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Hays, Lee Elhardt (14 March 1914–26 August 1981), songwriter, singer, and political activist, was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, the son of the Reverend William Benjamin Hays, a Methodist minister, and Ellen Reinhardt, a court reporter. The youngest of four children, Lee Hays left home at age fourteen for Emory Junior College Academy in Oxford, Georgia, a Methodist prep school from which he graduated in 1930. He had hoped to take a bachelor’s degree, but during the depression none of his family members could help with tuition....

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Loy, Myrna (02 August 1905–12 December 1993), actress and political activist, was born Myrna Adele Williams in Radersburg, Montana, the daughter of David Franklin Williams, a cattle rancher, and Della Mae Johnson, a singer. After her father’s death in the 1918 influenza epidemic, the family moved to Culver City, California. While attending high school, Loy auditioned for movie studios and helped support her family by teaching children’s dancing classes and working as an assistant film cutter at Horsley Studios. She also danced in the prefeature chorus line at Grauman’s Chinese Theater before coming under contract to Warner Brothers. Her first role was a “human chandelier” in ...

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Means, Russell Charles (10 November 1939–22 October 2012), Oglala/Yankton activist, American Indian Movement leader, and actor, was born on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, the eldest son of Walter “Hank” Means (Oglala Lakota) of Pine Ridge and Theodora Louise Feather (Yankton), of the Yankton Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. His father worked as an auto mechanic for the Bureau of Indian Affairs at Pine Ridge. His mother served as secretary to the superintendent of the Pine Ridge Reservation. Following the matrilineal ways of the Sioux (the term used to refer collectively to the Lakota, Nakota, and Dakota), Russell Means was raised by his mother’s extended family. The Means family relocated to Vallejo, California, in 1942. They moved to Huron, South Dakota, at the end of World War II, only to return to Vallejo soon thereafter, where Walter worked as a welder in the navy shipyards, and Theodora took a position as a secretary at an air force base. In 1954 the Means family bought a home in the Oakland area....

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Wojnarowicz, David (14 Sept. 1954–22 July 1992), artist, filmmaker, writer, and activist was born in Red Bank, New Jersey, the third child of Edward Wojnarowicz, a merchant seamen from Michigan, and Dolores McGuinness, a receptionist from Australia. Wojnarowicz’s childhood was marred by violence and instability. Following his parents’ divorce at the age of three, Wojnarowicz and his two older siblings, Pat and Steven, were placed in a boarding home by their mother in ...