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For information on

Birds: See Bee Eater; Flamingo; Guinea Fowl; Honeyguide; Hornbill; Ostrich; Secretary Bird; Vulture; Weaverbird.

Dangerous insects and parasites: See Guinea Worm; Tsetse Fly; picture, Onchocerca volvulus, in Onchocerciasis; picture, Plasmodium, in Malaria.

Fish: See Fisheries, African; Coelacanth; Tilapia.

Hunters (carnivores): See Aardvark; Aardwolf; African Hunting Dog; Cheetah; Crocodile; Fennec; Hyena; Leopard; Lion; Mongoose; Serval.

Plant-eating animals (herbivores): See African Elephant; Camel; Duiker; Eland; Giraffe; Gnu; Gorilla; Hartebeest; Hippopotamus; Hyrax; Impala; Kudu; Manatee; Rhinoceros; Warthog; Zebra; Zebu.

Primates: See Baboon; Chimpanzee; Colobus Monkey; Galago; Lemur.

Snakes and lizards: See Boomslang Snake; Cobra; Gecko; Viper.

Article

Marion Barry's 1994 election to a fourth term as mayor of Washington, D.C., three years after his conviction for cocaine possession, was just another twist in the turbulent career of the sharecropper's son from the Mississippi Delta. Born near the small town of Itta Bena, Mississippi, Barry moved to Memphis, Tennessee, at the age of five. Barry grew up amid poverty, segregation, and racism. Despite these circumstances, he excelled academically and became the first member of his family to attend college. At LeMoyne College, a racially mixed institution in Memphis, Barry joined the campus chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), becoming its president in his senior year.

Barry received his bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1958 and that fall began postgraduate study at historically black Fisk University in Nashville. Barry organized the campus's first NAACP chapter and helped stage nonviolent Sit-Ins ...

Article

Elizabeth Mitchell

slave and guide, achieved fame in the decades preceding the Civil War. Nothing is known of his parents or early life, but it is known that Bishop was a slave belonging to Kentucky lawyer Franklin Gorin, who in the 1830s purchased Mammoth Cave for $5,000. Previous cave guides had been local white men, but Gorin either saw something promising in the teenaged Bishop or reasoned that he could save money by training a slave to do the same work. Either way, beginning in the spring of 1838 Bishop received training from the previous guide and quickly took to the job, learning the several miles of trail and numerous pits, rock formations, and other attractions of his underground place of employment.

Bishop was allowed to spend many hours exploring the cave on his own. In the fall of 1838 he penetrated a confusing maze of trails known as the ...

Article

James Sellman

The boll weevil, a beetle of the insect family Curculionidae, is the most destructive cotton pest in North America. The adult female boll weevil deposits from 100 to 300 eggs in cotton bolls, the fruit of the plant where the cotton fiber is produced. Within a short time, they can destroy a considerable proportion of a cotton crop. When the eggs hatch, the larvae remain inside the bolls, feeding on the cotton fiber. Because larvae take an average of just two or three weeks to mature, mate, and lay their own eggs, as many as ten generations of boll weevils may attack a single year's crop.

The boll weevil is exceptionally resilient and has proven able to withstand even the high technology of modern agriculture While the boll weevil larvae are inside the cotton bolls insecticides are useless against them making it vital to spray crops specifically when the adult ...

Article

Michael J. Ristich

military officer and conservationist, was born in Troy, New York, the son of James Boutelle of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, and Emeline Lamb Boutelle. Little is known of his childhood and adolescent years. However, at age twenty‐one, possibly passing as white, Boutelle began his ascent through the ranks of the military to become a highly decorated officer, including earning the rank of adjutant general.

On 15 August 1861 Boutelle enlisted in the Fifth New York Calvary Regiment. On 4 November 1862 he was promoted from quartermaster sergeant to second lieutenant. Boutelle and his regiment were then assigned to Pennsylvania to battle against Robert E. Lee's Confederate forces. During the Gettysburg campaign Boutelle was injured when he fell from his horse during a charge on Hanover on 30 June 1863. Because of his injuries Boutelle was assigned to the First Brigade, Third Calvary Division on 17 January 1864 as an ...

Article

Charles Johnson

Born on September 12, 1840, in Troy, New York, Frazier Augustus Boutelle was the son of James Boutelle from Fitchburg, Massachusetts, and Emeline Lamb Boutelle. He began his army career in 1861, the year the Civil War began, as a member of the Ira Harris Cavalry, subsequently designated the 5th New York Cavalry Regiment. After serving as quartermaster sergeant, he was commissioned a second lieutenant on November 5, 1862. Participating in the Gettysburg campaign, Boutelle was injured on June 30, 1863, when he fell from his horse during a charge at Hanover, Pennsylvania. Consequently, he was assigned to First Brigade, 3rd Cavalry Division, on January 17, 1864, as an ambulance officer. Boutelle did not return to his regiment until he reenlisted in the army in 1864 and he remained with the regiment until he was discharged with the rank of captain on ...

Article

Rachel L. Jones Williams

conservationist, landscaper, and the first African American forester in the United States, was born in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, the fifth of six children born to Alcinda (Dickson) a homemaker, and the Reverend John Calvin Brock, an educator and minister in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. Reverend Brock was a veteran of the Civil War, serving as quartermaster sergeant of Company F of the 43rd Pennsylvania Regiment. The Brock family moved throughout south central and south eastern Pennsylvania, settling in West Chester, Pennsylvania, around 1890. Four of the six Brock children (including Ralph) were known to be college educated and active in the community. Maria L. (8 May 1879–1968) taught in the West Chester School District for over thirty years; she was the English and Elocution teacher of the civil rights campaigner, Bayard Rustin and bequeathed the family home to the Charles A Melton Arts ...

Article

Frank L. Green

pioneer, farmer, and cattleman, was born probably in Pennsylvania or Louisiana. His mother was Scotch-Irish, his father perhaps West Indian. He may have been born as early as 1770, but that would have made him seventy-four years old by the time that he came to Oregon in 1844. Oral tradition among the family gives his birth year as 1779.

Bush was a successful cattle trader in Missouri beginning around 1820, and he became quite wealthy. In 1831 he married Isabella James, a German woman; they had five children. Because Missouri was not well disposed toward people of color, Bush took the opportunity to travel west in a wagon train led by Michael T. Simmons of Kentucky.

Bush found Oregon only a little more tolerant than Missouri The provisional government voted to exclude blacks and to whip those who would not leave but the legislation was ...

Article

Moya B. Hansen

noted farmer, was born to George Washington Bush (c. 1790–1863), a pioneer in the Oregon Territory, and Isabella James (c. 1809–1866), a German American. William was the eldest of five sons born in Missouri: Joseph Tolbert, Rial Bailey, Henry Sanford, and January Jackson.

William's grandfather Mathew Bush is believed to have been the son of a sailor from the British West Indies who married an Irish American woman named Maggie. William's father, George, was born in Pennsylvania and received a Quaker education from the Stevenson family for whom Mathew worked. The Bush family moved to Cumberland County, Tennessee, with the Stevensons and, as a free black man, Mathew was later able to inherit a portion of the Stevenson estate.

George Bush left Tennessee as a young man to join the U.S. Army. He fought at the 1812 Battle of New Orleans ...

Primary Source

The son of a freed slave, Benjamin Banneker (1731–1806) spent the early part of his life in agriculture, farming tobacco and wheat in Maryland and Pennsylvania. During that time, he trained himself in astronomy, a hobby that unfairly earned him a reputation among his neighbors as a lazy farmer who spent his nights staring into the sky. His expertise eventually drew the attention of Major Andrew Ellicott, who had been appointed by President Washington to survey the plot of land that would eventually become the nation’s capital. During his time with Ellicott, Banneker operated several astronomical instruments in order to record the placement of the stars over a given period of time. He later drew from these experiences to write his first almanac, Benjamin Banneker’s Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia Almanack and Ephemeris, for the Year of Our Lord, 1792 Shortly before its publication Banneker sent the manuscript to ...

Article

For information on

Specific diseases: See Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome in Africa: An Interpretation; Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome in the United States; Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome in Latin America and the Caribbean; Disease and African History; Disease in Latin America and the Caribbean; Diseases, Infectious, in Africa ...

Article

The phrase environmental racism was first used to describe an incident in North Carolina in 1982, when authorities planned to collect about 27,000 cubic meters (32,000 cubic yards) of soil that had been contaminated with toxic chemicals known as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Contaminated soil from fourteen locations in the state was to be stored in a toxic waste facility in Warren County, on land that had been owned predominantly by blacks since the time of slavery. Local residents believed that this site had been chosen not for its environmental suitability but because it was located in a poor, predominantly black, and politically powerless community.

State officials had not counted on the outrage of local citizens or in their effectiveness in organizng a protest demonstration More than 500 people were arrested in a large public demonstration against the implied racism behind the choice of the Warren County location They viewed ...

Article

David Michel

minister and historian, was born one of six children to Elijah John Fisher, a Baptist minister, and Florida Neely in Atlanta, Georgia. His father later pastored the Olivet Baptist Church in Chicago, where he had moved his family. The young Fisher grew up in Chicago but was sent to Atlanta to attend Morehouse College where he earned the BA in 1918. He was immediately ordained, but worked for the YMCA as camp secretary. Fisher married Ada Virginia Foster, with whom he would have six children.

In 1919 Fisher returned to Chicago to take over the International Baptist Church. One year later he moved to Racine, Wisconsin, to pastor the Zion Baptist Church. In 1921 he published a short biography of Lott Carey, a pioneer black Baptist missionary to West Africa. In 1922 Fisher earned the BD and thus became the first black graduate of Northern Baptist ...

Article

The relationship of flamingos to other birds is uncertain; some evidence allies them with the herons and ibises, some with the ducks and geese; and there is fossil evidence suggesting a relationship to shorebirds. Their bills bend abruptly downward about midway; the upper mandible is narrow, and fits into the lower like the lid of a box. When they feed, flamingos dip the head under water and scoop backward with the head upside down. The edges of the bill have tiny narrow transverse plates called lamellae. The large fleshy tongue pressing against the inside of the bill strains the water out through the lamellae, leaving behind the small invertebrates and the vegetable matter upon which the bird feeds.

The largest species is the greater flamingo It has two rather different subspecies one vivid red and the other paler The first of these breeds in the Caribbean area from Yucatán and ...

Article

Frank A. Salamone

anthropologist, was born in Syracuse, New York, to Huldah Hortense Dabney, a schoolteacher, and James Lowell Gibbs Sr., executive director of a community center. He attended public primary and secondary schools in Ithaca, New York. He continued his education in Ithaca, receiving a BA in Sociology and Anthropology from Cornell University in 1952. During the 1953–1954 school term he attended the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England, where he was enrolled under the faculty of archaeology and anthropology. In addition Gibbs received a number of other graduate fellowships and honors, including a National Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. From 1956 to 1958 he was a Ford Foundation Foreign Area Training Fellow, and in 1958–1959 he was a National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellow. Gibbs received his PhD in Social Anthropology from Harvard University in 1961 His dissertation Some Judicial Implications of Marital Instability among the Kpelle examined a West ...

Article

Mary Krane Derr

anthropologist, was born in Norfolk, Virginia, to James and Odelia Blount Harper Harrison. Her maternal grandparents, Arthur and Tola Harper, came originally from rural North Carolina. Tola Harper, the daughter of slaves, taught in a one room schoolhouse there. During the 1920s, they moved to Norfolk to improve their children's opportunities. When Faye was seven, she discovered a closet full of National Geographic magazines in her family s new house She read them repeatedly marveling at the diversity of human cultures and wondering how they became different As early as fifth grade she excelled at school Her teachers especially respected and encouraged her serious perceptive questions about human societies By high school she was so fascinated by Latin America and the Caribbean that she learned French Portuguese and Spanish One of her teachers tutored her in Spanish language literature A sorority awarded her a scholarship ...

Article

Isabel Shipley Cunningham

research botanist and plant collector, was born in Washington, D.C., the second son of Edward Wilson Jefferson and Bernice Cornelia Bond, both U.S. government employees. Although his father held two jobs to support his family during the Depression, he found the time to carefully tend a flower garden, the pride of his neighborhood. A six-year-old Roland watched with interest as seeds his father planted sprouted and grew. When his family visited Potomac Park to see the famous Japanese cherry trees in bloom, Roland came to love the trees, not imagining that he would become an international authority on flowering cherries. After attending public schools in Washington, Jefferson served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. Following his discharge, he entered Howard University under the G.I. Bill of Rights and received his BS degree in Botany in 1950 and then pursued graduate study Searching for ...

Article

Richard Erskine Frere Leakey's parents, Louis and Mary Leakey, introduced him to paleoanthropology, the study of fossilized remains of extinct humanlike creatures called hominids. The elder Leakeys, whose discoveries at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania revolutionized theories of early Human Evolution, often took Richard with them on their fossil-hunting expeditions. Leakey left Nairobi's Duke of York School at the age of seventeen to start a business leading wildlife photography safaris.

Although he had no formal training, Leakey began fossil-hunting when he was only nineteen. His most famous discoveries were made in the area around Lake Turkana (formerly Lake Rudolf) in northern Kenya where he uncovered more than 200 fossils of early hominids These include an almost complete skeleton of an adolescent boy found at Nariokotome on the western shore The 1 6 million year old Turkana Boy is the most complete skeleton ever found from that period of ...

Article

Steven J. Niven

elephant hunter, Bronx Zoo exhibit, and tobacco worker, was born in the rain forest near the Kasai River in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. The historical record is mute on the precise name of his tribe, but they were a band of forest-dwelling pygmies—averaging less than fifty-nine inches in height—who had a reciprocal relationship with villagers of the Congolese Luba tribe. Otabenga and his fellow pygmies hunted elephants by playing a long horn known as a molimo to replicate the sound of an elephant bleat. Once they had roused the animal from the forest, they killed it with poisoned spears and traded the elephant hide and flesh to the Luba villagers in exchange for fruits, vegetables, and grains. Very little is known about Otabenga's family life, other than that he was married with two children by the age of twenty.

Around that time while ...

Primary Source

Neil DeGrasse Tyson (b. 1958) is one of the most respected astrophysicists in the world. Since the publication of his first book Merlin’s Tour of the Universe in 1989, Tyson has made a career of answering complex questions about the universe in simple prose for a general audience. As a result, he has received numerous honorary degrees and awards (including the Public Service Medal from NASA), hosted the PBS series NOVA Science Now, served on several government-sponsored commissions on space exploration, and in 1996 became in the youngest director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York. Tyson is also a noted skeptic of religion, and in the essay below from Natural History he analyzes the contentious relationship between faith and science throughout the ages focusing specifically on intelligent design and the god of the gaps explanation for unknown phenomena The tendency to invoke the supernatural he argues greatly ...