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Redding, J. Saunders (13 October 1906–02 March 1988), African-American educator, historian, and literary critic, was born in Wilmington, Delaware, the son of Lewis Alfred Redding, a schoolteacher, and Mary Ann Holmes. As graduates of Howard University, Redding’s parents maintained a modest middle-class environment for their children; his father was secretary of the local Wilmington branch of the NAACP. Redding graduated from high school in 1923 and entered Lincoln University in Pennsylvania that year, with no discernible career ambitions. In 1924 he transferred to Brown University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in 1928....

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Trent, William Peterfield (10 November 1862–06 December 1939), educator, historian, and literary critic, was born in Richmond, Virginia, the son of Peterfield Trent, a physician ruined financially by the Civil War, and Lucy Carter Burwell. After attending a preparatory school in Richmond, Trent entered the University of Virginia, where he took classes in history, languages, mathematics, philosophy, and science; edited the ...