physician and public health provider, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the fourth of five children of Hillard Boone Alexander, a horse trainer, and Virginia Pace Alexander. Born enslaved in 1856 to James and Ellen Alexander in Mecklenburg, Virginia, Alexander's father migrated to Philadelphia in 1880. Alexander's mother was born enslaved in 1854 to Thomas and Jenne Pace in Essex County, Virginia. She and her brother migrated to Philadelphia in 1880. In 1882 Hillard and Virginia were married. A working-class but respectable family, the Alexanders lived in the city's Seventh Ward with their three boys, Raymond Pace Alexander, Milliard, and Schollie, and two girls, Irene and Virginia. Strong family values were instilled in the Alexander children at an early age. Church, education, and a solid work ethic were emphasized in the home. Shortly after the birth of the youngest child in 1903 ...
LaNesha NeGale DeBardelaben
nursing educator and administrator, was born in Milledgeville, Georgia, the daughter of a poor family about whom nothing is known. In 1901 Andrews applied to Spelman College's MacVicar Hospital School of Nursing. On her application, she asked for financial assistance, explaining that her family could not help her pay. Her mother had a large family to support and “an old flicted husband,” who was not Andrews's father. Andrews also said that she had been married but did not currently live with her husband and expected no support from him. Letters praising Andrews and talking about her “good moral character” that came from the pillars of Milledgeville society proved instrumental in securing Andrews's admission.
In 1906 Andrews received her diploma from Spelman and set upon her life s work During her training she resolved that I wanted to work for my people how or where this was to be done ...
María Teresa Cortés Zavala
(who during the regime change in Puerto Rico in 1898 led the Republican Party), was born on 7 September or 27 July 1857 in the town of Bayamón, located in the north central area of the island of Puerto Rico. Celso Barbosa was the eldest son of Hermógenes Barbosa, a bricklayer, and Carmen Alcalá. The Barbosa family was part of a wave of immigration to Puerto Rico in the first half of the nineteenth century. Hermógenes Barbosa was descended from a group of Dominican exiles who left Santo Domingo during the Franco-Haitian occupation. They were black people who were artisans, farmers, and ranchers. His mother, although born on the island, belonged to a second generation of Venezuelans living in Puerto Rico who witnessed their economic situation diminish, and were compelled to express their reformist position at a time of economic and political crisis.
The Barbosa Alcalá family was part of ...
psychology professor and journalist, was born in Columbia, South Carolina, to Frances G. Green Baumgardner and her husband James L. Baumgardner (sometimes spelled Bumgardner). Both his parents were teachers at Allen University in Columbia; James taught math and theology. In one source Frances Baumgardner's maiden name is listed as Ramsay. Little is known about Herbert's childhood, but he was the second child, with an older brother, Luther Ovid, and two younger sisters, Thelma and Victoria. The 1910 census suggests that all four children were living with their parents at 2330 Plain Street (later Hampton Street) in Columbia. The home, which the Baumgardners owned outright without a mortgage appears to have been in a “neighborhood of predominately middle and upper income residences” (Trinkley and Hacker, pp. 45–46). As of 1910 two lodgers were also living in the home which would have provided additional income for the family Luther O ...
Mary Krane Derr
nursing educator and administrator, was born in Jacksonville, Florida. Little information is available about her parents or other aspects of her personal background. When she was nine years old Bessent lost her mother. Her grandmother then raised her, instilling in her a strong belief that self‐giving is the measure of personal worth. After graduating from high school in Jacksonville, Bessent worked as a laboratory and X‐ray technician, an unusual job for a black woman of her time and place but one that led to her groundbreaking career in nursing.
During and after slavery African Americans especially women often served as lay healers and tenders of the sick Starting in the nineteenth century as nursing became a more formally organized profession the color line sliced through it Even though black communities urgently needed more health care black nurses were denied membership in the American Nurses Association ANA educational opportunities and all ...
teacher and educational psychologist, was born in Washington, New Jersey, the son of Robert and Elizabeth Brodhead. His father, born in New York, was an assistant chef on a railroad cafe car, and his mother, born in Pennsylvania, a laundress at a hotel. He had one older brother, Frank E., and an older sister, Annie. Their father died prior to 1910.
Brodhead graduated from West Chester State Normal School, Pennsylvania, in 1919, and began teaching in the West Chester public schools, boarding with W. J. Williams, his wife, Mary, and infant son, William Jr. During the early 1920s he moved to Philadelphia, beginning a lifelong career in the city's public school system. He married Fleta Marie Jones, a native of Philadelphia, around 1924. Their only child, a daughter named for her mother, was born 12 August 1928.
While teaching ...
SaFiya D. Hoskins
social psychologist, was born Herman George Canady in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, son of Howard T. and Ana Canady. His father was a minister. Herman Canady was a student at Douglass Elementary School and Favor High School in Guthrie, Oklahoma. Upon graduating from high school he enrolled at Northwestern University Theological School in Evanston, Illinois, a suburb north of Chicago. While a student at Northwestern, Canady was awarded a Charles F. Grey Scholarship for his outstanding performance. Canady developed an interest in the behavioral sciences in Theological School and in 1927 graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and a minor in Psychology. The following year he earned a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology from Northwestern.
In September 1928 Canady became a member of the faculty at West Virginia Collegiate Institute later called West Virginia State College and chair of the psychology ...
Caryn E. Neumann
nurse, educator, and leader, was born Mary Elizabeth Lancaster in Baltimore, Maryland, the fourth child of John Oliver Lancaster, a musician, and Adeline Beatrice Swann, a homemaker. In 1918 the Lancasters divorced and M. Elizabeth went to live with her mother's sister in Washington, D.C., where she attended public school. The family had little money and Carnegie worked part-time at a whites-only cafeteria. She graduated from Dunbar High School at age sixteen. Like many girls who were good at a science but who lacked the money to pay for college, Carnegie pursued a diploma in nursing at a hospital-affiliated school. Such schools typically gave students small stipends as well as free tuition in exchange for their labor on hospital wards. Carnegie added two years to her age to get admitted to the all-black Lincoln School of Nursing in New York City. She graduated in 1934.
The hospitals ...
Steven J. Niven
psychologist, was born in the Panama Canal Zone, the son of the Jamaican immigrants Miriam Hanson Clark and Arthur Bancroft Clark. In 1919, Miriam left her husband and brought Kenneth and his sister Beulah to New York City. He attended public schools in Harlem, which were fully integrated when he entered the first grade, but were almost wholly black by the time he finished sixth grade. Kenneth's mother, an active follower of Marcus Garvey, encouraged her son's interest in black history and his academic leanings, and confronted his guidance teacher for recommending that Kenneth attend a vocational high school. A determined woman, active in the garment workers’ union, Miriam Clark persuaded the authorities to send Kenneth to George Washington High, a school with a reputation for academic excellence. In 1931 he won a scholarship to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C.
Clark attended Howard at time of ...
Donna M. Abruzzese
psychologist, activist, and children's advocate, was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas, the elder of two children born to Kate Florence Phipps and Dr. Harold Phipps. Dr. Phipps, who was a native of the West Indies, provided a privileged environment for his family in a time of entrenched racism. He owned his own medical practice and also managed a hotel and spa for elite black patrons in the resort town of Hot Springs.
Although Clark remembered a happy childhood, her father's status did not entirely shield her from the racist world around her. At the age of six, Clark experienced her first lynching. A black man was dragged through the streets of Hot Springs, taken out of town, and hanged. Clark did not witness the actual hanging, but the intense emotion of the experience remained with her for the rest of her life.
As a whole however Clark never felt ...
Jayne R. Beilke
social anthropologist, psychologist, and educator, was born William Allison Davis in Washington, D.C., the son of John Abraham Davis, a federal employee, and Gabrielle Dorothy Beale, a homemaker. His younger brother John Aubrey Davis became a civil rights activist and educator. He also had a sister, Dorothy. Davis enrolled at Williams College in Massachusetts, where segregationist policies prevented him from living on campus. He earned a BA in English and was the valedictorian of the class of 1924. From 1925 to 1932 he taught English literature at Hampton Institute, an historically black school in Virginia. One of his students at Hampton was the sociologist St. Clair Drake Jr., who later collaborated with Davis and Gunnar Mydal on The Negro Church and Associations in the Lower South: Research Memorandum [and] The Negro Church and Associations in Chicago (1940).
Davis earned an MA ...
jazz bassist, was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. His parents’ names and occupations are not recorded. An only child, Davis began studying the piano when he was five but soon dropped it because his family did not own a piano. When he was in sixth grade, he wanted to play trumpet or trombone but began on the tuba since it was the only instrument available.
In 1951, when he decided to seriously start his music career, Davis switched to string bass. Very technically skilled from the start, Davis was one of the first musicians who had no difficulty switching between jazz and classical music. He studied with the principal bassist of the Philadelphia Orchestra (Anselme Fortier) and attended Juilliard and the Manhattan School of Music from 1953 to 1956. In addition, he led his own quartet and played on radio, on television, at clubs, and at colleges.
Louis M. Abbey
periodontist, public health specialist, and educator, was born Clifton Orin Dummett in Georgetown, British Guiana (later Guyana), the youngest of four children of Eglantine Annabella Johnson, a homemaker, and Alexander Adolphus Dummett, a pharmacist and registered dentist. Clifton attended St. Phillips Elementary School from 1924 until 1930 and Queen's College high school from 1930 until 1936, both in Georgetown, British Guiana. His values were strongly influenced by his father, mother, and uncle, Reginald Johnson, an Edinburgh-trained public health physician in Georgetown. “I came from a family that believed in the equality of man. I respected all peoples and demanded similar respect from those with whom I came in contact” (personal communication with the author).
Right after high school, in 1936 Alexander Adolphus Dummett obtained a student visa for his son to study in the United States at Howard University in Washington D ...
psychologist and educator, was born Unionville, Indiana, to Halston Vashon Eagleson. His mother's name is unknown. At some point before Eagleson's first birthday, his family moved to Bloomington, Indiana. By the age of fourteen both his parents had died. He went to work helping his brother and sister by doing shoe repair and shoe shining, work he continued to do even after he earned his doctorate.
As many members of his family did and would, he attended Indiana University. He received his B.A. in psychology there in 1931, his M.A. in 1932, and his Ph.D. in 1935. But it was not until February 1936 that he received a faculty position at North Carolina College for Negroes now North Carolina Central University at Durham Because of planned reductions in salary he left for Spelman College in Atlanta Georgia later that year where he stayed for the ...
Rosalyn Mitchell Patterson
professor of physiology, research physiologist, and medical college administrator, was born Eleanor Lutia Ison, the elder of two daughters born in Dublin, Georgia, to Luther Lincoln Ison, a high school teacher, and Rose Mae Oliver Ison, a teacher and accomplished musician. She attended high schools in Tuscumbia, Alabama, and Quitman, Georgia, before moving with her family to Monroe, Georgia, in the 1940s. Franklin graduated from the Carver High School in 1944 as valedictorian of her class.
At the age of fifteen Franklin entered Spelman College, with the intent to become a doctor. However, under the guidance and tutelage of Dr. Helen T. Albro, chair of the Biology Department, and Dr. Barnett F. Smith professor of biology and Wisconsin graduate she chose to pursue postgraduate study in endocrinology and physiology at the University of Wisconsin Franklin who had played piano and oboe in ...
Jon M. Harkness
neuropathologist and psychiatrist, was born in Monrovia, Liberia, the son of Solomon Carter Fuller, a coffee planter and Liberian government official, and Anna Ursala James. His father, the son of a repatriated former American slave, was able to provide a private education for his children at a school he established on his prosperous plantation. In the summer of 1889 young Solomon Fuller left home to return to the country where his grandfather had once been held in bondage. He sought higher education at Livingstone College in Salisbury, North Carolina, a college for black students founded ten years earlier.
Fuller graduated from Livingstone in 1893 with an AB and proceeded to pursue a medical degree at Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn, New York. After one year he transferred to Boston University School of Medicine, where he received an MD in 1897 Although he was deeply disturbed ...
Benjamin A. Jackson
Presbyterian minister, clinical and counseling psychologist, and educator, was born in Goldsboro, North Carolina, to Edmund Taylor Gordon, a physician, and Mabel Ellison Gordon, a schoolteacher. At the time of his birth and during Gordon's early life there, Goldsboro, a small city in eastern North Carolina, was typical of southern locales, with a pattern of racial segregation and racial prejudice. Despite the segregation that he experienced, Gordon grew up in privileged circumstances. His parents, both educated professionals, were firmly ensconced members of the black upper middle class.
After completing high school in Goldsboro, Gordon attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. During his early college years Howard University suspended Gordon for a semester for not making proper academic progress. When he returned, he was lucky enough to find a mentor in the person of Professor Alain Locke the noted black philosopher and scholar who was ...
educator and psychologist, was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Lerlene C. and Paul L. Guthrie. Shortly after his birth his family moved to Richmond, Kentucky, where his father had become a principal. They moved again in 1938 when his father became principal of Dunbar High School in Lexington, Kentucky.
Guthrie played the clarinet and earned a band scholarship to Florida A&M College in 1948. There he took several psychology courses and considered becoming a psychologist. He doubted whether he could make a career in psychology but his professor, Joseph Awkward, encouraged him in this pursuit. The Korean War interrupted his studies and he enlisted in the United States Air Force. While in the service he met and married Elodia Sanchez. After his discharge he returned to Florida A&M (now University) and completed his degree in psychology in 1955.
The Brown vs the Board of ...
Verity J. Harding
scholar, activist, psychologist, and coordinator of the first Black Studies program in an American university, was born in Slick, Oklahoma, one of five children of Seddie Henry Hare, a sharecropper, and Tishia Lee Davis Hare, a civilian janitor in the Navy. As a child he moved between California and Oklahoma, before settling on the family farm in Slick once his mother could afford to purchase it with her savings. His father left the family home when Hare was nine. The young Hare showed promise in two careers, boxing and academia, but was encouraged by teachers at L'Ouverture High School to attend college. Though he continued to box, Hare graduated from Langston University in Oklahoma in 1954 with an AB in Sociology. It was at Langston that he met Julia Reed, whom he would marry in 1956 Hare continued to show promise in both fields reaching ...
jazz trumpeter, figure skater, and psychiatrist, was born in New York City. His father, Billy Williams, was the lead singer in Billy Williams and the Charioteers, while his mother was a dancer who was one of the Brown Twins at the Cotton Club. She danced with Bill “Bojangles” Robinson and the Nicholas Brothers and can be seen in the Fats Waller short film of “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” sitting on the piano while he sang to her. After Billy Williams's death, Henderson's mother married a doctor in San Francisco. His stepfather had many musician patients, including Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Duke Ellington.
Henderson began on the trumpet when he was nine. His first teacher was Louis Armstrong who gave him a few informal lessons Henderson moved to San Francisco with his family when he was 14 He studied at the San Francisco Conservatory of ...