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Bass, Kingsley, Jr.  

Nathan L. Grant

is the pseudonym of Black Theater movement playwright Ed Bullins for the publication of We Righteous Bombers in the anthology New Plays from the Black Theatre (1969) and the play's production at the New Lafayette Theatre in Harlem in May of 1969.

New Plays from the Black Theatre lists Kingsley B. Bass, Jr., as “a 24-year-old Black man murdered by Detroit police during the uprising,” but in a panel discussion of We Righteous Bombers at the New Lafayette Theatre (11 May 1969), playwright Marvin X reported that Bullins in fact wrote the play and used the pseudonym “to suggest the type of play that a brother killed in the Detroit Revolution would have written.” Bass, who never existed, seemed able to achieve for himself a fine, if ironic, honor: a small notice by Larry Neal printed below prefatory notes to the panel discussion which ...


Chandler, Dana C., Jr.  

Kimberly Curtis

visual artist, educator, and activist, was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, the second of the seven children of Dana C. Chandler Sr., a longshoreman, and Ruth Chandler. At age five Dana Chandler Jr. and his family moved to Roxbury, Massachusetts, a predominantly African American community. Chandler's parents, who had not attended school beyond the ninth and eleventh grades, raised their children to recognize the importance of completing high school and earning a college degree. Chandler grew up in a poor, working-class family and attended Boston's public schools throughout childhood and adolescence. He received primary and elementary education at the Asa Gray and Sherwin schools. After a six-month hospital stay to treat rheumatic fever, he transferred from Boston Latin School to J.P. Timility Junior High School. At Boston Technical High School his art teachers Ralph Rosenthal and Gunnar Munnick inspired him to become an artist. In 1959 Chandler graduated ...


Cleaver, Kathleen  

Jocelyn L. Womack

activist, educator, and lawyer, was born Kathleen Neal in Dallas, Texas, to Ernest Neal and Juette Johnson, educators. Activism and scholarship were staples of the Neal family home, as both of her parents held advanced degrees. Ernest and Juette met while attending the University of Michigan in the 1940s. Juette held a master's degree in mathematics, and Ernest earned a PhD in Sociology. Ernest was working as a Wiley College sociology professor in Marshall, Texas, at the time of Kathleen's birth.

Shortly after Kathleen s birth Ernest accepted a job at Tuskegee Institute relocating the family to Alabama In addition to Kathleen s early exposure to academia her father s work in foreign aid promoted a family environment in which social progress was frequently discussed At the age of nine Kathleen had already embarked upon a life of global travel and had an appreciation of diverse cultures Her father ...


Cleaver, Kathleen Neal  

Candace Cardwell

attorney and political activist. Born in Dallas, Texas, Kathleen Neal Cleaver was the first child of Ernest Neal and Juette Johnson Neal. Her father was in the foreign service and the family lived in India, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and the Philippines. When Cleaver returned to the United States, she enrolled in a boarding school near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She attended Oberlin College in Ohio and later transferred to Barnard College in New York.

In 1966 Cleaver left college to work for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). At a SNCC conference at Fisk University in Tennessee, she met Eldridge Cleaver, the minister of information for the Black Panther Party (BPP). Attracted by the party's radical approach to social change, she left SNCC and joined the Black Panthers. She married Eldridge Cleaver on 27 December 1967.

As the national communications secretary for the BPP, Kathleen Cleaver ...


Davis, Henrietta Vinton  

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 ...


Gardner, Newport  

crystal am nelson

community leader and musician, was born Occramer Marycoo in West Africa. Although his country of origin is unknown, a 1757 ship manifest shows that he was brought to America at the age of fourteen. He was on one of that year's seven slaving voyages that brought a total of 831 African slaves to Rhode Island. Gardner was one of the 106,544 slaves brought to Newport, Rhode Island, between 1709 and 1807. Caleb Gardner, a white merchant and member of the principal slave-trading team Briggs & Gardner, bought the teenage Marycoo and baptized him into the Congregational faith as Newport Gardner.

The forced exposure to Christianity aided Gardner s rise to a leadership position in the New World He quickly learned English from daily Bible studies with his master who freed Gardner after overhearing him pray for emancipation Upon gaining his freedom Gardner combined his new religious fervor with ...


Hill, Elias  

John Fabian Witt

minister, schoolteacher, Union League organizer, and Liberian emigrant, was born into slavery near Yorkville (later York), South Carolina, probably the son of a light-skinned house slave named Dorcas Hill and a man brought as a slave from Africa to South Carolina. At the age of seven, Hill contracted a crippling disease that he called “rheumatism,” but that was probably polio. His owner's five-year-old son, Daniel Harvey Hill (the man who would later famously lose a copy of Robert E. Lee's battle plans while serving as a Confederate general at Antietam seems to have come down with a mild case of the same disease at almost the same time But Hill got the worst of it He was never again able to walk His legs shrunk to the diameter of an average man s wrist His arms were like those of a small child His fingers ...


Huggins, Ericka  

S. Sherrie Tartt

educator, human rights and community activist, was born Ericka Jenkins in Washington, D.C., to Cozette Jenkins, a secretary for the State Department, and Gervazae Jenkins, a clerk at the Pentagon. In high school Ericka was conscious of the inequality and discrimination African Americans experienced and participated in community service projects. Her first opportunity to partake in the excitement of the civil rights movement was with the 1963 March on Washington, which her parents did not want her to attend. Yet at age fifteen her rebel spirit was awakening as she defied her parents and stood among the multitude of marchers. She recalled that the powerful voice of Lena Horne singing the word “freedom” inspired her. The historic march cemented her determination to serve people for the rest of her life.

After high school Ericka was one of the first women to attend Lincoln University after transferring ...


Logan, Rayford  

Alonford James Robinson

Rayford Logan was born in Washington, D.C. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Williams College in 1917, Logan enlisted in the United States Army. He was demobilized from the all-African American Ninety-third Division as a lieutenant and remained in France for five years as an expatriate and an activist for Pan-Africanism. He returned to America in 1924 to agitate for civil rights and to pursue an academic career. His scholarship was dedicated to promoting the equality of black people around the world. As a civil rights activist, he helped coordinate the 1963March on Washington.

Logan received a master's degree in 1932 and a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1936. While pursuing these degrees, he taught at Virginia Union University from 1925 to 1930 and at Atlanta University from 1933 to 1938. He assisted in W. E. B. Du Bois's Encyclopedia of the Negro ...


Logan, Rayford W.  

Boyd Childress

historian, teacher, and author. Rayford Whittingham Logan was a marginal civil rights figure yet a key voice in post–World War I race relations. Born in Washington, D.C., and educated in the district's segregated school system, Logan graduated from Dunbar High School, where Carter G. Woodson—later to play a key part in Logan's life—was an instructor. After continuing his education at Williams College in Massachusetts, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1917, Logan returned home and joined the District of Columbia National Guard, seeing combat in Europe as an infantry second lieutenant.

The U.S. Army in 1917 was segregated and like so many World Wars I and II black veterans Logan was deeply affected by his military experience After the war he was discharged but chose to remain in France an expatriate bitter against white Americans At home racial violence was widespread from Chicago ...


Logan, Rayford Whittingham  

Kenneth Robert Janken

historian of the African diaspora, professor, and civil rights and Pan-Africanist activist, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of Arthur Logan and Martha Whittingham domestic workers Two circumstances of Logan s parents are germane to his later life and work Although he grew up in modest circumstances his parents enjoyed a measure of status in the Washington black community owing to his father s employment as a butler in the household of Frederic Walcott the Republican senator from Connecticut The Walcotts took an interest in the Logan family providing them with occasional gifts including money to purchase a house The Walcotts also took an interest in Rayford Logan s education presenting him with books and later in the 1920s and 1930s introducing him to influential whites in government Logan grew up on family lore about the antebellum free black heritage of the Whittinghams It is open ...


Obadele, Imari  

Larvester Gaither

educator and activist, was born to parents Walter and Vera Henry in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as Richard Bullock Henry. Known later as Imari Obadele, he became one of the most recognized organizers of the reparations movement in the United States.

An important influence in Obadele's decision to become an activist was his older brother Milton Henry (1919–2006), who joined the military around the time Richard joined the Boy Scouts at age eleven. Milton eventually achieved the rank of second lieutenant, but against the harsh waves of Jim Crow segregation he surfaced as one of the leading opponents of the rigid forms of discrimination then endured by black officers Because of his dissent he eventually was court martialed and dishonorably discharged Nevertheless even without the benefits of the GI Bill he went on to graduate from Lincoln University and after being denied admission to Temple University attended Yale ...


Stewart, Maria Miller  

Aaron Myers

Born to a free family but orphaned at the age of five, Maria Stewart lived with the family of a clergyman until the age of fifteen. She acquired literacy and a religious education at Sabbath schools. Stewart married James Stewart on August 10, 1826, in Boston, Massachusetts. After her husband's death in 1829, Stewart worked through the 1860s as a teacher in the public school systems of New York City, Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, D.C. In Washington she established a Sunday school for children in 1871 and worked and lived at the Howard University–affiliated Freedmen's Hospital for the last nine years of her life.

Stewart's two-year speaking career began in 1832 and included four lectures, all published in William Lloyd Garrison's abolitionist newspaper, the Liberator. Her lecture to the New England Anti-Slavery Society on September 21, 1832 was the first public lecture ...


Stewart, Maria W  

Marilyn Richardson

Maria Stewart was the earliest known American woman to lecture in public on political themes and leave extant copies of her texts. Her first publication, a twelve-page pamphlet entitled Religion and the Pure Principles of Morality (1831), revealed her distinctive style, a mix of political analysis and religious exhortation. Her message, highly controversial coming from the pen of a woman, called upon African Americans to organize against slavery in the South and to resist racist restrictions in the North. She invoked both the Bible and the Constitution of the United States as documents proclaiming a universal birthright to freedom and justice.

Influenced by the militant abolitionist David Walker, Stewart raised the specter of armed rebellion by African Americans. In a lecture at Boston's African Masonic Hall in 1833 she declared M any powerful sons and daughters of Africa will shortly arise and declare by Him that ...


Stewart, Maria W.  

Martha L. Wharton

political activist, lecturer, evangelical writer, and autobiographer, was born Maria Miller in Hartford, Connecticut, where she was orphaned by age five. Nothing is known about her parents. As a five-year-old girl, she was “bound out,” or indentured, to a clergy family for ten years. She then moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where she supported herself as a domestic for the next ten years. Maria enjoyed no formal education but struggled through her youth and young adulthood to become literate and to gain an education. Until she was twenty years old, she attended Sabbath school classes, where she learned to read the Bible, and this served as a staple in her pursuit of learning.

Miller married James W. Stewart on 10 August 1826 in the Reverend Thomas Paul s African Baptist Church in Boston In addition to taking his last name Maria adopted Stewart s middle initial ...


Stewart, Maria W.  

Rita Roberts

Stewart, Maria W. (1803–17 December 1879), writer, black activist, and teacher, was born Maria Miller in Hartford, Connecticut (information about her date of birth and parentage is not known). Orphaned at five years old and indentured to a clergyman’s family until she was fifteen, Maria Miller supported herself as a domestic servant and gained a rudimentary education by attending “Sabbath schools.” Miller’s marriage on 10 August 1826 to James W. Stewart, a Boston shipping agent, placed her in the small and vibrant free black Boston community that had established organizations and institutions in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries for northern blacks coming out of bondage. Stewart’s brief period of financial security ended when unscrupulous executors cheated the young widow out of her inheritance following the death of her husband in 1829.

Lacking family and funds Stewart who had no children was forced to rely again ...


Stewart, Maria W.  

Harry A. Reed

“What if I am a woman?” intoned Maria W. Stewart during a speech in Boston on 21 September 1833. Throughout her brief oration, she reminded her mixed audience of women and men that women, even in the ancient world, had been honored for their wisdom, prudence, religiosity, and achievements. Yet her own people of color, she noted, had failed to accord her similar recognition.

Maria W. Stewart, born in Hartford, Connecticut, took up public speaking as a means of supporting herself following her husband James’s death. Her marriage in 1826 at the Reverend Thomas Paul’s African Baptist Church marked her as a member of Boston’s small black middle class, but she had been cheated of a comfortable inheritance by unscrupulous white Boston merchants and lawyers. Before her public speaking tour (1832-1833), she had published a small pamphlet, Religion and the Pure Principles of Morality the Sure Foundation ...