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Valerie A. Gray

college president, educator, and minister, was born Jared Maurice Arter in Jefferson County, West Virginia, the son of Jeremiah Arter, a slave and a miller by trade, and Hannah Frances Stephenson, a slave. When Arter was seven years old his father died in an accident at the mill. The plantation on which the family lived, the Little plantation, was located four miles from Harpers Ferry. In 1859 Arter witnessed the hanging of four men who participated in John Brown's raid at that city. This childhood memory sparked in him the desire to fight for equality; the schoolroom would be his battleground.

As a teenager Arter applied for a position as a bellboy for which he would have to pass a test demonstrating his ability to read numbers With help from his brother in law he mastered the skill sufficiently in one evening to pass the test This accomplishment ...

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Eric Gardner

educator and journalist, was born in Chillicothe, Ohio, the son of William Corbin and Susan, both Virginia-born former slaves. Corbin's parents eventually settled in Cincinnati to raise their family of twelve children. Corbin attended school sporadically because of economic circumstances (one of his classmates was John Mercer Langston), though his family emphasized education. In the late 1840s Corbin and his older sister Elizabeth moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where their father had family. Both lived with the Reverend Henry Adams, the pastor of the black First Baptist Church. Though the 1850 census takers listed him as a cook, Corbin taught at least some of the time in a school supported by Adams.

Thirsty for further education, Corbin traveled north to Ohio University, where he earned a BA in 1853 and an MA in 1856 He settled in Cincinnati worked as a bank messenger and steward gained prominence ...

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Tom W. Dillard

Joseph Carter Corbin was born in Chillicothe, Ohio, on March 26, 1833, of free parents, William and Susan Corbin. By attending several small schools he secured a basic education, and in 1850 he entered Ohio University, of Athens, Ohio. He received his bachelor's degree in 1853 and his master's in 1856. Before receiving his graduate degree, Corbin had accepted employment with a bank in Cincinnati, Ohio. Later, he taught at a school in Louisville, Kentucky. During the Civil War (1861–1865) Corbin edited a Cincinnati newspaper, the Colored Citizen. In 1866 he married Mary Jane Ward. The couple had six children, only two of whom survived their father.

Corbin and his family moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1872, where he worked as a reporter for the Republican Party newspaper, the Daily Republican Like many other African Americans of that day ...

Article

David Borsvold

architect, teacher. and education administrator, was born in Belvoir, Chatham County, North Carolina, one of six children of William Gaston Snipes, a white farmer, and Mary Foushee Edwards, a black homemaker and farm worker. Some uncertainty exists as to Edwards's precise year of birth, with contradictory U.S. Census records allowing for a birth date sometime between 1874 and 1879. Census records show that his parents were legally registered as living side by side on different land parcels, because interracial marriage was illegal in North Carolina during this time. Edwards's earliest education was given at home and at local schools, and he worked during the evenings as a barber and a farmhand to help support the family.

Edwards earned enough money to attend Agricultural & Mechanical College for the Colored Race (now known as North Carolina A&T State University) at Greensboro in 1896 After amassing sufficient ...

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Robert L. Harris

educator, diplomat, and administrator, was one of thirteen children born to Robert and Viola Bagsby Holland in Auburn, New York. Most of the children did not survive childhood. One of his younger siblings affectionately called him “Brudder,” later shortened to “Brud,” which he was called by relatives and friends throughout his life. His father was a gardener and handyman for several families in Auburn. “Brud” Holland began to work with his father at age eight to support their poor family. He determined early in life that education was the key to success.

Holland was a stellar basketball and football player. He played four years on the varsity football team for Auburn High School and twice earned statewide honors. His high school coach years later referred to him as the best all-around athlete ever to play for Auburn. Holland entered Cornell University's College of Agriculture in 1935 ...

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Stephen Truhon

educator and university president, was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, the only child of David W. and Josephine Miller Jenkins, the former a civil engineer. He attended Booker T. Washington elementary school, which was segregated, and graduated in 1917. He then attended Wiley High School, an integrated school, where he became captain of the track team. He then went to Howard University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in engineering in 1925.

Jenkins returned to Terre Haute to work with his father in highway contracting. Lack of success led him to take classes at Indiana State Normal School (now Indiana State University). In 1927 he married Elizabeth Lacy. With her encouragement he completed his bachelor's degree in education at Indiana State in 1931.

Jenkins was hired to teach at Virginia State College from 1931 to 1933 Convinced that his career lay in education ...

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Michele Valerie Ronnick

classicist, educator, and university president, was born in extreme poverty in a cabin a few miles outside of Walhalla, South Carolina. After his father died, his mother Leah (n.d. – 1916) remarried and he gained two additional siblings. He was one of five children. Family tradition says that he was named for two Union soldiers whom Leah had helped during the Civil War. Lovinggood was not able to attend public school as a child. His mother needed his help at home and his only training came from the Freedman's Aid Society of the Methodist church. At the age of eighteen, he entered Clark University in Atlanta, Georgia. Among his teachers were President Edward O. Thayer and Professor William Henry Crogman, who taught ancient Greek.

Having had almost no training, Lovinggood spent considerable effort catching up, but in 1890 at age twenty six he graduated with honors having ...

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Jayne R. Beilke

educator and college president, was born in Jackson, Mississippi, the youngest of three children born to Clarence Player, a plasterer and contractor, and Beatrice Day. Devout members of the Methodist faith, the Players involved Willa in Sunday school, the youth choir, and other church organizations. When the family relocated to Akron, Ohio, in 1916, she completed her elementary and high school education in the Akron public schools. After briefly attending Akron University, she followed her sister to Ohio Wesleyan University, in Delaware, Ohio, where she earned a BA in Latin and French in 1929. She was the first black student teacher in the Akron public schools in 1929. She received her MA in French from Oberlin College in Ohio in 1930. Awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in 1935 she continued her studies in French at the University of Grenoble France and was awarded the Certificat ...

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Donna Tyler Hollie

educator, author, editor, and first professional African American classical scholar, was born in Macon, Georgia, the only survivor of three children of Jeremiah Scarborough, a railroad employee, and Frances Gwynn, a slave. His enslaved mother was permitted by her owner, Colonel William de Graffenreid, to live with her emancipated husband. Jeremiah Scarborough was given funds to migrate to the North by his emancipator, who left $3,000 in trust for him should he decide to move to the North. Not wanting to leave his enslaved wife and son, he chose to remain in Macon. According to the Bibb County, Georgia, census of 1870, he had accumulated $3,500 in real property and $300 in personal property.

The Scarboroughs were literate and encouraged their son s academic development They provided a variety of learning experiences for him they apprenticed him to a shoemaker and ...

Article

Crystal Renée Sanders

college administrator, educator, and clinical psychologist, was born Beverly Daniel in Tallahassee, Florida, to Robert Daniel, who taught art at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, and Catherine Maxwell Daniel. Raised in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, Tatum is a fourth-generation college professor following in the footsteps of her paternal great-grandfather William Hazel, who was the first dean of Howard University's school of architecture; her paternal grandparents Victor and Constance Daniel, who led Maryland's Cardinal Gibbons Institute; and her father. Tatum earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Wesleyan University in 1975, graduating magna cum laude. She also received a Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the University of Michigan in 1976 and 1984, respectively. In 2000 Tatum earned a Master of Arts degree in Religious Studies from Hartford Seminary. While at the University of Michigan, she married Travis James Tatum ...

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Andre D. Vann

university chancellor, track coach, and first African American Olympic head coach and president of the United States Olympic Committee, was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the youngest of thirteen children of Willie and Mary Ann Thomas Walker. He was nine when his father died and was sent to Harlem, New York to live with his older brother Joe, who owned several businesses. He later dropped out of school before entering the twelfth grade to serve as a personal valet to bandleader Jimmie Lunceford of the Jimmie Lunceford Band.

He was later persuaded to return to school to complete his last year. He returned to Atlanta and graduated from the segregated Booker T. Washington High School in 1936. A multi-sport athlete in high school and college, Walker received a scholarship and later entered Benedict College in South Carolina, in the fall of 1936 where he was an ...

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John F. Marszalek

The son of Johnson Chesnutt and Page (Harrison) Whittaker, Miller Fulton Whittaker grew up in Sumter and Orangeburg, South Carolina, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He attended the Colored Normal Industrial, Agricultural, and Mechanical College of South Carolina (now South Carolina State University). In 1913 he received a B.S. degree in architecture from Kansas State College (later Kansas State University). In 1928 he received an M.S. degree in architecture from the same institution. He also studied at Harvard University in Massachusetts and Cornell University in New York.

Whittaker joined the faculty of South Carolina Agricultural and Mechanical College in 1913 as a member of both the Drawing and Physics Departments. From 1925 to 1932 he held the position of dean of the Mechanical Arts Department. He became a registered architect in South Carolina in 1918 and in Georgia in 1928 He superintended the design and construction of all the ...