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Florence M. Coleman

educator, literary scholar, and biographer of the English novelist Daniel Defoe, was one of five sons born to Helena Burch in Saint George's, Bermuda. Nothing is known of his father. Charles Burch was educated in the elementary and secondary schools of Bermuda. Burch met and married Willa Carter Mayer, who at one time served as a professor of education at Miner Teacher's College in Washington, D.C. She also served as a supervisory official of the public schools of the District of Columbia and authored Clinical Practices in Public School Education (1944). Whether or not they had children is not known.

Burch attended Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio, from which he was awarded a BA in 1914. Four years later, he earned a MA from Columbia University. Fifteen years later in 1933 he was awarded a PhD in English from Ohio State University He taught ...


Brenna Sanchez

Englishprofessor, civil rights activist, and scholar of African American literature, was born Mary Fair and raised in Montgomery, Alabama. Little information is available about her family. Burks bucked the Jim Crow system of segregation even as a child in the 1930s, using whites-only elevators, restrooms, and other facilities in what she later called “my own private guerilla warfare” (Bolden, 241). At age eighteen she earned a bachelor's degree in English Literature from Alabama State College, and a year later earned her master's degree from the University of Michigan. She returned to Montgomery to teach English at the Alabama State Laboratory High School and, later, at Alabama State College. Burks married the principal of Alabama State Laboratory High School, Nathaniel Burks. The couple would have one son, Nathaniel W. Burks Jr.

She became head of the Alabama State College English department and later earned her doctorate from Columbia ...


R. Baxter Miller

scholar and educator, was born in Washington, D.C., the daughter of James Stanley Dykes and Martha Ann Howard. Eva graduated from M Street High (later Paul Laurence Dunbar High School) in 1910. As valedictorian of her class, she won a $10 scholarship from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority to attend Howard University, where in 1914 she graduated summa cum laude with a BA in English. After a year of teaching Latin and English at the now defunct Walden University in Nashville, Tennessee, and for another year elsewhere, she was urged by James Howard, a physician and uncle on her mother's side, to enter Radcliffe College in 1916. Subsequently, she earned a second BA in English, magna cum laude, in 1917. Elected Phi Beta Kappa, she received an MA in English in 1918 and a PhD in English philology in 1921 Her dissertation was titled ...


Casey Wells

the first African American to apply to the all‐white University of Virginia, educator and part‐time writer, was born Alice Carlotta Jackson in Richmond, Virginia, to James Edward Jackson, Sr. and Clara Louise Kersey Jackson. Her father was a local pharmacist in the Jackson Ward district of Richmond.

Alice Jackson received her education at two American Baptist Home Mission schools, Hartshorn Memorial College and Virginia Union University, both historically black educational institutions in Richmond. After Hartshorn closed its doors in 1930, Jackson attended Virginia Union University. In 1934, she completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in English at Virginia Union University and also took a few other classes at Smith College in Massachusetts. In 1935 she applied for admission to the all white University of Virginia graduate school She was the first known African American to try to be admitted into a graduate or professional school in ...


Mildred T. Nichols

university professor, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the last of seven children born to Charles F. Nichols and Julia E. King, who were Plymouth Church of the Brethren missionary immigrants from Christ Church, Barbados. Reared in a tradition of rigorous and Calvinistic Bible study, his gift for learning became obvious during childhood. His father, anticipating future job discrimination, enrolled him in a vocational school to learn the printing trade. Soon after, he was accepted at the prestigious Boys High School, where he excelled and was the salutatorian of the 1938 class. Nichols attended Brooklyn College on a State of New York university scholarship and a Rachel Herstein scholarship administered by the NAACP. He was a member of the debate team and the glee club, and graduated cum laude in 1942 with a BA in English.

Except for unskilled jobs in the garment district Nichols was unable to ...


Charles Boewe

university professor, was born Kenny Jackson in Omaha, Nebraska, the only child of the Reverend Joseph Harrison Jackson and Maude Thelma (Alexander) Jackson. Kenny's father was a distinguished pulpit orator and well-regarded writer who traveled widely, especially after he became head of the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc., in 1953, and had responsibility for its eight million members. Although Maude Jackson often accompanied her husband on his trips, he had to be in Kentucky while she stayed in Nebraska for the birth of their baby, a fact commemorated in their daughter's unusual first name. The family moved to Chicago in 1941 when Kenny s father became pastor of the Olivet Baptist Church there In Chicago her father s well stocked library and her mother s work with amateur dramatic groups helped prepare Kenny for the intellectual life she would pursue Although she was not born there Chicago ...