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Elisa Larkin Nascimento

born in Guaraçu, state of Espirito Santo, Brazil, on 28 July 1913 and known to family, friends, and acquaintances as “Rodrigues” or “Rodrigues Alves.” He lost his mother, Maria da Conceição Fernando Alves, at the age of 7 and went to work with his father, Hipólito Rodrigues Alves, farming one of his small plots of land. As a boy and youth, Rodrigues Alves worked rural jobs, driving cattle and running donkeys and burros. He worked for the state fire department and then enlisted in the army, where he rose to the rank of corporal.

In 1932 the neighboring state of São Paulo declared its Constitutionalist Revolution Rodrigues Alves was among the troops sent to quash the rebellion When federal forces prevailed Rodrigues Alves s unit moved to São Paulo He went to live at a Mrs Fortunata s boarding house where black activist Abdias Nascimento then also a young ...

Article

Sônia Beatriz dos Santos

was born on 27 March 1953 in the city of Porto Alegre, state of Rio Grande do Sul.

Bairros’s interest in political issues began when she was in school. In 1979 she adopted the city of Salvador, state of Bahia, as her main residence; it was in this city that she began to participate in the Unified Black Movement (Movimento Negro Unificado, MNU); she remained involved in this organization until 1994.

She began her activism in the women’s movement in 1981 within the Women’s Group of the MNU. Bairros was a vocal member of this group, and she participated in the main initiatives of the black movement in Bahia and Brazil. In 1991 she was elected the first national coordinator of the MNU.

In 1994 Luiza Bairros joined the Labor and Social Action Secretariat of the State of Bahia managing support for independent workers programs and participating in ...

Article

Mark Richardson

Half-way between Maine and Florida, in the heart of the Alleghenies,” wrote W. E. B. Du Bois in John Brown (1909), the year before he helped found the NAACP, “a mighty gateway lifts its head and discloses a scene which, a century and a quarter ago, Thomas Jefferson said was ‘worthy a voyage across the Atlantic.’ ” Whereupon he continues citing Jefferson's words from Notes on the State of Virginia (1785):

You stand on a very high point of land; on your right comes up the Shenandoah, having ranged along the foot of the mountain a hundred miles to find a vent; on your left approaches the Potomac, in quest of a passage also. In the moment of their junction they rush together against the mountain, rend it asunder, and pass off to the sea.

The place is Harpers Ferry Virginia later West Virginia where in ...

Article

Marilyn Demarest Button

educator, administrator, writer, and activist, was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, the daughter of Thomas Cornelius Cuthbert and Victoria Means. She attended grammar and secondary school in her hometown and studied at the University of Minnesota before transferring to Boston University, where she completed her BA in 1920.

Following her graduation, Cuthbert moved to Florence, Alabama, and became an English teacher and assistant principal at Burrell Normal School. Promoted to principal in 1925, she began to lead students and faculty in bold new perspectives on gender equality and interracial harmony.

In 1927 Cuthbert left Burrell to become one of the first deans of Talladega College in Talladega, Alabama. In her essay, “The Dean of Women at Work,” published in the Journal of the National Association of College Women (Apr. 1928 she articulated her belief that covert sexism at the administrative level of black colleges limited their ...

Article

Along with Frederick Douglass and Booker Taliaferro Washington, historians consider W. E. B. Du Bois one of the most influential African Americans before the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Born only six years after emancipation, he was active well into his nineties. Throughout his long life Du Bois remained black America's leading public intellectual, despite near-constant criticism for his often contradictory social and political opinions—he was accused, at various times, of elitism, Communism, and black separatism.

Born in the small western Massachusetts town of Great Barrington, Du Bois and his mother—his father had left the family when he was young—were among the few African American residents. Of his heritage, Du Bois wrote that it included “a flood of Negro blood, a strain of French, a bit of Dutch, but, Thank God! No ‘Anglo-Saxon.’” After an integrated grammar-school education, Du Bois attended the historically black Fisk University ...

Article

Gerald Horne

American social scientist, author, educator, civil rights leader, and Pan-Africanist, was born William Edward Burghardt Du Bois on 23 February 1868 to Alfred Du Bois and Mary Silvina Burghardt Du Bois, in the predominantly white hamlet of Great Barrington, Massachusetts. William’s maternal great-great-grandfather, Tom Burghardt, born in West Africa in the early 1730s, was captured and brought to America by Dutch slavers. Du Bois would later recall hearing in his childhood a West African song that was perhaps of Senegambian Wolof origin.

Du Bois had a fondness for his New England birthplace and by his own account had a relatively charmed childhood An only child abandoned by his father whom he did not remember his doting mother and relatives and supportive teachers muted the pangs of racism sharpened by Reconstruction These heady years permeated the nation not just the South Hence his early years were shaped by genteel poverty Victorian ...

Article

David Levering Lewis

Born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, W. E. B. Du Bois earned undergraduate degrees at Fisk University (1885) and Harvard (1890), and a doctorate in history from Harvard in 1895. Du Bois taught history and economics at Atlanta University in 1897–1910 and 1934–44. From 1910 to 1934, he served as founding editor of the Crisis, the official organ of the new National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

When his most influential book, The Souls of Black Folk, was published in 1903, Du Bois became the premier architect of the civil rights movement in the United States and among the first thinkers to grasp the international implications of the struggle for racial justice. The problem of the twentieth century, he wrote then, was the problem of the “color‐line.”

Du Bois s legacy is complex A severe critic of racial ...

Article

Thomas C. Holt

scholar, writer, editor, and civil rights pioneer, was born William Edward Burghardt Du Bois in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, the son of Mary Silvina Burghardt, a domestic worker, and Alfred Du Bois a barber and itinerant laborer In later life Du Bois made a close study of his family origins weaving them rhetorically and conceptually if not always accurately into almost everything he wrote Born in Haiti and descended from mixed race Bahamian slaves Alfred Du Bois enlisted during the Civil War as a private in a New York regiment of the Union army but appears to have deserted shortly afterward He also deserted the family less than two years after his son s birth leaving him to be reared by his mother and the extended Burghardt kin Long resident in New England the Burghardts descended from a freedman of Dutch slave origin who had ...

Article

Arnold Rampersad

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, in 1868. He was born into a small community of blacks who had settled in the region since at least the Revolutionary War, in which an ancestor had fought. His mother, Mary Sylvina Burghardt, married a restless young visitor to the region, Alfred Du Bois, who disappeared soon after the birth of his son. Du Bois grew up a thorough New Englander, as he recalled, a member of the Congregational Church and a star student in the local schools, where he was encouraged to excel.

In 1885 he left Great Barrington for Nashville Tennessee to enter Fisk University The racism of the South appalled him No one but a Negro going into the South without previous experience of color caste can have any conception of its barbarism Nevertheless he enjoyed life at Fisk from which ...

Article

Jon-Christian Suggs and Dale Edwyna Smith

[This article contains three subentries, on Du Bois's life, on his historical writing, and on his literary writing.]

Article

Jody Benjamin

Having embraced a notion of transnational racial solidarity early in his career, W. E. B. Du Bois continued to elaborate and promote his ideas of “Pan-Africanism,” as both a scholar and a political activist, with increasing urgency throughout his life, culminating with his emigration from the United States to Ghana, where he died a few years after that country won its political independence from Great Britain.

The notion of “Negro race” as a conceptual and political unit has roots in Enlightenment-era views of race as an essential marker of human difference. It was also shaped by both the discourses of nineteenth-century movements to abolish slavery in the United States and those of nationalism in Europe. Du Bois was exposed to this thinking throughout his education, beginning at Fisk University in 1885, where some of his teachers had been abolitionists.

Continuing his education at Harvard University Du Bois was taught ...

Article

William Jordan

(1868–1963), African-American scholar, polemicist, activist, and intellectual. Born and reared in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Du Bois graduated from Fisk University in 1888. Enrolling as a junior at Harvard, he remained to earn a Ph.D. in history in 1895, with two years of study (1892–1894) at the University of Berlin. In 1896, Harvard published his dissertation on the suppression of the African slave trade. That same year, during a brief teaching stint at Wilberforce University in Ohio, he married a student, Nina Gomer; they had two children. A fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania (1896–1897) resulted in a pathbreaking sociological study, The Philadelphia Negro (1899). From 1897 to 1910, he taught sociology at Atlanta University.

At this time, most southern blacks could not vote and faced racial segregation in public facilities; scores were lynched each year. Before 1900 ...

Article

Joyce A. A. Camper

sociologist, social worker, writer, and teacher, was born Ophelia Settle in Red River County, Texas, one of seven children of Sarah Garth, who died when Settle was four years old, and Green Wilson Settle, a teacher and later principal at the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind Institute in Raft, Oklahoma. The emphasis the Settle family placed upon education influenced Settle's aspiration to become a teacher. She graduated from Howard University with an AB in English in 1925 and taught at the Orange County Training School in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, for a year. She then completed a master's degree in Sociology in 1928 at the University of Pennsylvania.

In 1929 Settle embarked on a journey that culminated in the project that became her lifelong passion. Charles Spurgeon Johnson then director of the newly formed Department of Social Science at Fisk University hired Settle as ...

Article

Michelle Gueraldi

Lélia de Almeida Gonzales obtained several academic degrees, including a bachelor's degree in history and philosophy at the Rio de Janeiro State University, a master's degree in communications at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and a doctorate in social anthropology at the University of São Paulo. She also directed the Department of Sociology at Rio de Janeiro Catholic University.

Gonzales figured prominently in post-1950s intellectual life in Brazil. She was one of the first black women to teach at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and in 1978 was one of the founders of the Movimento Negro Unificado (Unified Black Movement). In 1979 Gonzales was also one of the founders of the Working Group on Themes and Problems of the Black Population in Brazil at Candido Mendes University in Rio de Janeiro The group has produced various unique essays on Afro Brazilian issues A strong ...

Article

Lisa Clayton Robinson

Born to former slaves in Lowndes County, Alabama, Elizabeth Ross Haynes became a pioneering urban sociologist. Haynes graduated valedictorian of the State Normal School (now Alabama State University) in 1900. She received an A.B. from Fisk University in 1903, and later received an M.A. in sociology from Columbia University in 1923.

After graduation from Fisk, Haynes taught school and worked for segregated branches of the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA). In 1910, she married George Haynes, a sociologist and cofounder of the National Urban League; their son was born in 1912. After her marriage, Haynes continued to work in unsalaried positions.

From 1918 to 1922, Haynes worked for the U.S. Department of Labor, and from 1920 to 1922 she served as domestic service secretary for the U S Employment Service Throughout her career Haynes was especially concerned with black women ...

Article

Iris Carlton-LaNey

social scientist, politician, and community leader, was born in Mount Willing, Lowndes County, Alabama, the daughter of Henry Ross and Mary Carnes. Elizabeth's parents were hard workers who amassed some wealth through the purchase of land that eventually grew to become a 1,500-acre plantation, though little else is known about them beyond their commitment to their only child's well-being and success. Ross attended the State Normal School in Montgomery and later won a scholarship to Fisk University, where she was awarded an AB degree in 1903. She taught school in Alabama and Texas for several years after graduation, and during 1905 and 1907 she attended summer school at the University of Chicago.

In 1908 Ross was invited to work with colored students for the student department of the national board of the Young Women s Christian Association YWCA In this position she traveled extensively ...

Article

Edgar Allan Toppin

George Edmund Haynes was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, the son of Louis Haynes, an occasional laborer, and Mattie Sloan, a domestic servant. He was raised by devout, hard-working, poorly educated parents. His mother stressed that education and good character were paths to improvement. She moved with Haynes and his sister to Hot Springs, a city with better educational opportunities than Pine Bluff. Haynes attended Fisk University, completing his B.A. in 1903. His record at Fisk enabled him to go to Yale, where he earned an M.A. in sociology in 1904. He also won a scholarship to Yale's Divinity School but withdrew early in 1905 to help fund his sister's schooling.

In 1905 Haynes became secretary of the Colored Men's Department of the International (segregated) YMCA, traveling to African American colleges throughout the nation from 1905 to 1908 During this period he encountered ...

Article

Edgar Allan Toppin

sociologist and social worker, was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, the son of Louis Haynes, an occasional laborer, and Mattie Sloan, a domestic servant. He was raised by devout, hardworking, but poorly educated parents. His mother stressed that education and good character were paths to improvement. She moved with Haynes and his sister to Hot Springs, a city with better educational opportunities than Pine Bluff. Haynes attended Fisk University, completing his BA in 1903. His record at Fisk enabled him to go to Yale University, where he earned an MA in Sociology in 1904. He also won a scholarship to Yale's Divinity School but withdrew early in 1905 to help fund his sister's schooling.

In 1905 Haynes became secretary of the Colored Men's Department of the International (segregated) YMCA, traveling to African American colleges throughout the nation from 1905 to 1908 During this period ...

Article

Mary E. Huddleston

civil rights leader, was born Cernoria McGowan in Alto, Texas, a farming town east of Dallas, Texas, the oldest child of John McGowan, a construction worker, and Mollie. While McGowan was still a young child, she and her family moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, in search of a better life. During the Tulsa race riot of 1921 McGowan and her siblings were hauled to safety in a truck to the state fairgrounds. In the aftermath of the riot, her family relocated to Oklahoma City, where McGowan attended Douglas High School. She graduated in May 1926 and was awarded a scholarship to attend Langston University in Oklahoma, where she received her undergraduate degree in sociology with honors. While at Langston she married William W. Johnson, a school teacher; the couple had two daughters, Judy and Janice.

After a brief period spent teaching twenty six year old Cernoria Johnson ...

Article

Mary Krane Derr

human-rights campaigner, women organizer, and religious leader, often called S. Willie Layton or Layten, was born Sarah W. Phillips in Grenada, Mississippi, to the minister William H. Phillips and Mary H. Phillips, a housekeeper. William Phillips was born in January 1841 in Virginia, also the birthplace of both his parents. Mary Phillips was born in June 1845 in Mississippi, the birthplace of both of her parents. Very likely, both were born enslaved, as was Sarah at the time of her birth. Layton's parents wed in 1862. The 1900 U.S. Census records Layton as the only surviving child of six. Her father worked for denominational self-determination and professionalized clergy in the black churches. Layton's upbringing stressed the intersection of human rights, especially educational rights, of African Americans and women.

As a teenager, she lived in Memphis, Tennessee, with her parents and attended LeMoyne (now LeMoyne-Owen) College, graduating in 1881 ...