Samuel Ringgold Ward

Samuel Ringgold Ward

Samuel Ringgold Ward

In 1817, Samuel Ringgold Ward was born into slavery in Maryland. He was treated harshly and resented the entire system of chattel slavery. To escape this horrible system, Ward ran away, using the Underground Railroad to reach New York City. In New York, Ward became a school teacher and later a preacher.

His interest in journalism led him to the job of an editor of the Farmer and Northern Star. Wars became involved with the abolitionist movement that was very popular in New York. He, along with others founded the Liberty and Free-Soil parties, edited the Impartial Citizen in Boston and credited the Alienated American. Ward moved to Canada.  Continue reading

Caterina Jarboro

Caterina Jarboro

Caterina Jarboro

Caterina Jarboro (1903-1986) was a pioneering African American opera singer. In 1933 — twenty-two full years before Marian Anderson’s début at the Metropolitan Opera — impresario Alfredo Salmaggi hired Jarboro to sing with his opera company at the Hippodrome.

She was thus the first black opera singer ever to sing on an opera stage in America. (This milestone earned Salmaggi special recognition from First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.  Continue reading

George H. White

George H. White

George H. White

George Henry White (18 Dec. 1852-28 Dec. 1918), lawyer, legislator, congressman, and racial spokesman, was born near Rosindale in Bladen County, the son of Wiley F. and Mary White. It is possible that he was born into slavery, although the evidence on this is contradictory. He did attend public schools in North Carolina and received training under D. P. Allen, president of the Whitten Normal School in Lumberton.

In 1876 he was an assistant in charge of the exhibition mounted by the U.S. Coast Survey at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. After graduation from Howard University in 1877, he was principal of the Colored Grade School, the Presbyterian parochial school, and the State Normal School in New Bern. He studied law under Judge William J. Clarke and received a license to practice in North Carolina in 1879.  Continue reading

Nannie Helen Burroughs

Nannie Helen Burroughs

Nannie Helen Burroughs

Among the most outstanding African-American educators of the post-reconstruction era of the late nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth century were Dr. Anna Julia Cooper and Ms. Nannie Helen Burroughs. During this extremely difficult and rocky period for African-Americans these dedicated sisters were confronted with the arduous tasks of struggling for racial uplift, economic justice and social equality.

Nannie Helen Burroughs became a school founder, educator and civil rights activist. She identified African-American teachers such as Anna Julia Cooper as important role models. She attended public schools in Washington, D.C., graduated with honors in 1896, studied business in 1902, and received an honorary M.A. degree from Eckstein-Norton University in Kentucky in 1907.  Continue reading

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

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