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Wayne Dawkins

literary critic. Anatole Broyard was born in New Orleans, the son of Paul Broyard, a carpenter, and Edna Miller. Young Anatole was the second of three children. His older sister, Lorraine, was fair complexioned and his younger sister, Shirley, was brown complexioned. Anatole was pale to olive skinned as a boy. This color distinction is important, because that issue defined the future writer's life.

Anatole's family moved to Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant in the 1920s. Anatole's father arrived in town as a master carpenter, but he learned that the carpenters’ union barred applicants of color. Paul Broyard decided to identify himself as white in order to work. The rest of the family did not overtly pass for white; they muted their racial identity, and that worked in multiethnic Brooklyn.

Young Anatole meanwhile picked up the nickname “Buddy,” according to the historian Henry Louis Gates Jr. In ...


Fred Lindsey

writer, editor, educator, artist, and intellectual, best known as a social critic. Cruse defined the relationships between African Americans and American society. His 1967 book The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual: A Historical Analysis of the Failure of Black Leadership energized activists intellectually, both within the United States and in a few black nations, and thus contributed to the roots of the so-called black revolution.

Harold Wright Cruse was born in Petersburg, Virginia; his father was a railroad porter. During Cruse's childhood his father and his stepmother divorced, and he was taken to New York to live with his father's sister in Queens. Before graduating from high school, Cruse was introduced to what remained of the Harlem Renaissance, to the country's radicalism of the 1930s, and to a lecture given by the scholar W. E. B. Du Bois all of which provoked his thinking about ...


Donna L. Halper

author and journalist, was born in Oviedo, Florida, to Elijah and Lillian. Some early biographical sketches give his birth year as 1890. He was raised on his grandfather's farm in Hawkinsville, Georgia, and went to the only school in that town for black students. He attended Howard University Academy, a preparatory school run by Howard, but by 1917, when he was in his junior year, he left to join the military. He later explained that he was an idealist who believed his military service would gain him more respect in the still-segregated United States. In 1916 he married Edythe Mae Chapman of Washington, D.C. They would have one son together.

After his military service was completed, Gordon and his wife moved to Boston. He was hired by the Boston Post in 1919 becoming one of the few black reporters at a white owned newspaper He ...


Theresa C. Lynch

writer and activist, was born in Trenton, New Jersey, the second of three sons of Elizabeth Ernestine Bowman Washington. According to one of Washington's brothers, when he was young, his mother “cleaned white women's houses” (personal communication). Later in his life, she was a file clerk for the New Jersey Department of Labor and Industry. Nothing is known of his father, who was not present in Washington's life. In 1963 his mother married Cleveland Lewis and took his last name.

After graduating in 1957 from Hamilton High School West in Trenton and serving in the Ninety-seventh Signal Company, first in Germany and then in Vietnam, Washington became active in the civil rights, antipoverty, and antiwar movements of the 1960s and early 1970s. He became friends with the activists Paul Krassner, Abbie Hoffman, Phil Ochs, and Jerry Rubin and he was considered the first black ...


Maxim Zabolotskikh

Ethiopian physician, writer, and civil servant, also known as Dr. or Hakim Charles Martin, was born on 21 October 1864 in Gonder. Workneh lost his parents during the siege of Maqdala by English troops in 1868. He was passed into the custody of a Colonel Chamberlain, who took him to India, where the expeditionary force sent against Emperor Tewodros II was originally located. The colonel died when the boy was only seven, and Workneh was raised by Christian missionaries. A certain Colonel Martin agreed to become his benefactor and paid the costs of his keep. Hence, Workneh adopted the names of two Englishmen, who helped him, and became Charles Martin.

Workneh graduated from Lahore Medical College in 1882 and went to Scotland, where he was certified in medicine and surgery in 1891 After eight years in Burma as a medical officer he had a chance to revisit Ethiopia ...