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Alston, Melvin Ovenus (07 October 1911–30 December 1985), educator, was born in Norfolk, Virginia, the son of William Henry “Sonnie” Alston, a drayman, and Mary Elizabeth “Lizzie” Smith, a laundress. Of middle-class background in terms of an African-American family in the urban South in the 1920s, he grew up in a house that his family owned, free of any mortgage. After attending Norfolk’s segregated black public schools and graduating from Booker T. Washington High School, he graduated from Virginia State College (B.S., 1935), honored for his debating and for excellence in scholarship, and began teaching math at Booker T. Washington High School in 1935. Beginning in 1937 he served as president of the Norfolk Teachers Association, and he also held local leadership positions in the Young Men’s Christian Association and the First Calvary Baptist Church....

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Blackwell, Randolph Talmadge (10 March 1927–21 May 1981), attorney, educator, and civil rights activist, was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, the son of Joe Blackwell and Blanche Mary Donnell. He attended the city’s public schools for African-American youth and earned a B.S. in sociology from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University in Greensboro in 1949. Four years later Blackwell earned a J.D. degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C. In December 1954 he married Elizabeth Knox. The couple had one child. After teaching economics for a year at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical College in Normal, Alabama, near Huntsville, Blackwell became an associate professor of social sciences at Winston-Salem State Teachers College in North Carolina....

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Breaux, Joseph Arsenne (18 February 1838–23 July 1926), jurist and educator, was born at Bayou Goula in Iberville Parish, Louisiana, the son of John B. Breaux and Margaret Walsh, planters. After completing his undergraduate work at Georgetown College in Kentucky, Breaux studied law at the University of Louisiana (now Tulane) and graduated in 1859. Admitted to the Louisiana bar in 1860, he opened his law office in New Iberia. In 1861 Breaux married Eugenia Mille; they had no children....

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Michael H. Cardozo. Courtesy of Michael H. Cardozo V.

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Cardozo, Michael H. (15 September 1910–20 October 1996), lawyer, educator, and government adviser, was born Michael Hart Cardozo IV in New York City, the son of Ernest Abraham Cardozo, a lawyer, and Emily Rebecca Wolff Cardozo. He was a first cousin of United States Supreme Court Justice ...

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Cary, Mary Ann Camberton Shadd (09 October 1823–05 June 1893), African-American educator, journalist/editor, and lawyer, was born in Wilmington, Delaware, the daughter of Abraham Doras Shadd and Harriet Parnell. Although the eldest of thirteen children, Mary Ann Shadd grew up in comfortable economic circumstances. Little is known about her mother except that she was born in North Carolina in 1806 and was of mixed black and white heritage; whether she was born free or a slave is unknown. Shadd’s father was also of mixed-race heritage. His paternal grandfather, Jeremiah Schad, was a German soldier who had fought in the American Revolution and later married Elizabeth Jackson, a free black woman from Pennsylvania. Abraham Shadd had amassed his wealth as a shoemaker, and his property by the 1830s was valued at $5,000. He was a respected member of the free black community in Wilmington and in West Chester, Pennsylvania, where the family had moved sometime in the 1830s, and he served as a delegate to the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1835 and 1836....

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Crandall, Prudence (03 September 1803–28 January 1890), abolitionist and teacher, was born in Hopkinton, Rhode Island, the daughter of Pardon Crandall, a Quaker farmer, and Esther Carpenter. When Crandall was ten her family moved to another farm in Canterbury, Connecticut. As a young woman she spent a few years (1825–1826, 1827–1830) at the New England Friends’ Boarding School in Providence and also taught school for a time in Plainfield, Connecticut....

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Donovan, James Britt (29 February 1916–19 January 1970), lawyer and educator, was born in the Bronx, New York, the son of John D. Donovan, a surgeon, and Hattie F. O’Connor, a piano teacher. Donovan received a B.A. in English from Fordham University in 1937. Throughout his schooling he pursued interests in journalism and writing, and upon graduation he persuaded his wealthy father to buy him a small newspaper, with the condition that he complete law school first. Donovan received an LL.B. from Harvard in 1940. He joined a law firm in New York City that represented several newspaper interests. Publishing and insurance law quickly became permanent interests. Donovan married Mary E. McKenna in 1941; the couple had four children....

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Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Seated right, with J. E. Fellows, dean of admissions at the University of Oklahoma, seated left, and, standing left to right, Thurgood Marshall and Amos T. Hall, 1948. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-84479).

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Fisher, Ada Lois Sipuel (08 February 1924–18 October 1995), civil rights pioneer, lawyer, and educator, was born in Chickasha, Oklahoma, the daughter of Travis B. Sipuel, a minister and later bishop of the Church of Christ in God, one of the largest black Pentecostal churches in the United States, and Martha Bell Smith, the child of a former slave. Her parents moved to Chickasaw, Oklahoma, shortly after the Tulsa race riot of 1921....

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Frelinghuysen, Theodore (28 March 1787–12 April 1862), lawyer, politician, and educator, was born in Franklin Township, Somerset County, New Jersey, into one of New Jersey’s most prominent families. His great-grandfather, Theodorus Jacobus Frelinghuysen, participated prominently in the eighteenth-century religious movement known as the “Great Awakening”; his father, Frederick Frelinghuysen, served as a captain of artillery at the battles of Trenton and Monmouth and later was a Federalist U.S. senator. His mother, Gertrude Schenck, died when he was a boy, and the chief feminine influences in young Theodore’s life were his stepmother, Ann Yard, and his paternal grandmother, Dinah Frelinghuysen, both women of strong Christian convictions. His education prepared him for the kind of leadership expected of his social class: the Reverend Robert Finley’s Academy at Basking Ridge, College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) class of 1804, and law study with ...

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Freund, Ernst (30 January 1864–20 October 1932), professor of law and political science, was born in New York City, the son of Ludwig A. Freund and Nannie Bayer. His parents were natives of Berlin, Germany; before 1875 they returned to that city, and Freund was educated there. He was awarded a doctorate (J.U.D.) in canon and civil law at Heidelberg in 1884, and in that year he elected to return to New York as a native citizen. There he studied law and politics at Columbia University, where his mentor was ...

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Friedlaender, Israel (08 September 1876–05 July 1920), professor and Semitics scholar, was born in Włodawa, Poland, the son of Pinḥas Friedlaender, a cattle dealer, and Gittel Ehrlich. He was raised in Praga, a suburb of Warsaw, in comfortable circumstances in a traditional yet enlightened Jewish household. In early childhood Friedlaender acquired an almost verbatim knowledge of the Hebrew Bible as well as of the corpus of rabbinic literature. Studying with a private tutor, he also mastered the German language and its literary classics....

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Garfield, Harry Augustus (11 October 1863–12 December 1942), lawyer, educator, and public official, was born in Hiram, Ohio, the son of James A. Garfield, the twentieth president of the United States, and Lucretia Rudolph (Lucretia Rudolph Garfield). A witness to the fatal shooting of his father in 1881, Garfield grappled with the implications of that tragedy for the rest of his life. He earned a B.A. at Williams College, 1881–1885, and after teaching briefly at St. Paul’s, a private school for boys, he studied law at Columbia University, 1886–1887, and in England at Oxford University and the Inns of Court, 1887–1888. In the latter year he married Belle H. Mason; they had four children....

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Garreau, Armand (13 September 1817–28 March 1865), Romantic writer, journalist, and educator, was born Louis-Armand Garreau in Cognac, France, the son of Louis-Armand Garreau, a lawyer and veteran of the Napoleonic wars, and Marie Rose Dumontet, a native of Saint-Pierre, Martinique. Apparently Garreau left home at a very early age to receive a classical education in Paris at the Lycée Henri IV. Financial difficulties prevented him from completing law school, but before he left Paris to take up a teaching position in the department of Gironde he encountered a New Orleanian who impressed him with talk of opportunity in Louisiana....

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Gillett, Emma Millinda (30 July 1852–23 January 1927), lawyer and educator, was born on a homestead in Princeton, Wisconsin, the daughter of Richard J. Gillett, a lawyer and justice of the peace, and Sarah Ann Barlow. After her father’s death in 1854, Gillett’s mother took her two daughters back to Girard, Pennsylvania, to be near her own family. Gillett graduated from Lake Erie Seminary in Painseville, Ohio, in 1870 and became a teacher. She taught for ten years but grew increasingly discontented with her situation. Describing herself as “tired, nervous and unhappy” in her work and dissatisfied with the “mere pittance” she earned, she resolved to leave teaching and to follow her long-held dream, the study of the law....

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Goodnow, Frank Johnson (18 January 1859–15 November 1939), professor of public administration, university president, and government adviser, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Abel Franklin Goodnow, a cutlery manufacturer, and Jane Maria Root. In 1879 he graduated from Amherst College. Before enrolling at Columbia University Law School he worked briefly in a broker’s office. While at law school he took courses in the School of Political Science, begun in 1880 by ...

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Gould, James (05 December 1770–11 May 1838), lawyer and judge, was born in Branford, Connecticut, the son of William Gould, a doctor, and Mary Foote. As a boy he suffered from gout, which affected his eyesight. He was educated at home and then in local schools. In 1787 he entered Yale College, where he had to have books read to him. Despite his poor eyesight, Gould graduated first in his class and delivered the salutatory oration “On the Origin and Progress of History, and the Utility of Historic Knowledge,” for which he received the Noah Webster Prize. In college he was known as “a remarkably handsome young man of elegant figure and graceful manners” (Fisher, p. 17)....

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Richard T. Greener. Courtesy of the National Afro-American Museum.

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Greener, Richard Theodore (30 January 1844–02 May 1922), African-American educator, lawyer, and diplomat, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Richard Wesley Greener, a seaman who was wounded during the Mexican War while serving aboard the USS Princeton, and Mary Ann Le Brune. When he was nine, Greener and his parents moved to Boston but soon left for Cambridge, where he could attend “an unproscriptive school.” Greener’s father, as chief steward of the ...