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DeLarge, Robert Carlos (15 March 1842–14 February 1874), politician, was born in Aiken, South Carolina. His father was a free black tailor, and his mother was a cloak maker of Haitian descent; their names are unknown. Though several records claim that DeLarge was born into slavery, it is more likely that his parents were free blacks who owned slaves. This peculiar and paradoxical designation surely inspired the dual sensibilities that later characterized his political and social life as both an advocate for universal black enfranchisement and a member of South Carolina’s propertied, often exclusionist, mulatto elite. Fortunate to receive the benefits of the prewar education available to free black children, DeLarge attended primary school in North Carolina and Wood High School in Charleston. For a short time he was employed as a tailor and farmer, and some sources indicate that he was also a part-time barber. During the Civil War, he amassed some money as an employee of the Confederate navy, a curious affiliation in light of his Republican activities during Reconstruction. He later donated most of his Civil War earnings to the state Republican party. By the time he became active in Reconstruction politics, DeLarge was a citizen of considerable standing in Charleston, as indicated both by his net worth of $6,650 in the 1870 census and his membership in the Brown Fellowship Society, a fraternal and charitable association founded in 1870 that admitted only mulattoes....

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La Follette, Robert Marion (14 June 1855–18 June 1925), Wisconsin governor, U.S. congressman, and Progressive presidential candidate, was born in Primrose, Wisconsin, the son of Josiah La Follette and Mary Ferguson Buchanan, farmers. Only eight months old when his father died, La Follette throughout his life sought to measure up to an idealized image of the father he never knew. He was seven when his mother married John Z. Saxton, a stern, elderly merchant and Baptist deacon....

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Lemke, William Frederick (13 August 1878–30 May 1950), agrarian leader, congressman, and presidential candidate, was born in Albany, Minnesota, and raised in Towner County, North Dakota, the son of Fred Lemke and Julia Anna Klier, pioneer farmers who were successful enough to accumulate some 2,700 acres of land. The young Lemke worked long hours on the family farm, attending a common school for only three months in the summers. The family did, however, reserve enough money to send William to the University of North Dakota, where he was a superior student. Graduating in 1902, he stayed at the state university for the first year of law school but moved to Georgetown University, then to Yale, where he finished work on his law degree and won the praise of the dean....

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Rainey, Joseph Hayne (21 June 1832–02 August 1887), politician, was born a slave in Georgetown, South Carolina, the son of Edward L. Rainey and Gracia C. (maiden name unknown). The elder Rainey purchased his family’s freedom and moved with them in about 1846 (the exact date is unknown) to Charleston where he was employed as a barber at the exclusive Mills House hotel. He prospered and purchased two male slaves in the 1850s. Joseph Rainey received a modest education and was trained by his father as a barber. In 1859 he traveled to Philadelphia and married Susan E. (maiden name unknown). As a result of the intervention of several friends, the couple managed to circumvent the state prohibition against free people of color entering or returning to South Carolina, and they moved to Charleston. After the Civil War began, Rainey was conscripted to serve as a steward on a Confederate blockade runner. He was later compelled to work in the construction of Confederate fortifications around Charleston. He escaped with his wife to Bermuda on a blockade runner. They settled first in St. George and then in Hamilton. He resumed barbering, and his wife worked as a dressmaker. They returned to Charleston in 1865, shortly after the war ended....

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Spinola, Francis Barretto (19 March 1821–14 April 1891), politician and congressman, was born in Stony Brook, Long Island, New York. His parents’ background is obscure, although his mother’s family, of Irish descent, were prominent in the American revolutionary cause. At age ten he attended Quaker Hill Academy in Dutchess County. Six years later he became a jeweler’s apprentice in Brooklyn, then briefly a blacksmith, grocer, and carpenter. He also studied law and by 1844 was practicing in Brooklyn. But his life’s work as an assiduous and faithful partisan activist had already begun. He started out a Whig but later joined the Democratic party. After serving in the Brooklyn city clerk’s office in the early 1840s, he became an alderman on the Brooklyn Common Council in 1846, then was elected supervisor. In 1853 he entered the New York State legislature, serving first in the assembly and then in the state senate for four years from 1858. In these years he was clearly identified as a loyal follower of Augustus Schell and ...

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Udall, Morris K. (15 June 1922–12 December 1998), congressman, environmental leader, and presidential candidate, nicknamed "Mo", congressman, environmental leader, and presidential candidate, nicknamed “Mo,” was born Morris King Udall in St. Johns, Arizona, the son of Levi S. Udall, a Mormon leader and later chief justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, and Louise Lee Udall. He was the fourth of six children. At age six, he lost his right eye while playing with a knife. His handicap proved to be hardly an obstacle as he became a star athlete, editor of the school paper, and student body president. Udall attended the University of Arizona in Tucson from 1941 to 1942 but left to enter the U.S. Army in World War II, rising to captain in the Army Air Forces. He commanded an all-black squadron while based in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Returning to the university in 1946, he pursued a law degree and earned honors as an all-Border Conference basketball player. He played professional basketball for the Denver Nuggets in the 1947–1948 season. In 1949 he married Patricia J. Emery; they would have six children and divorce in 1966....