Alongside his mother Jakes cared for his father and helped with the business When his father died five years later Jakes searched for a deeper religious experience and underwent a conversion at a storefront apostolic church that belonged to a small Pentecostal denomination He ...

Article

Jakes, T. D.  

Kimberly Burnett

evangelist minister and entrepreneur. Thomas Dexter Jakes was born in South Charleston, West Virginia, and was the youngest of three children. A quiet yet observant child, Jakes learned a great deal from his father, who was a hard-working businessman and entrepreneur, as well as from his mother, a devoted educator. From a young age, he was taught in church, and by age nineteen Jakes had entered the ministry and preached his first sermon. In 1979 Jakes was licensed as a minister and founded Greater Emmanuel Temple of Faith, a storefront church that began with only ten members in a small town in West Virginia. Focusing specifically on the often-overlooked issues of women, Jakes's message, titled “Woman Thou Art Loosed,” drew a following that grew exponentially. In 1996 Jakes moved himself along with fifty other families within the congregation to Dallas Texas to establish a multiracial nondenominational church called the ...

Article

Lewis, Felix Early  

Meharry H. Lewis

preacher, author, publisher, and church administrator, was born in Vanleer, Tennessee. He was the younger of two sons of David and Mary Lena (Street) Lewis, whose parents were born into slavery. Walter Curtis Lewis was Felix's elder brother, only sibling, and early co-worker. The Lewises initially made their home in Vanleer, Dickson County, Tennessee, the Streets' hometown. Vanleer is located about three miles from Cumberland Furnace, and eight miles from the county seat, Charlotte. Dickson County, and especially Cumberland Furnace, Tennessee, is known historically for its production of iron and iron-related products. Dickson County is also known for the mid-1890s relocation of a social-idealist colony known as the “Ruskinites” into Tennessee City near the city of Dickson, the county's largest metropolitan city. In addition to their other agricultural and industrial pursuits, the group, led by John Wayland operated an extensive printing and publishing business ...

Article

Sophoniba  

Duane W. Roller

Carthaginian aristocrat, was the daughter of Hasdrubal, the noted Carthaginian commander of the Second Punic War. Her name is also given as Sophonisba and Spnb’l (“Baal has pronounced judgment”). Essentially all that is known about her is the manner of her death, which may have been preserved in a tragedy known to Livy (30, 12–15); other parallel extant accounts are by Appian (Libyka 10, 27–28) and Dio (17). She was well educated in both literature and music, and she was noted for her charm. She was originally engaged to Massinissa, the great Numidian king (Diodoros 27.7) but eventually married the Numidian chieftain Syphax, who was politically opposed both to Massinissa and the official Numidian government. Sophoniba was instrumental in persuading Syphax to change his policies from pro-Roman to pro-Carthaginian.

When Syphax was captured by the Romans in 203 BCE Massinissa hurried to rescue Sophoniba before she was also taken ...

Article

Suʾda  

Allen J. Fromherz

semi-historical Berber princess, was a main character in the Sira al Hilaliyya, the epic saga of the great Arab migration into North Africa in the eleventh century. Coming from the drought-stricken Arabian Peninsula and known for their warrior prowess on camelback, these Hilali Arabs were sent to Tunisia as a punishment for the Berbers breaking away from the Fatimid Caliphate in Cairo. One of the great classics of the Sira al Hilaliyya is a poignant portrait of the clash of two cultures, Berber and Arab, even as it insists on moments of reconciliation and the possibilities of peace through the theme of love transcending duty to one’s family, tribe, and people. At times Berber characters, especially women such as Suʾda were portrayed as even more noble than the Arab heroes themselves. Most closely analogous to the Dido character in the Roman epic The Aeneid Suʾda was the ...