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SaFiya D. Hoskins

political administrator and lawyer, was born Constance Ernestine Berry in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of Ernestine Siggers and Joseph Alonzo Berry. Her mother was a social worker and a nurse, her father was a physician. Berry was young when the family relocated to Tuskegee, Alabama, where she was reared and attended Tuskegee Institute High School located on the campus of Tuskegee University a private historically black university established in 1881. She was a member of the Government Club and an honor roll student. Upon graduating from high school in 1952, Berry enrolled at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in 1956. Three years later, in 1959 she graduated with a Juris Doctorate from the University of Minnesota Law School The same year she was married to Theodore Newman a member of the United States ...


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 ...


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 ...


Anthony Neal

was born in Weldon, North Carolina. Information about his birth parents is unknown. He was the adopted son of David Rainey, a house carpenter, and his wife Anna, of Norfolk County, Virginia. After receiving his early education in the public schools of Portsmouth, Virginia, Rainey attended Norfolk Mission College—a black institution in the Commonwealth founded in January 1883 by Reverend Matthew Clarke under the auspices of the United Presbyterian Church’s Board of Missions. He later attended the College of the City of New York for two years and enrolled as a special student at Harvard University’s graduate school in 1915.

As a Republican in Boston’s Ward 18 (Roxbury), Rainey ran unsuccessfully for state representative in 1915 and 1917. Working as a waiter enabled him to pay his way through the city’s Suffolk Law School, from which he received a Bachelor of Laws degree in 1917 Upon graduating ...