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Abdul Karim Bangura

Abu Nasr Muhammad ibn al-Farakh al-Farabi, or Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Tarkhan ibn Uzalagh al-Farabi, was born in 870 c.e in Kazakhstan or Persia or Afghanistan Also known in the West as Alpharabius he is considered by many to be the greatest philosopher scientist and musicologist of his era and perhaps one of the greatest Muslim philosophers in all of history As a political philosopher al Farabi sought out answers to many of the most difficult questions facing the Islamic world during his lifetime He questioned the relations between humankind and God the role of the intermediary the influence of the divine law in private life and the limitations of the human mind He went beyond the divine law and searched for humankind s place in the universe and our relationship with nature society and the divine law He inquired about the different types of political institutions ...


Belinda Cooper

Anton Wilhelm Amo, brother of a slave, was brought to Germany from the Gold Coast in 1707 as a gift from the Dutch West India Company to the Dukes August Wilhelm and Ludwig Rudolf von Wolfenbüttel. Although it was the fashion at the time in Europe to make blacks servants or clowns, the dukes raised and educated Amo as a nobleman. They then sent him to the university in Halle, where he became acquainted with Enlightenment thinkers such as Christian Wolff, Christian Thomasius, John Locke, and René Descartes. His first work, published in 1729 and now lost, concerned the rights of Africans in Europe. Amo received his doctorate in 1734 with a thesis on the duality of body and soul and made his mark as a lecturer in philosophy at the universities in Halle Wittenberg and Jena At a time when many Europeans ...


Jacob Emmanuel Mabe

the first African and black professor and philosopher of the European Enlightenment, was born in the coastal Ghanaian town of Axim. The background of his travel to Europe can only be speculated about. It is only certain that Amo was given over to Herzog Anton Ulrich von Wolfenbuettel-Braunschweig in 1707 as a slave of the Dutch West Indies Company. At that time he could have been eight years old, because he was baptized on 29 July 1708 in Braunschweig. In addition to German, Amo could speak Hebrew, Greek, Latin, French, Dutch, and English.

In 1727, Amo entered the University of Halle, where he studied philosophy and law. On 28 November 1729, he presented his first disputation, De jure maurorum in Europa (On the Rights of Black Peoples in Europe which unfortunately remains lost In this work Amo acts as an advocate of the equality of all people ...


Edmund Abaka

William Anton Amo (1703–1756), philosopher and educator, was an academic par excellence and a courtier in Germany at a time when there were very few, if any, Africans studying, let alone lecturing, in Europe. He was most likely the first black professor to teach in Germany. Amo’s achievements are all the more significant considering that they occurred about three centuries ago.

Amo was born in 1703 in a small village called Awukenu, near Axim, in the southwestern Gold Coast (now Ghana). The circumstances of Amo’s arrival in the Netherlands are not clear. One version indicates that in 1707 Amo s parents entrusted him to a Brunswick subject working for the Dutch West Indian Company on the Gold Coast By this time the Dutch had superseded the Portuguese and taken over the Portuguese fortified positions on the Gold Coast São Jorge da Mina Elmina São Sebastiao Shama and ...


Abby Wolf

Ghanaian philosopher, educator, novelist, and poet, was born in London on 8 May 1954. His full name is Kwame Anthony Akroma-Ampim Kusi Appiah. Appiah’s father was the prominent Ghanaian lawyer and politician, Joseph Emmanuel Appiah, who in Ghana served as a member of Parliament, an ambassador, and president of the Ghana Bar Association. His mother was the English novelist and children’s writer, Peggy Cripps Appiah. Appiah was born in London while his father was a law student there, but the family returned to Ghana when he was a baby. Appiah’s paternal and maternal forebears were politically distinguished in Ghana and England, respectively. His uncle, Otumfuo Nana Poku Ware II, succeeded his great-uncle, Otumfuo Sir Osei Agyeman Prempeh II, as king of Ashanti in 1970 His mother s father was Sir Stafford Cripps Britain s chancellor of the Exchequer who was involved in negotiating the terms of Indian independence ...


Abdul-Rasheed Na'Allah

Appiah, Ghanaian philosopher, teacher, and author, was born 8 May 1954 in London to Joseph Emmanuel Appiah, then a law student who later became a famous Ghanaian lawyer and politician, and Peggy Appiah (née Cripps), a writer. He attended elementary school and early high school in Kumasi, Ghana. He completed his high school in Britain and later attended Clare College, Cambridge, from 1972 to 1975, when he received his Bachelor’s degree with First Class honors. He got his doctoral degree from Cambridge University in 1982 in the field of analytical philosophy. He then accepted a position to teach at Yale University in 1982. His scholarly and research interests include African and African American intellectual history and literary studies, ethics, and philosophy of mind and language.

Appiah has authored numerous scholarly works, among them his seminal book, In My Father’s House with focuses that include the African ...


Richard Newman

“My first memories,” writes Kwame Anthony Appiah in the preface to In My Father's House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture (1992 are of a place called Mbrom a small neighborhood in Kumasi capital of Asante as that kingdom turned from being part of the British Gold Coast colony to being a region of the Republic of Ghana Raised in a country at the dawn of its independence Appiah developed an early consciousness that straddled not only the colonial and the postcolonial but also as the son of a Ghanaian father and an English mother the African and the European Not surprisingly questions of identity culture and race occupy a central role in Appiah s work as a philosopher and writer Anthony Appiah was born in London England After attending elementary school in Kumasi he was sent back to England to live with his grandmother and attend boarding ...


Nicole Sealey

novelist, philosopher, and scholar was born in London, England, to Joe Appiah, a Ghanaian barrister and statesman, and Peggy Cripps, novelist and daughter of Sir Stafford Cripps, a British statesman. Not long after Appiah's birth, his family relocated to Ghana, where he attended primary school. After the political imprisonment of his father by then‐president Kwame Nkrumah, Appiah returned to England. There he completed his secondary education at Bryanston, a British boarding school.

Influenced by his mother's affinity for the literary arts, Appiah read works of authors such as Chinua Achebe, D. H. Lawrence, and Tolstoy. Visitors to the Appiah residence included the Pan‐Africanist authors and theorists C. L. R. James and Richard Wright. Appiah's multiethnic family and early fascination with literature helped shape his identity and his world view. In 1972 he entered Cambridge University where he earned both a BA and ...


George Yancy

philosopher and first African American to receive a PhD in Philosophy in the United States, was born enslaved of enslaved parents, Thomas Chadwick Baker, a Civil War veteran, and Edith (Nottingham) Baker, on Robert Nottingham's plantation in Northampton County, Virginia. Edith was the daughter of Southey and Sarah Nottingham of Northampton County. Thomas Nelson Baker was one of five children.

Describing the influences on his early intellectual life, Baker remembered:

My mother taught me my letters although I well remember when she learned them herself My first reading lesson was the second chapter of Matthew the Bible being the only book we had I never read a bad book in my life which is one of the blessings I got by being poor I began to attend the common schools at eight and learned to love books passionately I used to read through my recesses Evenings I read the Bible ...


Daniel Richter

a nineteenth-century Afro-Brazilian intellectual who made important contributions to Brazilian philosophy and poetry through his writings, was born in the town of Campos in the northeastern province of Sergipe on 7 June 1839, to Pedro Barreto de Menezes, a well-respected man of mixed descent employed as registrar of orphans and abandoned children, and Emerenciana Maria de Jesus, who was considered white. Of humble means, the parents struggled to support their son’s education, which initially came through studies with a local educator and a priest who taught Latin. This contact with classical languages helped Barreto gain professional opportunities as a Latin teacher and aided in subsequent study as a seminarian. However, Barreto quickly abandoned the path to the priesthood.

Drawing on his educational background, Barreto worked during the 1860s as a private teacher, while seeking more permanent employment and intellectual opportunities. Between 1864 and 1869 he studied law in ...


Jean Eudes Biem

Fabien Eboussi Boulaga was born on 17 January 1934, in Bafia, Cameroon. After graduating from high school with a degree in philosophy in 1955, he traveled to France and embraced Jesuit higher education until 1957. Then he successively obtained bachelor degrees in Letters, Philosophy, and Theology, a graduate degree in Ethnology and, in 1968, a doctorate degree in Philosophy at the University of Lyon II.

In 1969 he returned to Cameroon, teaching theology, organizing rural development groups, and conducting research in philosophy until the publication of La crise du Muntu in 1977. During that period, he was visiting lecturer in the Netherlands (Leiden, Groningen, Rotterdam, Tilburg), Nigeria (Major Seminary of Ibadan), the United States (Loyola College, Baltimore), and Zaire (Institut Canisius, Kinshasa). He also taught philosophy at the University of Abidjan, Ivory Coast (1978–1984) and the University of Yaounde (1984–1993 At ...


Stanley M. Burstein

Stoic philosopher and the last important ancient historian of Egypt, was the son of Leonidas. Unfortunately, the evidence for his biography is confined to a handful of literary and papyrological texts. The most important of these texts is a letter of the Roman emperor Claudius dated to November 41 CE, in which Chaeremon is listed among the ambassadors to the emperor, who had defended the role of the Greeks in the anti-Jewish riots that had taken place in Alexandria three years earlier. His selection for such a responsible role indicates that Chaeremon was already an important figure in the Alexandrian Greek community at this time, suggesting that he was probably born no later than c. 10 CE. Although his prominence might suggest that Chaeremon belonged to one of the city’s aristocratic Greek families, the fact that he was also a hierogrammateus that is a sacred scribe one of the ...


Jeremy Rich

was born 5 June 1937 in Oran, Algeria. Her father was Georges Cixous, a Algerian-born Jewish doctor. Her mother was Eve Klein, a German Jew who had fled Nazi Germany and worked as a midwife after the death of her husband. Cixous first spoke German at home before learning French, the language she made her main medium of expression. She later recalled that she did not clearly identify with any national identity. She never felt at home with being either French or Algerian. Though Cixous’ father fought in Tunisia in the French army in 1940, the Vichy government stripped him of his French citizenship because he was Jewish.

When she enrolled at the Lycée Fromentin secondary school in Algiers Cixous was the sole Jewish student in her class She later remembered that the anti modern and racist values of the Vichy era seemed to permeate the school even as ...


Annewies van den Hoek

Christian philosopher lived and taught in Alexandria toward the end of the second century In spite of his topographic nickname Clement did not originate in Alexandria but was born elsewhere possibly in Athens and was of non Christian origin He left a considerable body of writing not all of which survives His official name Titus Flavius Clemens may indicate that his family descended from a freedman of the household of T Flavius Clemens who was consul in 95 CE Before coming to Alexandria Clement traveled around looking for mentors but the only teacher whom he mentions by name is Pantaenus According to Eusebius Pantaenus headed a school of sacred learning in Alexandria and Clement was his successor Other information indicates that Clement left Alexandria in 202 203 perhaps to avoid persecution He may have gone to Palestine as some have argued or to Cappadocia as tradition has it Clement displays ...


Georgia L. Irby-Massie

Academic Skeptic philosopher from Carthage, son of Diognetus, was born in Carthage (near present-day Tunis) in 187/186 BCE. Carthage was a colony founded by Phoenicians from Tyre, the culture was Punic, and Clitomachus was originally called by the Punic name Hasdrubal (he may have adopted or received the Greek name upon arriving in Athens). Well educated in Academic, Peripatetic, and Stoic tenets, he taught philosophy in Carthage in the Punic language.

Clitomachus traveled to Athens to study philosophy either at age forty 147 146 BCE or twenty four 163 162 BCE For nineteen years he studied under Carneades of Cyrene the Skeptic 214 130 129 BCE who fostered Clitomachus s renowned diligence and industry Carneades s most famous pupil he remained his mentor s companion into old age In 140 139 BCE he founded a school in the Palladium which he maintained for a decade Returning to the Academy he ...


George Yancy

philosopher and educator, was born in Sharon, Pennsylvania, the ninth of twelve children of the Reverend Isaac William Mitchell Sr., a minister of the Church of God (headquartered in Anderson, Indiana), and Mary Belle Christman Mitchell, a homemaker. Cook was briefly married to J. Lawrence Cook, MD. Cook holds the distinction of being the first African American woman to receive a PhD in Philosophy in the United States. She was also the first woman appointed to teach in the department of philosophy at Yale College (September 1959 to June 1961) and the first African American woman to teach philosophy at Howard University (September 1966 to June 1968 and September 1970 to June 1976).

Cook s early education took place in the Sharon public school system After reading a biography of Madame Curie Cook decided to study chemistry but as an undergraduate at Bryn ...


Dior Konaté

Senegalese philosopher and university professor, was born on 24 May 1959 in Saint-Louis in Senegal and attended a local school, the Lycée Amet Fall. After passing with honors her baccalaureate in 1977 at the age of nineteen, Aminata Diaw left Senegal to pursue her studies in France. In 1978 she enrolled at the Lycée Paul Cézanne in Aix-en-Provence, a preparatory school, earning a diplôme d’études universitaires générales (DEUG 1) in philosophy. A year later, she left for another preparatory school, the Lycée Masséna in Nice to complete a DEUG 2 and a bachelor of arts degree both in philosophy before going to Nice, where she obtained a master’s degree in 1981 from the University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis. Then Diaw completed her philosophical studies culminating in a postgraduate diploma (DEA) and a dissertation on the theory of conflicts in Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s political thinking. In 1985 she was awarded a doctorate ...


Jolie A. Jackson-Willett

scholar, activist, and philosopher, was born Ramona Hoage in Los Angeles, California, the only child of George Hoage and A. Annette Lewis Hoage. Edelin's commitment to education started with the influences of her mother and maternal grandfather, both of whom were university professors. Alethia Annette Lewis Hoage Phinazee served as dean of the school of library science at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina (1970–1983), and has herself been celebrated for her contributions to the field of library science.

The young Hoage got an auspicious start to her own education at the progressive and innovative Oglethorpe Laboratory School at Atlanta University. The campus school's teaching philosophy was geared toward the intellectual advancement of inner-city youth. During Edelin's childhood, the Hoages lived in college towns near South Carolina State and Atlanta and Southern Illinois Universities. In 1963 Ramona graduated from high school ...


Peter S. Field

Born in Boston and a resident of Concord, Massachusetts, for most of his life, Ralph Waldo Emerson was the ninth in a line of Congregational ministers. His father, William, died before Emerson's eighth birthday, and he and his siblings were raised by their mother, Ruth Haskins Emerson. Educated for the ministry at Harvard, Emerson ultimately quit his pastorate shortly after the death of his first wife in 1831. Dissatisfied with the structure and ritual of the church, Emerson sought a more expansive, democratic venue from which to preach. This he found on the lyceum lecture circuit. In the course of the following decades, he became one of the nation's most beloved and famed public lecturers. Many of his lecturers provided the material for his celebrated essays, which have not gone out of print since their initial publication.

Emerson ranks as the nineteenth century's greatest American liberal thinker. With Frederick ...


Biodun Jeyifo

Frantz Fanon is one of the preeminent thinkers of social revolution and human freedom of the twentieth century. Taking its roots in the contradictions of the colonial order, his thought matured into a comprehensive, intricate, and unique system that has achieved resonance well beyond the formal end of colonialism. The uniqueness of his thought is reflected in the appellation based on his name, “Fanonist.” To all scholars of modern African thought, Fanon has a central place in a genealogy of thinkers and statesmen that stretches from the late eighteenth century to the mid-twentieth-century modern, yet he clearly transcends geopolitical and regional discursive boundaries. His thought has inspired mass movements of workers, the unemployed, and the uneducated, while he is carefully and avidly studied in the most arcane disciplines and fields of academia.

Born on the Caribbean island of Martinique, Fanon (1925–1961 went to France as a young man ...