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Kathleen Thompson

It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of the writer and educator Paula Giddings to the study of black women’s history. Possibly even more important is the role she played in disseminating that history to the American public. A rigorous scholar, graceful writer, and committed advocate of black women, Giddings was a writer of history who made history herself.

Paula Giddings was born in Yonkers, New York. Her father, Curtis G. Giddings, was a teacher and guidance counselor and, later, the first black firefighter in Yonkers. Her mother, Virginia I. Giddings, was also a guidance counselor. In an interview in Essence in 1995 Giddings said of her parents My father was the race conscious person in my family but it was my mother who gave me my voice She did this I know now by clearing a space where mywords could fall grow then find ...


Kenneth R. Manning

McKinney, Roscoe Lewis (08 February 1900–30 September 1978), educator and anatomist, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of Lewis Bradner McKinney, an employee of the U.S. Printing Office, and Blanche Elaine Hunt. McKinney attended Dunbar High School, the all-black grammar school on M Street in Washington. Dunbar’s faculty, comprised of highly motivated African-American scholars, inspired generations of black youth to strive for academic excellence. McKinney himself recalled the atmosphere of “hopeful purpose and tremendous encouragement” that pervaded the school.

After graduating in 1917 McKinney enrolled at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. Unlike many other white colleges at the time, Bates admitted African-American students. Some of McKinney’s Dunbar teachers were Bates graduates; Benjamin E. Mays later president of Morehouse College in Atlanta was a year ahead of McKinney and other blacks were to follow Nevertheless McKinney found race to be an issue in at least one ...


David W. Southern

Turner, Thomas Wyatt (16 March 1877–21 April 1978), educator and civil rights advocate was born in Hughesville Maryland the son of Eli Turner and Linnie Gross farmers The fifth of nine children born into a family of black Catholic sharecroppers Turner spent eight years in the racially segregated public schools of Hughes County before entering an Episcopalian school for African Americans at Charlotte Hall in adjacent St Mary s County In his two years at Charlotte Hall 1892 1894 Turner fell under the sway of two missionary educators who persuaded him that learning was next to godliness and that teaching was a noble profession From 1895 to 1901 he attended Howard University in Washington D C the first two years in preparatory school receiving an A B in biology in 1901 After teaching at Tuskegee Institute in 1901 1902 he taught in a Baltimore Maryland high school ...