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Adams, John Quincy (04 May 1848–03 September 1922), newspaper editor and publisher, civil rights leader, and Republican party activist, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the son of Henry Adams, a prominent minister and educator, and Margaret Corbin. Both his parents were free persons of color. Following private schooling in Wisconsin and Ohio, Adams graduated from Oberlin College. After a brief teaching stint in Louisville, in 1870 he followed his uncle, Joseph C. Corbin, to work in Arkansas in the Reconstruction. By 1874 he had risen from schoolteacher to assistant superintendent of public instruction. His lifelong activism in the Republican party began in Arkansas; there he twice served as secretary to Republican state conventions, was elected as justice of the peace on the party ticket, and held the offices of engrossing clerk of the state senate and deputy commissioner of public works. The defeat of the Arkansas Republican party in 1874 and the racial repression that followed led Adams to return to Louisville, where he again engaged in teaching....

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Bailey, Gamaliel (03 December 1807–05 June 1859), antislavery journalist and political organizer, was born in Mount Holly, New Jersey, the son of Gamaliel Bailey, Sr., a silversmith and Methodist minister, and Sarah Page. As the son of a minister, Bailey enjoyed educational advantages and an early association with evangelical Christianity. Following the relocation of his family to Philadelphia in 1816, Bailey joined with several other adolescents in forming a literary debating society, which stimulated his lifelong interest in literature. He graduated from Jefferson Medical College in 1828, but medicine was never his main interest, and he ceased to practice it by the early 1840s....

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Bradwell, Myra Colby (12 February 1831–14 February 1894), publisher and political activist, was born in Manchester, Vermont, the daughter of Eben Colby and Abigail Willey. She spent her childhood in Vermont and western New York, and when she was twelve, her family moved to Illinois. She attended local schools in Wisconsin and Illinois and became a schoolteacher. In 1852 she married ...

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Carter, Willis McGlascoe (3 Sept. 1852–23 Mar. 1902), educator, newspaper editor, and political activist, was born a slave in Albemarle County, Virginia, the oldest of eleven children born to Rhoda Carter, a slave owned by Ann Goodloe, a widow. His father, Samuel Carter, also a slave, lived on a nearby plantation. Willis Carter did not suffer the physical and emotional violence endured by most slaves. Goodloe likely allowed his parents to marry, and she did not prevent him from learning how to read and write, skills he had developed by the eve of the Civil War. Nevertheless, she did not free the Carter family upon her death in ...

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Eagleson, William Lewis (09 August 1835–22 June 1899), editor and political activist, was born a slave in St. Louis, Missouri. The names of his parents and details about his early life are unknown. He married Elizabeth McKinney in 1865 in St. Louis; they had nine children. As a young man, he learned both printing and barbering, trades that he practiced intermittently throughout his life. In the 1870s, he settled in Fort Scott, Kansas, and started a newspaper, the ...

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Gray, James Harrison (17 May 1916–19 September 1986), newspaper publisher, broadcast executive, and politician, was born in Westfield, Massachusetts, the son of Lyman Gray, an attorney, and Clara (maiden name unknown). James Gray spent his childhood in Springfield, Massachusetts, where his father served as district attorney. He received his A.B. in English from Dartmouth College in 1937, lettering in several sports and earning Phi Beta Kappa honors. After graduating Gray enrolled at the University of Heidelberg in Germany to study world history. While there in 1939 he contributed news articles about Nazi Germany to the ...

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Pleasants, John Hampden (04 January 1797–27 February 1846), journalist and political activist, was born in Goochland County, Virginia, the son of James Pleasants, a leading Virginia politician, and Susanna Rose. His father served in the Virginia General Assembly, in Congress, and as governor of the state. After attending and, in 1817, graduating from the College of William and Mary, he became a journalist. By 1822 he was the editor of the ...

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Pope, Generoso (01 April 1891–28 April 1950), businessman, newspaper publisher, and political power broker, was born in Pasquarielli (province of Benevento), Italy, the son of Fortunato Papa and Fortuna Covino, farmers. He completed his elementary education in local schools in Italy. After his mother’s death and father’s remarriage, Pope emigrated to the United States, arriving in New York City in May 1906. He worked a number of unskilled construction jobs and in 1907 found employment in the Long Island sand pits. In 1911, after having been a driver and then foreman for the Manhattan Sand Company, he joined the newly formed Colonial Sand and Stone Company, rising to superintendent by 1914. He became an American citizen on 20 September 1915, and in June 1916 he married Catherine Richichi. They had three sons. He anglicized his last name at about this time....

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Thomas Ritchie. Engraving by J. R. Forrest of a picture by Thomas Sully, from the first half of the nineteenth century. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-94114).

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Ritchie, Thomas (05 November 1778–03 July 1854), newspaper editor and Democratic party activist, was born in Tappahannock, Virginia, the son of Archibald Ritchie, a prominent immigrant Scots merchant, and Mary Roane, a member of one of Virginia’s leading legal and political dynasties. After a number of false starts in law and medicine, Ritchie became a schoolteacher and then a bookseller in Richmond. In 1807 he married the daughter of a doctor, Isabella Foushee, with whom he had seven daughters and five sons. Encouraged and supported by his Roane relations he agreed, as an avowed promoter of the Jeffersonian administration, to buy and edit a Richmond newspaper, the ...

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Roudanez, Louis Charles (12 June 1823–11 March 1890), physician, newspaper proprietor, and Republican party activist, was born in St. James Parish, Louisiana, the son of Louis Roudanez, a wealthy French merchant, and Aimée Potens, a free woman of color. Roudanez was raised in New Orleans as a member of the city’s free black elite, but in 1844 he left to pursue a professional education in France. In 1853 the faculty of medicine at the University of Paris awarded him a degree in medicine. He graduated with a second medical degree from Dartmouth College in 1857, and soon after he returned to New Orleans to open his own office. In the same year he married Louisa Celie Seulay, and their union produced eight children....