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Adam R. Hornbuckle

was born in Laurel, Mississippi, the youngest of ten children born to Peter and Eulalia Boston. His father, who worked as a fireman for the Gulf, Mobile, and Ohio Railroad before losing sight in his right eye, provided for the family by farming, hauling junk, and doing other odd jobs. His mother was a homemaker. As a student at Oak Park High School in Laurel, Boston developed both academic and athletic skills. As quarterback on the football team, he led Oak Park to the African American state high school football championship in 1956. In track and field, Boston excelled in the hurdling, sprinting, and jumping events. As a junior in 1956 he established a national high school record in the 180-yard low hurdles and led Oak Park to the first of two consecutive African American state high school track championships.

After graduating high school in 1957 Boston earned ...

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Michele Valerie Ronnick

Latinphilologist, school administrator, and educational reformer, was born in Greenville, South Carolina, to Vincent Henry Bulkley and his wife Madora, freeborn African Americans. He was the couple's firstborn son, and as a child he saw his father make important contributions to the establishment of Claflin University in 1869 in Orangeburg, South Carolina. He matriculated at Claflin in 1878 and graduated four years later on 6 June 1882. The school's catalog for the academic year 1881–1882 lists him as the only member of the senior class, and he and Nathaniel Middleton were among the first students that Claflin's college program produced. Prior to graduation he taught Greek, Latin, and German at his alma mater, and from 1886 to 1899 he held the title of professor. He served as secretary of Claflin's faculty in 1895, and from 1896 to 1899 was the school's vice president.

In ...

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Willard B. Gatewood

John Francis Cook, Jr., was born in Washington, D.C., the son of the prominent African American clergyman and educator John Francis Cook (1810?–1855) and Jane Mann. Educated first at his father's school, Union Seminary, he later attended Oberlin College in Ohio from 1853 to 1855. Upon the death of their father, he and his brother George F. T. Cook, also a student at Oberlin, returned to Washington to assume direction of Union Seminary. Except for a brief tenure in New Orleans as a schoolteacher, John Cook was connected with the seminary until it ceased operation in 1867 after the District of Columbia opened public schools for blacks. While his brother remained in the education field and was for many years superintendent of the “separate colored school system” in the District of Columbia, John Cook embarked on a career in government service, Republican politics ...

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Willard B. Gatewood

public official and businessman, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of the prominent African American clergyman and educator John Francis Cook (1810?–1855) and Jane Mann. Educated first at his father's school, Union Seminary, he later attended Oberlin College in Ohio from 1853 to 1855. Upon the death of their father, he and his brother George F. T. Cook, also a student at Oberlin, returned to Washington to assume direction of Union Seminary. Except for a brief tenure in New Orleans as a schoolteacher, John Cook was connected with the seminary until it ceased operation in 1867 after the District of Columbia opened public schools for blacks While his brother remained in the education field and was for many years superintendent of the separate colored school system in the District of Columbia John Cook embarked upon a career in government service Republican politics and ...

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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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Anthony A. Lee

Badi Foster was born in Chicago to an interracial Baha'i family. His father (William) was black, and his mother (Ruth) was white. When Badi (which means “wonderful” in Arabic and is the name of a celebrated Baha'i martyr) was eleven, his parents moved to Morocco as pioneers (missionaries) for the Baha'i religion. He spent his adolescence in that country, learning French and Arabic. He attended the American School in Casablanca to the eighth grade, and then transferred to the American School of Tangiers where he completed his high school education in 1960.

As a consequence of learning new languages and negotiating new cultures Foster discovered that although Morocco had its own structures of inequality and oppression American notions of race were unknown there He explains that as a boy therefore he was vaccinated against racism never internalizing ideas or racial inferiority and gaining important insights even as a teenager ...

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Lester C. Lamon

Born on September 26, 1876, in the eastern Tennessee hamlet of Retro, William Jasper Hale spent his formative years in close association with white paternalism. Because there was no public education for rural blacks, he obtained the basic essentials of learning in the Quaker and Northern Presbyterian-supported schools in Maryville, Tennessee. Although his training was limited, Hale had influential white contacts in Chattanooga. These contacts not only ensured him initial employment, but also served as the foundation upon which he built his career. After starting in a small black elementary school, Hale soon parlayed his outstanding administrative talents and his white connections into the most important black post in the Chattanooga system: principal of the black Saint Elmo secondary school. Still, neither his ambitions nor his talents had been fully extended.

When the 1909 state legislature provided for the founding of an Agricultural and Industrial State Normal ...

Article

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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Jason Philip Miller

businessman and politician, was born in Kaufman County in the eastern part of Texas to George McDonald, a native Tennessean who had once (reportedly) been owned by the Confederate officer and founder of the Ku Klux Klan, Nathan Bedford Forrest. George was a farmer by trade. McDonald's mother, Flora Scott, was either a former slave or a freewoman, depending on the source. What appears certain is that she was from Alabama and died when McDonald was still very young. His father soon married a woman named Belle Crouch. Education in the family was a matter of great importance; McDonald was in fact named after William Shakespeare and the former U.S. president James Madison. He attended local schools and graduated from high school around 1884 As a young man he took work from a local cattle rancher and lawyer named Z T Adams who discussed the law ...

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Shennette Garrett-Scott

world-record-holding typist and business school owner, was born in Maryland and grew up in Washington, D.C. His father and mother's names and occupations are not known. Peters's father, a watchmaker, gave his eleven-year-old son a used typewriter. J. C. Wright, a teacher in the business department of Washington's Dunbar High School, recognized Peters's abilities and coached him to develop his exceptional typing speed and accuracy. Peters graduated from Dunbar High School in 1923. He first worked as a typist for a congressional committee. In 1926 Underwood Typewriter Company hired him as an “expert typing demonstrator.”

Peters won his first major typing title in April 1925 the Underwood Diamond Emblem from the Washington office of the Underwood Typewriter Company He typed an average of 109 five stroke words per minute for more than thirty minutes using one of Underwood s manual typewriters A few months later Peters shattered ...

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Angela Bates

professional football player, businessman, and historic preservationist, was the youngest of six children born to Fred and Ora Switzer of Nicodemus, an all African American town in northwestern Kansas. He grew up playing football on the dusty dirt streets of Nicodemus. He liked fishing and hunting and especially helping with farm chores. He attended grade school at Nicodemus until the eighth grade and then attended nearby Bogue High School. While in high school he played on the football and basketball teams and ran track. He lettered each year in all three sports.

Upon graduation in 1950, Switzer entered Kansas State University as one of the first African Americans to receive a football scholarship to the university. While at Kansas State he lettered three years in both football and track and was named to the All Big Seven three years in a row. In 1952 Switzer ...

Article

Alec Lowman

activist, educator, and business and administrative leader, was born Constance Eileen Watts in Durham, North Carolina, to Constance Merrick and Charles DeWitt Watts, MD. Dr. Watts was North Carolina's first black board-certified surgeon, and it was his outspoken advocacy that would serve as a catalyst for the merger in 1976 of the all-black Lincoln Hospital and the all-white Watts Hospital into a single, multiracial entity, the Durham Regional Hospital. In addition to being the granddaughter of Aaron McDuffy Moore, MD, one of the founders of Durham Mutual Insurance Company and Durham's first black doctor, and John Merrick, a prominent black entrepreneur, Constance Merrick Watts was a public force in her own right, lecturing and speaking often. She served as the treasurer for the campaigns of both the first African American to be elected to the Durham County Board of Commissioners, Elna Spaulding and ...

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Theresa A. Hammond

founder of business schools at Texas Southern and Howard Universities, was born in Paducah, Kentucky, to Jess Wilson, a Pullman porter, and Rhea (Day) Wilson, a teacher. He graduated from Lincoln High School in Paducah.

After high school Wilson attended the University of Illinois where he majored in mathematics His maternal grandparents lived there and in order to pay in state tuition he registered under their address His father had been laid off by the railroad during the Depression and Wilson needed to cut his costs Early in one of his calculus classes the professor asked to speak with him She told him that although he was one of the top three students in the class he would never have the opportunity to work for the large corporations that would recruit his white classmates She suggested that he switch his major to commerce where perhaps his opportunities would ...