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Allen J. Fromherz

was the first independent Hafsid ruler, or emir, in Tunis. Starting first as governor of Gabes and Tunis, he reigned as sole emir from 1229 to 1249. As emir he claimed a large swath of territory in central North Africa. His independence began when he broke from the Almohad caliph in Marrakech over the role of the Mahdi Ibn Tumart, the religious founder of the Almohad movement and empire that was then in decline. Abu Zakariya Yahya bin Hafs built the foundations for one of the longest-lasting ruling dynasties in the history of North Africa, the Hafsid Almohads. Born in 1203 his family came from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco His grandfather Abu Hafs al Hintati a shaykh or leader from the Hintata Berber Masmuda tribe was a great Almohad second in command to Abd al Muʾmin the first caliph of the Almohads Abu Hafs al ...

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Stephen D. Glazier

African American religious, educational, and political leader, was born in Brownsville, Pennsylvania, the son of Samuel G. Arnett and Mary Louisa (maiden name unknown). Benjamin Arnett was a man of “mixed Irish, Indian, Scots, and African ancestry” (Wright, Eighty‐seven Years, 79). He was educated in a one‐room schoolhouse in Bridgeport, Pennsylvania. Arnett worked as a longshoreman along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers and worked briefly as a hotel waiter. His career as a longshoreman and waiter ended abruptly in 1858 when a cancerous tumor necessitated the amputation of his left leg. He turned to teaching and was granted a certificate on 19 December 1863. At that time he was the only African American schoolteacher licensed in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. For ten months during the academic year 1884–1885, Arnett served as a school principal in Washington, D.C. He returned to Brownsville in 1885, teaching there until 1887 ...

Article

Benjamin William Arnett, Jr., was born in Brownsville, Pennsylvania. He was entirely self-taught. After working as a waiter and a dockworker, he became certified as a teacher in Brownsville in 1864, but he moved to Washington, D.C., and decided to become a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME). After receiving his license to preach in 1865, he was assigned his first pastorate in 1867 in Walnut Hills, Ohio, near Cincinnati; Arnett also taught school there. First ordained as a deacon in the AME church in 1868, he became an elder in 1870. He served the AME General Conference as its secretary in 1876 and its financial secretary in 1880. In addition, he established close connections to the AME church's center for learning, Wilberforce University in Ohio.

During the American Civil War (1861–1865 Arnett had worked with Frederick Douglass s National ...

Article

Terence M. Mashingaidze

nationalist politician, first titular president of independent Zimbabwe, statesman, peace broker, clergyman, author, soccer administrator, academic, poet, and journalist, was born on 5 March 1936 at Esiphezini, in Essexvale (now Esigodini) District near Bulawayo in Southern Rhodesia. The versatile Banana’s father, Aaron, was a migrant laborer from Malawi while his mother, Jese, was a Zimbabwean Ndebele woman. Banana married Janet Mbuyazwe in 1961; the marriage produced three sons and a daughter. Banana attended Mzinyati primary school and Tegwani High School. He trained as a teacher at Tegwani Training Institute and then attended Epworth Theological Seminary, resulting in his ordination as a Methodist preacher in 1962 Subsequently he worked as a Methodist schools manager principal chairperson of the Bulawayo Council of Churches and member of the Rhodesian Christian Council and World Council of Churches In the 1970s Banana attained a BA with honors in theology through distance learning from ...

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María Teresa Cortés Zavala

(who during the regime change in Puerto Rico in 1898 led the Republican Party), was born on 7 September or 27 July 1857 in the town of Bayamón, located in the north central area of the island of Puerto Rico. Celso Barbosa was the eldest son of Hermógenes Barbosa, a bricklayer, and Carmen Alcalá. The Barbosa family was part of a wave of immigration to Puerto Rico in the first half of the nineteenth century. Hermógenes Barbosa was descended from a group of Dominican exiles who left Santo Domingo during the Franco-Haitian occupation. They were black people who were artisans, farmers, and ranchers. His mother, although born on the island, belonged to a second generation of Venezuelans living in Puerto Rico who witnessed their economic situation diminish, and were compelled to express their reformist position at a time of economic and political crisis.

The Barbosa Alcalá family was part of ...

Article

Veront Milton Satchell

also known as Prophet Bedward, Lord and Master, and Lord Bedward, was born sometime around 1858, probably on the Mona sugar estate in the parish of St. Andrew, Jamaica. He came from a poor family and had little by way of formal education. He was married with a family. During his early adult life he worked on the Mona sugar estate as a cooper. He migrated to Panama in 1883, returning to Jamaica in 1885. Within a few days of returning to the island he sailed back to Panama reputedly to improve his economic position.

During his second trip to Panama he allegedly received the call to ministry in a series of visions in which he was ordered to return to Jamaica go to August Town a small rural village located in St Andrew about 6 miles north of Kingston inhabited predominantly by lower class black and ...

Article

Congolese Protestant minister, was born near the town of Becimbola, located not far from the town of Lotumbe in the northwest Equateur region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Despite his major role as the head of the Église du Christ de Zaïre (ECZ), the church created at the behest of Congolese dictator Mobutu Sese Seko in 1970 that he presided over for roughly three decades, no single academic study has seriously considered his career. Most written sources have come from his host of detractors, further complicating understanding his life and controversial role as a religious leader. Bokeleale met a Congolese minister named Jean Bomenge in 1937 while the young man was organizing a party Bomenge convinced Bokeleale to enter the Disciples of Christ mission school at the town of Lotumbe not far from the provincial capital of Mbandaka The boy wanted to socially advance through acquiring literacy ...

Article

Christopher J. Colvin

South African religious and political leader, was born on 10 January 1931 in Cape Town, South Africa to Mike Boraine and Isa Blanche. He grew up in the working-class neighborhood of Brooklyn in an English-speaking household and had two brothers, both of whom were killed in World War II. As was typical for white families of his generation, his early years brought him into very little contact with South Africans from other racial groups, and the political consciousness in his family centered mostly around the divisions between the English and Afrikaner communities in South Africa. After completing tenth grade, Boraine left school and worked at a variety of odd jobs. His father died when he was eighteen.

In that same year after a childhood that was relatively nonreligious Boraine attended a Methodist youth camp and experienced a dramatic conversion His rise through the church was equally dramatic Within a year ...

Article

William C. Hine

Richard Harvey Cain was born to free parents in Greenbriar County, Virginia (now West Virginia). In 1831 his family moved to Gallipolis, Ohio. Cain was educated at local schools and worked on an Ohio River steamboat before being licensed to preach in the Methodist Episcopal church in 1844. Complaining of racial discrimination in the church, he resigned and joined the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Assigned a pulpit in Muscatine, Iowa, he was ordained a deacon in 1859. He returned to Ohio and in 1860 attended Wilberforce University. From 1861 to 1865 he served as pastor at Bridge Street Church in Brooklyn, New York, and was elevated to elder in 1862. He participated in the 1864 national black convention in Syracuse, New York, which advocated abolition, equality before the law, and universal manhood suffrage. He married Laura (maiden name unknown), and they adopted a daughter.

In ...

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William C. Hine

clergyman and politician, was born to free parents in Greenbriar County, Virginia (now West Virginia). In 1831 his family moved to Gallipolis, Ohio. Cain was educated at local schools and worked on an Ohio River steamboat before being licensed to preach in the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1844. Complaining of racial discrimination in the church, he resigned and joined the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. Assigned a pulpit in Muscatine, Iowa, he was ordained a deacon in 1859. He returned to Ohio and in 1860 attended Wilberforce University. From 1861 to 1865 he served as pastor at Bridge Street Church in Brooklyn, New York, and was elevated to elder in 1862. He participated in the 1864 national black convention in Syracuse, New York, that advocated abolition, equality before the law, and universal manhood suffrage. Cain married Laura (maiden name unknown), and they adopted a daughter.

In 1865 ...

Article

Aldeen L. Davis

Alexander G. Clark was born in Washington County, Pennsylvania. His father, John Clark, had been freed by his Irish master; his mother, Rebecca (Darnes) Clark, was said to have been a full-blooded African. Alexander received a limited education in Washington County and in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he was sent in 1839 to live with an uncle. He learned barbering, worked as a bartender on the steamer George Washington, and in May 1842 went to Muscatine, Iowa, where he opened a barbershop. He later contracted with steamboats to supply them with wood. Investing his money wisely, he purchased real estate and became a wealthy man. He devoted most of the rest of his life to the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), Prince Hall Masonry, the Republican Party, civil rights movements, and the Chicago Conservator which he edited He graduated from the University of Iowa Law ...

Article

Kenneth J. Blume

businessman, Masonic leader, attorney, and diplomat, was born in Washington County, Pennsylvania, to John Clark, a freed slave, and Rebecca Darnes, who may have been born in Africa. He was educated in the Washington County public schools and in 1839 was sent to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he excelled in academic studies and learned barbering from his uncle, William Darnes. In October 1841 Clark headed south on the Ohio River aboard the steamer George Washington, where he worked as a barber. In May 1842 he settled in Muscatine (then called Bloomington), Iowa. In Muscatine, Clark began a profitable barbering business, supplied wood to Mississippi River steamboats, and invested in timberland and urban property. His real estate transactions made him wealthy, and his ethical practices won him a broad and positive reputation. On 8 October 1848 Clark married Catherine Griffin a former slave in Iowa City The ...

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Steven J. Niven

slave narrative author, minister, and politician, was born in rural tidewater Virginia. All that is known about Cook's early life appears in an unpublished, handwritten, thirty-two-page autobiographical narrative, which is the only surviving memoir written by a slave while still in the South. Unlike nearly all of the autobiographical memoirs written by nineteenth-century African American slaves, Cook's narrative is not addressed to a Northern abolitionist audience, but rather was written solely for the author's “own benefit in future years.” Cook may also have had a larger audience in mind, since he promises at one point “to be candid before an enli[ghtened] community,” though it is possible that he intended his children and grandchildren to read it. The narrative also makes clear Cook's extensive knowledge of the Scriptures, and it may have served as a guide for his later work as a minister.

Episodic occasionally rambling and often vague in ...

Article

Hassoum Ceesay

religious leader, diplomat, cabinet minister, educationist, and ardent nationalist, also known as J. C. or Reverend Faye, was born in Bathurst (present-day Banjul, Gambia) to Wolof and Serer parents. His father was a shipwright and his mother a housewife. Faye attended St. Mary’s Elementary School and the Methodist Boys High School in Banjul, where he completed his studies in 1926. He got his teachers’ certificate in 1927. From 1927 to 1942, he taught at various mission schools in Bathurst, the capital and main administrative center of the British colony of Gambia.

In 1942 Faye helped start the famous Kristikunda School in Kantora in the Upper River Division of Gambia opening the gates of education to the people living in the Gambian interior which the British ruled as a protectorate The school whose name in the local Fula language means Christ s home was a bold experiment in ...

Article

Carl Moneyhon

politician and Texas state senator, was born in Alexandria, Louisiana. His parents (names unknown) were slaves on the plantation of Martin G. Despallier, where Gaines learned to read and write. In 1858, after Despallier's death, Gaines was sold to an owner in New Orleans who hired him out to work on a steamboat. He escaped on a trip up the Ouachita River and lived in Camden, Arkansas, for six months. He later went back to New Orleans, where he was captured and returned to his master, who subsequently sold him in 1859 to C. C. Hearne, a planter in Robertson County, Texas.

In 1863 Gaines ran away from the Hearne plantation hoping to escape to Mexico He was captured by a frontier ranger company near Fort McKavitt in western Texas The company did not send him back to Hearne but left him in Fredericksburg where he ...

Article

Joe M. Richardson

Jonathan C. Gibbs was born free in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Maria Jackson and Jonathan C. Gibbs, a Methodist minister. He learned carpentry as a youth and followed that trade until the Presbyterian Assembly helped him enroll at Dartmouth College in 1848. Gibbs, who was one of only two black students at Dartmouth, claimed that he had been rejected by eighteen colleges before being accepted. After graduating from Dartmouth in 1852 he attended the Princeton Theological Seminary. He was ordained as a Presbyterian minister and pastored churches in Troy, New York, and in Philadelphia. While in New York Gibbs campaigned for the extension of black suffrage in the state. When he moved to Philadelphia in 1859 he became prominent in the local Underground Railroad. During the Civil War he joined the freedmen s relief efforts campaigned against segregated city streetcars encouraged black enlistments in the ...

Article

Joe M. Richardson

clergyman, educator, and politician, was born free in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Maria Jackson and Jonathan C. Gibbs, a Methodist minister. He learned carpentry as a youth and followed that trade until the Presbyterian Assembly helped him enroll at Dartmouth College in 1848. Gibbs, who was one of only two black students at Dartmouth, claimed that he had been rejected by eighteen colleges before being accepted. After graduating from Dartmouth in 1852 he attended the Princeton Theological Seminary. He was ordained as a Presbyterian minister and went on to pastor churches in Troy, New York, and in Philadelphia. While in New York Gibbs campaigned for the extension of black suffrage in the state. When he moved to Philadelphia in 1859 he became prominent in the local Underground Railroad During the Civil War he joined the freed people s relief efforts campaigned against segregated ...

Article

Alonford James Robinson

George Gordon was born in Jamaica to a black slave and her wealthy white master. His father, Joseph, devoted more time to running his estate and furthering his political career than he did to his colored son. Like most wealthy whites in Jamaica during the 1820s, Joseph Gordon was both a member of Jamaica's exclusive House of Assembly and a custos in Saint Andrew's Parish—the highest administrative official in the local province.

As the illegitimate son of the slave master, George Gordon learned the importance of self-reliance at an early age, even teaching himself how to read and write. Much to his father's surprise, he showed signs of proficiency in accounting at an early age. By age ten he was a skilled bookkeeper, and around this time Joseph Gordon decided to free his son, sending him to live with his godfather, businessman James Daley, in Black River, Jamaica.

With ...

Article

A. K. Bennison

was the second and most successful ruler of the Idrisid dynasty, which ruled northern Morocco from 789 to 985. His full name was Idris ibn Idris ibn ʿAbd Allah al-Hasani.

Among his achievements was the construction of the city of Fez, a project initiated, but not fully realized, by his father, and the promotion of Arabo–Islamic culture among local Berber tribes. Today, Moulay Idris II is venerated as the “patron saint” of Fez, and his shrine stands close to the city’s great mosque, the Qarawiyyin. However, his saintly status dates to the fifteenth century, when the cult of holy men and women became common in Morocco, rather than to his own era. Regular use of “Moulay,” a title of respect meaning “my lord,” in reference to Idris II also probably dates to this era.

The sources for the life of Idris II are hagiographic We cannot be certain about the ...

Article

Ryan Ronnenberg

Tanzanian spirit medium, mganga (traditional doctor), political and military leader, and revolutionary, was likely born in the latter half of the nineteenth century. He was a central figure in the 1905 Maji Maji uprising against German colonial forces in southeastern Tanganyika. Most famously, Kinyikitile was responsible for the introduction of maji, or “water,” war medicine, which rendered the blessed impervious to bullets. The Maji Maji conflict itself, owing in no small part to its inclusion of different ethnic and linguistic groups at a very early date, has been the subject of intense interest by nationalist historians, and an appreciation of Kinjikitile’s significance to Tanzania must discern the extent to which he fits the role of proto-nationalist hero.

Kinjikitile may have found fertile ground for his teachings among turn of the century southern Tanganyikan peoples who generally concurred with his assertions of a kind of spiritual hierarchy including a creator ...