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Sarah Mapps Douglass, ardent abolitionist, teacher and painter

In his voluminous biography of Paul Robeson, author Martin Duberman dips into the Bustill family, mainly to connect them to the Robeson clan.
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Esteemed abolitionist, David Ruggles

David Ruggles was born free on March 15, 1810 in Lyme, Connecticut, but few matched his commitment to end slavery in this country.
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Renowned comedian Eddie “Rochester” Anderson

Last week we featured actress Gertrude Howard in the column and she had an amusing male counterpart in the early Hollywood years—Eddie “Rochester” Anderson.
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Nipsey Russell, comedic genius and master of rhyme

Unlike Redd Foxx, Slappy White, Dick Gregory and Moms Mabley, Nipsey Russell had an easier and safer welcome to the living rooms of America.
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Rep. Joseph H. Rainey, a prominent Reconstruction leader

America’s simmering discord, its factions of democracy and intolerance ever at odds, exploded last week in mob violence at the Capitol Building.
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Zelia Page Breaux: A music teacher who mentored Ralph Ellison

One of the longest entries in “The Achieving Black Woman in Oklahoma, Past and Present” edited by Etta Perkins, Christine Pappas and R. Darcy is on Zelia Page Breaux (1880-1956).
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Dr. Oliver Cromwell Cox, a cogent arbiter of class, race and caste

If nothing else, Isabel Wilkerson’s bestseller Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, has resurrected a longstanding debate among scholars about the relevance of the term, particularly when caste was defined by the sociologist Oliver Cromwell Cox.
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Aileen Cole Stewart, a Black nurse during WW I and the 1918 pandemic

A little more than a century ago in 1918, the same year the U.S. entered World War II, the Spanish influenza swept across the nation like it’s doing today.
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Elizabeth Carter Brooks, architect and women’s club leader

In recent columns male African American architects such as Vertner Handy and George Washington Foster have been featured.
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Black architectural forerunner, George Washington Foster, Jr.

Several years ago after featuring the famed architect Vertner Tandy in this column, we promised to profile his partner one day.
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Virginia Proctor Powell Florence, her degree in library science a first for a Black woman

There are hundreds of notable African American women librarians in the nation’s history, including Jean Blackwell Hutson, Regina Anderson Andrews, Dorothy Porter Wesley and Clara Stanton Jones, all of whom have been featured in this column.
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Harun Kofi Wangara (Harold G. Lawrence), a gifted teacher and historian

A week or so ago, while researching the life and times of the late poet Naomi Long Madgett, I came across the name of Harold Lawrence
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James P. Ball, a Black pacesetter in photography

Many years before Gordon Parks, and even James Van Der Zee set their cameras and focused their lens on Black life, James Presley Ball had already captured treasured moments in his daguerreotype photography.
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Josephine Ruffin, Women’s Club Pioneer

Few books chronicling African American history are without at least a mention of Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin.
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Clement Morgan, a Harvard first, attorney and activist

There is a classic photograph of 12 men, seemingly all Black, posing in front of what appears to be either Niagara Falls or a replicated background.
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