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Allen J. Fromherz

builder of the Almohad Empire and great Moroccan military leader and able administrator, led the Almohad movement for tawhid, absolute monotheistic unity, after the death of the Mahdi Ibn Tumart, the Almohad founder, in c. 1130. His full name was ʿAbd al-Muʾmin ibn ʿAli ibn ʿAlwi bin Yaʿla al-Kumi Abu Muhammad.

After defeating the Almoravid Empire at Marrakech, he established the administrative and military foundations of the Almohad state while securing a caliphal succession for his descendants, the Muʾminid dynasty. In a matter of decades ʿAbd al-Muʾmin and his followers transformed the Almohads from a vigorous but vulnerable ideological movement in the small Atlas Mountain town of Tinmal to one of the largest and most successful Islamic empires in North African and Andalusian history.

Effectively an outsider ʿAbd al Muʾmin s ancestry was different from the noble Masmuda ethnic groups that made up the core of the Almohad ...


William E. Bankston

Hebraic scholar, author, anointed spiritual leader of the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem, was born Ben Carter in Chicago, Illinois, the youngest of six children of Rena and Levi Carter. Little is known about Ben's mother and father.

As a young teenager, Carter was a gregarious person, very communicative, and he knew how to vocally motivate people. Growing up, he worked a variety of odd jobs, dusting chairs, collecting garbage, running errands, delivering groceries, and shining shoes.

Around 1959 he married Patricia Price, but nothing more has been documented about his wife or possible children. As things began to intensify during the Vietnam War, Carter joined the U.S. Army. By 1960 after serving about a year and a half of military duty he was assigned to an army missile base in Chicago Becoming more perceptive and grown up Carter began to display a working knowledge of world affairs ...


Floyd Jr. Ogburn

soldier and evangelist, was born in Boston, Massachusetts. His father was an African servant and his mother was the daughter of Colonel Morgan, an officer in the rifle corps during the American Revolutionary War. As an infant Bowles remained with his father but dwelled with a foster parent in Lunenburg, Massachusetts, until age twelve. After the death of his foster parent, he lived with a Tory family until fourteen, when he joined the Colonial artillery as a waiter to an officer. Two years later he enlisted in the American army and served until the war concluded.

The war over, Bowles traveled to New Hampshire and married Mary Corliss his cousin and the granddaughter of Colonel Morgan Soon after marriage he was baptized and joined the Calvinist Baptist Church in Wentworth New Hampshire Finding the Calvinist denomination too inflexible he later converted to the Free Will Baptist embracing ...


Kathryn Lofton

community organizer and Pentecostal bishop, was born in a Hyde Park apartment on Chicago's South Side. His parents were among the waves of African Americans who migrated from the South to the North in pursuit of greater economic opportunity and social mobility during the Great Migration. His mother, Geneva, was a household domestic and lay Pentecostal preacher, eventually leading the Universal Church of Christ in Chicago. His father, Robert, was a maintenance man at the Hyde Park Laundry Company from 1921 to 1940. One of five children, Brazier grew up in a highly segregated black community, since restrictive covenants bound blacks to certain areas of the city.

From his early teenage years, Brazier worked whenever he wasn't in school, first as a milkman's helper for the Bowman Dairy Company and later as a parking attendant at the Chicago World's Fair in 1933 and 1934 During the Depression Brazier ...


Genevieve Skinner

Civil War veteran, preacher, and teacher, was born free to an English sea captain and an African American mother on a ship sailing on the Atlantic Ocean. When Angus was two years old, his father died, and Angus and his mother were sold into slavery in Virginia, and later taken to Kentucky. He spent a majority of his early years in Virginia and learned how to read prior to the outbreak of the Civil War, an illegal pursuit for slaves. In 1864, now enslaved in Kentucky, at the age of sixteen Burleigh ran away from his master and enlisted in the Union Army at Frankfort, Kentucky. Upon enlisting Burleigh was trained at Camp Nelson in Kentucky, which was one of the largest areas for gathering African American soldiers during the Civil War. Burleigh became a sergeant with Company G 12th United States Colored Troops U ...


Yusuf Nuruddin

Harold Cruse (8 March 1916–20 March 2005), an iconoclastic social critic and a largely self-educated cultural historian, achieved distinction as the preeminent African American dissident public intellectual of the 1960s. Although he authored several books, his reputation rests largely on his monumental work The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual (1967), a flawed yet brilliant, imaginative, sweeping, and provocative polemic. A thematically united collection of essays, Crisis presents a withering assessment of the black intelligentsia for its self-defeating embrace of both liberal and radical integrationist politics, especially its involvement in the Communist Party, of which Cruse was once a member.

Within the Communist Party and other leftist organizations black political interests according to Cruse historically have been subordinated to white political interests including Jewish and white ethnic nationalisms As a remedy Cruse calls upon the black intelligentsia to abandon its bankrupt integrationist strategies and embrace its ...


Nigel Watson

a post office worker who gained notoriety by claiming to have been abducted by extraterrestrial aliens, was born in Newport News, Virginia, the fourth and youngest son of a shipyard worker. Family lore had it that Hill's maternal great-great grandfather was a white plantation owner. Hill's maternal great-grandmother's fair skin allowed her to live inside her father's home, where she was brought up by her aunts, even though technically she was still a slave. When she was married, her father gave her 250 acres of land, and it was on this land near Newport News that Barney Hill grew up along with his parents and an aunt and uncle, who then owned the farm.

Hill was unhappy when his family moved from Virginia to Philadelphia Pennsylvania where he attended high school for two years and spent a freshman year at Temple University He found life in Philadelphia tough and a ...


Charles Rosenberg

soldier, preacher, educator, delegate to political and religious conventions, and writer, was born to Andrew Marrs, a free man, and Frances Marrs, at the time considered by law to be the property of one Jesse Robinson, in Shelby County, Kentucky. By law, Elijah Marrs inherited the slave status of his mother.

At the age of seven or eight Marrs was sent to work serving food in the Robinsons dining room Within a few years he was plowing corn fields and taking care of the cows Our master was not hard on us he later wrote and allowed us generally to do as we pleased after his own work was done Mothers he added including his own were necessarily compelled to be severe on their children to keep them from talking too much Many a poor mother has been whipped nearly to death on ...


Eric Young

A renowned civil servant, soldier, and labor organizer, André Matsoua’s career continued even after his death. As a youth he studied to become a priest but resigned in 1919 to join the colonial customs service. He later traveled to France and joined the army, serving in North Africa during World War I. In 1926 he settled in Paris, where he became involved in labor-union organizing and founded Amicale, a self-help organization. Seeking recruits and financial contributions, the movement spread to the French Moyen-Congo, where the colonial administration, upset by Matsoua’s outspoken opposition to the discriminatory indigenant, or indigenous, classification of many Congolese, arrested him in 1929.

Although Matsoua was by then a legal French citizen an African traditional court in Brazzaville sentenced him to three years in prison and a decade in exile in Chad Six years later he escaped was soon caught escaped again and found his way ...


Michaeljulius Idani

minister, civil rights activist, New York state legislator and official, and ambassador, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the oldest of six children of Herman Carl McCall Sr., a waiter on a train, and Carolesa McCall a homemaker During his early years McCall s father lost his job and abandoned the family leaving Herman s mother struggling to raise him and his five sisters McCall grew up poor in the Roxbury section of Boston shifting through low income housing His mother collected welfare as a means to support the family they also received support from caring members of their United Church of Christ parish Despite the difficulties of being a single parent she was active in his life and stressed the importance of a good education and a close relationship with God McCall was a talented student and knew he wanted to attend college He ...


Debra Jackson

abolitionist, Civil War veteran, African Methodist Episcopal (AME) minister, and doctor of divinity, was born in New Bern, North Carolina. He was one of several children born to an enslaved father and a free black woman. Although Newton inherited his mother's legal status as a free person, he nonetheless developed a hatred of the slave system. While still a teenager he aided an acquaintance, Henry Bryan in a daring escape from bondage Newton first disguised Bryan in female clothing and led him to a hiding place in the attic of a local slaveholder this plan was of course implemented with the help of the enslaved people of the household Offers of a reward for the capture and return of Bryan yielded nothing and with Newton s further help he safely left the attic hideaway and made his way to freedom in the North Newton recounted ...


Louis B. Gallien

community activist, minister, author, lecturer, and racial reconciler, was the last child born to Maggie and Jasper Perkins in New Hebron, Mississippi, sharecroppers whose family worked on cotton farms on the smaller white plantations of south central Mississippi. Perkins's mother died of pellagra—a vitamin deficiency disease that ravaged poor families in the Deep South, seven months after his birth. Little is known of the circumstances of his father's life except that he was an itinerant sharecropper and bootlegger.

Perkins's early life was shaped by the brutal murder of his brother, Clyde, after arriving home from World War II. Clyde was shot by a white police officer outside a theater after he reached for the officer's baton when the policeman threatened him. Perkins graduated from Wiggins Vocational School and soon afterward decided to move to California where he married his childhood friend, Vera Mae Buckley ...


Josepha Sherman

artist and preacher, was born to a West African father and a Cherokee mother in Africa, although the exact date was not recorded. After two years the family moved to the United States and settled on the Cherokee Indian Reservation in North Carolina, where Sparrow s maternal grandfather lived Sparrow later claimed the man was a tribal chief Sparrow grew up in an area that was settled by Cherokees and the descendants of slaves At seven he began preaching to the forest animals then he began speaking in tongues and speaking to his family s Pentecostal church In his youth he drew stick figures in the sand then recorded images on scraps of paper One day he discovered pieces of plywood and began to use them to for his sketches A passing man offered to buy one but Sparrow angrily refused he had not made pictures to sell ...


Edward J. Robinson

stonecutter, porter, educator, funeral director, and preacher, was born a slave in Shreveport, Louisiana, the son of Zed and Betty Taylor. When Preston was one year old his parents moved to Lexington, Kentucky, where at age four young Preston heard a sermon in the First Baptist Church of Lexington and subsequently stated, “Some day I'll be a preacher” (Clement Richardson, The National Cyclopedia of the Colored Race [1919]). In 1864, at age fifteen Preston enlisted in Company G, 116th U.S. Infantry, as a drummer. He was present at the sieges of Richmond and Petersburg in Virginia, and at the surrender of Robert E. Lee. Taylor's regiment also served in Texas and New Orleans, Louisiana, before exiting the army on 17 January 1867 (Simmons, Men of Mark).

After serving in the military Taylor became a stonecutter and was skillful at ...


John David Smith

clergyman and author, was born in Pickaway County, Ohio, the son of a Virginia free black (name unknown) and Rebecca Fisher Thomas, an Ohio free black. None of Thomas's immediate ancestors had been slaves; he was descended from two generations of light-skinned African Americans. His light complexion and his status as a free black played a major role in Thomas's later assessment of his race.

During Thomas's formative years his family lived in Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan before returning to Ohio in 1857. Like other free blacks in the Old Northwest, they experienced second-class legal status and all manner of racial discrimination. Thomas's father reportedly helped fugitive slaves from the South make their way to freedom in Canada. As a teenager Thomas performed farm labor, attended school briefly, and in 1859 broke the color barrier at Otterbein College in Westerville Ohio His enrollment led to a ...


Michaeljulius Idani

educator, activist, ordained Baptist minister, and U.S. Congressman, was born in Chadburn, North Carolina, son of Versie B. Towns, a homemaker, and Dolphus Towns, a sharecropper. Towns had one brother, James, who passed away in 1984.

Towns's youth was spent in North Carolina, where he witnessed the continuing challenges faced by African Americans in the rural South. Wanting more for her son, Towns's mother encouraged his interest in education. In 1952 Towns graduated from West Side High School in Chadburn. He went on to attend North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, North Carolina, where he graduated in 1956 with a Bachelor in Sociology degree.

After college Towns enlisted in the U.S. Army. In 1958 after being discharged from the military Towns moved to New York City and began a teaching career in the city public schools Fordham University ...


Carmen De Michele

soldier and Christian saint, presumably died on 11 January 304 in the city of Tigava in the Roman province of Mauretania Caesariensis (present-day El Kherba in Algeria). The Roman Catholic Church venerates him as a military saint.

One of the very few sources reporting the life of Saint Typhasius is Bibliotheca hagiographica latina antiqua et mediae aetatis, which only mentions his name and the place and date of his death: Typasius veteranus m. Ticavis in Mauritania, sub Diocletiano. Ian. 11. His martyrdom does not appear in any liturgical calendar or extant martyrology.

The Roman Emperor Diocletian 284 305 ruled as part of the first Tetrarchy The division of power to four emperors had become a political and military necessity since the borders of the immense Roman Empire could not be controlled by a single ruler Dicoletian who himself had no son to share his power adopted his comrade in arms ...


Stephen Gilroy Hall

Born in Bedford Springs, Pennsylvania, to Thomas and Ellen Rouse Williams on 16 October 1849, George Williams was the oldest son of five siblings. Given the lack of educational opportunities for African Americans in western Pennsylvania, Williams received little formal schooling. In 1863, at the age of fourteen, he enlisted in the Union army. After leaving the army in 1868, Williams applied for admission and was accepted at Howard University in Washington, D.C., in 1869. He dropped out, however, and entered Wayland Seminary, also in Washington. In 1870 Williams entered Newton Theological Institution outside of Boston. Upon graduation from Newton, Williams was ordained and then offered the pastorate of a prominent African American congregation in Boston, the Twelfth Street Baptist Church, in 1875.

While pastor at Twelfth Street Baptist Church, Williams wrote a monograph, History of the Twelfth Street Baptist Church He left ...


John Hope Franklin

soldier, clergyman, legislator, and historian, was born in Bedford Springs, Pennsylvania, the son of Thomas Williams, a free black laborer, and Ellen Rouse. His father became a boatman and, eventually, a minister and barber, and the younger Williams drifted with his family from town to town in western Pennsylvania until the beginning of the Civil War. With no formal education, he lied about his age, adopted the name of an uncle, and enlisted in the United States Colored Troops in 1864. He served in operations against Petersburg and Richmond, sustaining multiple wounds during several battles. After the war's end Williams was stationed in Texas, but crossed the border to fight with the Mexican republican forces that overthrew the emperor Maximilian. He returned to the U.S. Army in 1867 serving with the Tenth Cavalry an all black unit at Fort Arbuckle Indian Territory ...


Todd Steven Burroughs

historian, preacher, writer, newspaper editor, soldier, and human rights activist. Williams wrote two major works of history: A History of the Negro Race in America from 1619 to 1880: Negroes as Slaves, as Soldiers, and as Citizens (1882, two volumes) and A History of the Negro Troops in the War of the Rebellion, 1861–1865 (1887). His open letter to King Leopold II of Belgium (r. 1865–1909), criticizing the country's brutal colonization of the Belgian Congo, was a seminal human rights document of the nineteenth century.

George Washington Williams was born in Bedford Springs, Pennsylvania. He ran away from home at the age of fourteen to fight for the Union during the Civil War. He was a soldier in Mexico before returning to the United States to serve in the U.S. Army's all-black Tenth Cavalry.

After receiving a medical ...