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Trevor Hall

His father, Giovanni da Ca’ da Mosto, and mother, Giovanna Querini, married in 1428, and the couple had four sons and two daughters. Cadamosto came from a Venetian family of some standing. His reason for renown is that he was the first European to sail from Portugal to West Africa and back, to write a long travel narrative of his maritime voyages. He also described the Islamic West African kingdoms he visited during the the 1450s. Cadamosto wrote his narrative many years after the voyages to West Africa, and there is evidence that later historical events where incorporated into his narrative—a process historians call “feedback.” Thus, Cadamosto’s dates and chronology have been called into question by scholars. However, the Venetian must be taken seriously because he presented some of the first eye-witness descriptions of West Africa and Portuguese voyages to the tropics during the fifteenth century.

Since the Middle ...


Antje Daub

athlete, scholar, soldier, and judge, was born in Jacksonville, Florida, one of nine children of Walter Holmes Gourdin, a meat cutter and part Seminole Indian, and Felicia Nee, an African American woman who was a housekeeper. Little is known about his early school career, other than that he was valedictorian of his high school class in 1916. Although poor, Gourdin's parents recognized their son's talents and educational potential and, following his high school graduation, moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to further his career. There, Gourdin attended Cambridge High and Latin, which helped prepare him for the high academic demands of an Ivy League education.

By the time he enrolled in his freshman year at Harvard in 1917 Gourdin appears to have been a conscientious and responsible student To pay tuition he supported himself by working as a postal clerk He also became a ...


Edward Morrow

Edward Orval Gourdin was born on August 10, 1897, in Jacksonville, Florida, the son of Walter Holmes and Felicia Garvin Gourdin. As a child, Gourdin demonstrated such athletic and scholarly excellence that his family sacrificed and took him to Massachusetts to realize his potential. He prepared at Stanton and Cambridge Latin high schools for Harvard College and graduated in 1921 with a B.A. degree; he completed Harvard Law School in 1924 with an LL.B. degree. On May 10, 1923, he married Amalia Ponce of Cambridge, Massachusetts, who became the mother of their four children: Elizabeth, Ann Robinson, Amalia Lindal, and Edward O., Jr.

Gourdin gained fame as an athlete during his college and university career, passed the bar, practiced law in Boston, Massachusetts, and joined the National Guard in 1925. During World War II he served as lieutenant colonel and later ...


Richard L. Aynes

World War II veteran, city councilman, and judge, was born in Lake City, Florida, the youngest of fifteen children of William and Hattie (Howard) Jackson. He spent his early years in Orlando, Florida. Courage was his touchstone for life. When he was seven, an armed mob with torches came to his home looking for one of his older brothers on trumped-up charges. His mother sent him out the back door into the darkness to call together armed family members while she led the mob by a circuitous route to the brother's home. The family members Jackson brought escorted the brother to jail and successfully prevented the brother's lynching.

Jackson earned a BA from Morehouse College in 1943 and an MA in Business Administration from Atlanta University in 1946. On 7 September 1945 he married his college sweetheart Gilberta Jackson in Atlanta Georgia They had ...


Thomas E. Carney

jurist and civil rights activist. Judge Nathaniel R. Jones was born in 1926, the son of a steelworker and the grandson of a slave. He grew up on the south side of Youngstown, Ohio, a major steel-producing town during the twentieth century. His mother and J. Maynard Dickerson, a family friend, prominent local attorney, and local NAACP leader, inspired the young Jones to pursue his education. After serving in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II, he attended Youngstown College (now Youngstown State University), where he received his bachelor's degree in 1951 and his law degree in 1956.

Jones began his legal career as the executive director of the city of Youngstown's Fair Employment Practices Commission. He held that position until 1959, when he went into private practice. He returned to the public sector in 1962 to accept the position of assistant U ...


Donald F. Tibbs

federal judge, was born to Nathaniel B. and Lillian J. (Rafe) Jones in Youngstown, Ohio. His father worked at a mill and as a janitor, while his mother worked numerous domestic jobs to help support their family. Coming from humble beginnings Jones used his circumstances of poverty and discrimination to motivate him through South High School in Youngstown, and through his service in the U.S. Air Force during World War II. In 1946 Jones returned home to attend Youngstown College (later Youngstown State University). As an undergraduate, he embarked on his lifelong association with the NAACP by joining the Youngstown College Chapter.

Jones had many positive influences in his life during his tenure at Youngstown, notably black community leaders such as the attorney Clarence Robinson and the businessman J. Maynard Dickerson. As an undergraduate, Jones worked as a reporter on the Buckeye Review an African American weekly ...


Jamie Christy

Ernest Morial (b. 9 October 1929; d. 24 December 1989), lawyer, civil rights activist, assistant U.S. attorney, judge, and mayor of New Orleans, was the father of Marc Haydel Morial (b. 3 January 1958), lawyer, civil rights activist, state senator, and mayor of New Orleans.

Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Ernest Nathan “Dutch” Morial was the youngest of six children. His parents, Walter Etienne Morial, a cigar maker, and Leonie Moore Morial, a seamstress, were devout Catholics, and Ernest attended the Holy Redeemer and McDonough No. 35 schools in New Orleans. At Xavier University, the country's only historically black Catholic college, also in New Orleans, Morial was president of the first black Greek fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, and he graduated in 1951.

In 1954 Morial was the first African American to graduate from Louisiana State University ...


judge, politician, civil rights activist, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the youngest of six children of Leonie V. and Walter Etienne Morial, the latter a “black Creole” cigar maker. Morial attended public and private schools, graduating from Xavier University in 1951, and was the first African American graduate of Louisiana State University Law School in 1954. After serving two years in the army, he returned to his law partnership in New Orleans in 1956 and served as general counsel to the Standard Life Insurance Company from 1960 to 1967, and he was appointed assistant U.S. attorney for New Orleans from 1965 to 1967 before embarking on a career in electoral politics.

In the intervening years he lectured at Tulane University. Sybil Gayle Haydel, the daughter of a prominent New Orleans family, became his wife on 17 February 1955 and the ...


Alice Bernstein

lawyer, civil rights leader, and federal jurist, was one of three children born to Matthew Perry, a tailor, and Jennie Lyles in Columbia, South Carolina. He grew up in the Jim Crow era and his parents, who had a limited education, passionately wanted their children to have more opportunities. His father served in World War I and his exposure to mustard gas left him with a debilitating illness. While Perry Sr. received treatment in a Veterans Hospital in Tuskegee, Alabama, the family lived there and in Columbia. Matthew was twelve when his father died, and the children were then raised in Columbia by their maternal grandfather, William Lyles, a brakeman on the Southern Railroad. During the Depression Perry helped support the family by working after school digging ditches, among other jobs, while his mother found work in New York as a seamstress.

He attended segregated ...


Donnamaria Culbreth

circuit court judge, was born in Birmingham, Alabama, the third of four children born to William and Eva Poole. In 1918 the family moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, when Poole was four years old.

In 1932 Poole entered the University of Michigan, graduating in 1936 and earning a law degree in 1938. A year later Poole went on to earn a master of law degree from Harvard University. In 1940 Poole passed the Pennsylvania bar, and in 1941 he obtained a job as an attorney for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which investigates unfair labor practices. Poole studied federal laws covering labor and labor relations and advised the NLRB board members on cases.

Poole was drafted into the army in 1942 and married Charlotte Crump that same year Poole s experiences in the segregated army were harsh From Poole s experience the duties of black soldiers ...


Simon Topping

prominent New York City judge, was born in Kansas City, Kansas, the son of the Reverend David Foote Rivers, the last African American member of the Tennessee state legislature during Reconstruction, and Silene Gale Rivers. In 1898 his family moved to Washington, D.C., where he completed elementary and high school. He had considered becoming an athlete, but an attack of gout prevented this. He began studying law at Howard University, but in 1911 he entered Yale, where he graduated with Phi Beta Kappa distinction in economics and history in 1915. In 1916 he went to Harvard Law School but left to become an inspector for Winchester Firearms, a post he kept until the United States declared war on Germany in 1917 During the war he attended the segregated officer training school in Des Moines Iowa and served as a first lieutenant with New York s 367th ...


Mou Chakraborty

civil rights lawyer and New York state jurist, was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, the sixth of nine children of Netti and Charles Sandifer. His father died when Sandifer was four, and Nettie raised all the kids with some help from her oldest child, Herbert, a hotel baker. In Greensboro, he was known as “John” but he thought that name was too common so he changed the spelling to Jawn while at Johnson C Smith University Growing up within a short walk from North Carolina A T State University Sandifer wanted out of Greensboro after finishing in the first class to graduate from Dudley High School in the early 1930s He was disillusioned with the racial discrimination he faced regularly in his boyhood in Greensboro A caddy master from one of the country clubs stood outside the black school Sandifer attended and urged students to skip ...


Thomas Adams Upchurch

Born in Tioga County, New York, Benjamin Franklin Tracy grew to have an interesting and controversial career in politics, military service, business, and law. He served as a New York State assemblyman in 1861 before joining the Union army in the Civil War. As a brigadier general he received the Medal of Honor for his exploits during the wilderness campaign, but as director of the Elmira prison camp he earned the disapprobation of Southerners for the treatment of Confederate prisoners of war. For most of the Reconstruction years he served as U.S. attorney for eastern New York. He earned a seat on the New York Court of Appeals from 1881 to 1883. His only major national political service came during the presidential administration of Benjamin Harrison, when he was appointed as secretary of the navy in 1889 During his tenure he became Harrison s most trusted ...


Mark Tushnet

lawyer and judge, was born in Louisa County, Virginia. The names of his parents are unknown. The son of a railway worker, Waddy moved with his family to Alexandria, Virginia, in 1918 and then to Washington, D.C., where he graduated from Dunbar High School. Waddy used a cash award and scholarship that he won in a national oratorical contest to support his attendance at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. After graduating with honors from Lincoln in 1935, Waddy attended Howard Law School in Washington, D.C., from which he graduated in 1938, first in his class. After graduation Waddy went to work for Charles Hamilton Houston, former dean of Howard Law School. At first Waddy worked for Houston without pay, supporting himself by working as an elevator operator, but Houston soon insisted that Waddy give up his nonlegal work and join Houston's practice. Waddy married Elizabeth Hardy Gregg ...


Ralph E. Luker

civil rights attorney and judge, was born in Fort Valley, Georgia, the son of Jeff Walden and Jennie Tomlin, former slaves. Walden earned a BA at Fort Valley Industrial School in 1902 and an MA at Atlanta University in 1907. He entered law school at the University of Michigan, where he received several prizes in oratory and an LLB in 1911.

Walden practiced law in Macon, Georgia, from 1912 until he entered the U.S. Army for service in World War I. He commanded Company I of the 365th Infantry in France and was a trial judge advocate in the Ninety-second Division. Walden returned from the war to marry Mary Ellen Denny, a Baltimore public-school teacher, in 1918; they had two children.

In 1919 Walden was commissioned a captain in the Officers Reserve Corps and moved his legal practice from Macon to Atlanta His ...


Alice Bernstein

state senator and federal jurist, was the third of four children born to Violet M. Lopez and James S. Watson, who immigrated from Jamaica in the early 1900s. His father was the first naturalized person of West Indian descent admitted to the New York State Bar in 1914, and in 1922 he was appointed special assistant corporation counsel of New York City, in the Special Franchise Tax Division. In 1930 he was one of the first two justices of African descent elected to judicial office, serving as a municipal court judge. Watson's sisters were lawyers: Grace Watson worked with the U.S. Department of Education, and Barbara Mae Watson was ambassador to Malaysia and assistant secretary of state for consular affairs. His brother, Douglas Watson, was the first African American aeronautical engineer.

Watson was born in Harlem where he lived all his life and was known to ...


Steven J. Niven

lawyer, politician, and judge, was born William James Whipper, probably in Glenville, Pennsylvania, one of the four children of Benjamin P. Whipper, who later became a minister in Chatham, Canada. There is some uncertainty about the name of William's mother, which in certain sources is given as Mary Ann (maiden name unknown), and in others is recorded as Sophia Patterson. Part of the confusion may have been caused by William J. Whipper himself, who often claimed that his father was the famed Underground Railroad conductor William Whipper who was in fact Benjamin s brother Not long after his family moved from Pennsylvania to Chatham Canada William appears to have returned to the United States By the late 1850s he was working as a law clerk in Detroit Michigan and later passed the bar exam in that state having earlier failed it in Ohio Around ...


Paul Stillwell

pioneer black naval officer, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the only child of William S. White Sr. and Marie Houston White His father was a chemist and pharmacist and his mother was a public school teacher They were graduates of Fisk University in Nashville a traditionally black school Both had postgraduate degrees and emphasized to their son the importance of education In an oral history interview White recalled I knew that the opportunity to go to school was a precious opportunity which should not be wasted My father used to tell me that his mother told him that almost anything you get the white folks can take away from you except learning Stillwell 243 White attended public schools including Hyde Park High School in Chicago Small in physical stature he ran track and played soccer in high school He earned a bachelor s degree from the University of ...