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Abd Allah ibn Yasin  

Elizabeth Heath

The Almoravids movement of Abd Allah ibn Yasin conquered parts of northwestern Africa and later Spain during the eleventh and twelfth centuries and converted the defeated populations to Malekite (Maliki) Sunni Islam. Little is known of Abd Allah ibn Yasin's life prior to 1035, when as a student he was visited by a Sanhadja Berber chieftain and invited to return home with him to teach his people the true faith of Islam A devout Muslim Abd Allah ibn Yasin was scandalized by the lax and immoral practices of the Sanhadja Berbers He encouraged them to convert to Malekite Sunni Islam imposing a strict interpretation of Qur anic law Eventually he even restructured the Berber s military to conduct jihads holy wars in accordance with the Qur an By 1041 however the Berber chieftains resented the religious scholar s rule and sent him away Abd Allah ibn Yasin and ...


Abner, David, Sr.  

Charles Rosenberg

landowner, businessman, and state legislator, was born enslaved in Dallas County Alabama, to parents named Sarah and Pete, who had been born in South Carolina. David, like his parents, was the property of a family named Abner. There is some dispute as to his birth date—some giving 1826 and others 1838—but the most reliable date appears to be December 1820, as suggested by a letter from his youngest daughter. It is not known when David took the Abner surname for himself, a common but by no means universal practice for formerly enslaved persons. He was sent to Texas in 1843, driving a covered wagon for the newly married daughter (Thelma) of the man who held title to him.

Her father considered his new son in law unreliable and entrusted David to get his daughter safely to her new home and manage ...



The origin of the movement is traced to Muhammad ibn Tumart, an Arab reformer in Morocco who preached moral reform and the doctrine of the unity of divine being. He gathered a large following of Arabs and Berbers and in 1121 was proclaimed Al Mahdi (“The Rightly Guided”). The founder of the dynasty was the Berber Abd al-Mumin, who succeeded Ibn Tumart and took the title of caliph. He conquered Morocco (1140–1147) and other parts of North Africa, thus putting an end to the previous dynasty of the Almoravids By 1154 he also ruled Islamic Spain and part of Portugal Notable among successive Almohad rulers was Yakub al Mansur who ruled in Spain from 1184 until his death He aided the sultan Saladin against the crusaders and was responsible for the construction of numerous architectural monuments such as the the Hassan Tower a 55 m 180 ft ...



Between 1053 and 1061 a large part of northwestern Africa was under the rule of a dynasty that began as an Islamic religious movement espousing a return to a more ascetic form of Islam Leadership of the movement in the western Maghreb passed to Yusuf ibn Tashfin a Berber chieftain ...


Athanasius, of Alexandria  

Stacey Graham

bishop and patriarch of Alexandria, theologian, author, and doctor of the Church, is significant for his staunch opposition to Arianism, his prolific theological works, and his exile-ridden episcopate during a tumultuous time for Church and imperial politics. His most influential work is the seminal hagiography of Western monasticism, Life of Anthony.

Athanasius was born in Alexandria Egypt probably in the year 296 though possibly as late as 300 At an early age he came to the attention of Alexander the patriarch of Alexandria who ordained him as a priest and brought him into the patriarch s service Alexandria in the fourth century cultivated a mixture of intellectual philosophical and religious schools of thought from its long standing pagan Jewish and Christian communities The city was economically vital as the main grain supplier for the imperial capital at Constantinople and it ranked third among the four patriarchates in the early ...


Baybars, I  

Allen J. Fromherz

fourth of the Bahri dynasty of Mamluk sultans of Egypt, was born a slave. His full name was al-Malik al-Zahir Rukn al-Din al-Salihi al-Bundukdari. Although his date of birth is uncertain, most scholars agree he was born around 1233 far away from Egypt in the steppes of the Kipchak Turkish nomads. Before being purchased by the sultan, he took the name of his first immediate master, a relatively minor character named Aydakin Bundukdar. After demonstrating exceptional qualities as a youngster, Baybars was purchased by the Ayyubid sultan and successor to Saladin, Malik Salih. He started as only one of many fellow Kipchak slaves who served the Ayyubids. In fact, there were so many Kipchak soldiers in Egypt that it stimulated the creation of Kipchak-Arabic dictionaries such as the thirteenth-century Codex Cumanicus Soon after being purchased by Malik Salih he would have been subjected to the code of strict military ...


Brown, Morris  

Will Gravely

African Methodist Episcopal minister and bishop, was born of mixed parentage in Charleston, South Carolina, where he spent his early and middle years. Apparently self-educated, he worked as a boot maker and shoe repairman; he married Maria (maiden name unknown), with whom he had six children. Associated with the city's community of free people of color, Brown earned a reputation for assisting slaves in purchasing their freedom and for teaching and advising both free and enslaved African Americans in the region.

Soon after his religious conversion and his joining of the Methodist Episcopal (ME) Church, Brown was licensed to preach. In that role he had greater access to the slave population as well as to groups of free African Americans. As the number of blacks grew, both generally and within the African church in Charleston, Brown emerged as their leader. As a result of an 1816 dispute over a ...


Burr, John P.  

Charlton W. Yingling

abolitionist and black rights activist, was born to a woman of African descent, probably named Eugenie, who was from French Saint‐Domingue (later Haiti). He was allegedly the unrecognized son of Aaron Burr, U.S. Senator from New York and the third vice president of the United States, and he was likely not the only child of this relationship. John P. Burr was also known as Jean‐Pierre Burr, which was probably his birth name. His mother was, by all accounts, a governess for the Burr family who was hired to care for their children during their stay in Saint‐Domingue. The majority of sources indicate that Burr–s mother was Caribbean‐born and of African descent, though one later source says she was originally from Calcutta. John P. Burr may have been born in New Jersey, and he was described as being very fair‐skinned.

By 1818 Burr had made his home in Philadelphia ...


Cuffe, Paul  

Donald R. Wright

Atlantic trader and early African colonizationist, was born on Cuttyhunk Island off southern Massachusetts, one of ten children of Kofi (later Cuffe) Slocum, a freed slave originally from West Africa's Gold Coast, and Ruth Moses Slocum, a Wampanoag Native American, both farmers. Kofi Slocum's Quaker master freed him in the mid-1740s and, although he was excluded by race from membership in the Society of Friends, Kofi and Ruth Slocum lived by Quaker principles—hard work, frugality, and honesty. This diligence paid off in the 1766 purchase of a 116-acre farm in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, on Buzzard's Bay. At his death in 1772 Kofi bequeathed the farm to his sons Paul and John.

Taking his father s African name Cuffe and respecting his dual Native American and African American identity the self educated Cuffe sought his fortune at sea Whaling was open to men of any race so Paul worked on Atlantic ...


Douglass, Grace Bustill  

Eric Gardner

activist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Cyrus Bustill and Elizabeth Morey. Her mother was of mixed race, part English and part Native American (Delaware). Her father, already fifty years old at the time of her birth, was a baker who had purchased his own freedom and had built a thriving business that included supplying American troops in the Revolution, winning him the endorsement of George Washington. A Quaker in practice (though not a formal member), he was also active in both aiding his fellow free blacks in Philadelphia—he was an early member of the Free African Society—and fighting against slavery. When Bustill retired in 1803 to set up a school for black children in his home, Grace took over his shop at 56 Arch Street and opened a millinery business. Three years later she married Robert Douglass a free African American from Saint Kitts who ...


Easton, Hosea  

Donald Yacovone

minister, author, and abolitionist, was born in North Bridgewater (later Brockton), Massachusetts, to James, a successful businessman, and Sarah Dunbar Easton. Easton'sTreatise on the Intellectual Character, and Civil and Political Condition of the Colored People of the U. States (1837) was the nation's first systematic study of racism and stands with David Walker's Appeal (1829) as among the most important writings by African Americans during the early nineteenth century. The seven children of the Easton family blended African, American Indian, and white ancestry. Thus, the concept of “race,” as whites began to redefine it in the early nineteenth century, possessed little meaning to the Eastons. Indeed, one of Hosea Easton's brothers married into North Bridgewater's most distinguished white family.

James Easton had been a much respected businessman in the greater Boston area and a Revolutionary War veteran and viewed ...



Anaïs Wion

Ethiopian Christian saint, was born in the region of Serae (in present-day southern Eritrea) on 21 Hamle under the name of Ma’eqebe Egzi. His father, the makwannen (governor) Krestos Mo’a, and his mother, Senna Heywet, entrusted him to the care of his maternal uncle Dan’el, a member of a ruling family of Eastern Tigray and abbot of Qorqor Maryam monastery in Gar‘alta who went by the monastic name of Zakaryas. He conferred on his nephew the monastic vows and his monastic name, Ewostatewos.

There are several hypotheses as to where Ewostatewos first settled after he left Qorqor Maryam One theory suggests that he settled in Serae which became the core of the Eustatean monastic network although it seems strange that Ewostatewos would have freely chosen this remote and non Christianized area to begin his preaching His first foundation would have thus been Debre Serabi Another hypothesis sustained by the very ...


Flavius Nubel  

Eric Fournier

, North African military leader and leader of a revolt against Rome, is mainly known through inscriptions, as well as brief passages of Ammianus Marcellinus’s Res gestae. Literary sources that mention Nubel were mainly concerned with the later revolts against Rome orchestrated by two of his sons, Firmus and Gildo. This is the case with Ammianus’s passing remarks, for the historian’s main purpose was to describe the suppression of Firmus’s revolt by Theodosius the elder (father of Emperor Theodosius [379–395], who ruled when Ammianus was writing). This situation explains our fragmentary knowledge of Nubel’s life and career. Such basic information as when he was born and when he died (probably by the early 370s) is not known. The best estimation puts him as active in the middle of the fourth century CE.

An inscription from Rusguniae Tamenfoust Algeria also known as La Pérouse contains important information about a certain ...


Forten, James  

Julie Winch

businessman and social reformer, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Thomas Forten, a freeborn sailmaker, and Margaret (maiden name unknown). James's parents enrolled him in the African School of abolitionist Anthony Benezet. When James was seven, his father died. Margaret Forten struggled to keep her son in school, but he was eventually forced to leave at age nine and work full time to help support the family. His family remained in Philadelphia throughout the American Revolution, and Forten later recalled being in the crowd outside the Pennsylvania State House when the Declaration of Independence was read to the people for the first time.

In 1781, while serving on a privateer, Forten was captured by the British and spent seven months on the infamous prison ship Jersey in New York harbor.

After a voyage to England in 1784 as a merchant seaman Forten returned ...



Douglas R. Egerton

slave and revolutionary, was born near Richmond, Virginia, at Brookfield, the Henrico County plantation of Thomas Prosser. The identity of Gabriel's parents is lost to history, but it is known that he had two older brothers, Martin and Solomon. Most likely, Gabriel's father was a blacksmith, the craft chosen for Gabriel and Solomon; in Virginia, the offspring of skilled bondpersons frequently inherited their parent's profession.

Status as an apprentice artisan provided the young craftsman with considerable standing in the slave community as did his ability to read and write a skill perhaps taught to him by the plantation mistress Ann Prosser As Gabriel developed into an unusually tall young man even older slaves looked to him for leadership By the mid 1790s as he approached the age of twenty Gabriel stood six feet two or three inches high and the muscles in his arms and chest betrayed nearly ...


Gardner, Newport  

crystal am nelson

community leader and musician, was born Occramer Marycoo in West Africa. Although his country of origin is unknown, a 1757 ship manifest shows that he was brought to America at the age of fourteen. He was on one of that year's seven slaving voyages that brought a total of 831 African slaves to Rhode Island. Gardner was one of the 106,544 slaves brought to Newport, Rhode Island, between 1709 and 1807. Caleb Gardner, a white merchant and member of the principal slave-trading team Briggs & Gardner, bought the teenage Marycoo and baptized him into the Congregational faith as Newport Gardner.

The forced exposure to Christianity aided Gardner s rise to a leadership position in the New World He quickly learned English from daily Bible studies with his master who freed Gardner after overhearing him pray for emancipation Upon gaining his freedom Gardner combined his new religious fervor with ...


Hall, Primus  

Margot Minardi

Revolutionary War veteran and community activist, was by his own account born in Boston to Delia Hall, a domestic servant, and Prince Hall. Most of what is known about Primus's early life comes from his application for a military pension in the 1830s. When he was one month old, he reported, he was “given” to Ezra Trask, a shoemaker in Essex County, Massachusetts. At age fifteen Primus decided he did not want to pursue shoemaking and convinced Trask to release him from service. Upon receiving a certificate of freedom the young man sought his own fortune for several years, working as a farmer and truckman in Salem (a leading commercial port and one of the largest cities in colonial America) until the Revolutionary War broke out.

Pay receipts and other military records document several stints of Revolutionary service under the name Primus or Priam Trask between ...


Ibn Tumart, Muhammad  

Allen J. Fromherz

charismatic religious reformer, Mahdi, founder of the Almohad movement, is one of the most important but almost the most enigmatic of medieval North Africans. The basic details of the life of Muhammad ibn Tumart were contested within the sources. Estimates of the date of his birth in the Berber, Moroccan village of Igilliz-n-Warghan or Numarkan in the Anti-Atlas Mountains south of the Sus Valley vary between 1078 and 1098. His name, “Tumart,” is Berber. When he was born, his parents proclaimed, “a tumart inu issak ayiwi,” which means, “Oh my joy comes from you child.” Born into a noble line of Berber chiefs or ugallids, and able to claim Arab heritage as a sharif a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad Ibn Tumart s claimed dual identity would help him later in life as he preached a fundamental interpretation of the Arabic Qurʾan to the Berber Masmuda Mountain ...



Eugene Cruz-Uribe

ancient Egyptian rebel leader, the son of Psammetichus of Libya, led a revolt (c. 464/3–458/7 BCE) against the Persians during the reign of Artaxerxes I (r. 465–425 BCE). Most of the information about Inaros derives from the classical sources of Herodotus, Ctesias, Diodorus, and Thucydides. The sole example of Inaros’s name from an Egyptian source notes that he was the prince of a Libyan tribe (Bakalu), though it used the standard dating formula for Egyptian kings.

The revolt of Inaros corresponded roughly to the beginning of the reign of Artaxerxes I When the early Persian kings began their reigns revolts often broke out at select areas of the Persian Empire In the case of Egypt such revolts happened at the beginnings of the reigns of Darius I and Xerxes I In both of those cases ephemeral rebel kings declared themselves pharaoh and attempted to rule all of Egypt It is ...



S. I. Martin

Capital of the United Kingdom and a historic centre of black political and cultural organization and development.

1.The black population in 2005

2.From Roman to Elizabethan London

3.London and the slave trade

4.Georgian and Victorian London

5.Black organizations