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Sandra Y. Govan

A Los Angeles native and later resident of Vancouver, Washington, Steven Emory Barnes is the third African American author after 1960 to have chosen science fiction and fantasy writing as his primary profession. Barnes established himself through the 1980s as a determined and disciplined writer, one who had followed a cherished childhood dream to become a commercially successful professional writer.

The youngest child of Emory F. Barnes and Eva Mae (Reeves) Barnes, Steven Barnes grew up in Los Angeles. He attended Los Angeles High, Los Angeles City College, and Pepperdine University, Malibu, California (1978–1980 At Pepperdine he majored in communication arts but withdrew from school before completing a degree frustrated because he thought no one on the faculty could teach him about building a career as a professional writer It was not until Barnes made contact with established science fiction writer Ray Bradbury who sent the novice ...

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Frank A. Salamone

pioneer in discrediting the racist concepts that characterized early twentieth-century anthropology and other social sciences. Franz Boas was born in Minden, Germany. He received his PhD in physics from the University of Kiel in 1881, but he soon shifted interest into the field of human geography. In 1883 he conducted his first fieldwork, among the Inuit people of Baffin Island. In 1887 he began research among the Indians of the Pacific Northwest. In 1899 he became the first professor of anthropology at Columbia University. When Boas began his anthropological work, anthropology was far from being a scientific field. It was infested with racist practitioners and amateurs. Boas held that too often people developed theories and then sought to gather information to prove their theories.

Article

Claire Strom

Brown, Hallie Quinn (10 March 1849–16 September 1949), educator, elocutionist, and entertainer, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Thomas Arthur Brown, a steward and express agent on riverboats, and Frances Jane Scroggins. Both her parents were former slaves. When Hallie was fourteen years old she moved with her parents and five siblings to Chatham, Ontario, where her father earned his living farming, and the children attended the local school. There Brown’s talents as a speaker became evident. Returning to the United States around 1870, the family settled in Wilberforce, Ohio, so that Hallie and her younger brother could attend Wilberforce College, a primarily black African Methodist Episcopal (AME) institution.

In 1873 Brown received her B S from Wilberforce The next year she began her work as a lecturer and reciter for the Lyceum a traveling educational and entertainment program She would continue both of these ...

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Alonford James Robinson

Hallie Brown was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to former slaves Thomas Arthur Brown and Frances Jane Scroggins Brown. She graduated from Wilberforce University in 1873 becoming a prominent educator and activist for civil rights and women s rights She held several positions in institutions of higher learning ...

Article

Lisa E. Rivo

elocutionist, educator, women's and civil rights leader, and writer, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Thomas Arthur Brown, a riverboat steward and express agent, and Frances Jane Scroggins, an educated woman who served as an unofficial adviser to the students of Wilberforce University. Thomas Brown was born into slavery in Frederick County, Maryland, the son of a Scottish woman plantation owner and her black overseer. Brown purchased his freedom and that of his sister, brother, and father. By the time of the Civil War, he had amassed a sizable amount of real estate. Hallie's mother, Frances, was also born a slave, the child of her white owner. She was eventually freed by her white grandfather, a former officer in the American Revolution.

Both of Hallie's parents became active in the Underground Railroad. Around 1864 the Browns and their six children moved to Chatham Ontario where ...

Article

Vivian Njeri Fisher

Brown proclaimed, “Full citizenship must be given the colored woman because she needs the ballot for her protection and that of her children.” Brown was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the fifth of six children of Thomas Arthur Brown and Frances (Scroggins) Brown. A former slave from Frederick County, Maryland, Thomas Brown had purchased his freedom in 1834. Frances Brown, a native of Winchester County, Virginia, was freed by her white grandfather, who was her owner and an officer in the American Revolution. When Hallie was born, her father was a riverboat steward and express agent, traveling from Pittsburgh, where he owned a considerable amount of real estate prior to the Civil War, and worked actively with the Underground Railroad in assisting fugitive slaves to freedom.

Thomas Brown moved his family to Chatham, Ontario, in 1864 because of his wife s poor health and to begin farming ...

Article

Rebecca L. Hankins

journalist, educator, lecturer, and actress, was born Marguerite Phillips Dorsey in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the only child of Joseph A. Dorsey, an architect and real estate broker, and Mary Louise Ross. Marguerite Cartwright's early education was in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She later earned her BS Ed. and MA degrees from Boston University in 1932 and 1933, respectively. Her master's thesis was on the African origins of drama, contending that the Greek god Dionysus was an African. She married the chemical engineer Leonard Carl Cartwright in 1930, an interracial union that lasted over fifty years, until his death in 1982.

Cartwright combined her academic interest in theater with an application as an actress in a number of plays and films, including the play Roll Sweet Chariot (1934) in New York City and the film Green Pastures (1935 Simultaneously working as an actress and a ...

Article

Sandria Green-Stewart

was born on 21 April 1925 in Bunker’s Hill, Trelawny, Jamaica, to Robert Patterson, a butcher and farmer, and Carolyn Anderson-Patterson, a seamstress. She recalled that her father wanted her to become a nurse, but that as a child she “was teaching everything in sight” (interview with author). Patterson attended Unity All-Age School and Bethlehem Teachers’ College, and after graduating in the mid-1940s taught at Tweedside Primary School, in the parish of Clarendon, where she was responsible for three classes. At Tweedside she began a career in teaching that lasted more than forty years.

Patterson completed the General Certificate of Education, Advanced Level (GCE A-Level) through independent learning. After securing a government scholarship, she attended the University of the West Indies, where she received a bachelor’s degree in education in 1951. On 15 April 1953 she married Alvin S Chambers and a year later the couple moved to ...

Article

Chuck D  

Alice Knox Eaton

rapper, educator, and music entrepreneur, was born Carlton Douglas Ridenhour in Queens, New York, to Lorenzo and Judy Ridenhour, both political activists. Lorenzo worked as a warehouse manager before starting his own trucking company at age forty. Ridenhour's home was full of the sounds of jazz and R&B, and he grew up with an acute awareness of the political events of the 1960s as they unfolded: the murder of Medgar Evers, the 1963 March on Washington, and the assassinations of the Kennedys, Black Panther leaders, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. The family, including his sister Lisa and brother Erik, moved from predominantly black Queensbridge to another largely black community in Roosevelt, Long Island, when Ridenhour was eleven. He spent the summers of 1970 and 1971 attending programs at Adelphi and Hofstra universities on the African American experience further shaping his early sense of the ...

Article

Alma Jean Billingslea Brown

civil rights activist, educator, and motivational speaker, was born Dorothy Lee Foreman, one of four girls of Maggie Pelham and Claude Foreman, a laborer, in Goldsboro, North Carolina. After graduating from Dillard High School in Goldsboro, she was encouraged by one of her high school English teachers to enroll at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she began her undergraduate education. Along with several other jobs she took to enable her education at Shaw, Dorothy worked as the housekeeper for the president of the institution, Robert Prentiss Daniel, and his wife, Blanche Daniel. Because the couple had no children and because of Cotton's efficiency as a worker, in 1950 when Robert Daniel became president of Virginia State College in Petersburg, Cotton, who had become part housekeeper and part daughter, accompanied the couple and completed her education at Virginia State.

Cotton earned an AB degree in 1954 ...

Article

LaVerne Gyant

actress, activist, and elocutionist, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to Mansfield Vinton Davis, a musician, and Mary Ann (Johnson) Davis. Davis's talents as an actress and elocutionist were apparently inherited from her father, while her inclination toward activism came from her stepfather, George A. Hackett, who was a recognized leader within the African American community in Baltimore. Both Mansfield Davis and George Hackett died while she was still young After her stepfather s death Davis and her mother moved to Washington D C where she had the advantage of attending the best schools and with her fondness for books made rapid progress in her studies At the age of fifteen she passed the necessary exams to become a teacher and began teaching in the Maryland school district During this time she was recruited by the Louisiana State Board of Education who tendered her ...

Article

Lovalerie King

Born 24 September 1948 in New York City to Richard Hill and Mae De Veaux, Alexis De Veaux received a BA from Empire State College in 1976. She earned both an MA (1989) and a PhD (1992) at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

An internationally recognized author, De Veaux has published her work in English, Spanish, Japanese, Serbo-Croatian, and Dutch. She has lectured and performed across the United States, as well as abroad in Kenya (1985 NGO Forum, Nairobi), Holland (Melkweg International Women's Festival, Amsterdam), Cuba (UNEAC Writers Union, Havana), and Japan (Tokyo Joshi Women's University, Tokyo; Black Studies Association, Osaka). Her published works include six books (Na-Ni, 1973; Spirits in the Street, 1973; Don’t Explain: A Song of Billie Holiday, 1980; Blue Heat: Poems and Drawings, 1985; An Enchanted Hair ...

Article

L. Diane Barnes

novelist, playwright, and Baptist minister. Dixon was born near the close of the Civil War near Shelby, North Carolina. The Dixon family, once a prominent southern family, was left penniless in the physical and economic devastation of the South after the war. Dixon's father, a Baptist minister, joined the Ku Klux Klan during Dixon's youth. Images of the riders in white sheets coming to save the white South had a lasting impression on Dixon. His belief that the Reconstruction era was one of history's supreme tragedies was a common theme in several of his novels and plays.

Dixon earned bachelor's and master's degrees in history from Wake Forest University, then pursued graduate work at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. There he befriended the future president Woodrow Wilson who was a few years ahead in his own graduate studies After a brief attempt at an acting career ...

Article

Lisa Finder

historian, lecturer, and administrator, was born in Chester, Pennsylvania, the eldest of four children and the only son of Lou Bird Jones Dodson, a dry-cleaning plant worker, and Howard Dodson Sr., a construction worker. During his childhood he was active in the Bethany Baptist Church, the Cub Scouts, and the Boy Scouts. With the encouragement of his parents and teachers, he did well academically throughout his time in the Chester Public Schools.

After completing high school in 1957, Dodson attended West Chester State College, graduating in 1961 with a degree in social studies and English. He then enrolled in a master's program in history and political science at Villanova University, graduating in 1964 Dodson went on to join the Peace Corps as a volunteer in Ecuador South America where he spent two years before continuing with the organization as a deputy director of ...

Article

Dorsia Smith Silva

writer, educator, and preacher, was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Addie Mae Leonard, a teacher's aide. In 1990 Dyson was adopted by the auto worker Everett Dyson when Leonard married him. As a child, Dyson read avidly and enjoyed the Harvard Classics. His intellectual vigor earned him a scholarship to the prestigious Cranbrook Kingswood School in 1972. However, Dyson behaved poorly and was expelled in 1974. He then attended Northwestern High School and graduated in 1976.

In 1977, Dyson married his girlfriend, Terrie Dyson, who gave birth to Michael Eric Dyson II a year later. Due to the pressures of being a young couple, Dyson and his wife divorced in 1979. To help focus his life, Dyson became a licensed Baptist preacher in 1979 and ordained minister in 1981 with his pastor Frederick G. Sampson II s assistance He ...

Article

Jean Smith

was born on 28 May 1953 in Clarendon, Jamaica, to Eckford Ellington, an educator, and Mary “Mae” Williams, a homemaker. She had three brothers from other unions. It was her mother’s interest in community associations and volunteerism that laid a foundation for Ellington’s future work in community service.

Fae attended St. Hugh’s High School in Kingston, Jamaica, where she discovered her interest in the performing arts. At St. Hugh’s she was a member of the drama society, the school choir, and orchestra (playing the recorder and the triangle). She also rose to the position of president of the debating society. Her talents earned her one of four places in a television commercial when she was in third form, earning her twenty-one shillings.

A strong interest in drama led her to the Jamaica School of Drama, where she was a foundation member, and a career in theater that began in 1971 ...

Article

Allison Kimmich

Calvin Forbes was born the seventh of eight children in Newark, New Jersey, to Jacob and Mary Short Forbes. He was the first of the six boys in his family to graduate from high school, and he attended Rutgers University briefly before entering the New School for Social Research in New York City. There Forbes studied with poet José García Villa, who taught him the fundamentals of writing.

Forbes continued to educate himself through travel, and he was on the move frequently throughout the 1960s. He traveled widely in Europe and hitchhiked from coast to coast in America with only a suitcase, a sleeping bag, and a portable typewriter as his baggage. Forbes also lived in Hawaii for a short time; his stay there was instrumental to his writing the poems for his first volume, Blue Monday (1974 Observing Hawaii s Asian American culture Forbes began ...

Article

Steven J. Niven

educator and nonprofit executive, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of William Foster and Ruth (Alexander) Foster, who were both missionaries in the Bahá’í faith. He was named after Badí’ (1852–1869), an important early Persian Bahá’í martyr whose Arabic name translates as “wonderfulness” in English. That William Foster was African American while Ruth Foster was white would have made their marriage illegal in most American states, though not Illinois, at the time their son was born. The couple met in the 1930s in Chicago through their common interest in radical, left-wing politics and gravitated toward the pluralistic Bahá’í faith, which teaches the unity of humankind and promotes racial and gender equality.

Badi Foster was raised on Chicago's South Side, where he was a Boy Scout patrol leader, enjoyed singing doo-wop, and earned extra money by selling Jet magazine When he was eleven Foster moved with his ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Trevy A. McDonald

journalist, lecturer, and educator, was born Samuel Fulwood III in Charlotte, North Carolina, the eldest son of Hallie Massey, a schoolteacher, and the Reverend Samuel L. Fulwood Jr. Fulwood and his younger brother George were raised in McCrorey Heights a middle class black community in Charlotte Despite his parents efforts to shelter their children from the evils of racism racial issues eventually invaded the Fulwood refuge Fulwood s earliest recollection of racial injustice occurred in the early 1960s when he and his brother George begged their parents to ride the donkeys in the parking lot of Clark s Department Store in downtown Charlotte Young Samuel could not understand why his skin color prohibited him from riding the donkeys I was not prepared for any of this It was the first time I was made aware of the fact that white people had any power to ...