lawyer and U.S. senator, was born Edward William Brooke III in Washington, D.C., to Edward Brooke Jr., an attorney for the Veterans Administration, and Helen Seldon. Growing up in an integrated middle-class neighborhood, Brooke readily absorbed his mother's instruction to respect others and treat all people equally. The Brookes lived relatively free from much of the racism endured by other African Americans. “We never felt hated,” his mother recalled (Cutler, 14). Brooke attended Dunbar High School, an elite public school with many middle- and upper-class African American students and then went on to Howard University, where he became president of the school's chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and earned his bachelor's degree in 1941 Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor later that year Brooke was drafted into an all black combat unit in the army He served in many roles including as a defender of those ...
Timothy N. Thurber
lawyer, politician, and writer. Born and raised in Woodrow Wilson's Washington, D.C., Edward William Brooke III proved to be a trailblazer who built a legal and political career that exceeded the socially imposed limits on blacks in America. At the height of his career, Brooke represented a social justice wing of the Republican Party that has disappeared. Even in his retirement he continues to be a pioneer as an advocate for cancer detection in men.
Brooke grew up in a middle-class household; his father was a lawyer for the Veterans Administration. Brooke attended the segregated public schools of Washington, graduating from Dunbar High School in 1936 and from Howard University in 1941 Shortly thereafter the U S Army drafted Brooke During his tenure in the military he served with the 366th Combat Infantry Regiment and defended enlisted men in military court cases Following the deployment of ...
The only son of Helen Seldon and lawyer Edward W. Brooke, Edward Brooke III was born in Washington, D.C., and graduated from Howard University in 1941 with a chemistry degree. A United States Army captain, he fought in Italy in World War II (1939–1945) and received the Bronze Star and combat infantryman's badge. After the war he earned a degree from Boston University's School of Law, where he was editor of the Law Review.
Brooke's political career began in 1950 when he left his private law practice to run unsuccessfully for the Massachusetts House of Representatives. In 1961 newly elected Republican governor John Volpe appointed Brooke chairman of the Boston Finance Commission. He resigned in 1963 when he was sworn in as Massachusetts attorney general, after winning the Republican nomination and election in 1962.
Known for his role as a crime fighter and an ...
Blanche Kelso Bruce's professional career followed the arc of Reconstruction history. Bruce escaped from slavery during the Civil War (1861–1865). He moved south after the war to capitalize on opportunities for economic and political advancement that were newly available to African Americans there. His political fortunes waned after the late 1870s, when Southern Democrats regained control of politics and blacks were again relegated to second-class status socially and politically.
Bruce was born a slave in rural Farmville, Virginia, but his childhood differed from that of most other slave children. His owner, Pettus Perkinson regarded him more as a son than as a slave A favored playmate of Perkinson s son Bruce was educated by the Perkinson tutor and rarely worked in the fields He lived in Missouri at the outbreak of the Civil War and escaped to Lawrence Kansas There he tried to enlist in the Union ...
William C. Harris
a slave. The identity of his father is unknown, but he took the surname of the man who owned his mother before he was born. His childhood as a slave on a small plantation, first in Virginia, then briefly in Mississippi, and finally in Missouri did not significantly differ, as he later recalled, from that of the sons of whites. This relatively benign experience in slavery perhaps owed a great deal to the fact that he was the light-skinned favorite of a benevolent master and mistress. He shared a tutor with his master's son and thus obtained the education that prepared him for later success. During the Civil War, despite the benevolence of his owner, he fled to freedom in Kansas, but after slavery was abolished he returned to Missouri, where he reportedly established the first school in the state for blacks, at Hannibal.
After the war Bruce briefly attended ...
from Mississippi. Blanche Kelso Bruce, the son of a black mother and white planter father, was born into slavery in Prince Edward County, Virginia. He escaped in 1861 while in St. Louis and in 1869 went to Mississippi, where over time he served as a supervisor of elections, the tax collector, the superintendent of schools, the sergeant-at-arms of the Mississippi State senate, the county assessor, and a member of the Board of Levee Commissioners of the Mississippi River. His public service brought him sufficient wealth to buy a large plantation in Floreyville. Bruce sided with other prominent blacks in their belief that freedmen should earn the money to buy land rather than receive acreage as a form of compensation.
When asked in 1873 to head the Republican ticket as a candidate for governor because of his popularity as sheriff of Bolivar County Bruce declined Instead he was elected ...
Calhoun did more than anyone else to chart the Slave South's increasingly defiant course from the 1830s onward; the trajectory of his career closely mirrors that of his region. Born into a family of ardent patriots and Revolutionary War veterans, Calhoun's early nationalism steadily gave way to the need to construct ever-moreelaborate defenses of the South's slave society. Ironically, in doing more than perhaps any other individual to set the stage for the Civil War, this “father of secession” and unapologetic slaveholder became a great practical force in the bringing about of Emancipation.
John Caldwell Calhoun was born just outside the town of Abbeville in the South Carolina Upcountry. After studying at Yale and then the Litchfield Law School, Calhoun began his meteoric rise to political prominence with a promising stint in the South Carolina state legislature. In 1811 he married his cousin Floride Bonneau Colhoun [sic a Lowcountry ...
Stephen Arnold Douglas was born in Brandon, Vermont, the son of Stephen Arnold Douglass, a college-educated physician, and Sarah Fisk. (Douglas dropped the final “s” in his name in 1846.) In 1830 Douglas moved with his family to New York, where he began to study law, but three years later he headed west, where the training and qualifications for the legal profession were less formal. He eventually settled in Illinois, the state with which he is most associated, and was admitted to the bar a year later. He held a series of state positions, culminating in his serving as secretary of state and on the Illinois Supreme Court at the age of twenty-seven.
In 1843 the young Democrat was elected to the House of Representatives, where his first speech was a vigorous defense of Andrew Jackson He quickly fashioned his political philosophy which called for robust expansion ...
Donna L. Halper
was born in Oakland, California, the older of two daughters of Donald Harris, an economics professor, and his then-wife Shyamala (Gopalan), a scientist and medical researcher. Her father was from Jamaica and her mother was from India; the two met in graduate school at the University of California at Berkeley, where both were active in the 1960s civil rights movement. As a child Kamala was taken to civil rights marches with her parents. She was also exposed to their religious traditions—her father’s Baptist Christian faith, and her mother’s Hinduism. Her name, which she pronounces COMMA-la, comes from the Sanskrit word for “lotus plant.”
Harris grew up in a predominantly Black working class neighborhood in Berkeley Her parents divorced when she was five and Kamala and her sister Maya were raised by their mother Although the two girls were biracial their mother understood that most people perceived them as Black Thus ...
Andrew Johnson was born in Raleigh, North Carolina. His parents, Mary and Jacob, were barely literate and scratched out a living by working for a local inn. With Jacob Johnson's death in 1812, the family's financial situation became dire, and Mary struggled to support Andrew and his brother, William, before finally binding young Andrew in the apprenticeship of a tailor at the age of thirteen.
Johnson spent several years learning his trade before leaving Raleigh for Greeneville, Tennessee. There he established his own tailoring shop and also met Eliza McCardle, whom he married in 1827 Eliza took responsibility for her husband s education teaching him arithmetic and reading to him The future president eager to put his newfound knowledge to use and hone his natural rhetorical skills made his shop into an informal gathering place for political discussion Enthralled and energized by these exchanges Johnson sought ...
Heather Marie Stur
the thirty-sixth president of the United States, coming into office in November 1963 after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. A Democrat, Lyndon Baines Johnson was born and raised in rural Texas, and his experiences growing up shaped both his personality and his political outlook. He earned a teaching degree and worked as a teacher before embarking on a long political career, which included many terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in addition to the vice presidency and the presidency. Throughout his life Johnson was known for his persuasive skills and his ability to build coalitions and make strategic political friends. Although he was committed to addressing domestic problems, authorizing several pieces of civil rights legislation and making what he called the War on Poverty the focus of his domestic policy, he often is associated primarily with the escalation of the Vietnam War.
Johnson was born ...
lawyer, U.S. attorney general, U.S. senator, civil rights advocate, and presidential candidate. Robert Francis “Bobby” Kennedy, the energetic and enthusiastic younger brother of President John F. Kennedy and the older brother of longtime Massachusetts Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy, was a civil servant who, although he had complicated and difficult relationships with several important African American leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr., became increasingly liberal and devoted to the cause of civil rights after serving as attorney general in the 1960s.
Kennedy, born in Brookline, Massachusetts, was the seventh child of Joseph P. and Rose Kennedy. Joseph Kennedy, who harbored enormous ambitions for his family, was a controversial figure accused of being—while serving from 1938 to 1940 as U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom—an anti-Semite interested in appeasing Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany Having attended several private boarding schools Robert Kennedy served in the U S Navy ...
Benjamin R. Justesen
lawyer, federal official, state legislator, and congressional aspirant, was the first of two sons born to a slave mother, Eliza Mabson, and her wealthy white owner, George W. Mabson, in Wilmington, North Carolina. He was educated at an early age in Massachusetts, where he resided until after the end of the Civil War. How George W. Mabson's father arranged to send his oldest son to Massachusetts in the early 1850s is not known, but presumably he either freed the light-skinned youth or smuggled him out of the state. From the age of eight, George reportedly lived with family friends in the Boston area, where he later worked as a waiter after the outbreak of the Civil War. On 15 February 1864 claiming to be eighteen years old George enlisted in the Union army joining the Fifth Massachusetts Colored Cavalry Regiment s Company G the ...
Betty K. Koed
lawyer, activist, politician, and diplomat, was born Carol Elizabeth Moseley in Chicago, Illinois, the oldest of four children of Joseph J. Moseley, a police officer, and Edna A. Davie, a medical technician. She became involved in political activism at an early age; her first protest was a sit-in at a segregated restaurant while still at Parker High School in Chicago. At age sixteen, she marched with Martin Luther King Jr. to protest housing conditions in Chicago. Throughout her life, she sought to break down racial and gender barriers.
Moseley Braun earned a BA in Political Science from the University of Illinois in 1969. She graduated from the University of Chicago School of Law in 1972 and passed the Illinois State Bar in 1973. That same year, she married attorney Michael Braun, and the couple had one son, Matthew They divorced ...
U.S. senator, lawyer, and ambassador. Carol Moseley Braun gained national significance in 1992 when she was elected to the U.S. Senate: she was the first African American woman elected to the U.S. Senate, the first African American elected to the Senate as a Democrat, and the first woman elected to the Senate from the state of Illinois. Her life and career signify a dedication to service and making strides as an African American woman on the male-dominated local, state, and national political scenes.
Carol Moseley was born on the South Side of Chicago, the first of four children of Joseph J. Moseley, a Chicago police officer, and Edna W. Davie Moseley, a medical technician. During the early years of Moseley's life, her family lived a middle-class existence. This changed when her parents divorced in 1963 Moseley attended Chicago public schools and graduated from Parker ...
Eric D. Duke
Moseley Braun made history in 1992 when she became the first African American woman—and first African American Democrat—elected to the U.S. Senate. With her election to the nation’s top legislative body, she instantaneously became a symbol of both racial and gender diversity. However, Moseley Braun’s career as a U.S. Senator was only one highlight in her successful career as both a lawyer and public official. With a résumé composed of service at the local, state, and federal levels, Moseley Braun proved to be more than simply a “symbol.” She established herself as one of the premier public officials in the United States, for any race or gender.
Carol Moseley-Braun, the oldest of four children, was born in Chicago, Illinois. Her mother, Edna Moseley, was a medical technician, and her father, Joseph Moseley, was a police officer. Reared a Roman Catholic on Chicago's South Side, Moseley-Braun graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1969 with a B.A. degree in political science, and three years later, she finished a J.D. at the University of Chicago Law School. While in law school, she met and eventually married Michael Braun, also a lawyer. Moseley-Braun gave birth to her only child, Matthew, in 1977, and in 1986 she and her husband divorced.
Moseley-Braun served in the Illinois State Legislature from 1978 to 1987, and she was the first African American to serve as that body's assistant majority leader. In 1992 Moseley-Braun ran for the U.S. Senate against two-term incumbent Alan Dixon who had ...
lawyer, writer, U.S. Senator, and President of the United States, was born Barack Hussein Obama Jr. in Honolulu, Hawaii, the only child of Barack Obama, a government official in Kenya, and Stanley Anne Dunham, an educator. His mother was a white American originally from Kansas, and his father was a black Kenyan. The couple met while studying at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and separated when their son was two years old. Obama Sr. left Hawaii to study at Harvard University and later returned to Africa to work as an economic planner for the Kenyan government. After the couple divorced, Anne Dunham married Lolo Soertoro, an Indonesian businessman, with whom she had a daughter, Maya.
Hawaii was the primary site of Barack s childhood and adolescence although from the age of six to ten he lived in Jakarta Indonesia in the ...
Steven J. Niven
author, U.S. senator, and first African American president. Born Barack Hussein Obama in Honolulu, Hawaii, he was the only son of Barack Obama Sr., a native of Kenya, and Ann Dunham, a white Kansan, who met and married while they were both students at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Obama Sr. grew up herding goats with his father, who was a domestic servant for British colonial officials in the small Kenyan village of Nyangoma-Kogelo. Obama Sr. arrived in Hawaii in 1959 as part of a program initiated by the Kenyan nationalist politician Tom Mboya to educate promising young African students in the United States. Mboya's program aimed to prepare an African-born elite for government service after the end of British colonial rule, and he secured scholarship funds from a number of African Americans active in the civil rights movement, including Jackie Robinson, Harry Belafonte, and Sidney Poitier ...
Hiram Revels, the son of former slaves, was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He studied at several seminaries in Indiana and Ohio before becoming a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME). During the American Civil War Revels helped to organize African American regiments in Maryland and ...