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Zachery R. Williams

journalist, civil rights lawyer, and political organizer. John P. Davis was born in Washington, D.C., the son of William Henry Davis and Julia Davis. He grew up among Washington's New Negroes and was strongly drawn to the Harlem Renaissance. Davis served a brief stint as the editorial replacement of W. E. B. Du Bois with The Crisis magazine. Along with noted contemporaries such as Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Bennett, Wallace Thurman, Aaron Douglas, and Richard Bruce Nugent, Davis participated in the publication of Fire!!, a single-issue Harlem Renaissance literary magazine geared toward the emerging young Negro artist. Davis became a major spokesman for civil rights and interracial working-class alliances during the 1930s and 1940s.

From 1926 to 1927 Davis attended Harvard University on a fellowship and earned a master s degree in journalism He then went ...


Daniel Donaghy

pastor, civil rights activist, and U.S. congressman. Walter Edward Fauntroy was the fourth of seven children born in Washington, D.C., to William T. Fauntroy Sr., a U.S. Patent Office clerk, and Ethel Fauntroy, a homemaker. As a boy, Fauntroy became an active member of the New Bethel Baptist Church; the church gave Fauntroy sanctuary against the poverty and crime of secular Washington. As a high school student, Fauntroy experienced his first call to the ministry. After Fauntroy graduated second in his class from Dunbar High School in 1952, some of the members of New Bethel Baptist Church presented him with enough money to pay for his first year at Virginia Union University, where he graduated with honors in 1955 before going on to earn a divinity degree from Yale University.

While at Virginia Union, Fauntroy met the future civil rights activist Martin Luther King ...


Heather Marie Stur

the first African American mayor of Gary, Indiana, and one of the first African American mayors of a major U.S. city. Hatcher was elected for the first time in 1967, the same year that Carl Stokes was elected the first African American mayor of Cleveland. Calling on African Americans to take control of their own destiny outside the parameters of the white establishment, Hatcher became a major figure in black politics in the late 1960s and early 1970s. During Hatcher's tenure as mayor, Gary hosted the National Black Political Convention on 11 March 1972 that resulted in the “Gary Declaration.” This paper outlined a political agenda based on the notion that African Americans must work to change both the political and economic systems in the United States in order to redress centuries of discrimination and oppression.

Richard Gordon Hatcher was born in Michigan City Indiana and earned a bachelor ...


Alonford James Robinson

Richard Hatcher was born into a large, low-income family in Michigan City, Indiana, and his factory worker father often struggled to support Richard and his twelve siblings. Despite a somewhat difficult childhood, Hatcher excelled in school and graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor's degree in economics and government in 1956. In 1959 Hatcher completed a law degree at Valparaiso University and in 1961 was appointed deputy prosecuting attorney in Lake County, Indiana. He was active for many years in the politics of Gary, Indiana. In 1963 he was elected to the city council, and four years later he was elected mayor. Hatcher was, with Carl Stokes of Cleveland, Ohio, one of the first two African Americans to be elected mayor of a major American city. Hatcher served five four-year terms as mayor, until his defeat in 1987.

In 1972 Hatcher presided over the plenary session ...


Thomas E. Carney

civil rights leader and lobbyist. Clarence Maurice Mitchell Jr. was born in the Pennsylvania Avenue neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland. His father, Clarence Sr., was a waiter, and his mother, Elsie Davis, was a homemaker; his younger brother Parren became a U.S. congressman from Maryland from 1971 to 1987. Clarence attended Frederick Douglass High School before going in 1928 to Lincoln University, near Oxford, Pennsylvania. He received his bachelor's degree in 1932 and returned to Baltimore, where he joined the local NAACP chapter and the citywide Young People's Forum. The forum, which was founded by Juanita Jackson, worked to advance the employment of African Americans during the Great Depression. Clarence and Juanita—who was the first African American woman admitted to the bar in Maryland—were subsequently married in 1938.

The young Mitchell began his career as a reporter for the Baltimore Afro-American This work brought him ...


Denton L. Watson

Mitchell, Clarence Maurice, Jr. (08 March 1911–18 March 1984), civil rights lobbyist, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Clarence Maurice Mitchell, a waiter, and Elsie Davis. He attended St. Katherine’s Episcopal Church and later became a member of the Sharp Street Memorial Methodist Church. From Douglass High School in Baltimore, he entered Lincoln University in Pennsylvania in 1928 and was graduated in 1932 with a B.A. In 1938 Mitchell married Juanita Elizabeth Jackson, daughter of Keiffer Bowen Jackson and Lillie May Jackson of Baltimore; they had four children. President of the Baltimore branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Maryland State Conference of NAACP Branches, Lillie Jackson spearheaded the freedom movement in the state and became a celebrated historical figure.

From 1933 to 1936 Mitchell was a reporter for the Baltimore Afro American He left for a year ...


Less visible than many of his NAACP colleagues, Clarence Mitchell nonetheless had a major impact on the lives of African Americans. Known as the 101st senator, the longtime NAACP lobbyist was instrumental in the passage of both the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the two most significant successes of the Civil Rights Movement. Mitchell was a 1932 graduate of Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and the husband of Juanita Jackson Mitchell, an NAACP official. He joined the NAACP staff following his work with the National Urban League and the Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC).

The FEPC was formed in 1941 to eliminate employment discrimination and was dissolved in 1946. While acting as the NAACP's labor secretary, Mitchell continued to fight for economic fair play, founding the National Council for a Permanent FEPC in 1949 and participating the following year ...