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Burgos, Julia de (17 February 1914–04 August 1953), poet and activist, was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, the daughter of Francisco Burgos Hans, a member of the National Guard, and Paula García. The family was extremely poor, which may explain the death of six of the twelve siblings. Despite their poverty, for Julia, a bright and studious child, the Burgos family found the means for an education. In 1933 she received a teaching degree from the University of Puerto Rico....

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Harris, Thomas Lake (15 May 1823–23 March 1906), poet, writer, and founder of a religious community, was born in Fenny Stratford, England, the son of Thomas Harris, a grocer and auctioneer, and Annie Lake. When he was five, his parents emigrated to America, settling in Utica, New York. The death of his mother and his father’s remarriage, along with his aversion to the Calvinistic Baptist faith of his parents, occasioned Harris’s early departure from home. He sought a more liberal worldview in Universalism, receiving an informal theological education and financial help from Universalist ministers in Utica. By 1844 he had his first “settlement” at a church in the Mohawk Valley and was contributing poetry to Universalist newspapers. He married Mary Van Arnum in 1845; they had two children before her death in 1850....

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Muñoz Rivera, Luis (17 July 1859–15 November 1916), resident commissioner for Puerto Rico in Washington, D.C., writer, and newspaper editor, was born in Barranquitas, Puerto Rico, the son of Luis Ramón Muñoz Barrios, a merchant and landowner, and Monserrate Rivera Vásquez. Inhabitants of a small town in the mountainous interior of Puerto Rico, Muñoz Rivera’s parents sent him at age six to the only local school. At age ten he had gone beyond what formal education could be offered there and studied with private tutors. His father taught him the rudiments of bookkeeping and basic business practices, and Muñoz Rivera became a modestly successful businessman. His father was mayor of Barranquitas and a member of the pro-Spanish Conservative party, and his uncle Vicente was a member of the Liberal party, So Luis grew up listening to the political discussions that agitated the Spanish colony in the 1860s and 1870s. At issue was local autonomy versus control by Spanish-appointed governors and their hand-picked advisory councils. The issue continued to agitate Puerto Ricans despite a change of colonial masters after the Spanish-American War in 1898....

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Sampter, Jessie Ethel (22 March 1883–11 November 1938), Zionist poet and educator, was born in New York City, the daughter of Rudolph Sampter, a lawyer, and Virginia Kohlberg. Her mother came from a traditional German-Jewish household, and her father, the son of East European Jewish immigrants, was an atheist affiliated with the Ethical Culture Society. Her father was a strong and supportive influence, reading and encouraging Sampter’s early writing....

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Whitfield, James Monroe (10 April 1822–23 April 1871), African-American poet, abolitionist, and emigrationist, was born in Exeter, New Hampshire, the son of parents whose names are unknown. Little else is known of his family except that he had a sister, a wife, two sons, and a daughter....