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Cajetan N. Iheka

Nigerian entrepreneur, philanthropist, politician, and publisher, was born on 24 August 1937 in the southwestern town of Egba, Abeokuta, in the present-day Ogun State, to Alhaji Salawu Adelekan Akanni Abiola and Zeliat Wuraola Ayinke Abiola (née Kassim). Although Abiola was the twenty-third child of his parents, he was their first surviving child as his older siblings had died at infancy or were stillborn. Because of several deaths that had plagued the family, Abiola was named “Kashimawo,” meaning “Let us wait and see.” It was not until his fifteenth birthday that his parents gave him a regular name, Moshood, having been convinced that the young Abiola had come to stay.

Although he was born and raised in a poor family the young Abiola exhibited some entrepreneurial tendencies when he started gathering and selling firewood at the tender age of nine With the proceeds from his business he was able to support ...

Article

On June 12 1993, the popular businessman Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola won a long-awaited presidential election in Nigeria, only to have the country's military leader, Ibrahim Babangida, annul the election results. When Abiola declared himself the country's legitimate leader a year later, Babangida's successor, General Sani Abacha, jailed him for treason. As a political prisoner, Abiola became the rallying symbol for Nigerians’ democratic aspirations.

Abiola was born into a poor, polygamous household of Yoruba-speaking Muslims in the ancient town of Abeokuta None of his parents first twenty two children had survived past infancy so Abiola the twenty third was given the middle name Kashimawo meaning Let s see if he will survive He began his education at the Islamic Nawar Ud Deen School and then transferred to the Christian run African Central School As an indigent student at the Baptist Boys High School Abiola ...

Article

Curt Johnson

professional soccer player, later became the charismatic leader of the Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA; Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) forces in eastern Angola during the Angolan Revolution. He subsequently broke with the leadership of the MPLA and led a faction opposed to MPLA President Dr. Agostinho Neto. In the Angolan Civil War, his faction was allied with Holden Roberto’s Frente Nacional de Libertação de Angola (FNLA; Front for the National Liberation of Angola) and Jonas Savimbi’s União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA; National Union for the Total Independence of Angola) against Neto’s MPLA.

Daniel Júlio Chipenda, an Ovimbundu, was the son of Jesse Chipenda, a prominent Protestant clergyman and activist who died in a Portuguese prison camp in 1969 The younger Chipenda associated with Angolan dissidents in Luanda He later was a popular student athlete at Coimbra University in Portugal 1958 ...

Article

Roanne Edwards

Known for her integrity and her powerful oratory skills, Shirley Chisholm is widely considered one of the foremost female speakers in the United States. With a character that she has described as “unbought and unbossed,” Chisholm became known as a politician who refused to allow fellow politicians, including the male-dominated Congressional Black Caucus, to deter her from her goals. In 1969 her first statement as a congressperson before the United States House of Representatives reflected her commitment to prioritizing the needs of the disadvantaged especially children She proclaimed her intent to vote No on every money bill that comes to the floor of this House that provides any funds for the Department of Defense While Chisholm advocated for civil rights for African Americans she regularly took up issues that concerned other people of color such as Native Americans and Spanish speaking migrants She also delivered important speeches on ...

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

Nigerian human rights advocate and legal scholar, was born on 22 April 1938 in Ondo, a city in southwestern Nigeria. His father, Saheed Tugbobo Fawehinmi, was a wealthy businessman who promoted political reforms in the colonial administration, such as lower taxes for poor people. Fawehinmi shared his father’s Muslim faith, which was highly unusual in Ondo. Lisa Alujanu Fawehinmi, one of his grandfathers, had fought the British occupation of Ondo in the late nineteenth century. Fawehinmi’s predisposition for rebellion thus made him part of family tradition. Gani, as he was known, impressed his teachers at various primary and secondary schools. He attended Ansar-Ud-Deen primary school from 1947 to 1953 and the Victory College secondary school in Ikare under the noted teacher Reverend Akinrele His headmaster at Victory College wrote a letter to Fawehinmi s father telling him that his son would make an outstanding attorney Fawehinmi became known as ...

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

colonel in the Nigerian army and first president of the breakaway Republic of Biafra, was born in the town of Zungeru, near Kaduna in Nigeria. The son of Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu, a prolific businessman and first president of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Ojukwu was educated at King’s College in Lagos and Epsom College in Surrey before earning a master’s degree in history from Lincoln College, Oxford University.

After returning to Nigeria in 1955, Ojukwu joined the civil service and was initially stationed at Udi, a small village near Enugu, and later at Umuhaia and Aba. After a transfer to Calabar was scuttled, allegedly by interference from his influential father, Ojukwu left the civil service in 1957 and joined the fledgling Nigerian army After a tumultuous start he was given a commission as an officer cadet and sent to Eaton Hall the National Service Officer Cadet School near Chester ...

Article

Eddie Enyeobi Okafor

Although he was born in northern Nigeria, Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu is an Igbo; he hails from Nnewi in Anambra State in eastern Nigeria. His father, a knight of the British empire, Sir Louis Philippe Odumegwu Ojukwu (1908–1966 , was a multimillionaire and one of the richest African businessmen of his day, who sent his son to the best school in Nigeria, King’s College, Lagos, and later sent him to Epson College in Surrey, England.

The young Ojukwu received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Oxford University. At the age of twenty-two, he returned to Nigeria. Contrary to his father’s wish, he joined the colonial government service as a district admistrative officer in a rural Igbo village. In 1957 he joined the Nigerian army as a private. However, after attending the Officer Cadet School in England in 1958 he rose rapidly to higher military ranks lieutenant in ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Togolese politician, was born on 26 December 1936 in the Togolese capital of Lomé. He was the third child of Sylvanus Olympio and Dinah Olympio. Sylvanus was one of the leading Togolese politicians of the late colonial and early independence era and was president of Togo from 1958 to 1963.

Like his siblings, Olympio received an advanced education thanks to the affluence of his family. He attended primary school at Notre Dame de Sacré Coeur de Lomé. After attending secondary school at Prince of Wales College in Accra, Ghana, he commenced his undergraduate studies at Hamilton College in the United States in 1958. There he developed his lifelong passion for economics. He continued his studies at the London School of Economics in 1959 and then at Oxford University Olympio eventually received a doctorate in economics from Oxford thanks to a scholarship from the Oppenheimer Foundation He completed ...

Article

Nigerian economist and academic, was born to a Urhobo family in Sapele, a town located in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria on 22 May 1933. While his last name was Urhobo, his middle name was Itsekiri, the lingua franca of trade in his home region.

His parents were firm believers in order and discipline, which helped to form his own self-controlled persona later in life. Onosode’s father was a Baptist minister, and so he was sent to the Baptist primary school in the nearby town of Oginibo from 1940 to 1946. In 1943 he had a born-again experience, and he remained a fervent Baptist for the rest of his life. Onosode graduated from this school and enrolled in the Government College secondary school at Ughelli from 1947 to 1952. Onsosode then entered the University of Ibadan and graduated with a degree in classics in 1957 ...

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

Richard A. Bradshaw and Juan Fandos-Rius

Central African educator, government minister, businesswoman, political prisoner, and reportedly the first African woman to run for president, was born Jeanne-Marie Ruth on 17 June 1937. She was the daughter of a French father and an African mother in Bangassou, a predominantly Nzakara region in the southeastern corner of the French colony of Ubangi-Shari (now the Central African Republic [CAR]). As a métis offspring of a French father, Jeanne Marie had privileged access to whatever French education was available in the region during the last two decades of colonial rule, which was particularly rare for Ubangian women at this time. In 1956, when she was only twenty-three years old, she became a monitor or supervisor for the educational system in the colony, which became an independent nation in 1960 This was certainly an exceptional position for a young woman to have at this time She remained active ...

Article

Ron Howell

minister, activist,-and U.S. presidential candidate, was born Alfred Charles Sharpton Jr. in Brooklyn, New York, the younger of two children of Alfred Charles Sharpton Sr., a contractor, and Ada Richards Sharpton, a seamstress. His father and mother had migrated to Brooklyn from Florida and Alabama, respectively. Their son, Al, became steeped at an early age in the culture of the Pentecostal Church, gaining recognition as a “wonder boy preacher.” He was ordained at the age of ten by his pastor, Bishop Frederick Douglass Washington, the charismatic founder of the Sharpton family's church, the Washington Temple Church of God in Christ.

Sharpton's first residence was in the working-class neighborhood of East New York in Brooklyn, but while he was still young his family moved to the nearby black middle-class community of Hollis, Queens His idyllic childhood was dealt a devastating blow when his father ...

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 ...