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Khwezi Mkhize

South African-born poet, journalist, essayist, and novelist, was born on 19 March 1919, in Vrededorp, a slum in Johannesburg, though he later became an adopted citizen of Britain. His father was James Henry Abrahams Deras (or De Ras), an Ethiopian itinerant who settled in Johannesburg as a mine laborer. His mother, Angelina DuPlessis, was a Coloured woman whose first husband was a Cape Malay resident, with whom she had two children. His parents met and married in Vrededorp. Abrahams grew up as a Coloured, “a by-product of the early contact between black and white” (Abrahams, 1981 p 10 which made him aware of the social and political consequences of racial formation in South Africa His father died when he was still young Upon his father s death his family was thrown into poverty Abrahams later wrote that his mother went to work in the homes of white folk ...

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Angie Colón Mendinueta

was born on 8 November 1908 in San Casimiro, in the state of Aragua, Republic of Venezuela. He was the son of Miguel Acosta Delgado, a native of Maturín in the state of Mongas, and Adela Saignes Roulac, from the village of Saignes Roulac, of French origin. From childhood onward, Miguel received a good education, and he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1927. After graduation, he became a teacher in the Colegio San Pablo de Caracas (San Pablo de Caracas High School), where he had formerly been a student, and the vice principal of the Zamora School (also in Caracas).

In 1928 Acosta began medical school at the Universidad Central de Venezuela That same year along with several of his classmates he was arrested and taken to prison for his participation in student protests against the regime of the military dictator Juan Vicente Gómez They were taken to ...

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Benjamin R. Justesen

journalist and public official, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the younger son of the Reverend Henry and Margaret Priscilla (Corbin) Adams. Their father administered a respected school in Louisville. Cyrus and his older brother, John Quincy Adams (1848–1922), received excellent educations, Cyrus graduating from preparatory school and college at Oberlin College. In 1877 Cyrus began to teach in the Louisville public schools, and soon pooled savings with his brother to open the weekly Louisville Bulletin. They ran the newspaper until 1885, when it was acquired by the American Baptist newspaper owned by William Henry Steward, chairman of trustees at State University, a black Baptist university in Louisville, where Cyrus taught German. Already a dedicated traveler, Cyrus had spent much of 1884 in Europe, and was also fluent in Italian, French, and Spanish.

Both brothers had served as Louisville correspondents for the Western Appeal ...

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Julia A. Clancy-Smith

Tunisian labor activist, women’s rights activist, and journalist, was born in the town of Gabes in southern Tunisia. Adda rose to prominence owing to her mother’s emphasis upon female education, although her parents were of modest means. One branch of Adda’s family, who are North African Jews, was originally from Batna in Algeria; her maternal grandfather had left French Algeria to seek his fortune in Tunisia, where he managed a small hotel in the south. For her parents’ generation, it was somewhat unusual for women to attend school; to achieve the “certificate of study,” as Adda’s mother did, was a noteworthy achievement. Gladys Adda’s life trajectory illustrated a number of important regional and global social and political currents: nationalism and anticolonialism, organized labor and workers’ movements, socialism and communism, women’s emancipation, and fascism and anti-Semitism against the backdrop of World War II.

In primary school Adda attended classes with Muslim ...

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Lidwien Kapteijns

Somali novelist, short story writer, critic, journalist, and founder of cultural and literary journals and institutions, was born in Jarriiban, Mudug region, Somalia, in 1952. His name is also given as Mohamed Dahir Afrah and Maxamed Daahir Afrax. He graduated from high school in Mogadishu in 1973. When the Siad Barre government introduced the first official orthography for the Somali language in 1972, Afrax founded the first bilingual Somali-Arabic monthly magazine using the new script, Codka Jubba (“The Voice of Jubba,” 1972–1975). In 1976, Afrax’s story “Guur-ku-sheeg” (“Pseudo-marriage”) was serialized in the Somali national newspaper Xiddigta Oktoobar (“The October Star”), laying the basis for a lasting literary tradition of serialized fiction.

In this same serialized form he also first published his popular novel Maanafaay, the story of the girl Maanafaay, who, in the Mogadishu of the 1970s, strives to be modern and modest ...

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Jara Michelle Rios-Rodriguez

Angolan journalist and writer, was born in Huambo, Angola, on 13 December 1960. He considered himself to be African, Brazilian, Portuguese, and Luso-Afro-Brazilian. This multiculturalism that he defends comes from his Portuguese and Brazilian heritage. Before becoming a journalist and a writer, he studied silviculture and agronomy. It wasn’t until the 1990s that he started dedicating himself entirely to his writing. He lived in Recife and in Rio de Janeiro between 1998 and 2000, although, according to David Brookshaw, there still exists debate surrounding the date of Agualusa’s departure from Angola. According to Brookshaw, some believe that it was in 1975 during the general exodus resulting from Angola’s newly acquired independence and the new Portuguese politics regarding the former colonies. Others claim that it was after the attempted coup against Agostinho Neto in 1977, and others say that it was in 1998 a date that ...

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Melissa Castillo-Garsow

was born Maymie Leona Turpeau De Mena in 1891, to Isabella Regist and Francisco Hiberto De Mena in San Carlos, Nicaragua. She was raised in an upper-middle-class family—her father was the government minister of lands in San Carlos—and was privately educated. De Mena traveled to the United States in 1913–1914 and 1917–1925. She was employed as a clerk-stenographer and teacher before she began her career in Marcus Garvey’s United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) as an interpreter, lecturer, organizer, and journalist. Originally, she joined the Chicago chapter of the UNIA, serving as one of their delegates to the national convention in 1924.

Although in 1925 she was still listed as part of the Chicago UNIA, following her participation at the 1924 convention De Mena was tapped by Garvey to accompany George Emonei Carter and Henrietta Vinton Davis on the SS Goethals when it toured the Caribbean to ...

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Rosemary Elizabeth Galli

nationalist, journalist and indigenous rights advocate, was born in Magul, Mozambique, on 2 November 1876. His father, Francisco Albasini, married the granddaughter of the head of Maxacuene clan in the Portuguese colony’s capital; her name is not recorded. João dos Santos was also known by his Ronga nickname, Wadzinguele. His grandfather João Albasini, a Portuguese trader, later established himself and a second family in the republic of the Transvaal where he became the vice-consul of Portugal. João dos Santos Albasini received a limited education at the Catholic Mission of Saint José Lhenguene; secondary education was not available in Mozambique. However, he was a keen reader especially of political tracts and gained great facility in writing both Portuguese and Ronga. Sometime around 1897 Albasini married Bertha Carolina Heitor Mwatilo but the marriage was unhappy and they divorced in 1917. They had two children.

As Albasini reached adulthood Portugal defeated ...

Article

Donna L. Halper

was born and raised in Miami, Florida. Her parents, whose names she has not made public, were born in Haiti and emigrated to the United States. They met while attending Boston College. Her mother is a school social worker, and her father runs a Haitian-based non-profit that helps people with disabilities. She was raised in a bilingual home, and is fluent in Haitian Creole.

From the time she was a child, Alcindor loved to write; she wrote poems and short stories but was not planning a journalism career. That changed when she was sixteen and still in high school; she got a job interning at the Miami Herald where she watched how the reporters covered the local neighborhoods As she helped them with their work she became more interested in telling the stories of local people and covering the issues that affected them But when she decided to be ...

Article

Ivette Romero

was born Doralina de la Caridad Alonso y Pérez de Corcho in Recreo (Máximo Gómez), Matanzas, Cuba, on 22 December 1910. Alonso was a multifaceted writer who published more than twenty titles and who wrote numerous scripts for radio and television for many years. Her corpus of work is of great historical and literary significance because it spans over six decades of the twentieth century, from the moment she published her first poem “Amor” in 1936. Alonso witnessed and wrote about the complexities of Cuban reality before the appearance of Fidel Castro and others who defied the government of Fulgencio Batista, during the revolutionary armed struggle, and after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution. Her life and work were dedicated to challenging all inequalities, particularly, racial discrimination.

As a journalist, she wrote for the literary magazine Bohemia documenting important historic benchmarks such as the Bay of Pigs ...

Article

Joel Gordon

Egyptian journalist and newspaper magnate in collaboration with his twin brother, Mustafa Amin, was born in Cairo on 21 February 1914. Their father was Amine Youssef Bey, a prominent lawyer and politician, and their mother was a niece of nationalist leader Saʿd Zaghlul. The boys grew up in Zaghlul’s Cairo villa, a political nerve center, eventually known as Bayt al Umma (the “House of the Nation”). In 1919 Zaghlul headed the national delegation that sought British permission to attend the Paris Peace Conference. Their arrest and exile sparked the 1919 “revolution” that inaugurated the constitutional monarchy (1923–1953). In 1922, the Amin twins embarked upon their first journalistic ventures, a series of handwritten magazines.

Ali attended the Royal Awqaf School from 1926 to 1928 but was expelled for participating in demonstrations against one of numerous minority governments He attended several preparatory schools one associated with the ...

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Rami Ginat

Egyptian journalist, novelist, scriptwriter, publisher, and politician, was born in Cairo on 21 February 1914. He said, “When I hold my pen I feel that I hug the most beautiful woman in the world; I have therefore lived a long love-story. I cannot imagine myself live a single day without my pen … When I pass away I ask to lay my pen next to me in my tomb since I may need it when I write a journalistic research story about the resurrection day” (Mustafa, p. 6). Mustafa Amin, or al-Ustadh the teacher as he was often referred to by his colleagues and followers was one of Egypt s most eminent journalists of the twentieth century Many in the Arab world have regarded him as the father of Arab journalism His pen Mustafa Amin kept reminding his readers was mightier than the dictator s sword a reference ...

Article

Robert Fikes

writer, was born Jervis Beresford Anderson in the rural village of Chatham, Jamaica, in the British West Indies, to Peter Anderson, a building contractor, and Ethlyn Allen, a homemaker. Peter Anderson enforced a strict Baptist upbringing on his son. Having passed a series of rigorous qualifying exams, within days after graduating from Kingston Technical School, a high school affiliated with the University of the West Indies, Jervis was hired as a trainee journalist at the Daily Gleaner, the most revered and influential newspaper on the island. He left its employ after a year—uncomfortable with the newspaper's conservatism and acquiescence to the colonial regime—and joined the writers' staff at Public Opinion a weekly that advocated self rule and was closely allied with the People s National Party Having rejected the stern religion of his father and the unquestioning allegiance to the British Crown manifested by his ...

Article

Charles Rosenberg

journalist, war correspondent, railway mail clerk, and postal worker union activist, whose career rebounded repeatedly from the impact of his abrasive style on supervisors and fellow workers, was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, the son of Trezzvant E. Anderson and Amanda (Dixon) Anderson. In 1930 he and his sister, Roberta Anderson, were living in Charlotte with a stepfather, Robert Alexander, who was born in Virginia.

Trezzvant Anderson enrolled at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte in 1921, where he edited the campus paper, the University Student. He left in 1927, a year short of graduation, and worked as a railway mail clerk in Charlotte and in Washington, D.C., until 1941, while also taking on a variety of writing assignments. He was contributing editor of the Charlotte Post (1928–1929), special feature writer for the Norfolk, Virginia, Journal and Guide ...

Article

James Jankowski

Egyptian journalist, poet, and literary critic, was born in the Aswan region of Upper Egypt on 28 June 1889. His father, an archivist and money-changer, was Egyptian, and his mother was of Kurdish descent. ʿAqqad attended state primary school in Aswan, but since Aswan had no secondary school, his higher education was largely self-generated. With an inquisitive mind, and literate in Arabic, and to a lesser degree English (although his facility with that language improved over time), he read widely in his youth and afterward. An autodidact, his voluminous writings of later years demonstrate an interest in, and at least some knowledge of, a wide range of subjects.

In 1904 ʿAqqad left Aswan He had a varied career in the decade prior to World War I he worked in the Egyptian state bureaucracy possibly attending the School of Arts and Crafts as well as a school for telegraphers ...

Article

Evan Mwangi

Ghanaian novelist, translator, poet, and essayist, was born to an interethnic Fante-speaking couple in the twin harbor city of Sekondi-Takoradi on the coast of western Ghana in 1939. His mother, Esi Bosoma Inse, was Akan, while his father was from the Ewe ethnic group. His name is also given as George Aryee Quaye Armah. His parents, both teachers, divorced after his father, under pressure from his family and clan, decided to take a second wife. Too small to join his father as required by traditions, the young Armah lived with his mother for about two years, accompanying her to the school where she taught and quietly sitting beside her in class. At age five, he was separated from his mother and sent to live with his father in Asankrangwa, a tiny rural town. When his father died in 1947 in a traffic accident Armah s defiant mother took ...

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Ayi Kwei Armah has pursued his career as writer and teacher on three continents. In a 1985 article Armah described himself as not simply a member of the Ewe people, a Ghanian, and a West African, but “most significantly as an African.” His writings explore the meaning of Africa's past in the lives of its present-day people.

Born in the western region of Ghana, Armah attended local schools and Achimota College near Accra. In 1959 he went to the United States, where he attended Harvard University, from which he received a degree in sociology. Shortly afterward, he moved to Algiers, where he worked as a translator for the weekly paper Révolution Africaine (African Revolution). After a period in his home country, teaching English and writing for Ghana Television, Armah enrolled in 1967 in the Graduate Writing Program at New York City s Columbia University Later he joined ...

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Emilio J. Gallardo Saborido and Jesús Gómez de Tejada

was born in Havana, Cuba, on 13 March 1912 into a working-class family of Lucumí (Afro-Yoruban) ancestry. From very humble origins, he was the eldest of seven children born to his father, Marcelino, a bricklayer, and his mother, Ramona, a maid. With the help of the teacher Salvador García Agüero (1907–1965), Arozarena enrolled in the Havana Normal School, where he studied pedagogy from 1928 to 1934. During those years, he married Ernestina Himely, who had been his classmate, and with whom he would have a daughter, Georgina Arozarena Himely.

While a student, Arozarena actively opposed the government of Gerardo Machado (1925–1933) as a member of the Marxist organization Ala Izquierda Estudiantil (Student Left Wing). After beginning work as a primary teacher in the mid-1930s, he continued to be active in left-wing politics, joining Partido Socialista Popular (PSP). After studying voice training for radio in 1948 ...

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Marcelino Arozarena is considered one of the founders of poesía negra, or black poetry, in the Caribbean. Born in Havana, Cuba, he published his first poems in the 1920s in the Havana literary journal La Palabra, directed by Communist leader Juan Marinello. Arozarena's famous poem, “Caridá,” asks why Caridad, a mulatto woman (of both African and European descent), has not shown up at a dance. The poet draws on the techniques of negrista or “blackist” poets, such as mimicking musical rhythms, using jitanjáfora (words whose sounds echo their meanings), and folkloric images of Afro-Cuban music and dance.

Arozarena was part of the first wave of negrista poets, which also included his fellow Cubans Ramón Güirao, Alejo Carpentier, and Regino Pedroso; Puerto Rican poet Palés Matos; and Mexican poet José Zacarías Tallet Together with these authors Arozarena helped spark a literary movement ...

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Ángela Lucía Agudelo González

whose work emphasized the intrinsic value of the black and Caribbean communities, was born Agapito de Arco in the Getesmani neighborhood of Cartagena, Colombia, on 27 April 1909. His parents were Miguel de Arco and Aurora Coneo de Arco. His first journalistic efforts were a series of contributions to the nationally circulated newspaper El Espectador. In 1932, in his native Cartagena, he founded the magazine Costa: La revista del Litoral Atlántico (Coast: The Magazine of the Atlantic Shore), which published Afro-Caribbean poets, defended the passion of Colombia’s black community and revisited regionalist ideals. The magazine was well received at the national level, even though there were only six issues.

During the 1940s Artel enrolled in the University of Cartagena from which he received his law degree and wrote his thesis titled Defensa Preventiva del Estado o el Derecho penal frente a los problemas de la cultura popular ...