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Jorge Amado, who wrote more than thirty novels during his career, played a significant role in representing African culture in Brazilian literature. Among his subjects are the blacks of Salvador, in Amado's home state of Bahia, and the African religious rituals that sustain them. Although Amado's approach to Afro-Brazilian traditions is sympathetic and exceptionally detailed, his Bahian novels have met with much controversy. A younger generation of Brazilian and non-Brazilian critics have accused Amado of creating overly exotic portraits of black culture and creating simplistic, class-bound character types.

Amado the son of a plantation owner in Bahia attended a Jesuit college at age 12 However after just one year he rebelled against the strict lifestyle at the school and left to live with his grandfather During the 1930s Amado joined the Brazilian Communist Party and his writings from this period reflect his ideological commitment to communism These works such ...

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Charles Orson Cook

one of the most prolific white scholars of African American history in the twentieth century. Herbert Aptheker was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1915 and was educated at Columbia University in the 1930s, where he took an undergraduate degree in geology and an MA and a PhD in history. His first important publication, American Negro Slave Revolts (1943), was based on his doctoral dissertation and challenged the prevailing wisdom that slaves were largely passive victims of white masters. In part an outgrowth of Aptheker's master's thesis on Nat Turner, American Negro Slave Revolts immediately became a controversial work and has remained so since. He was befriended by the influential African American historian Carter G. Woodson and the legendary black intellectual W. E. B. Du Bois, both of whom encouraged his interest in Negro history. Aptheker's other writings include a seven-volume Documentary History of the Negro People ...

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Miriam Elizabeth Villanueva

was born on 21 April 1937 in Colón, Panama, the son of Colombian Leland Britton, a mariner, and Nicaraguan Nelly Morrison, a day laborer. Both of his parents were descendants of West Indian families who immigrated to Nicaragua and Colombia in the early twentieth century. Britton senior and Morrison met each other while working in Panama. Britton’s parents raised him and his brother Federico in the neighborhood of Río Bajo, known for its influx of black West Indian families. The neighborhood housed recently arrived or seasoned immigrants from the West Indies who traveled to construct the Panama Canal between 1904 and 1914. It fostered a community that embraced West Indian traditions and the English language. Britton championed and recognized his hybrid ethnicity as a West Indian and Panamanian.

Britton spent his youth in Colón and attended the local elementary school until he transferred to Colombia for three years Britton ...

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Charles Rosenberg

was born in New York City on 29 September 1915, the son of Charles Breechford Burnham and Louise St. Clair Williams Burnham, Afro-Guyanese migrants to the United States. A cousin of Guyana prime minister Forbes Burnham, Louis Burnham stands as a marked contrast to the common stereotype that Guyanese socialists are mostly of East Indian descent, while Guyanese of African descent are more conservative in their politics.

Some sources presume that Burnham was born in Barbados, but census records show that while his Guyanese parents were both born there, his mother immigrated to the United States in 1909, and that his father did so no later than 1914, perhaps before 1910. Neither was a naturalized citizen in 1920, when the family lived at 253 West 139th Street in Harlem. He had an older brother, Charles St. Clair Burnham, born in New York in 1914 ...

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Bettina Aptheker

A renowned public intellectual, Angela Y. Davis has been internationally recognized as a leader in movements for peace, social justice, national liberation, and women’s equality. A scholar and prolific writer, Davis has published five books and scores of essays, commentaries, and reviews. Since the 1970s she has persevered in struggles to free political prisoners and to dismantle what she was the first to call the prison-industrial complex.

Angela Yvonne Davis was born in Birmingham, Alabama. She was the oldest of four children. Her mother, Sally E. Davis, was a public-school teacher, and her father, B. Frank Davis although qualified to teach managed a service station in order to enhance the family s income Davis s parents were deeply involved in their church and community and committed to the struggle for civil rights When Davis was four years old her family moved out of the all black projects ...

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Brittney L. Yancy

activist, philosopher, Marxist, and professor. Angela Davis was born 26 January 1944, in Birmingham, Alabama, in an area that was so frequently bombed by the Ku Klux Klan it was known as Dynamite Hill. Born to B. Frank Davis, a teacher and businessman, and Sally Davis, who was also a teacher, Angela Davis's political activism started in her early childhood, and by high school, she volunteered for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). At the age of fifteen, Davis received a scholarship to finish school at the Elizabeth Irwin School in New York City. Davis's teacher introduced her to socialist ideas that would inform her political participation in the civil rights and Black Power movements. When Davis finished high school in 1961, she moved to Massachusetts to attend Brandeis University, where she graduated in 1965 with degrees in philosophy and French ...

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Chike Jeffers

Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Davis (1944), a public intellectual, activist, and iconic figure in the struggle for black liberation, attended high school in New York City and then went to Brandeis University. Here she encountered Herbert Marcuse, the celebrated critical theorist, with whom she began to study philosophy. Upon receiving her BA, she traveled to Germany to study in Frankfurt. Theodor Adorno was going to direct her dissertation research but, by 1967 Davis decided to return to the United States and work with Marcuse at the University of California San Diego The decision was made because of the intense political situation in the United States which Davis felt she could not watch from afar She got involved in an organization that became the Los Angeles chapter of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee SNCC After it folded the Marxist inclination she had developed since high school led her ...

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Lawrie Balfour

Angela Yvonne Davis was, in several ways, born into the heart of the struggle for civil rights. Her family lived in the middle-class section of Birmingham, Alabama, that came to be known as Dynamite Hill because so many Ku Klux Klan bombings occurred there. Davis attended segregated schools, where children were taught black history but at the same time were denied adequate school supplies and facilities. Her mother and grandmother encouraged Davis to fight for civil rights while she was still in elementary school. As a high school student, Davis helped organize interracial study groups that were broken up by the police.

When she was fifteen, Davis left Birmingham to attend the Elizabeth Irwin School in New York City. Teachers at the politically progressive school introduced Davis to Socialism, from which she gained ideas that informed her later activism. From 1961 to 1965 Davis attended Brandeis University ...

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Stacy Braukman

radical activist, scholar, and prison abolitionist, was born in Birmingham, Alabama, to Frank and Sally Davis. Her father, a former teacher, owned a service station, and her mother was a schoolteacher. Both had ties to the NAACP and friends in numerous radical groups, including the Communist Party. When Angela was four years old, her family moved from a housing project to a white neighborhood across town. The experience of being the only African Americans surrounded by hostile whites taught Davis at a young age the ravages of racism. Indeed, during the mid- to late 1940s, as more black families began moving into the area, white residents responded with violence, and the neighborhood took on the unenviable nickname “Dynamite Hill.” Davis's racial consciousness was further sharpened by attending the city's vastly inferior segregated public schools.As a junior at Birmingham s Parker High School at the age ...

Article

Steven J. Niven

sharecropper and communist martyr, was born in Tallapoosa County, Alabama, a white majority county in the state's eastern piedmont. One of fifteen children, Gray was born into a family with a strong radical tradition. His father, whose name and occupation are unknown, was the son of Alfred Gray, an African American state legislator in Perry County, Alabama, during Reconstruction who famously vowed to fight for the Constitution “until hell freezes over.” A critic of both white racism and the inadequacy of the Freedmen's Bureau, Alfred Gray recognized that his outspoken militancy came at a price. “I may go to hell,” he told an interracial gathering in Uniontown in 1868 my home is hell but the white man shall go there with me Kelley 39 Ralph Gray who was only one year old when Reconstruction ended in Alabama grew up hearing stories of his grandfather s radicalism But ...

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Christine Dureau

poet, journalist, political activist, and Cuba's poet laureate, was born Nicolás Cristóbal Guillén y Batista in Camagüey, Cuba. His parents were of mixed African and Spanish descent; his father, a journalist and progressive senator, was murdered in 1917 while protesting against the conservative president Mario García Menocal.

Briefly a law student at the University of Havana, Nicolás soon left to become a journalist. He took after his father in populism and protest. Cuban society was victimized by sequential regimes of repression and oppression. Guillén was among the worst hit, due to his increasingly socialist ideology. His first poems and antiestablishment articles were published in the early 1920s. He and editors of the Mediodía newspaper were briefly jailed in 1936.

He joined the Communist Party. In 1937 he traveled to Spain for the Congress of Writers and Artists while doubling as a correspondent on ...

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Roanne Edwards

Born in Camagüey, Cuba, Nicolás Guillén is widely considered Cuba's preeminent poet, on a par with such Latin American literary masters as Jorge Luis Borges, Pablo Neruda, and César Vallejo. According to literary scholar Josaphat B. Kubayanda, “Guillén's poetry was the first successful development in Cuba of a vital and original aesthetic based upon the black and African elements on Caribbean soil.” He was also a committed communist and his poems and journalism powerfully reflect his political and national concerns. Like the black American singer and activist Paul Robeson, Guillén devoted much of his life to the pursuit of peace, both in racially torn prerevolutionary Cuba and abroad. He traveled extensively throughout the world and in 1954 received the Lenin International Peace Prize.

Guillén is equally a part of the community of black poets exemplified by Harlem Renaissance writers Claude McKay, Sterling Brown ...

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Kate Tuttle

At the time of his murder Chris Hani (born Martin Thembisile Hani) was second only to Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela among popular antiapartheid activists, and his militant rhetoric made him the favorite of South Africa's disaffected young blacks. His 1993 assassination occurred at the height of the negotiations between the government and antiapartheid organizations and sparked days of rioting and violent government retaliation that threatened to disrupt the negotiating process—results that some felt reflected the assassins' goals. But the crisis instead proved the strength of Mandela's leadership, as the African National Congress (ANC) appealed for calm and continued the talks.

Hani, who was born in the bantustan, or “black homeland,” of Transkei and graduated from the University of Fort Hare in 1962, was a classics scholar turned freedom fighter. He joined the ANC Youth League in 1957 and in 1962 went into exile to join the ANC s newly ...

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Meghan Elisabeth Healy

South African antiapartheid activist, was born Martin Tembisile Hani in the Transkei village of Comfimvaba on 28 June 1942. Hani was the second of three surviving sons born to Gilbert, a miner, and Mary, an illiterate peasant; three others died in infancy. Hani was precocious, learning to read from a schoolteacher aunt before he began attending local schools. Hani was also devout, serving as an altar boy and harboring dreams of the priesthood.

In 1956 Hani went to Lovedale school. Located near Fort Hare, the only post-secondary institution then open to Africans, Lovedale was founded a century before as an educational mecca for Africans. After a century as a Free Church of Scotland institution, however, Lovedale had just been nationalized. Beginning in 1956, Lovedale was subject to apartheid administrators set on making schooling a tool for “separate development.”

Despite its nationalization Lovedale remained one of the best schools ...

Article

Charles H. Martin

Communist organizer and political prisoner, was born in the tiny southern Ohio town of Wyoming, the son of Paul Herndon, a coal miner. His mother, Harriet, was of a mixed-race background and worked as a domestic. According to an early version of Herndon's autobiography, his name was recorded in the family Bible as Eugene Angelo Braxton Herndon. During Herndon's youth, the family experienced poverty, which grew worse after his father died. Fundamentalist Christianity helped family members endure such hard times, and at the age of nine Herndon underwent a deep religious experience and joined a local church. Shortly after he turned thirteen, Herndon and an older brother left home for Kentucky, where they worked in a coal mine for a while before heading farther south to Alabama.

Over the next several years Herndon found employment at various construction and mining sites in the Birmingham area though ...

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Leila Kamali

Historian, editor, and political activist born on 10 December 1921 near Johannesburg, the child of Latvian Jews. Hirson was educated at Hebrew school in Johannesburg, and studied mathematics at the University of Witwatersrand, where he later worked as a physicist. In 1940 he joined the left‐wing Hashomer Hatzair, subsequently becoming a member of various Trotskyist groups. Between 1944 and 1946 he was a political organizer for the Workers' International League.

Hirson participated in setting up black trade unions, in extremely difficult conditions created by the Suppression of Communism Act. He became involved in the Non‐European Unity Movement, and in the late 1950s joined the Congress of Democrats, the white arm of the ANC‐led Congress Alliance.

After the Sharpeville massacre in 1960 Hirson and his colleagues highly critical of the Congress Alliance s leadership and policies organized the National Committee for Liberation which advocated sabotage as a substitute for peaceful ...

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Brynley A. Lloyd-Bollard

union leader and Communist Party organizer, was born in Wilkes County, Georgia, the first of two sons of Thomas Hudson and Laura Camella Smith, sharecroppers. After three years of a stormy marriage, Laura left Thomas and took their two children a few miles west to Oglethorpe County to live with her parents George and Julia Smith, her sister Georgia Mae, and her brother Ned.

Life in a poor sharecropping family in the Georgian Black Belt was difficult and several terrifying episodes left Hudson traumatized at an early age Not least of these occurred when a lynch mob of men on horseback came to Hudson s home one night and demanded the surrender of Uncle Ned who accused by one of the men of talking about his sister was being framed by a white employer who owed Ned money Luckily Hudson s grandmother was able to ...

Article

As a youth, Hosea Hudson worked with his family on the Sharecropping land where they lived and was, therefore, unable to attend school. In 1917, he married and began sharecropping land separately from his family. After Boll Weevils destroyed his crops, Hudson moved with his new family to Atlanta in 1923. The next year he settled in Birmingham, Alabama where he began his career in iron molding.

Hudson soon engaged in informal attempts to better the treatment of African American workers. But it was not until 1931, when he joined the Communist Party of the U.S.A. (CPUSA), that Hudson became a public voice for worker's rights. Fired within a year from the Stockham Foundry, and forced to find work under pseudonyms, Hudson nonetheless continued to fight the Great Depression s devastating effects on African American workers During the 1930s Hudson strengthened his ties to the ...

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Glenn Allen Knoblock

American Communist Party activist, was born in Paramaribo, Suriname, the son of Rudolf Francis Huiswoud, a freed slave and tailor, and his wife, Jacqueline Hendrietta (Bernhard). After apprenticing as a printer and cabinet maker, Huiswould decided to seek a career at sea. Originally intending to travel to the Netherlands in pursuit of that goal, he instead disembarked in New York, entering the U.S. illegally in 1910 aged 17.

During the First World War Huiswoud joined the Harlem Socialist Party (SP) along with other “New Negro” radicals including Grace Campbell, Lovett Fort-Whiteman, Chandler Owen, A. Philip Randolph, and Richard B. Moore In general the American SP ignored the oppression of black people at worst supporting segregation and at best arguing that blacks were subject only to class and not race oppression However the Harlem branch uniquely among Socialists attempted to develop a Socialist program ...

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Amar Wahab

Political activist, journalist, black nationalist, community leader, and feminist. Born in 1915 in Port of Spain, Trinidad, Jones moved to New York with her parents and three sisters at the age of 8. Her formal education was ended prematurely by tuberculosis, which damaged her lungs and permanently affected her health. She became actively involved with the Young Communist League of the American Communist Party, and was a vociferous advocate of human and civil rights. She was the editor of Negro Affairs for the Party's paper the Daily Worker, and in 1948 was elected to the Party's National Committee.

After being arrested four times for her involvement in campaigns for a socialist revolution, Jones was deported from the United States and given asylum in England. In exile she worked closely with London's African‐Caribbean community and founded and edited the West Indian Gazette which was vital to her fight for ...