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Leland Conley Barrows

peripatetic Liberian intellectual and diplomat, pan-African theoretician, and sometime British colonial official in Sierra Leone and Nigeria, was born on 3 August 1832 on St. Thomas in the Danish Virgin Islands to free parents of Igbo or Ewe origin. Thanks to the influence of an American Presbyterian missionary, the Rev. John P. Knox, Blyden decided, while in his teens, to become a Presbyterian minister himself but was thwarted in his efforts to enroll at the Rutgers Theological College because he was black. Thus, again influenced by Knox and the contacts of the latter in the American Colonization Society, he immigrated to Liberia in 1850. Here he would complete secondary education at the Presbyterian Church–sponsored Alexander High School, where he would then become a teacher.

Blyden s perception that his parents his mother a teacher and his father a tailor were of pure Negro African origin his encounters with slavery ...

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David Dabydeen

Scholar, lifelong champion of African rights, and Liberia's first accredited diplomat to the Court of St James, London. Edward Blyden was born in August 1832 in Charlotte‐Amalie, the capital of the island of St Thomas in the Danish West Indies. The third child of free parents—his father was a tailor and his mother a teacher—Blyden enjoyed a tranquil early childhood of personal tuition from his mother, combined with attendance at the local primary school. In 1842 the family moved to Porto Bello in Venezuela, where Blyden's linguistic talents first came to prominence. By the age of 12 he was fluent in Spanish, while at later stages in his life he would also master Latin, Hebrew, and Arabic. On returning to St Thomas two years later, Blyden continued his schooling in the mornings while serving out a five‐year apprenticeship as a tailor in the afternoons.

In 1845 the ...

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Leland Conley Barrows

Ever the peripatetic intellectual, teacher, journalist, philosopher, and diplomat, Edward Wilmot Blyden (1832–1912) managed to be both a powerful exponent of the uniqueness of the Negro-African personality and an inveterate Anglophile.

Blyden was born of free parents on St. Thomas Island in the Danish Virgin Islands on 3 August 1832. Although apprenticed to a tailor, he developed a talent for languages, literature, and oratory. Thanks to the influence of John P. Knox an American Presbyterian minister Blyden decided early on to become a Presbyterian minister himself Blyden s perception that his parents were of pure blooded possibly Igbo or Ewe African origin served as one of the roots of his life long commitment to Negro race pride and the development of a racial ideology evocative of Négritude Blyden s encounters with slavery on St Thomas black poverty in Venezuela and his first encounter with virulent racism ...

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Lisa Clayton Robinson

Edward Wilmot Blyden is considered a pioneer in Pan-Africanist thought, although the term “Pan-Africanism” was not coined until the very end of Blyden's long life and career. Throughout his career as a diplomat, statesman, educator, and one of Liberia's most prominent champions, Blyden encouraged people of African descent around the world to embrace their history and culture, and to return to Africa, their ancestral homeland. His call for “Africa for Africans” represented a vision that was truly ahead of its time, that of a proud, rich, black civilization spread throughout the African continent. Blyden's writings and speeches influenced leaders and philosophers such as Cheikh Anta Diop, Kwame Nkrumah, Marcus Garvey, and C. L. R. James.

Blyden was born in 1832 into a middle-class free black family in Charlotte Amalie, Saint Thomas, in the U.S. Virgin Islands Although he was brought up in relative privilege ...

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Charles Rosenberg

a pioneer member of the Socialist Party of America and the American Communist Party and a founding member of the African Blood Brotherhood, was born in Georgia to William Campbell, from the British West Indies, and Emma Dyson Campbell, from Washington, D.C. Her family moved to Texas by 1892, then to Washington, and she moved to New York City about 1905. Many sources continue to state in passing that she was born in the Caribbean and studied at Tuskegee, though this is more likely a different woman named Grace Campbell. The important role of Caribbean immigrants in New York's progressive movements may have contributed to this confusion. The historian Winston James offers a more detailed and compelling case that she was born in Georgia, which is consistent with the information Campbell apparently provided to the 1920 and 1930 census.

Campbell became active in Socialist Party ...

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Amos J. Beyan

Crummell was born March 1819, the son of Charity Hicks, a freeborn African American woman and a resident of Long Island, New York, and Boston Crummell, an emancipated African from the Temne ethnic group of what became known as Sierra Leone in West Africa. Although the conditions under which he became emancipated have not been documented, it has been maintained that Crummell’s father gained his freedom by escaping his owner when he became an adult in New York. The family thereafter established a small oyster store in the black section of New York. Despite the fact that they had limited means and lacked formal education, Crummell’s parents decided to enroll him in the Mulberry Street School and further employed qualified individuals to tutor him.

Following his basic education Crummell together with his black colleagues Thomas Sidney and Henry Highland Garnet went to Canaan New Hampshire to study at Noyes ...

Article

Robert Fay

At his death on September 9, 1817 Paul Cuffe had a rich life upon which to reflect He and his wife Alice had seven children His several family run businesses had earned assets worth an estimated $20 000 making him the wealthiest man in Westport Massachusetts and the wealthiest black man in the United States News of his death reached the other side of the Atlantic illustrating how far his fame and influence had spread Yet his life of accomplishment had not eliminated the racial discrimination that was built into American society ironically following his funeral at the South Friends Meeting House which his financial support had helped to build Cuffe was buried in a remote cemetery corner far away from the white Quakers Despite the material successes of his life he had not attained the goal that came to dominate his life the mass emigration of American blacks ...

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Jane Poyner

Mixed‐race American sea captain who, as a champion of the abolition movement, journeyed to Britain in 1811 to meet sympathetic friends from the African Institution. Cuffee (also spelt Cuff, Cuffe, Cuffey) was born in Massachusetts to a manumitted slave, Cuffee Slocum, and a Native American, Ruth Moses. A committed Quaker, Cuffee was impassioned about the redemption of Africa: he aligned himself with the Colonization Society of America and the idea of a return to Africa of free African‐Americans. To this end, as a means of cutting off the slave trade at its source, Cuffee made two trips to Sierra Leone (see Sierra Leone settlers). To discuss his views on abolition and colonization with friends from the African Institution, Cuffee sailed to Britain, docking in Liverpool in 1811 Here and in London he met fellow abolitionists including the Duke of Gloucester who was president of the African ...

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Jonathan Morley

Journalist and activist born to wealthy parents, against whom she rebelled. Cunard became a well‐known figure in the London modernist movement, and throughout the busiest period in her career, the 1930s, was a controversial advocate of black emancipation in the United States and Africa.

At 855 pages long, weighing nearly 8 pounds, with 150 contributors, the NEGRO anthology of 1934 was Cunard's most ambitious publication: a collection of essays, polemics, and poetry from France, Britain, and America designed to highlight the vibrancy of the black world and to lobby for black freedom. Writers of interest include the future African presidents Jomo Kenyatta and Nnamdi Azikiwe, the Pan‐Africanists George Padmore and W. E. B. DuBois, the black modernist novelist Zora Neale Hurston, and the poets Nicolás Guillen, Langston Hughes, Sterling Brown, Countee Cullen, Alain Locke, William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound who ...

Article

The Editors

American journalist, abolitionist, and Pan-Africanist, was born a free American in Charles Town, Virginia (now West Virginia), to Pati Peace, a free seamstress whose parents were of royal West African heritage, and Samuel Delany, an enslaved carpenter, on 6 May 1812. When attempts were made to enslave Martin and a sibling, Pati carried them 20 miles (32 kilometers) to the Winchester courthouse to preserve their freedom. They soon learned to read and write using The New York Primer and Spelling Book.

Defying a Virginia law, Delany wrote passes to enslaved blacks. Upon being discovered, and fearing reprisals, Pati took them to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania; they were joined by their father after buying his freedom a year later. The young Delany continued learning but occasionally left school to work to support himself. He continued his schooling from 1823 to 1831 in the tightly knit black community of Kernstown outside ...

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Allan D. Austin

Martin Robison Delany's haphazard education began clandestinely before his family's escape from slave-state Virginia in 1822. By 1832, in Pittsburgh, Delany, always proudly black and Africa-respecting, had joined the local African Education, Antislavery, Temperance, Philanthropic, Moral Reform, and Young Men's Bible societies. Further, he cofounded the Theban Literary Society—named after the Egyptian city.

By 1836 he began studying medicine, insisting upon civil rights, and preaching professional training for African Americans rather than barbering or manual labor suggestive of servant or second-class status. When black suffrage was rescinded in Pennsylvania in 1838, Delany, alone, passed through slave territory to then independent Texas to test its potential as a home for free blacks (1839–1840), his first adventure in emigration and exploration. Disappointed, but with scenes and dialogues he would use later in Blake, his only novel, he returned to Pittsburgh.

In 1843Delany married ...

Article

David Dabydeen

African‐American physician, abolitionist, soldier, and black nationalist who fought for the emancipation and self‐reliance of Blacks. Delany was born in Charleston, Virginia, to a free mother and a slave father. Due to his mother's free status, he was deemed free as well. All his life Delany insisted on the need for black people to recognize and absorb their African heritage and culture. As such, he anticipated the rise of Pan‐Africanism. He rejected notions about the inferiority of Blacks, promoting instead the values of self‐sufficiency and entrepreneurial effort. He advocated emigration rather than subjection to racial harassment at home. In July 1859 he sailed to West Africa and signed a treaty with the King of Nigeria on 27 December 1859 that permitted Blacks linked with Delany to settle in vacant tribal lands. In 1860 he arrived in Britain seeking financial assistance for his project In ...

Article

James Sellman

During the nineteenth century Martin Robison Delany was a prominent African American leader, but his repeated political shifts undermined his standing and obscured his legacy. Recently, historian Sterling Stuckey has emphasized Delany's role in the development of black nationalist thought, concluding that he was an influence on W. E. B. Du Bois.

Delany was the son of a slave father and a free mother; her free status made her son free as well. As a child, he moved to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. He attracted the attention of a prosperous mentor, John B. Vashon, who paid for Delany's education. White abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison described him as “black as jet and a fine fellow of great energy and spirit,” but Delany's separatist views alienated many potential allies.

In contrast to Frederick Douglass whose outlook was integrationist Delany stressed the importance of blacks African heritage and the need for black ...

Article

Paul A. Cimbala

Delany, Martin Robison (06 May 1812–24 January 1885), black nationalist, was born in Charles Town, Virginia (now West Virginia), the son of Samuel Delany, a slave, and Pati Peace, a free black seamstress. In 1822 his mother moved the family to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, to avoid punishment for violating state law after whites discovered that she had taught her five children to read and write. In 1823 Samuel joined the family after he had, with his wife’s assistance, purchased his freedom. In 1832 Martin Delany moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the next year began an apprenticeship with Andrew N. McDowell, a local white doctor. In 1843 he married Catherine Richards. The couple had seven children, whom Delany proudly named after famous blacks. After being rejected by a number of medical schools, he entered Harvard Medical School in 1850 but was dismissed under the pressure of student protests.

While ...

Article

Timothy Konhaus

However, because of his vehement political and social critiques of the United States, Delany is often relegated to the shadows of his contemporary, Frederick Douglass. Like Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois in the early twentieth century, Delany and Douglass represent a point-counterpoint in American history. Unlike Washington and Du Bois, however, Delany and Douglass were at times business partners and friends despite their conflicting social views.

Delany was born in Charles Town, Virginia (now West Virginia) in 1812, the son of Pati Peace, a free black woman, and Samuel Delany, a slave father. In 1822 his family moved north to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. In 1831 Delany went to Pittsburgh to study under the Reverend Lewis Woodson, an ardent black separatist. Delany also began studying medicine under the direction of several Pittsburgh doctors while serving as a cupper and bleeder.

In 1843 Delany began ...

Article

Adele N. Nichols

a black nationalist best known as Ahmed Evans, was born in Greenville, South Carolina, to John Henry Evans and Ora (surname unknown). Evans was the fourth of twelve children, and when he was young, he and his family moved to Cleveland, Ohio. Other than that his family was poor, little is known about his early life before he joined the U.S. Army in 1948. He served in the Korean War as a sergeant in a ranger company but left the Army to return to Cleveland to work, following an injury to his head and back.

He returned to the Army in 1954 and won a boxing championship at Fort Hood in Texas He also struck a superior officer was tried by a military court and was given a punishment of two years in military prison His ruling was lowered because there was medical evidence that supported him ...

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Sholomo B. Levy

rabbi, black nationalist, and emigrationist, was born in Bridgetown, Barbados, the son of Edward Ford and Elizabeth Augusta Braithwaite. Ford asserted that his father's ancestry could be traced to the Yoruba tribe of Nigeria and his mother's to the Mendi tribe of Sierra Leone. According to his family's oral history, their heritage extended back to one of the priestly families of the ancient Israelites, and in Barbados his family maintained customs and traditions that identified them with Judaism (Kobre, 27). His father was a policeman who also had a reputation as a “fiery preacher” at the Wesleyan Methodist Church where Arnold was baptized; it is not known if Edward's teaching espoused traditional Methodist beliefs or if it urged the embrace of Judaism that his son would later advocate.

Ford s parents intended for him to become a musician They provided him with private tutors who instructed ...

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Karen E. Sutton

free black loyalist in Preston Township, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and one of the founders of Freetown, Sierra Leone, is a person about whom little early information is known. He may have begun life as a slave in one of the former British colonies before the war, and his name may have been a “freedom name”; that is, one that he chose for himself when his personal liberty came. Probably he was the same British Freedome granted land in the Merigumish Township, Pictou County, Nova Scotia, Canada, for service as a private in the 82nd Regiment of Foot (S. Patterson, History of County of Pictou, 460). Some members of that regiment served at the Battle of Yorktown with the British General Cornwallis Freedom s name is not in the Book of Negroes the list of black Americans freed after the American Revolution and who left with ...

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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 ...

Article

David Dabydeen

Jamaican‐born champion of black solidarity and founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) who lectured and later lived in Britain. Garvey was born on 17 August 1887 in St Ann's Bay, Jamaica. His father was a mason and a deacon of the Methodist Church, and his mother was a pious Christian who devoted much of her time to the young Garvey. He attended infant and subsequently elementary school at St Ann's Bay Methodist school, where he was deemed a bright and astute student. When he was 14 he became a printer's apprentice under his godfather and five years later worked at the government's printing office in Kingston. His experience in the field of printing would later aid the establishment and development of his numerous newspapers and journals.

Garvey was passionate about racial and class issues from a young age A possible catalyst for his belief in the importance ...