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philosopher, pioneer of Islamic reformist thought, pan-Islamic nationalist as well as a staunch opponent of British penetration in the East, also known as al-Asadaabadi and al-Husayni, Afghani, was born in October/November 1839 in the Iranian village of Asadaabad. However, he endeavored to hide his origins so as to conceal his Shiite identity. It was with this in mind that he assumed the surname al-Afghani (of Afghan origin).

His father, Sayyid Safdar, is said to have been a modest farmer, but a learned Muslim. From the age of five to ten, Afghani was apparently educated at home, focusing on Arabic and the Qurʾan. Thereafter, he was sent to school in Qazvin and later Tehran, where he received the standard Shiite education.

After several years of study in the holy city of Najaf, Afghani moved to India in approximately 1855 where he first encountered British colonialism By the time he reached ...

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Amar Wahab

Pan‐Africanistleader in Britain in the early 1900s. Born in Sierra Leone, in 1869 he was sent to Cheshire to be educated and started working for the family firm, Broadhurst and Sons, in Manchester in 1905. By 1936 he is known to have been a cocoa merchant in the Gold Coast. He was heavily involved in the realm of Pan‐Africanist politics in Britain, becoming a founder member of the African Progress Union between 1911 and 1925. He became secretary of the Union in his sixties and continued as a member of the executive committee until its end. He worked with other leading supporters such as Duse Mohamed Ali, Edmund Fitzgerald Fredericks, and ‘the Black doctor of Paddington’ John Alcindor The Union organized around issues related to the welfare of Africans and Afro Peoples worldwide and vociferously advocated self determination This involved for example protests about ...

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Bonnie A. Lucero

was born on 25 May 1855 in the town of El Cobre in the Oriente region of Cuba to Librada Sánchez and Francisco Cebreco. He emerged as a prominent figure in the struggle for Cuban independence. Before reaching fifteen years of age, he joined Cuban forces during the Ten Years’ War (1868–1878), alongside at least two of his brothers, Juan Pablo (Pedro) and Juan Bautista. He served under prominent insurgent chiefs, including José Maceo, Antonio Maceo, and Calixto García Iñíguez, ascending to the rank of commandant by 1876. In 1878, like many of his black compatriots, he signed on to the Protest of Baraguá, a demonstration of discontent with the Pact of Zanjón, in which insurgents agreed to lay down weapons without achieving independence or the abolition of slavery.

Cebreco then a lieutenant colonel along with other prominent black officers in the East including the Maceo ...

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Bonnie A. Lucero

was born to a mulatto mother, María del Rosario, and a white father, Francisco Javier, on 17 September 1851 in the town of El Cobre, just outside the island’s then easternmost province, Santiago de Cuba. Although his birth name was Francisco Adolfo Crombet y Tejer, he was better known to his compatriots as Flor Crombet. He grew up in a family of Haitian coffee planters and former slave owners who fled to eastern Cuba during the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804).

Little is known of his younger days, but Crombet demonstrated a strong commitment to Cuban independence, participating in all three anticolonial wars (1868–1878, 1879–1880, 1895–1898). His brother Emiliano and he, then just 17 years old, first joined the insurrection in November 1868, one month after Carlos Manuel de Céspedes pronounced the Grito de Yara Cry of Yara which initiated the Ten Years War ...

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Douglas Wheeler

Angolan writer, journalist, lawyer, civil servant, and nationalist, a mestico, was born in Luanda, Angola, in 1823, the offspring of a marriage between a Portuguese father and an African mother. Like many generations of the assimilated Afro-Portuguese elite in the Portuguese colony’s capital, he was raised and educated a Catholic; self-taught in the law, he acquired a license to practice law and served as a government law clerk. His principal legacies came in decades of combative, reformist journalism and in his advocacy of Angolan nationalism.

His generation witnessed an increased pace of economic and social change, political upheaval, and new international pressures on Portugal’s sometimes tenuous rule over Angola. By 1866, when Fontes Pereira was forty-three, he had witnessed the long-delayed process of the abolition of Angola’s slave trade (1842–1850 efforts to replace the slave trade with legitimate trade agriculture and manufacturing the struggle including a ...

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Glenn Allen Knoblock

a leading black Communist leader in the 1920s, was born in Texas. He attended the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama and also claimed to have been kicked out of the City College of New York for radicalism. In the late teens he was active in organized left-wing politics, including the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and the Harlem Socialist Party (SP). While the IWW fought for the rights of all workers, including racial and national minorities, the SP was color-blind and refused to champion the rights of blacks specifically, and instead argued that blacks were subject to class, but not-race, oppression. A core of Harlem Socialists, however—including Richard Benjamin Moore, Otto Huiswoud, Cyril Valentine Briggs, A. Philip Randolph, Chandler Owen, and Grace Campbell were active in the New Negro movement of black radicalism and attempted to combine the struggles for socialism and black freedom ...

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Bárbara Danzie León

was born on 2 July 1854 near the Vellocino sugar refinery in Sabanilla Encomendador Today this community is known as the municipality of Juan Gualberto Gómez in Matanzas province His father Fermín Gómez and mother Serafina Ferrer were both slaves who managed to buy their freedom before Juan Gualberto s birth As free blacks Juan Gualberto Gómez Ferrer s parents emphasized literacy in the home so that he might capture as many opportunities for socioeconomic advancement as possible and spurred him on to learn to read and write Their support made a deep impression on him that he carried throughout his life In spite of the monetary sacrifice his parents had to make they sent him to study at Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados Our Lady of the Forsaken a school in Havana run by Antonio Medina y Céspedes a black headmaster whose work as a teacher was inspired ...

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Said M. Mohamed

Somali author and nationalist leader, was born in Sacmadeeqo, Somalia, sometime between 1856 and 1864 His name in Somali is given as Sayid Maxamad Cabdulle Xasan His father originally from the Ogaden region that is currently part of Ethiopia was a religious teacher in the Nogal area and Hasan received his early Islamic education from him Hasan later attended different Islamic seminaries in the Horn of Africa and during the early 1890s traveled to Mecca to perform the Hajj obligation with other Somali religious leaders There he met Shaykh Muhammad Salah the founder of the reformist Salihiya Islamic Tariqah of which the sayyid became a follower Upon his return from the pilgrimage Hasan landed at Berbera the main administrative seat of British Somaliland When he reportedly encountered Somali children being Christianized by missionaries he started preaching against British colonization and Christianization However he met with opposition not only from ...

Article

Brandon R. Byrd

was born to James Overton and Jane Holly on 3 October 1829 in Washington, D.C. His father introduced him to the shoemaking trade at an early age, while his mother made sure that Holly and his siblings attended Catholic services. Holly also received an education at a school run by a prominent black Washingtonian, and he continued his studies under the private guidance of Catholic priests. Despite these opportunities, Holly felt the sting of racial prejudice. His family moved on several occasions, each time venturing farther north to escape the disfranchisement, job discrimination, and racial violence that increasingly affected free blacks. As slavery expanded and defenses of the institution became more resolute, Holly came to agree with those African Americans in the United States who saw no prospects for freedom in their homeland.

In 1851 after working with the white abolitionist Lewis Tappan Holly married Charlotte Ann Gordon and ...

Article

Eric Young

Samuel Maharero, born Uereani Maharero, was the first son of Chief Maharero, who between 1860 and 1889 led the Herero in a series of wars with the Nama. Vehemently opposed to settlement by Europeans, particularly Afrikaners and Germans, in what is today Namibia, the elder Maharero repeatedly and unsuccessfully requested British “protection” during his reign. He finally gave in to German occupation in 1885.

Samuel and his brothers were educated at the Rhenish mission school in Otjimbingwe in the early 1860s. Samuel’s brother, Wilhelm, the chief’s second son and intended heir, was killed in battle with the Nama. Thus when his father died in 1890, Samuel Maherero assumed the chieftainship—a succession that divided the Herero, as some believed one of his cousins should have become chief.

For the next two years Maharero continued in his father s footsteps leading his people in wars against the Nama To gain ...

Article

Efraim Barak

writer, poet, journalist, and a pioneer of Egyptian nationalism, was born in Alexandria to a lower-class family. His father, Mis.bah. ʾIbrahim, was a carpenter. He began his formal education in a traditional kuttab, and proceeded, at the age of nine, to study religion at the ʾIbrahim Pasha mosque. Nadim terminated his studies after five years due to his lack of interest. He subsisted by taking various jobs: as a telegraph operator in Banha; as a shopkeeper in Cairo; as a clerk and a teacher at a pasha’s house in the Daqahliyya district, and as an itinerant entertainer and professional satirist. His occupation of entertainer earned him the epithet of Al-nadim (instead of Nadim), which means “the entertainer.”

In Cairo, Nadim joined the circle of Jamal Al-Din Al-Afghani, who lived in Egypt from 1871 to 1879 Afghani a pioneer of modern Islamic thought had encircled himself with the intelligentsia ...

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Zahia Smail Salhi

Algerian anticolonial leader, was born on 10 July 1830, the year that marked the beginning of the French occupation of Algeria, in the village of Werja, which is situated near Ain El-Hammam in Kabylie. Nsoumer is known in Algeria as “Lalla Fatma” and “Lalla Fadhma Nsoumer” (“Fadhma” is the Kabyle equivalent of the Arabic name “Fatima”). She was also nicknamed “Joan of Arc of Kabylie,” a soubriquet that she disliked. Nsoumer was the daughter of Sidi Ahmad Muhammad, a notable marabout who headed the zawiya (religious school) of Sidi Ahmad ou Mezyan in the nearby village of Soumer. This zawiya was a branch of the Rahmaniya religious order of Sidi Muhammad Ibn ʿAbd al-Rahman Abu Qabrayn, which is followed across the Kabylie region.

From early childhood Nsoumer was attracted to the study of the Qurʾan which she memorized and taught to other children Notably after the death of her ...

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Cheryl Johnson-Odim

Nigerian political activist, anticolonial nationalist, and leader of market women in Lagos, was born in Lagos, Nigeria. She was a member of the Awori subgroup of the Yoruba, a major ethnic group in southwestern Nigeria. Lagos (known as Eko in Yoruba) was the capital city of Nigeria from 1914 until 1991 and is still the second-most-populous city in Africa. The Awori settled in Lagos and environs at least as early as the fifteenth century and are believed to be the direct descendants of Olofin, a son of Oduduwa, considered the father of the Yoruba nation. Pelewura’s mother was a well-respected trader of fish, and Pelewura apprenticed to her mother and became a fish trader. Little is known about her father.

Like many of the Yoruba people Pelewura was Muslim Islam was introduced to the Awori before the nineteenth century and well before Christianity Pelewura never made the pilgrimage to Mecca ...

Article

James Jankowski

Egyptian lawyer, cabinet minister, and prime minister, was born in Cairo in 1863. He belonged to the Topuzzadeh family and was thus a member of the Turko-Circassian (Ottoman-Egyptian) elite that dominated Egypt through the nineteenth century. Educated in Egypt, Geneva, and Paris, he held a French law degree. Rushdi began his public career as a lawyer in the Finance Ministry and later served as an inspector of education and as a judge in both the Mixed Courts and the National Court of Appeal. His first wife was the French feminist writer Eugenie Le Brun; after her death in 1908 he married a sister-in-law of Sharif Husayn of the Hijaz.

Rushdi was a fixture in Egyptian ministries before and during World War I. He served as minister of justice from 1908 to 1910, as foreign minister from 1910 to 1912, and again as minister of justice from 1912 ...

Article

Liliana Obregón

José Antonio Saco received what was a typical education for Catholic boys in early-nineteenth-century Cuba. He first studied in a small schoolhouse next to his home and later transferred to a Catholic school in Santiago de Cuba. Saco continued higher-level education in modern philosophy at the San Carlos seminar in Havana. Under the tutelage of Father Félix Varela y Morales, one of the most influential professors and prominent intellectuals of his time, Saco studied with a group of young men who were to become representatives of the urban bourgeoisie that promoted the independence of Cuba from Spain. In his autobiography Saco claims that these early years with Varela, who provided guidance and friendship and whom Saco considered the “most virtuous man” he ever met, were definitive in the formation of his thinking and ideology.

In 1821 Varela asked Saco to take over his seminar in ...

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Eric Young

Like many early African nationalists, Martin-Paul Samba in his relationship with colonial authorities progressed from initial cooperation to determined resistance. Born Mebenga-M’Ebono, he became familiar with German settlers during his childhood in what would soon become the German colony of Kamerun (present day Cameroon). After serving on an expedition led by German explorer Kurt von Morgan, he traveled to Berlin with von Morgan for education and military training. He ultimately reached the rank of captain in the German Imperial Army. In 1895 Samba returned home, and throughout the next fifteen years participated in several expeditions into the hinterland to further German colonial ambitions.

By 1910 Samba had grown acquainted with early nationalists such as Rudolph Douala Manga Bell and had begun to share their grievances Two years later Samba became chief of the Ebolowa and the leader and strategist of the local anticolonial resistance movement Pretending to be a ...

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Gabrielle Lynch

Kenyan spiritual and military leader (orkoiyot), was born around 1860 in Nandi. Koitalel was the youngest son of Kimnyole arap Turukat, an orkoiyot who could trace his lineage to the first unifying leader of the Nandi. Little is known of Koitalel’s maternal lineage or childhood, except that his father had over forty wives and that his family was relatively wealthy. As an adult, Koitalel also had around forty wives and lived at Kamng’etuny near Nandi Hills, where he led a prolonged resistance against British colonialism.

The position of orkoiik (pl.) refers to men with powers of divination, omen interpretation, prophecy, and medicine. These powers are inherited along clan lines, but are dependent on reputation. Prior to the mid-nineteenth century the orkoiik’s influence was limited to relatively small areas. However, in the mid-nineteenth century, a family of laibons (Maasai spiritual leaders) were welcomed and absorbed as orkoiik ...

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Bonnie A. Lucero

was born on 24 March 1858 in Havana, Cuba. During his lifetime, he witnessed profound social and political transformations, including slave emancipation (1886), anticolonial insurgency during the course of three separate wars (1868–1878, 1879–1880, 1895–1898), and two US military occupations (1899–1902 and 1906–1909). Although Serra was a tobacco worker, journalist, and educator by trade, arguably, his work as a nationalist and civic activist had the greatest impact on Cuban society.

Born to formerly enslaved parents education and skilled work from an early age provided social mobility for Serra He entered the workforce at the age of 13 after his father died He became a tobacco apprentice raising himself into a relatively prosperous class of artisans and tradesmen In part because of this privileged position Serra received elementary instruction which piqued his lifelong advocacy of formal education as an important tool of black ...

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Gloria Chuku

Nigerian market trader and businesswoman who wielded enormous influence in the nineteenth-century politics of Lagos and Abeokuta, was born Efunporoye Osuntinubu Olumosa (commonly shortened to Efunroye Tinubu) around 1805 to Owu parents in the Yoruba town of Abeokuta, in present-day western Nigeria. Efunroye learned the art of trading from her mother, Nijeede, who was a food-seller, and from her grandmother, Osunsola, who dealt in leaves, herbs, roots, and tree bark. She married an Owu man with whom she had two sons. Shortly after, her mother and her husband both passed away. As a widow, she started trading in leaves and tree bark. She met and married Adele in 1833, who was an exiled oba or king of Lagos She followed him to Badagry where she established a lucrative enterprise in salt and tobacco which she exchanged for slaves from Abeokuta Through commercial associations with Brazilian slave dealers and other ...

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Kurt J. Werthmuller

Egyptian military officer and Minister of War, and leader and namesake of the “Urabi Revolt” against the Ottoman-Egyptian ruling class of the military in 1881–1882, was born in Huriya, a village near the Nile Delta city of Zaqaziq, on 1 April 1841. Because of the changing norms of Arabic-English transliteration, his name is also written as “Ahmed Orabi” and “Ahmed Arabi.” While his village belonged to the agricultural (fellah) class of Egyptian society, his father was a religious elder (shaykh) of the village, and a man of some means relative to the community. His family’s resources afforded ʿUrabi the opportunity to receive an excellent early education, culminating at the age of eight in the completion of his primary education at the prestigious al-Azhar University in Cairo.

It was ʿUrabi s conscription into the Egyptian army at the age of thirteen however that set him on the ...