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Andrews, Eliza Frances (10 August 1840–21 January 1931), author and educator, was born at Haywood Plantation near Washington, Georgia, the daughter of Garnett Andrews, a judge and planter, and Annulet Ball. After attending the Ladies’ Seminary in Washington, Georgia, Andrews, often known as “Fanny,” was, in 1857, one of the first students to receive an A.B. degree at LaGrange Female College in LaGrange, Georgia....

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Bonner, Marita Odette (16 June 1898–06 December 1971), educator and author, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the daughter of Joseph Bonner, a machinist and laborer, and Mary A. Nowell. Educated in the Brookline, Massachusetts, public schools, she applied to Radcliffe College at the urging of her high school faculty adviser and was one of the few African-American students accepted for admission. She majored in English and comparative literature and founded the Radcliffe chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, a black sorority. A gifted pianist and student of musical composition, she won the Radcliffe song competition in 1918 and 1922. Bonner also studied German, a language in which she became fluent. During her last year in college she taught English at a Cambridge high school. After graduating with a B.A. in 1922, she taught at the Bluefield Colored Institute in Bluefield, Virginia, until 1924 and at Armstrong High School in Washington, D.C., from 1924 to 1930, when she married William Almy Occomy, a Brown graduate. The couple moved to Chicago, where they raised three children....

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Gerould, Katharine Fullerton (06 February 1879–27 July 1944), educator and author, was born in Brockton, Massachusetts. Orphaned in infancy, she was adopted by her uncle, Reverend Bradford Morton Fullerton, and his wife, Julia M. Bell Fullerton. She began her education at Miss Folsom’s School and received her B.A. (1900) and M.A. (1901) from Radcliffe College. She held a faculty position in English at Bryn Mawr until 1910....

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Grimké, Charlotte Forten (17 August 1837–23 July 1914), educator, diarist, and essayist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Mary Virginia Wood and Robert Bridges Forten, who were free blacks. Her father, a mathematician, orator, and reformer, was the son of wealthy sailmaker ...

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Jordan, June Millicent (09 July 1936–14 June 2002), poet, essayist, professor, and activist, was born in New York City to Granville Ivanhoe Jordan and Mildred Fisher Jordan. Her Jamaican parents migrated to the United States during the interwar years, first settling in Harlem, where Jordan was born, and later moving to the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. In the crucible of their immigrant striving—a rigorous itinerary of museums, planetariums, and symphonies; a precocious curriculum of ...

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Plato, Ann (1820–?), writer and teacher, was probably born in Hartford, Connecticut. Her parentage and birth date are unknown, though it is likely that she was related to the Plato family prominent in Hartford's nineteenth-century black community. Little is known of her childhood; she was probably educated at home, at church, and in some of the schools sporadically set up by and for Hartford's African Americans in the 1830s. She was a member of the Talcott Street Congregational Church, and through church activities, she was exposed to the uplift thinking of the Reverend Amos Beeman, the Reverend Hosea Easton, the Hartford activist James Mars, and later the Reverend James Pennington. She would also have watched the Amistad case unfold....

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Smith, Elizabeth Oakes (08 August 1806–15 November 1893), author and lecturer, was born Elizabeth Oakes Prince near North Yarmouth, Maine, the daughter of David Cushing Prince, part owner of a trading ship, and Sophia Blanchard. Elizabeth exhibited a remarkable intelligence at an early age. When she was two years old, she insisted that she be allowed to accompany her sister to school, where she learned how to read. While still a child, she taught Sunday school and tutored her male cousins in their college courses. She yearned for a college education to prepare her for a career as a teacher, but her mother denied her request, saying, “No daughter of mine is going to be a schoolma’am.” Smith regretted her lack of formal education for the rest of her life. This early disappointment shaped her career as a lecturer and campaigner for women’s rights....