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La TaSha B. Levy

successful entrepreneur and political activist. Connerly is nationally known for his controversial campaign to prohibit the use of affirmative action in state agencies, employment, and public education.

Wardell Connerly was born in Leesville, Louisiana, and was primarily raised by his grandmother after his mother died when he was five. Connerly describes his racial ancestry as one-quarter French Canadian, three-eighths Irish, one-quarter African, and one-eighth Choctaw. However, he rejects racial categories and prefers to identify himself as simply American.

Connerly graduated from Sacramento State College with a BA in political science in 1962. He was the first black student to become the student body president and the first and only black member of Delta Phi Omega fraternity. Upon graduating from college Connerly worked for the Redevelopment Agency of the City and County of Sacramento, which spawned his interest in housing and real estate. In 1966 Connerly became the ...

Article

Donna L. Halper

was born in Yadkinville County, North Carolina, to William Hall Cowan, a machinist, and his wife Cynthia (Long), a seamstress. One of three children, he and his two sisters grew up in Yadkinville, a small town about twenty-five miles from Winston-Salem. Cowan was only sixteen when his father died. His father, a Vietnam War veteran had always encouraged him to pursue a career. Even though his mother’s job did not pay well, she too encouraged him to try for college, as did his teachers at Forbush High School, in East Bend, North Carolina. In 1987 Cowan became the first Forbush graduate to attend Duke University, a hundred miles to the east in Durham, North Carolina.

Cowan thought about becoming a doctor, but eventually developed an interest in the law. After graduating from Duke in 1991 with a degree in Sociology he went north to Boston and attended Northeastern University ...

Article

Donna L. Halper

was born in Memphis, Tennessee, the oldest of two daughters of Samuel Crossley, a postal worker, and Mattie (Robinson), a teacher. Her parents met at Southern University in Baton Rouge, and she was raised in a home where education was a priority. She attended all-black schools until high school, when she became one of nineteen black students who integrated Memphis’s Central High School in 1966. It was a difficult experience, but one that helped her to become more confident and taught her to stand up for herself. In high school, history was her favorite subject, but her textbooks made no mention of the accomplishments of people of color. She began to research black history and wrote reports about what she learned. She also became interested in journalism, writing a theater and entertainment column for her school newspaper.

Crossley wanted to go to school somewhere outside of the South and ...

Article

Linda Rochell Lane

Marcelite Jordon Harris, a graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, served as a White House aide to President Jimmy Carter. She was also the first and only black woman to earn the rank of general in the United States Air Force. While the native Texan may not have been eligible for the title of Georgia’s “favorite daughter,” Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young was impressed enough to declare a Marcelite J. Harris Day on 30 May 1988. She was presented with the key to the city of Detroit in 1990. The city of Houston, Texas, designated 11 February 1991 as Marcelite J. Harris Day. Marcelite J. Harris made it to the top of her field and in the process accumulated a succession of firsts.

Marcelite Jordon was born in Houston, Texas. She earned a BA in Speech and Drama from Spelman College in 1964 and a ...

Article

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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Wayne C. Solomon

was born in Iere Village Princes Town, Trinidad, to Sonny Mohammed and Koolsum Ali Mohammed. His family were the descendants of indentured servants and contract workers, brought from various parts of India in the mid-nineteenth century, to cultivate sugar cane by British planters, after the end of slavery in Trinidad. The East Indians, as they were called by the British, to distinguish them from the indigenous settlers (commonly called Indians), were imported as an alternative labor source in Trinidad and other British colonies following the emancipation of enslaved Africans in 1833. In 1938, the year of Mohammed’s birth, Trinidad witnessed a wave of protests by Indian- and African-descended laborers, the prelude to the island’s eventual independence from British rule in 1962, under its first prime minister, Eric Williams.

Mohammed was born into a Muslim family His grandfather wanted him to become a Muslim scholar Among the ...

Article

Kennetta Hammond Perry

The most difficult job in America may be that of president, yet each individual who has held this position has done so with the aid of an intelligent, loyal, and dedicated administrative staff. Margaret Williams was a key organizer of the Clinton presidential campaign in 1991 and later played a vital role in the first Clinton administration, serving as chief of staff for Hillary Rodham Clinton and special assistant to President Bill Clinton.

Born in 1955 and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, Margaret Ann Williams grew up in a world far from the clamor of Washington politics. However, Williams’s decision to attend Trinity College in Washington, DC, would place her in the center of the national political arena. During her tenure at Trinity, Williams nurtured her growing interest in politics, majoring in political science and urban studies. Earning her BA in 1977 Williams began her political career ...