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Ambrose Caliver

Ambrose Caliver

Ambrose Caliver

A major contributor to the field of adult education, Dr. Ambrose Caliver devoted much of his professional life to adult literacy. While this area continued to occupy his interest and best efforts, he also took an active role in such matters as displaced persons, human rights, public affairs, aging, and professional development of adult educators.

Born in 1894, Caliver began his career as a high school principal in Tennessee. Before his death in 1962 he served in the following capacities: faculty member at Fisk University; specialist in the education of Negroes, United States Office of Education; organizer of the National Advisory Committee on the Education on Negroes.  Continue reading

Arna Wendell Bontemps

Arna Wendell Bontemp

Arna Wendell Bontemp

Arna Wendell Bontemps was an important writer in the Harlem Renaissance. He was born on October 13, 1902 in Alexandria, Louisiana. The family home is now the Arna Bontemps African American Museum and Cultural Arts Center.

From the age of three, Arna lived with his family in the Watts section of Los Angeles. His family moved to Los Angeles just three days before the San Francisco earthquake! His was a loving family. His parents always encouraged him in his education. He attended public schools and graduated in 1916 at the age of 17 from Pacific Union College [U.C.L.A.], having completed his degree in three years.  Continue reading

Elmer Simms Campbell

Elmer Simms Campbell

Elmer Simms Campbell

Elmer Simms Campbell  (b. Jan. 2, 1906, St. Louis, Mo., U.S.–d. Jan. 27, 1971, White Plains, N.Y.), first black American cartoonist to publish his work in general-circulation magazines on a regular basis.

Campbell won a nationwide contest in cartooning while still attending high school. He later studied at the University of Chicago and the Art Institute of Chicago. He then worked as a railroad dining-car waiter, amusing himself by drawing caricatures of the passengers, one of whom liked his work and gave him a job in a commercial-art studio in St. Louis.  Continue reading

James Amos Porter

James Amos Porter

James Amos Porter

was born in Baltimore in 1903. At an early age, he learned to draw and loved pictures. In school, Porter worked hard to perfect his artistic skills. By the time he reached high school, people recognized that he would become an artist and a scholar.

After high school, Porter attended Howard University in Washington D.C. There he received his bachelor’s degree in art. In 1927, Porter was appointed as an assistant professor at Howard. Later, he studied with Dimitri Ramanowsky in New York at the Art Students’ League and at the Sorbonne in Paris. His studies came to an end after Porter received a master’s degree in art from New York University in 1936.  Continue reading

Henry Blair

The drawing of the Seed-Planter by Blair used on the patent application in 1836.

The drawing of the Seed-Planter by Blair used on the patent application in 1836.

Henry Blair, one of the earliest black inventors to receive a patent, was born in Montgomery County, Md. around 1807. Little is known about his personal life. Blair is assumed to have been free since slaves could not legally obtain patents. He received two patents, one in 1834 for his seed planter and another in 1836 for a cotton planter. For many years he was thought to be the first black American to receive a U.S. patent. Later,it was recognized that Thomas L. Jennings received his patent in 1821 for the invention of the dry cleaning process. Many people are unaware of this and still cite Henry Blair as the first black patent holder.  Continue reading

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