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Robert Fay

Alston was born in Charlotte, North Carolina. As a teenager, he served as the art editor for his high school's annual magazine. Alston earned both his undergraduate and M.A. degrees from Columbia University in New York City. He gained popular recognition for his cover illustrations for the periodicals The New Yorker and Collier's. In the 1930s Alston taught at the Harlem Art Workshop, where he was a proponent of muralism as a black art form, and from 1935 to 1936 Alston directed the Harlem Hospital murals for the Federal Arts Project. In 1950 he became the first African American teacher at the Art Students League in New York. His best-known works are the paintings Family and Walking, which are noted for their figurative content, sculptural form, and brilliant color, and which portray the experiences of African American families in the 1950s and 1960s.


Sally Falk Moore

What was known about Africa before there were serious academic studies was sparse and variable in credibility. Anthropology, as a formal academic subject, was a late-nineteenth-century Anglo-Euro-American academic invention. It began as the comparative study of little-known non-Western societies, but very soon broadened into the study of all human societies. After some tentative starts, by the 1920s Africa had become a major area of serious research. Colonial administration made access easy, and the objective of achieving a greater understanding of the peoples of Africa attracted scholars, missionaries, and officials alike.

Inevitably, the first project was to identify who the peoples of Africa were, where they were situated geographically, and what their way of life might be. The task of information gathering was daunting. Hundreds of Languages and dialects were spoken by as many groups of people each of which identified itself as having a distinct history and culture There ...


Charles Rosenberg

known as “one of the best educated colored ladies of Oakland,” California (Beasley, p. 236), was born Rebecca Crews in or near Halifax or Pittsylvania counties, Virginia, the youngest child of Richard and Sylvia Crews. In 1870, when Rebecca Crews was five years old, her father was a blacksmith, her mother did washing and ironing, her older sister Martha Ann (who later took the married name of Ford) was hired out as a domestic servant, and her older sister Susan, like Rebecca, remained at home. She and Susan appear to have been the first in the family who learned to read and write.

Her parents and older siblings had been enslaved and an older brother George born in Halifax County Virginia was sold away from his parents at the age of two into Richmond Virginia He acquired the surname Mitchel It was by no means universal that formerly enslaved ...


Joan Marie Johnson

Cedar Hill was the home of Frederick Douglass and his family from 1878 until his death in 1895; it was later purchased, preserved, and opened to the public by two African American associations. Douglass wrote many of his post-Reconstruction speeches and articles in his study at Cedar Hill, most notably, his third autobiography, Life and Times of Frederick Douglass. He lived there with his first wife, Anna Murray Douglass; one of their children, Rosetta Douglass Sprague; various grandchildren; his second wife, Helen Pitts Douglass; and her mother.

The home is located in the Uniontown section of Washington, D.C., and was named Cedar Hill by Douglass after the large cedar trees on the property. Before Douglass, a land developer named John Van Hook had owned the home but lost it in 1867 to the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company when his business failed. In 1877 ...


Richard Alperin

teacher, coroner, scrivener, selectman, and justice of the peace, was born in New Market (now Newmarket), New Hampshire, the only child of Hopestill, a Portsmouth, New Hampshire, housewright, and Catherine Cheswell. The name is sometimes spelled “Cheswill.” Wentworth's grandfather, Richard Cheswell, a black slave in Exeter, New Hampshire, purchased twenty acres of land from the Hilton Grant after he gained his freedom. The deed, dated 18 October 1716/17 (the discrepancy arises from the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar) is the earliest known deed in the state of New Hampshire showing land ownership by a black man. The land was located in what was to become the town of Newmarket. Richard's only child, Hopestill (1712–? became a housewright and worked mostly in Portsmouth He took part in building the John Paul Jones House as well as other important houses Hopestill was active in local affairs and ...


Caryn E. Neumann

 Childhood is the time when identity is formed. In the modern sense, childhood has not always existed. The invention of childhood entailed the creation of a protracted period in which the child would ideally be protected from the difficulties and responsibilities of daily life—including the need to work. In this respect, slave and working-class children did not have much of a childhood since they were obliged to work and did not have years to devote to play and study. By the 1890s, the end of slavery and the growth of an African American middle class created the opportunity for African American children to engage in the activities that define childhood in modern America.

The history of how African Americans experienced childhood in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries cannot be separated from the legacy of slavery While the children were not slaves they had parents and grandparents with life views ...


Antoinette Broussard Farmer

educator, writer, and community leader, was born Lulu Mae Sadler, in Platte County, Missouri, the daughter of Harriet Ellen Samuels, a homemaker, and Meride George Sadler, a farmer and laborer. Both were former slaves. As a young man, Lulu's father ran away from the Foley plantation and his slave owner to join the military and fought for his freedom with the Second Kansas Colored Infantry, Volunteers for the Union in the Civil War. Meride registered in the military under his slave name Foley and reclaimed his father's name of Sadler after the war.

When Sadler was a little boy his mother whose name was China was tied to a tree to be whipped by her angry slave owner Lulu s grandfather Meride Sr ran to China s rescue and threw an axe that landed close to the slave master Foley s head To punish him Foley sold ...


Barbara A. Burg

educator and sociologist, was born in Washington, D.C., on Thanksgiving Day, the only child of Yetta Elizabeth Mavritte and John W. Cromwell Jr. Her father, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Dartmouth College in 1906, was the first black to become a practicing certified public accountant.

Adelaide McGuinn Cromwell grew up in a prominent family of educators in Washington, D.C. An only child, she grew up in a large townhouse on Thirteenth Street in the northwest portion of Washington, where she lived with her parents and her father's three sisters, two of whom were schoolteachers. Although she was surrounded by adults, it was her aunt Otelia Cromwell, the eldest of her father's siblings, who became an enduringly influential figure.

Named after her maternal grandmother, Adelaide (Addy) Mavritte, Adelaide Cromwell and her mother often spent weekends with her maternal grandparents who lived in Burrville in the then ...



Joshunda Sanders

Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author, was born Leon DeCosta Dash Jr. in New Bedford, Massachusetts, the son of Leon Dash Sr. and Ruth Dash. His father worked as a postal clerk (and eventually a supervisor) and his mother was employed as an administrator for New York City's Health Department. Dash was raised in the Bronx and Harlem, New York, and originally aspired to become a lawyer. His interest shifted to journalism while he worked as an editor of the school newspaper at Lincoln University, a historically black college in Pennsylvania. He studied at Lincoln for two and a half years before transferring to Howard University in Washington, D.C., in the 1960s. He found work steam-cleaning building exteriors, but in winter the work was too challenging for him, so in 1965 he started working indoors at the Washington Post as a copy person He worked the lobster shift ...


Connor Huydic

was born to Lynell Brown Dow and John Dow Sr. Lynell Dow was an educator who began teaching originally at Roosevelt High School in Gary, Indiana before moving to the City School of East Chicago, Indiana where she taught for forty-one years. Little is known about John Dow Jr.’s early childhood or his father.

Dow attended Indiana State University in Terre Haute, graduating in 1963, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and Physical Education. At about the same time he married Gloria Russell, formerly of Orlando, Florida. In 1968 Dow earned his Master’s Degree in Education with a Counseling Emphasis from Indiana State University. He went on to earn his doctorate degree in Educational Administration from Michigan State University in 1972 with a dissertation entitled A Comparative Study of Inner City Elementary Teachers and Principals Perceptions of and Role Expectations for the Leadership Behavior of Selected Inner City ...



Denise Burrell-Stinson

writer and professor, was born Percival Leonard Everett II, the elder of the two children of Percival Leonard Everett, a dentist, and Dorothy (Stinson) Everett, who assisted her husband in his practice for thirty years. The younger Percival was born on a U.S. Army base in Fort Gordon, Georgia, while his father was assigned a post as a sergeant and communications specialist. Shortly after his birth, the family moved to Columbia, South Carolina, where he spent his childhood, eventually graduating from A. C. Flora High School in 1974.

The climate of Everett s youth was stimulating nurturing a strong intellect The senior Everett was part of a long family legacy in the field of medicine his own father and two brothers were all doctors and he was also a voracious reader filling the family home with books The younger Everett inherited his father s literary ...


Mary Anne Boelcskevy

folklorist, educator, was born in Flemington, New Jersey, the middle of three children of the Reverend Redmon Fauset, an African Methodist Episcopal (AME) minister who died when Arthur was four, and Bella Huff, a white woman and widow with three children. He was also a half-brother to the author Jessie Redmon Fauset, whose mother was Annie Seamon, Rev. Fauset's first wife and mother to seven of their children. Fauset grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, attending Central High School and then the School of Pedagogy for Men, graduating in 1917. Beginning in 1918 he taught elementary school in the Philadelphia public school system and eventually became principal of the Joseph Singerly School in 1926, a position he held for twenty years. Alain Locke became Fauset s mentor encouraging him to pursue higher education and arranging a loan that enabled him to study ...


Krystal Appiah

educator and civic leader, was born Elizabeth Thorn, the daughter of Lydia and Francis Thorn. Flood was raised and educated in New Bedford, Massachusetts. In 1848 she married the mariner Joseph C. Scott and traveled with him to California during the Gold Rush, making the long journey by ship across the Isthmus of Panama. By 1852 the Scotts were living in Placerville, California, where Scott mined for gold until his death. A widow with three young sons, Flood left the rough frontier and moved to Sacramento, a larger town with a sizable black community.

Flood became an education activist after she unsuccessfully attempted to enroll one of her sons in a Sacramento public school Local school districts such as Sacramento had the power to exclude nonwhite children from attending their schools Furthermore the state legislature refused to appropriate taxes to fund separate schools for African Americans Flood ...


educator, literary and cultural critic, and leading scholar in African and African American studies, was born Louis Smith Gates in Keyser, West Virginia. Gates, nicknamed “Skip” by his mother at birth, grew up in nearby Piedmont, the son of Henry Louis Gates Sr., a mill worker and janitor, and Pauline Coleman Gates, a homemaker and seamstress. Born four years before the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education and encouraged by his parents, he excelled in Piedmont's integrated schools, including the Davis Free School and Piedmont High School, as did his older brother Paul, known as “Rocky,” who would become Chief of Oral Surgery at Bronx Lebanon Hospital.

At age fourteen Gates experienced two cataclysmic events in his young life the first a misdiagnosed slipped epithesis a hip injury that led to three surgeries in a year and the second his joining the Episcopal ...


Maggie Gerrity

writer, gay activist, and educator, developed a fascination with language early in life. Born in the Bronx, New York, Glave grew up both there and in Kingston, Jamaica, in neighborhoods populated with storytellers. These people, Glave recalled in a 2000 article in the Village Voice, could “go from irony to outrage to feigned surprise to deep drama with all of these gesticulations, intonations, and coded references in the span of just one sentence.”

From an early age Glave worked to capture this vibrant language in his own writing. He attended private schools in New York and began sending his stories to magazines while still in high school. He graduated from Bowdoin College with honors in 1993, and his writing first gained attention when he was in the MFA program at Brown University. In 1997 his story The Final Inning won an O Henry Prize ...


Alexander J. Chenault

educator and founder of Harlem's The Modern School, was born in Jacksonville, Florida, the only daughter of Nora Ethel Floyd and J. Rosamond Johnson. Her father, a singer, composer, and musician, and her uncle, the lawyer and poet James Weldon Johnson, cocreated the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Her mother was a homemaker. Mildred Johnson was married once to Hedley Vivian Edwards, a wealthy Jamaican businessman and horticulturist with whom she had one daughter, K. Melanie Edwards, and whom she later divorced (1963).

When Mildred was very young, the family moved to New York City, settling in Harlem. Mildred was homeschooled through kindergarten by her Bahamian paternal grandmother, Helen Louise Billet an educator herself When Mildred was six she began attending the School of Ethical Culture an elite private school in New York City She grew up in a house ...


Anita Nahal

home economist and university professor, was born in Henderson, North Carolina, to James Lee Kittrell, a farmer, and Alice Mills Kittrell, a homemaker and possibly a farmworker. Both were of Cherokee Indian and African American descent. The seventh of nine siblings and the youngest daughter, Kittrell attended school in Vance County, North Carolina, and received her BS degree in 1928 from Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) in Virginia. In 1930 she earned a master's and in 1938 a PhD, both from Cornell University. The first African American woman to receive a doctorate in home economics, Kittrell became an influential educator, nutritionist, and philanthropist, a true renaissance woman who epitomized leadership, wisdom, and progressive qualities in her life.

Kittrell was widely published and received many scholarships and awards during her academic career These included the Rosenwald Scholarship the General Education Board Scholarship the Anna Cora Smith Scholarship and ...


At the spectacular Mountain House at Lake Mohonk in Ulster County, New York, the Quaker proprietor Albert K. Smiley had held seven annual conferences on the needs of the quarter million Indians in the United States when, at the end of the 1889 session, the former president Rutherford B. Hayes mentioned a similar concern for 6 million Negro Americans, a comment leading to two “Mohonk Conferences on the Negro Question”: 4–6 June 1890 and 3–5 June 1891. For the first one, Smiley sent out invitations to several hundred men and women from across the country; George Washington Cable, Joseph Cook, Albion Tourgee, and William Hayes Ward, of the Independent sought to add black leaders to the list in vain and Cable and Cook boycotted the meetings But more than one hundred northern editors educators and pastors with a few southern spokesmen were at ...