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Brett Gadsden

teacher, civil rights activist, plaintiff in Belton v. Gebhart (1952), a companion case to Brown v. Board of Education (1954), was born in Hazelhurse, Georgia, the daughter of Glover and Ida Hall.

Around 1948, almost a decade after her husband Louis passed away, Ethel Belton moved with her seven children to Claymont, Delaware, a suburban community northwest of Wilmington, Delaware, to join her extended family. There she taught general education in a one-room school. Her daughter, Ethel Louise Belton was eleven years old at the time of the move and was later assigned to Howard High School the only free public school for blacks in the entire state at the time Located in Wilmington it was a fifty minute nine mile commute for Ethel Louise who had a congenital heart condition Although Claymont High School the school for white children in ...

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Charles Rosenberg

plaintiff in the 1928 case, Brown v. Board of Education of Charleston [West Virginia], was born in the Union South district of Kanawha County, West Virginia, the seventh living child and fifth son of Henry and Margaret A. Brown. Henry Brown, a farm laborer like his older brothers Charley and John, died before 1900. In addition to older brothers Fred and Enoch, and sisters Maria and Ruth, Anderson had a younger brother James, and younger sisters Della and Nina. All were born between 1865 and 1887.

Around 1900 he worked as a porter in a grocery store in Charleston, where his brothers held jobs as porters, baggage drivers, and a blacksmith, supporting their widowed mother and sisters. Brown moved in 1907 to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where his sister and brother‐in‐law were living, joined at least part of the time by the widowed Margaret Brown He ...

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David B. McCarthy

in a pioneering but unsuccessful attempt to desegregate higher education in North Carolina, was born in Durham, North Carolina, the son of Florence Amos and Thomas Henry Hocutt. After graduating from Durham’s Hillside Park High School, he worked in a pharmacy in a nearby city. He then enrolled in Durham’s North Carolina College for Negroes (now North Carolina Central University) while he worked as an assistant headwaiter at the Washington Duke Inn. Hocutt wanted to become a pharmacist, but North Carolina’s only program was at the University of North Carolina (UNC) in Chapel Hill, which had never admitted African Americans.

In 1933 two Durham attorneys, Conrad Pearson and Cecil McCoy, began to strategize about mounting a legal challenge to North Carolina’s segregationist higher education. With the support of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) executive secretary Walter White the lawyers met with several outstanding students in ...

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Charles Rosenberg

in the landmark church-and-state case, Lemon v. Kurtzman, was born in McDonough, Georgia. He was the second of three children born to George Gilbert Lemon, the owner of an undertakers business, later a porter for a wholesale house, and by some reports, owner of a tailor shop, and his wife, Annie F. Lemon. Alton Lemon had an older sister, Edna, and a younger sister, Modestine.

The family moved to Atlanta while he was still a child, where he attended public schools until the tenth grade. Interviewed in 2004 he recalled that city schools opened every day with a prayer or Protestant devotion and it never really registered with me Hudson He was sent for his junior and senior years to a private high school in Lawrenceville Virginia Raised in a Baptist church to which his parents belonged Lemon enrolled at Morehouse College in Atlanta after World War II ...

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Robert A. Pratt

a housewife, whose marriage in 1958 to Richard Loving sparked one of the nation's most important civil rights cases, was born Mildred Delores Jeter, of African American and Native American ancestry. Loving was one of five children born to Theoliver Jeter, a sharecropper, and Musiel Byrd, a homemaker. She also had four half brothers. She graduated from Union High School in Bowling Green, Virginia in 1957. In 1958 she married her childhood sweetheart who was white Both Jeter and Loving were born in Caroline County Virginia an area with a well known history of black white interracial sexual liaisons As was the local custom however and true for most of the South these unions occurred under cover of darkness and without legal sanction Many states had laws prohibiting interracial marriages some with restrictions dating back to the nineteenth century While enforcement of these laws ...

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Lisa E. Rivo

lawyer and plaintiff, was born Lawrence Dwayne Mungin in Harlem, New York, the second of three children born to Lawrence Lucas Mungin Jr. and Helen (Dicks) Mungin. Mungin later described his father as the type of man “black people call ‘no good’” and he spent a lifetime trying to distinguish himself from his father. His parents separated for the final time when their children were in elementary school. Dwayne, as he was known by his family, grew up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn but was bused with his sister and brother to a predominantly white school in Queens at the behest of his mother, whose high expectations for her children rested on an unequivocal faith in the power of education and integration. Helen was the key figure in her son's life, and she encouraged him to succeed even as she herself struggled with depression and alcoholism.

In ...

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Susan M. Reverby and Elizabeth Sims

farmer, civil rights activist, and lead plaintiff in the lawsuit against the government in the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, was born in Notasulga, Alabama, the third child of six children of Lucius and Alma Pollard. The Pollard family owned and farmed their land in the Notasulga area, just outside of Tuskegee, for generations after the Civil War. As with many farmers, they often needed to secure liens, with their animals as the collateral, in order to complete their crop. In the early 1900s the family began to buy more acreage, and by 1908 Pollard s father was farming 160 acres and was the first black man in the county to own a mechanical cotton picker Pollard learned early how to horse and cattle trade and to build upon his family s farming skills He was educated in the Shiloh School one of the earliest Rosenwald schools built ...

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John Saillant

, slave, farm laborer, plaintiff in a civil suit, and freedman, was purchased as an infant in 1754 along with his mother and father, Dinah (b. c. 1735) and Mingo (b. c. 1734), by James Caldwell of Rutland District, Worcester County, Massachusetts. As a freedman, Walker married Elizabeth Harvey in 1786. The date of his death is unknown; an 1812 public record in Barre, Massachusetts (part of Rutland District that was incorporated separately in 1774 and renamed in 1776), refers to Walker as deceased. Prince Walker (c. 1762–1858), another freed slave who lived nearby, may have been Quok Walker's brother.

Sometime in Walker's youth Caldwell promised him his freedom, to be granted when he was in his mid-twenties. However, Caldwell died intestate when Walker was a minor. Caldwell's widow, Isabell inherited at least some ...

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Teresa A. Booker

Tulsa Race Riot participant and survivor, was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His parents' names are now unknown, although it is known that his father worked as a bank janitor.

In the late evening of 30 May 1921 eleven-year-old Binkley Wright was attending the 10:00 p.m showing of a play held at the Dixie Theater in downtown Tulsa with some friends The theater which was restricted to use by blacks only was nonetheless located in the white section of the town Ten minutes or so into the show Wright and the other audience members were dismissed because of disturbances outside of the theater On his way home to Greenwood in the northern part of Tulsa Wright witnessed blacks running in the streets and talking about an impending race riot When he arrived home he told his parents what had happened and asked what a race riot was While corroborating his ...

Article

Alicia J. Rivera

slave, California pioneer, and miner, was born on a South Carolina plantation to a Cherokee Indian father and a slave mother whose names are not now known. In 1849, when he was thirty-two years old, he accompanied his master to the California gold mines, where he was permitted to work in the mines to buy his freedom. After obtaining his freedom, Wysinger settled in Grass Valley, California. In 1853 he married Pernesa Wilson and moved to Visalia, California, in the San Joaquin Valley. They had six boys and two girls, and Wysinger was determined that his children would have access to an education. He became a leading advocate for school desegregation in California.

Visalia had no school for African American children, although an 1869 state law required any town with ten or more black children to provide a school for them or to allow them to attend a ...