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Christian Høgsbjerg

was born in 1885 in Barbados, then part of the British West Indies. As a teenager, he enrolled as a seaman in the British merchant navy, before settling in Chicago and raising a family. During the World War I, like many other black colonial seamen, he rejoined the merchant navy. After the war, Braithwaite returned to the United States, this time to New York, where he found work in a bar and possibly witnessed the month-long New York Harbor Strike in October 1919.

In the early 1920s, Braithwaite crossed the Atlantic and settled in Stepney, London, where, after meeting Edna Slack, a young white woman whom he married in 1936 he raised a new family with six children He found work with the Shipping Federation as an agent in the Pool a part of the River Thames where many ships came to dock He was charged with finding ...

Article

Aubrey W. Bonnett

vice president and First Lady of Guyana, widely known as “Comrade Vi,” was born Viola Victorine Harper on 26 November 1930 in New Amsterdam, Berbice, Guyana. She was born into an interracial family of modest means. Her mother, Mary Chin-a-Chee, was a descendant of indentured Chinese immigrants to Guyana. Mary Chin-a-Chee later married James Nathaniel Harper, an Afro-Guyanese headmaster at the All Saints Scots School. A precocious child, Viola Burnham won a government county scholarship twice, in Berbice County and later in Demerara County; this took her to the premier all-girls’ secondary school, Bishops’ High School in Georgetown, where she excelled. After graduation in 1949 and a brief but enjoyable stint as a junior reporter at the Georgetown based Argosy newspaper, she moved to England to attend Leicester University, where she studied the classics and received a B.A. in Latin in 1958 She then returned to her alma mater ...

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J. A. Zumoff

socialist, journalist, and Jamaican nationalist, was born in Kingston, Jamaica. He was orphaned at an early age and raised by his uncle, Adolphus Grant, and was trained as a tailor. In Jamaica, he joined Sandy Cox's National Club, a pioneering nationalist organization, and became a leader along with Marcus Garvey. In 1910 Domingo moved to Boston, where he attended night school in preparation for medical school. In 1912 he instead moved to New York, where he became a successful importer of Caribbean food. When Garvey settled in New York in 1916, Domingo introduced him to local black political leaders. He became the first editor of the Negro World in 1917, the paper associated with Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association, a Pan-African nationalist organization. At the same time, Domingo—along with other “New Negro” radicals, including Chandler Owen, A. Philip Randolph, and Richard Benjamin ...

Article

Wilfred Domingo was born in Kingston, Jamaica, to a Jamaican mother and a Spanish father. He and his older brother and sister were orphaned at an early age and were raised by a maternal uncle. After attending the Calabar School and the Kingston Board School, he became an apprentice tailor in Kingston. Domingo joined the National Club, an organization that lobbied for Jamaican home rule. He became the club's second assistant secretary and befriended the club's first assistant secretary, Marcus Moziah Garvey. In 1912 Domingo moved to the United States, living first in Boston, Massachusetts, and then in New York, New York. There he formed the Jamaican Benevolent Association and became associated with the Socialist Party.

Domingo was loosely affiliated with Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), a radical Pan-Africanist organization founded in Kingston in 1914 and headquartered in New York City after 1916 Although Domingo ...

Article

Jeffrey B. Perry

Hubert Henry Harrison was born in Concordia, St. Croix, Danish West Indies (now U.S. Virgin Islands), the son of William Adolphus Harrison and Cecilia Elizabeth Haines. Little is known of his father. His mother had at least three other children and, in 1889, married a laborer. Harrison received a primary education in St. Croix. In September 1900, after his mother died, he immigrated to New York City, where he worked low-paying jobs, attended evening high school, did some writing, editing, and lecturing, and read voraciously. In 1907 he obtained postal employment and moved to Harlem. The following year he taught at the White Rose Home, where he was deeply influenced by social worker Frances Reynolds Keyser, a future founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In 1909 he married Irene Louise Horton with whom he had ...

Article

Jeffrey B. Perry

radical political activist and journalist, was born in Concordia, St. Croix, Danish West Indies (now U.S. Virgin Islands), the son of William Adolphus Harrison and Cecilia Elizabeth Haines. Little is known of his father. His mother had at least three other children and, in 1889, married a laborer. Harrison received a primary education in St. Croix. In September 1900, after his mother died, he immigrated to New York City, where he worked low-paying jobs, attended evening high school, did some writing, editing, and lecturing, and read voraciously. In 1907 he obtained postal employment and moved to Harlem. The following year he taught at the White Rose Home, where he was deeply influenced by the social worker Frances Reynolds Keyser, a future founder of the NAACP. In 1909 he married Irene Louise Horton, with whom he had five children.Between 1901 and 1908 Harrison ...

Article

Charles Rosenberg

forged a militant commitment to black liberation within a lifelong allegiance to the international socialist movement. In a 1980 interview, the only source of information on his childhood, Kilpatrick said he had been born in Colorado in 1898 to a Native American father (possibly of partly African descent) and a mother who had been enslaved in Kentucky. Information from his Ohio death certificate shows his birth around 1905. Kilpatrick consistently used the birth date of 28 February 1904 for travel by ship to and from Europe in the 1930s. The family moved to Cleveland when he was about six years old, where his father got work for McKerrigan McKinley Steel, which became part of Republic Steel. His father was a socialist and a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), which young Admiral joined in his teenage years.

He absorbed from his father and other black IWW ...

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Nick Nesbitt

Hégésippe Légitimus was the son of a fisherman who lost his life at sea. He grew up in Pointe-à-Pitre and attended the lycée Carnot, where he came in contact with the ideas of the French socialist theoretician Jules Guesde. This political awakening led him to form a “Committee for Republican Socialist Youth.” After witnessing a mulatto overseer mistreat a black youth, he publicly took the defense of the latter in his first political gesture.

Légitimus entered public politics when Guadeloupe was in the throes of an extended economic crisis after the relative prosperity of the Second Empire (1852–1870). Following the abolition of slavery in 1848, this earlier period saw both the consolidation of sugar plantation capital in the hands of metropolitan owners and a rapid increase in economic activity following the lifting of foreign trade restrictions in 1861 The need for inexpensive labor however outlived ...

Article

Christopher Phelps

labor organizer and socialist, was born in Malden, West Virginia, in the home of his maternal grandfather, a coal miner and Baptist preacher. He and three younger sisters were born to Janie Rice McKinney, a graduate of the Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia, and William Tecumseh McKinney, a teacher who later became principal of the Negro school in Huntington, West Virginia, and then, as a loyal Republican, was awarded a post in the Treasury Department in Washington, D.C.

To provide the children a superior education, the family relocated to Oberlin, Ohio, where between 1910 and 1913 McKinney attended the Academy, a preparatory school run by Oberlin College. In 1911 he helped found the Oberlin chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) after a visit from W. E. B. Du Bois After encountering a member of the Socialist Party in a Cleveland bookstore ...