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Rebecca Gratz. Reproduction of a painting. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-109117).

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Gratz, Rebecca (04 March 1781–27 August 1869), pioneer Jewish charitable worker and religious educator, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Michael Gratz, of Silesia, a merchant shipper, and Miriam Simon, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Gratz grew up in Philadelphia’s wealthy society, and her brothers expanded the family financial interests to the West....

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Porter, Eliza Emily Chappell (05 November 1807–01 January 1888), educator, relief worker, and missionary, was born in Geneseo, New York, the daughter of Robert Chappell and Elizabeth Kneeland, farmers. In 1811 her father died, increasing her emotional attachment to her highly religious mother. Nevertheless, when affluent relatives offered a home to the bright, attractive child, she agreed to live with them in Franklin, New York. She was educated with the family’s children but could not overcome her longing for her mother and guilt at the separation. She returned at twelve and, amid bouts of illness made worse by harsh medical treatments, sought comfort in religion. She joined the Presbyterian church in 1822; at fifteen she and her mother moved to Rochester to continue her education. Upon the death of her sister in childbirth, both returned to Geneseo....

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See Thurman, Howard W.

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Thurman, Howard W. (18 November 1899?–10 April 1981), and Howard W. Thurman (18 November 1899–10 April 1981), theologian, educator, and civil rights mentor, was born in Daytona, Florida, the son of Saul Solomon Thurman, a railroad worker, and Alice Ambrose, a domestic worker. Howard grew up under the tremendous influence of his maternal grandmother, who had previously been enslaved. His grandmother instilled in him a critical reading of the Bible. In 1915 he attended high school at Florida Baptist Academy in Jacksonville, Florida. Upon graduation, he enrolled in Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, where he received his bachelor's degree in 1923. By 1925 Thurman became an ordained Baptist minister, receiving his first pastorate in Oberlin, Ohio, at Mount Zion Baptist Church. In 1926 Thurman graduated from Colgate Rochester Theological Seminary. Following his brief stint at Mount Zion, Thurman moved on to a joint appointment as professor of religion and director of religious life at both Morehouse and Spelman colleges in Atlanta, Georgia. Here Thurman pondered a question that would motivate his life's work: "How can we manage the carking fear of the white man's power and not be defeated by our own rage and hatred?"...