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Thomas Adams Upchurch

One of the most polarizing political figures in American history, James Gillespie Blaine, “the Plumed Knight of Maine,” was the most prominent presidential candidate of the late nineteenth century never to be elected. His chameleon-like character kept him at the top of the Republican Party machinery during both Reconstruction and the Gilded Age. He supported the Union during the Civil War and the Radical cause in the late 1860s, took a conciliatory view of the southern question in the early 1870s, and ultimately all but abandoned the African American civil rights agenda in the late 1870s and thereafter. As much as any other Republican, he influenced the course of the party in selling out African Americans after Reconstruction for the joint benefits of sectional reconciliation and national business interests. He did so, however, without necessarily alienating black voters or friends. Frederick Douglass for instance supported him throughout his career ...

Article

Daniel A. Dalrymple

Chisholm made a career out of breaking down barriers. She was both the first black woman to be elected to United States Congress and the first woman or African American to mount a serious run at a major party’s nomination for president. Chisholm forged a strong reputation for doing things her own way, spurning both the New York Democratic political machine and political decorum. Despite the obstacles that came with bucking the system, Chisholm always held her ground on important issues such as abortion, women’s rights, and civil rights.

Chisholm was born the eldest of three sisters to West Indian parents, Charles St. Hill and Ruby Seale in the Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn New York Shirley s father worked as a baker s helper and later a factory hand and her mother found employment as a seamstress However Hill and Seale quickly realized that their wages were insufficient ...

Article

Julie Gallagher

politician, women's rights advocate, and educator. Chisholm was born Shirley Anita St. Hill in Brooklyn, New York, to Charles St. Hill and Ruby Seale, immigrants from the Caribbean island of Barbados. During the Depression, Chisholm and her two younger sisters were sent to live with their grandmother in Barbados. They stayed there for seven years. Chisholm claimed that her sense of pride in herself and her race came largely from her father, an ardent follower of Marcus Garvey.

Chisholm attended Brooklyn College from 1942 to 1946, where she developed her oratorical skills in the Debate Society. At the same time, her membership in the Harriet Tubman Society and the Political Science Society stimulated her racial and political consciousness. Her leadership skills attracted attention, and one of her professors suggested that she consider entering politics.

Chisholm's career in early childhood education spanned nearly two decades. Between 1946 ...

Article

Patricia E. Canson

U.S. congresswoman, was born Shirley St. Hill in Brooklyn, New York, the eldest daughter of Charles St. Hill, a laborer born in British Guiana (now Guyana), and Ruby Seale, a seamstress born in Barbados. Shirley's first three years were spent in Brownsville, a predominantly Jewish area of Brooklyn. Finding the wages for unskilled factory work insufficient to care for three children properly, the St. Hills sent their three daughters to Barbados, where they lived with their maternal grandparents on the family farm. Shirley credits her grandmother Emily Seale with instilling in her a strong character and determination.

The girls returned to Brownsville in 1934 after their mother gave birth to another daughter Despite the social and financial hardships of the Depression Ruby encouraged her children to respect the values of civility thrift poise humility education and spirituality though the sisters endured a substantial amount of teasing in the ...

Article

Lois Kerschen

Clinton Bowen Fisk, the sixth son of Benjamin and Lydia Fisk, was born in Livingston County, New York. His father had been a captain in the army, and his grandfather served as a major general under George Washington. The Fisk family moved to a settlement they called Clinton in Lenawee County, Michigan, while Clinton Bowen was still an infant. Benjamin Fisk died when Clinton was six, however, and Lydia was not able to hold onto the property. At age nine, Clinton Fisk apprenticed himself to a local farmer, but one year later he had to return home because his younger brother died. When Fisk was thirteen, his mother married William Smith, a successful farmer from Spring Arbor, who sent Fisk to Albion Seminary, a Methodist school in Michigan.

Fisk later went into business as a clerk for L. D. Crippen of Coldwater Michigan and married Crippen s ...

Article

Betty K. Koed

lawyer, activist, politician, and diplomat, was born Carol Elizabeth Moseley in Chicago, Illinois, the oldest of four children of Joseph J. Moseley, a police officer, and Edna A. Davie, a medical technician. She became involved in political activism at an early age; her first protest was a sit-in at a segregated restaurant while still at Parker High School in Chicago. At age sixteen, she marched with Martin Luther King Jr. to protest housing conditions in Chicago. Throughout her life, she sought to break down racial and gender barriers.

Moseley Braun earned a BA in Political Science from the University of Illinois in 1969. She graduated from the University of Chicago School of Law in 1972 and passed the Illinois State Bar in 1973. That same year, she married attorney Michael Braun, and the couple had one son, Matthew They divorced ...

Article

Inge Mariëtte Ruigrok

founder and leader of the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA), was born on 12 January 1923 in São Salvador (present-day M’banza-Kongo, the old capital of the Kongo kingdom) in Angola. His father was a Baptist pastor. In 1941, the family moved to Belgian Congo, where the young Roberto was educated. After graduation, he became a finance clerk for the colonial Belgian government for eight years before starting his political career.

On 14 July 1956, Holden Roberto founded together with Barros Necaca the Union of Peoples of Northern Angola (UPA), the predecessor of the FNLA (Marcum, 1969). This national liberation movement was organized in the Belgian Congo, emerging from “messianic movements, ethnic and clan networks and self-help associations within a Congo political climate marked by racial affirmation and a strong Bakongo sub-nationalism” (Messiant, 1998, p. 136). Holden Roberto launched an incursion into Angola on 15 March 1961 ...

Article

Elon A. Kulii

assistant attorney general of Alabama, member of the Alabama legislature, circuit judge, and governor of Alabama. George Corley Wallace Jr. will long be remembered as one of the staunchest supporters of segregation, white supremacy, and the rights of the southern states. He was born in Clio, Alabama, to George Corley Wallace and Mozell Wallace. He attended the public schools of Alabama and entered the University of Alabama's law school. To support himself he worked various part-time jobs. In 1942 he graduated from law school, and soon thereafter he joined the U.S. Army, serving during World War II. After the war ended, Wallace was honorably discharged from the army and returned to civilian life with his wife Lurleen and his daughter Bobbie Jo. He was given a job by Governor Chauncey Sparks as assistant attorney general Sparks had promised Wallace a job in the state capital as payback ...

Article

Dan T. Carter

A 1942 graduate of the University of Alabama Law School, Wallace was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 1946 and elected a circuit judge in 1953. A racial moderate until he lost a 1958 gubernatorial bid to an ultrasegregationist, Wallace vowed that he would “never be out-niggered again.” Elected governor in 1962 as the civil rights movement gained momentum, he pledged “Segregation now! Segregation tomorrow! Segregation forever!” In 1963, however, after fulfilling a pledge to “stand in the schoolhouse door” at the University of Alabama, he stepped aside to allow the enrollment of black students. His segregationist stance won strong support among whites in his state and beyond. In 1964 he challenged Lyndon B. Johnson in the Democratic party's Wisconsin, Indiana, and Maryland presidential primaries, winning more than a third of the votes. Barred from a further consecutive gubernatorial term in 1966 he was ...

Article

Heidi L. Scott Giusto

Victoria Woodhull was an advocate of humanitarian and social reform, free love, and spiritualism, positions that brought her considerable notoriety. She ran in the 1872 election on the ticket of the newly formed Equal Rights Party, with Frederick Douglass as her vice presidential running mate. Douglass, who was nominated without consent, did not attend the convention. Years later, in 1887, the two finally met in Rome and had a pleasant encounter.

Instability and turmoil marked Woodhull's life. Born in Homer, Ohio, she received only three years of education in her hometown's Methodist church. Public pressure forced Reuben Buckman Claflin, Woodhull's alcoholic father, to move his family from Homer after coming under suspicion for intentionally setting fire to a gristmill he owned. In 1853 Victoria Claflin wed Canning Woodhull, but the couple divorced in 1865 after having two children During her marriage to Canning Woodhull she became ...