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Adams, John Quincy  

Wilbert H. Ahern

John Quincy Adams was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the son of Henry Adams, a prominent minister and educator, and Margaret Corbin. Both his parents were free persons of color. Following private schooling in Wisconsin and Ohio, Adams graduated from Oberlin College. After a brief teaching stint in Louisville, in 1870 he followed his uncle, Joseph C. Corbin, to work in Arkansas in the Reconstruction. By 1874 he had risen from schoolteacher to assistant superintendent of public instruction. His lifelong activism in the Republican Party began in Arkansas; there he twice served as secretary to Republican state conventions, was elected as justice of the peace on the party ticket, and held the offices of engrossing clerk of the state senate and deputy commissioner of public works. The defeat of the Arkansas Republican Party in 1874 and the racial repression that followed led Adams to return ...


Childs, Faith  

Robert Repino

literary agent, was born Faith Hampton Childs in Washington, D.C., one of four children of Thomas Childs and Elizabeth Slade Childs, both public school English teachers who had attended Hampton University. Her father, a book collector, encouraged his daughter to learn about the world through reading, which Childs has credited for sparking her interest in literature. Following her graduation from high school, Childs studied history and political science at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, graduating in 1973 Five years later she acquired a law degree at American University in Washington D C Despite practicing law for several years in three different cities Childs found herself in her early thirties in need of a drastic career change The work she has claimed was simply not intellectually challenging Sachs et al and she wished to enter a life of the mind Baker p 50 that her father had encouraged ...


Clifford, John Robert  

Connie Park Rice

newspaper editor and civil rights lawyer, was born in Williamsport, Virginia (later West Virginia), the youngest of three sons born to Isaac Clifford, a farmer, and Mary Satilpa Kent, free blacks living in Hardy County. John Robert joined the Union army on 3 March 1865, rising to the rank of corporal in the 13th U.S. Heavy Artillery. After serving in Kentucky, Tennessee, and eastern Virginia under General Ulysses S. Grant, Clifford volunteered for service at Chicago, Illinois.

After the Civil War, Clifford remained in Chicago, staying from 1865 to 1868 with the Honorable John J. Healy, an acquaintance of his father, and graduating from Chicago High School. Clifford worked as a barber before going to live with an uncle in Zeno, Muskingum County, Ohio, where he attended a school taught by Miss Effie McKnight and received a diploma from a writing school conducted by a Professor ...


DeKnight, Freda  

Donna Battle Pierce

was born Freda Celeste Alexander to Frederick Alexander, a steward for the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad Company and Eleanor Alexander, originally from Massachusetts, a nurse. She was the younger of two daughters. The much-traveled Alexander family considered Topeka home base at the time of DeKnight’s birth.

Because their mother performed traveling nurse duties at the time their father died, both sisters moved with their aunt to Mitchell, South Dakota, home to the state’s elaborate Corn Palace. They lived with their mother’s brother, Paul Scott, a regionally celebrated caterer, and his Mississippi-born wife, Mamie, whom the girls grew to call Mama Scott.

DeKnight credits growing up in Papa and Mama Scott’s hard-working, food-oriented household, where most ingredients were sourced from their farmland and smokehouse, as the prime inspiration for her recipe-centered future.

Due to the small population of Black students growing up in South Dakota during the early decades ...


Diop, Alioune  

Robert Fay

Alioune Diop was born in Saint-Louis, Senegal, whose inhabitants enjoyed automatic French citizenship during the colonial period. He obtained his secondary education at the Lycée Faidherbe in St.-Louis, and then studied in Algeria and at the Sorbonne in Paris. He took a position as professor of classical literature in Paris and represented Senegal in the French senate after World War II (1939–1945). In 1947 Diop founded Présence Africaine, perhaps the most influential intellectual journal of its time on anticolonial and emancipatory culture and politics among Africans and peoples of African descent. With frequent contributions from his friend and associate Léopold Sédar Senghor, Diop’s journal helped foster the Négritude movement, which aimed to promote an African cultural identity and the liberation of the people of Africa and the African diaspora. In 1949 Diop founded Présence Africaine Editions a leading publishing house for African authors Diop ...


Diop, Alioune  

Christopher Hogarth

Senegalese intellectual, was born on 10 January 1910 in Saint-Louis, Senegal. Best known as the founder (in 1947) of the literary review and later press Présence Africaine (1949), Diop was a key figure in the movement for the emancipation and recognition of Africa and its cultures.

In his childhood Diop was sent to a qurʾanic school to learn Arabic and the tenets of Islam but was also introduced to Christianity by his maternal aunts As an adult he would be baptized as a Christian in France and given the name Jean After qurʾanic school Diop went to primary school in Dagana and then received his high school education at the Lycée Faidherbe in Saint Louis from which he graduated with a baccalaureate in classics Greek and Latin Since Saint Louis was then among the colonized Senegalese towns considered part of France Diop became a French citizen and ...


Ferguson, Thomas Jefferson  

Adah Ward Randolph

educator, politician, activist, pastor, author, and Masonic leader, was born in Essex County, Virginia, to free parents of mixed white and black ancestry. In 1831 Virginia outlawed the education of free blacks, and many of them migrated to other states, including Ohio. The Act of 1831 may account for the migration of Ferguson's family to Cincinnati, which Ferguson listed as his home when he attended Albany Manual Labor Academy (AMLA) in Albany, Ohio. While it is unclear how Ferguson attained an elementary education, the Albany Manual Labor University records list T. J. Ferguson of Cincinnati as a student in the collegiate department during the 1857–1859 academic year. James Monroe Trotter, veteran of the Fifty-fifth Massachusetts Regiment and musicologist, also attended AMLA. Incorporated as a university in 1853 Albany Manual Labor University AMLU offered an integrated education which accepted students regardless of color ...


Galloza, Rubén Darío  

Alejandro Gortázar

was born in Montevideo on 22 June 1926. He is recognized both in Uruguay and the rest of the world mainly for his paintings. He lived in Uruguay between 1926 and 1970, and later on between 1990 and 2002. In the twenty years out of his country, he lived in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela. Much of his work remained in those countries. In 1993 stated that he had sold more than three thousand paintings all over the world Galloza s childhood was marked by the experience of living in Montevideo and then in the countryside because of his mother s constant change of jobs He was clarito light skinned mulatto in his own words because his father was a white man even though he never knew him When he was fourteen years old he and his mother returned to the capital city Soon after he ...


Hamilton, Robert  

Debra Jackson

abolitionist, political activist, and journalist, was born in New York City, the son of Hannah (1793–1864, maiden name unknown) and William Hamilton. William Hamilton, a freeborn black, was a carpenter by trade who set a stellar example for the New York black community as a strong leader in the fight for political and civil equality. William Hamilton was a staunch supporter of William Lloyd Garrison and the Liberator but stopped short of adopting Garrison's doctrine of pacifism. This aspect of William Hamilton's abolitionist ideology made a deep impression on his son Robert—one that lasted a lifetime. During the riotous summer of 1834 in New York when the mob spirit was in the city Robert recalled that his father took him to a hardware store purchased a pistol and instructed him to use it if attacked by the rampaging mob Boys as we were ...


Hamilton, Thomas  

Debra Jackson

journalist and abolitionist, was born in New York City, the youngest son of the abolitionist and political activist William Hamilton and Hannah (1793–1864, maiden name unknown). William Hamilton, a freeborn black, worked as a carpenter and was a respected, influential member of the New York City black community. His son Thomas followed this example and became a prominent member of the community in his own right.

As a young boy Thomas Hamilton learned the newspaper business by working in the neighborhood of “Printing House Square,” the lower Manhattan area where many newspaper offices were located. Hamilton first worked as a carrier and in many other capacities for a variety of newspapers, including the Colored American. The journalist Philip A. Bell offered posthumous praise when he recalled that Hamilton went from the offices of the Colored American and worked “as mailing clerk on the Evangelist and ...


Johnson, Eunice Walker  

Adam W. Green

fashion show producer and publisher, was one of four children born to Nathaniel D. Walker, a physician, and Ethel (McAlpine) Walker, a high school principal and university educator in Selma, Alabama. Along with helping her husband, John Johnson (1918–2005) build the Johnson Publishing Company, Walker also ran the Ebony Fashion Fair, a highly prominent African‐American fashion show.

The importance of education was ingrained in the young Eunice: her father paid his way through Talladega College and medical school at Shaw University; her maternal grandfather, William H. McAlpine, a close friend of Booker T. Washington, founded and served as the second president of Selma University; and her two brothers would become physicians, and her sister a professor.

Johnson attended Talladega College, where she received her bachelor's degree in social work in 1938 with a minor in art She moved north to Chicago ...


Johnson, Eunice Walker  

Mona E. Jackson

With business acumen and a keen aesthetic sense, Eunice Walker Johnson has served as the fashion editor of Ebony magazine and the secretary-treasurer of Johnson Publishing Company. In addition she has been producer and director of the Ebony Fashion Fair traveling fashion show for more than forty years. She is also a philanthropist who has donated more than $49 million to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and other African American charities.

Eunice Walker Johnson was born in Selma, Alabama, to Nathaniel D. and Ethel Walker. Her family displayed a strong commitment to gaining higher education and to hard work, and it passed those principles down through the generations. Johnson’s maternal grandfather, William H. McAlpine who was born into slavery was the incorporator and second president of Selma University in Selma Alabama He was also one of the founders and the first president of the National Baptist ...


Kamil, Mustafa  

Haggai Erlich

Egyptian political activist, journalist, and writer, was born on 14 August 1874 into a middle-class family. His father was an army officer. Mustafa Kamil first attended the traditional Qurʾan school and then a modern secondary school, which he completed in 1891. He was then admitted to the Khedival Law School and immediately distinguished himself by establishing a student journal, Al-Madrasa (The School).

Kamil caught the eye of Prince ʾAbbas, who in 1892 became the new Khedive ʿAbbas Hilmi II. Earlier that year, the Khedive supported the sending of Mustafa Kamil to study in France in order to build connections useful to the Khedive’s anti-British strategy. In November 1894 Kamil finished law school in Toulouse, France, and returned to Egypt to establish an Association for the Motherland’s Revival, organizing young nationalists and the Khedive’s men. In May 1895 he returned to France and established contacts with Francois Deloncle a ...


Lampkin, Daisy Elizabeth Adams  

Kate Tuttle

Daisy Lampkin is best known for her work as national field secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from 1935 to 1947. In addition to her NAACP service, Lampkin brought energy and passion to the Pittsburgh Courier, the nation's premier African American newspaper, as well as a host of clubs, organizations, and causes. Lampkin was also active in the National Association of Colored Women, for whom she served as vice president in the 1940s; the National Council of Negro Women, on whose board of directors she sat; and Delta Sigma Theta, an African American sorority.

Historians are unsure of the date and place of Lampkin's birth, but it is known that she grew up in Reading, Pennsylvania, moved to Pittsburgh in 1909, and married William Lampkin in 1912 Around this time she became active in the Lucy Stone League ...


Lorde, Audre  

Sholomo B. Levy

poet, writer, and activist, was born Audrey Geraldine Lorde in Harlem, New York City, the youngest of three daughters of Frederic Byron Lorde, a laborer and real estate broker from Barbados, and Linda Bellmar, from Grenada, who sometimes found work as a maid. Lorde's parents came to the United States from the Caribbean with hopes of earning enough money to return to the West Indies and start a small business. During the Depression the realization that the family was going to remain exiled in America slowly set in. Growing up in this atmosphere of disappointment had a profound impact on Lorde's development, as questions of identity, nationality, and community membership occupied her mind.

Ironically this woman whose living and reputation derived from her skillful use of words had to struggle as a child to acquire speech and literacy She was so nearsighted that she ...


Mack, Cecil  

Elliott S. Hurwitt

songwriter, was born Richard C. McPherson in Norfolk, Virginia. Nothing is known of his parents or his early life. He studied at the Norfolk Mission College and at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and set his sights on the study of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. At first music was merely an avocation, but he gradually found his musical interests crowding out his medical ones; he began serious music studies in New York with the eminent Melville Charlton, the organist at some of New York's leading churches and synagogues for several decades. His activities during the years around 1900 were manifold evincing a considerable degree of energy In addition to his musical activities he was an enthusiastic member of the New York Guard rising to the rank of lieutenant He was also later active in the African American entertainment brotherhood known as the Frogs together with the ...


Martin, Louis  

Todd Steven Burroughs

journalist, newspaper publisher, and adviser to three presidents: John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Jimmy Carter. Working behind the scenes, Martin, a Democratic operative, was one of the most influential blacks in the White House during and after the civil rights movement. He assisted those presidents in finding qualified black candidates like Vernon Jordan, Robert Weaver, and Patricia Roberts Harris for important posts. He was also the founder in 1970 of the Joint Center for Political Studies (now called the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies). He was the editor and publisher of the Michigan Chronicle from 1936 to 1947 and editor in chief of the Chicago Defender from 1947 to 1959.

Louis Emanuel Martin was born in Shelbyville, Tennessee, but grew up in Savannah, Georgia. He eloped in 1937 with Gertrude Scott whom he met in Savannah He ...


Mitchell, Joseph E.  

Debra Foster Greene

newspaper publisher, editor, community leader, and entrepreneur, was born Joseph Everett Mitchell in Coosa County, Alabama, one of eight children of Henry Mitchell, a farmer and sawmill owner, and his wife, Cassana. In 1898 Mitchell left Alabama for work in Atlanta, Georgia, but when President William McKinley called for volunteers for the Spanish American War, he enlisted and became a member of the Twenty-fourth Infantry Regiment, one of the six African American regiments in the U.S. Army. The regiment served in the Philippine Islands from 1899 until August 1902, during the Philippine Insurrection. After his honorable discharge Mitchell returned to Alabama to marry Mattie Elizabeth Thomas on 20 January 1901 at Cottage Grove, Alabama. On 2 June 1940, two years after Mattie's death, he married Edwina Wright, daughter of Richard Robert Wright Sr. thirty year president of Georgia State College ...


Overton, Anthony O., Jr.  

Debra Foster Greene

was born into slavery in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana to Anthony O. Overton, Sr. and Martha Deberry Overton. His father, Anthony Sr., was a businessman and Reconstruction-era Republican politician in Louisiana. At age thirteen, Overton and his family, which included his twenty-year-old brother, Mack Wilson Overton, migrated to Topeka, Kansas in December 1877 as part of the African American exodus from the South to Kansas.

Overton attended school in Topeka and took the three-year English and business course at Washburn College. According to the college catalog, the course was designed for “many who have neither the time nor the means for pursing a more extended course of study.” He then went to Lawrence, Kansas to study law at the University of Kansas. There he met Clara Gregg, whom he married on 14 June 1888, and together they had four children, Everett (1889), Mabel (1891 Eva ...


Parrott, Russell  

Lois Kerschen

Russell Parrott was prominent in Philadelphia's black circles in the early 1800s. A lay reader at the historically important Saint Thomas Episcopal Church, Parrott became an assistant to the pastor in 1812. Parrot was a close ally of James Forten's, and these two members of the Philadelphia African Institution were both notable activists of their day.

Parrott saw the colonization of America as a desire for gain and believed that this greed had led to the slave trade. Parrott's writings were filled with vivid descriptions and strong phrases that illustrated the conditions of slavery. He decried the emotional scarring that resulted from the brutal capture of Africans and their voyage to America, the tragic separation of families, and the cruelty of the slaveholders. In 1812 in an address at the traditional New Year s Day celebration of the abolition of the slave trade Parrott expressed sympathy for ...