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Margaret Wade-Lewis

linguist educator early computer language translator Africanist scholar of Arabic and Berber was born in Wildwood New Jersey to Joseph Henry Applegate and Nancy Berkley Applegate His father was a second generation New Jersey resident whose father was a Native American from Maine Applegate s mother whose father was also Native American migrated from Virginia to Philadelphia where Applegate s parents met around the time of World War I Neither parent had more than an elementary school education Hardworking and ambitious they held high aspirations for their children Applegate and his sister enjoyed the advantages of a small town working class upbringing along with direct contact with black artists and entertainers who frequented the seaside summer boarding house their parents operated in Wildwood New Jersey Although the family was not affluent Applegate s environment was sophisticated and urbane He recalled awakening to the sounds of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington ...


John Henrik Clarke was a central figure in late-twentieth-century vernacular American black nationalism. As a teacher, writer, and popular public speaker, he emphasized black pride, the African heritage—especially communalism—and black solidarity. From the rural South he rode a freight train to the North, where he actively participated in the literary and political life of Harlem, New York in the 1930s. Arthur Alfonso Schomburg, the black bibliophile, was a major intellectual influence. Largely self-educated, Clarke became professor of Africana and Puerto Rican Studies at New York's Hunter College and president of Sankofa University, an on-line Internet school.

Born to sharecropping parents, Clarke grew up in Columbus, Georgia, and aspired to be a writer. He produced poetry, short stories (notably “The Boy Who Painted Christ Black”), and books on African history (The Lives of Great African Chiefs) and on Africans in the diaspora (Harlem U.S.A An original member ...


Christopher Williams

scholar and activist, was born John Henry Clark in Union Springs, Alabama, the first of five children to John Clark and Willella (Willie) Mays, sharecroppers. Later Clarke changed the spelling of his name, dropping the “y” in Henry and replacing it with “ik” after the Norwegian playwright, Henrik Ibsen. He also added an “e” at the end of Clarke.

Clarke s great grandmother Mary who lived to be 108 inspired him to study history The young Clarke sat on her lap listening to stories and it was through her he later said that he first became aware of the word Africa Clarke grew up in the Baptist church and wanted to satisfy his intellectual curiosity regarding the Bible and its relationship to African people Like a detective he searched the Bible looking for an image of God that looked like him His dissatisfaction with what he found later ...


Rochell Isaac

educator, nationalist, Pan-Africanist, writer, historian, and poet. Born John Henry Clark to Willie Ella Mays and John Clark, a sharecropper, Clarke changed his name, legalizing Henry to Henrik and adding an “e” to Clark, thereby cementing his admiration of the Scandinavian playwright Henrik Ibsen. The Clark family moved from Union Springs, Alabama, to Columbus, Georgia, when Clarke was four years old. Clarke's mother, a laundrywoman, died of pellagra, a diet deficiency, when Clarke was still very young. With his mother's illness and subsequent death, the Clark family began to feel the effects of poverty.

Though he clearly demonstrated academic ability along with a strong desire to learn and excel Clarke s academic goals encountered much resistance As a teenager Clarke held a number of menial jobs he was a part time student and a part time farmer and worker As a result he ...


Nigerian academic researcher and Pan-African activist, was born in Abeokuta, Nigeria, in 1893. He was the son of I. O. Fadipe, a pastor at the Baptist mission in Abeokuta. His mother, like many women in Yoruba communities, worked as a trader.

After attending the Church Missionary Society (CMS) primary school in Abeokuta, Fadipe graduated from the CMS grammar school in Lagos and found work as a clerk for the colonial government. With low pay offered to junior African office workers, Fadipe set about finding a more lucrative position. He succeeded in finding a new position as the personal secretary to the manager of Barclays Bank in Lagos. Fadipe knew full well how few opportunities for higher learning existed in Nigeria in the early twentieth century, so he convinced his mother to pay for him to enter a university in England. In 1925 Fadipe was admitted to the London School ...


David Killingray

Pan‐Africanist and journalist born in Trinidad who became a schoolteacher. During the First World War he arrived in Britain and studied at London University. In 1918John Eldred Taylor asked him to become the editor of a new newspaper in London, the African Telegraph. Hercules also became general secretary of the Society of Peoples of African Origin and associate secretary of the African Progress Union. In this capacity he spoke at a protest meeting at Hyde Park Corner condemning the race riots in Liverpool, also writing to the Colonial Secretary demanding that black people should be protected from white violence. In particular he fiercely condemned in the African Telegraph the assault by hundreds of white soldiers on black soldiers who were patients at the Belmont Hospital in Liverpool. When it was announced that black soldiers would not participate in the victory celebrations in London in July 1919 ...


Pan-Africanist intellectual pioneer and doctor, was born in the small village of Gloucester in the vicinity of Freetown, the capital of the British West African colony of Freetown, Sierra Leone, on 1 June 1835. His father, James Horton, and his mother, Nancy Horton, were both members of Igbo-speaking communities who had been rescued from slave ships. It is unclear when they were resettled in Sierra Leone or how they ended up in Gloucester, although census records indicate that James Horton the elder worked as a carpenter. The Hortons belonged to a Protestant church staffed by English missionaries in Gloucester, but Horton did not begin to attend school until 1845 In that year the Church Missionary Society CMS pastor James Beale visited Gloucester and invited Horton to join his school in Freetown At the CMS Grammar School Horton studied religious topics as well as mathematics Greek and Latin Horton s ...


Jolie A. Jackson-Willett

Pan-Africanist, feminist, writer, educator, was born in Victoria, British Columbia, the third of four children of Mariah A. (Alexander) Gibbs, originally of Kentucky, and Mifflin Wistar Gibbs, originally of Pennsylvania. Ida Gibbs's father was the self-educated, wealthy son of free Philadelphia blacks who was himself notable for his many accomplishments: he founded the first African American owned newspaper; made a fortune selling boots and prospecting equipment to miners during the Gold Rush in San Francisco, California; was the first black elected municipal police judge in Little Rock, Arkansas; and served six years as United States Consul in Madagascar under Presidents McKinley and Roosevelt. Ida Gibbs's uncle Jonathan C. Gibbs was at one time secretary of state in Florida during Reconstruction Growing up in an atmosphere of educational and financial success may have influenced the Gibbs children to achieve in higher education and ...


Allison Blakely

Hunt was born Ida Alexander Gibbs on November 16, 1862, in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Her father, Mifflin Wistar Gibbs, was a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who had achieved great success as an entrepreneur in California and then in British Columbia. In the late 1860s, while he continued business ventures in Canada, he sent the family to live in Oberlin, Ohio, where Ida's mother, the former Maria Alexander, had attended college. Ida completed two degrees at Oberlin College, specializing in English. She received a B.A. degree in 1884 and an M.A. degree in 1892. A classmate and friend in Ida's class of 1884 was Mary Church Terrell, later known as a civil rights leader. Ida's younger sister, Harriet Gibbs Marshall, likewise later became well known as the founder of the Washington, D.C. Conservatory of Music After college Ida Gibbs taught ...


Christine Lutz

Pan-Africanist and labor leader, was born William Alphaeus Hunton Jr. in Atlanta, Georgia, to Addie Waites Hunton, a leading clubwoman and feminist, and William Alphaeus Hunton Sr., founder of the Negro YMCA. Alphaeus was the couple's second surviving child. After the Atlanta riot of 1906 the Huntons moved to New York. Alphaeus grew up in Brooklyn, where he attended public schools with his sister Eunice Hunton (Carter), who became a prominent clubwoman and lawyer. Alphaeus and Eunice lived for two and a half years in Germany with their mother.

In 1921 Hunton entered Howard University in Washington, D.C., earning a BS in 1924. He pursued his graduate studies at Harvard University, earning an MA in English literature in 1926. Beginning in 1933 Hunton worked toward his PhD at New York University while teaching English literature at Howard as an assistant professor He received his ...


John H. McClendon

AfricanAmerican scholar, educator, Pan-Africanist, political journalist, labor organizer, and Marxist. William Alphaeus Hunton Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia, to William Alphaeus and Addie Hunton. His grandfather Stanton Hunton had been born a slave in Virginia and had migrated to Chatham, Ontario, in Canada in 1843 after successfully purchasing his freedom. From Chatham, Stanton Hunton closely worked with John Brown in the preparation of Brown's historic raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859.

Alphaeus Hunton's father, William Alphaeus Hunton Sr. (1863–1916), had a lifelong career working with the YMCA, serving as its first African American secretary. William Hunton moved from Ontario to Norfolk, Virginia, in 1888 and he married Addie Waite in 1893 A native of Norfolk Addie Waite Hunton had graduated from the City College of New York and later received a degree in linguistics from the Sorbonne After her marriage to ...


Lily Mabura

Kenyan transnational and Pan-Africanist scholar and writer, has research interests in African and African Diasporic literatures and orature with an emphasis in poetry, drama, and theater; women’s and gender studies; cultural and film studies; and education.

For personal reasons she has lived in the United States since December 1991 and is a full professor of African American Studies at Syracuse University, where she was a recipient of the 2004–2007 Meredith Professorship for Teaching Excellence. Mugo’s previous appointments include a Rockefeller Visiting Writer Fellowship at Cornell University (1992–1993); associate professorship in the Department of Curriculum and Arts Education at the University of Zimbabwe (1984–1991); and associate professorship at the University of Nairobi, which she joined in 1973 as a lecturer and where she later became the first woman dean of the Faculty of Arts (1980–1982).

Mugo and her then young daughters Mumbi Mugo and Njeri Mugo left Kenya as political exiles ...


Yolanda L. Watson Spiva

educator, Africanist, and anthropologist, was born Gloria Albertha Marshall in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; nothing is known of her parents. She attended Dillard Elementary School and Dillard High School. A student of high academic prowess and promise, she skipped grade levels because of her exceptional ability and mastery of her school work and was classified as a high school junior at the age of fourteen. At fifteen she was offered and accepted early admission to Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, on a Ford Foundation Early Entrant Scholarship. In 1955, while a student at Fisk, Gloria attended Oberlin College as part of an academic exchange program and was exposed to an educational setting that she perceived to be a better fit for her academic interests. Consequently she transferred from Fisk to Oberlin to complete her undergraduate degree.

Sudarkasa received her bachelor s degree in Anthropology and English ...


George Baca

anthropologist, was born Council Samuel Taylor in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Walter Knight Taylor and Odelle Grace Robinson Taylor. “Count,” as his intimates called him, was dynamic, tall, a stylish dresser, and a great storyteller, using his deep voice for dramatic effect. Colleagues, students, and teachers remembered him adorned with a French beret, ascot, and an ornate walking stick.

Taylor passed as a white man during the 1940s. From 1942 to 1946 he served in the marines—well before President Harry Truman issued Executive Order 9981 to desegregate the U S Armed Forces where he saw combat duty with the Air Delivery Squadron and Aviation Supply during World War II A most striking feature of his biography is that as a gay black man Taylor served as a platoon sergeant in aviation supply in several locations in the South Pacific and near China during the war ...


Sylvia M. Jacobs

principal, missionary, and mission superintendent, was born Cora Ann Pair in the village of Shotwell (later Knightsdale), Wake County, North Carolina, the second of twelve children of Harmon Pair, a minister. Her mother's name is unknown. She attended and completed the high school in Shotwell and then entered Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Thomas graduated from Shaw in 1895 with a higher English diploma. In the nineteenth century, historically black colleges and universities provided students with an education from elementary to high school. The majority of the slaves who gained their freedom in 1865 were illiterate, and any school they attended would have had to begin with a basic education. Thomas received a higher English diploma, which meant she had majored in English and earned at least a high school diploma.

After graduation Thomas served as principal of an orphanage in Oxford North Carolina Between ...


Pan-Africanist intellectual and doctor, was born on 25 April 1887 in Porto-Novo, Benin. His father, Joseph Tovalum-Quenum, was an extremely powerful trader who had backed the French against Behanzin, the last king of the independent monarchy of Dahomey (present-day Benin). His mother, Maria Thérésa Nadjo, was the granddaughter of the mid-nineteenth century Dahomean king Ghézo. Tovalou-Quenum thus grew up in relative affluence, especially since the colonial government rewarded his father for his service against Behanzin. Like many wealthy southern Beninese families in this period, his family considered themselves Catholics and believers in the indigenous spiritual traditions of vodun at the same time. The death of Tovalou-Quenum’s mother in 1894 seems to have deeply affected the boy s later development as did his primary studies at a Catholic mission school in Porto Novo run by the missionaries known as the White Fathers As an adolescent his family sent Tovalou Quenum ...


Bethany K. Dumas

linguist and cultural historian, was born in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. His father, Rooks Turner, earned a bachelor's degree from Howard University, then founded a school that later became the site of a state university. His mother, Elizabeth, was educated in the public schools of the state. Two of his brothers studied medicine and law. His family background provided inspiration for his great academic success.

Turner earned three academic degrees, contributed to American linguistic research in methodology and publications, founded and edited a newspaper, served as professor and administrative head at universities, founded journals, studied West African languages and participated in a Peace Corps project. He received a BA in English in 1914 from Howard University (in Washington, D.C.), an MA in English in 1917 from Harvard University, and a PhD in English in 1926 from the University of Chicago. His dissertation, Anti Slavery Sentiment in American ...


Lisa Clayton Robinson

Lorenzo Dow Turner received a bachelor's degree from Howard University in 1914, a master's degree from Harvard University in 1917, and a doctoral degree from the University of Chicago in 1926 He taught English at several black colleges and initially became interested in linguistics after hearing the ...