William Wells Brown, (born 1814?, near Lexington, Ky., U.S.--died Nov. 6, 1884, Chelsea, Mass.), American writer who is considered to be the first African-American to publish a novel. He was also the first to have a play and a travel book published.Brown was born to a black slave mother and a white slaveholding father. He grew up near St. Louis, Mo., where he served various masters, including the abolitionist Elijah P. Lovejoy. Brown escaped in 1834 and adopted the name of a Quaker, Wells Brown, who aided him when he was a runaway. He settled in the Great Lakes region before moving to the Boston area...
Edward Carpenter, (born Aug. 29, 1844, Brighton, Sussex, Eng.--died June 28, 1929, Guildford, Surrey), English writer identified with social and sexual reform and the late 19th-century anti-industrial Arts and Crafts Movement.Carpenter was educated at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where he was elected a fellow and ordained in 1869. In 1870 he became the theologian Frederick Denison Maurice's curate. But in 1874, revolting against the social and religious conventions of his time, he became a traveling lecturer for the newly founded university extension movement, teaching in industrial..
Rosa Parks , nee Rosa Louise McCauley, (born February 4, 1913, Tuskegee, Alabama, U.S.--died October 24, 2005, Detroit, Michigan), African American civil rights activist whose refusal to relinquish her seat on a public bus to a white man precipitated the 1955-56 Montgomery bus boycott in Alabama, which is recognized as the spark that ignited the U.S. civil rights movement.In 1932 she married Raymond Parks, who encouraged her to return to high school and earn a diploma. She later made her living as a seamstress. In 1943 Parks became a member of the Montgomery..
Abbie Hoffman, byname of Abbott Hoffman, (born November 30, 1936, Worcester, Massachusetts, U.S.--died April 12, 1989, New Hope, Pennsylvania), American political activist and founder of the Youth International Party (Yippies), who was known for his successful media events.Hoffman, who received psychology degrees from both Brandeis University (1959) and the University of California, Berkeley (1960), was active in the American civil rights movement before turning his energies to protesting the Vietnam War and the American economic and political system. His acts of protest blurred..
Gloria Steinem, in full Gloria Marie Steinem, (born March 25, 1934, Toledo, Ohio, U.S.), American feminist, political activist, and editor who was an articulate advocate of the women's liberation movement during the late 20th and early 21st centuries.Steinem spent her early years traveling with her parents in a house trailer. After their divorce in 1946, Gloria settled with her mother in Toledo, Ohio, and for the first time began attending school on a regular basis. Her childhood was marked by the added responsibility of taking care of her mother, who was chronically depressed. During her..
Coretta Scott King, nee Coretta Scott, (born April 27, 1927, Marion, Alabama, U.S.--died January 30, 2006, Rosarito, Mexico), American civil rights activist who was the wife of Martin Luther King, Jr.Coretta Scott graduated from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and in 1951 enrolled at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. While working toward a degree in voice, she met Martin Luther King, Jr., then a graduate theology student at Boston University. They were married in 1953 and had four children.After both had completed their studies, the Kings moved to Montgomery, Alabama,..
Julia Ward Howe, nee Julia Ward, (born May 27, 1819, New York, New York, U.S.--died October 17, 1910, Newport, Rhode Island), American author and lecturer best known for her "Battle Hymn of the Republic."Julia Ward came of a well-to-do family and was educated privately. In 1843 she married educator Samuel Gridley Howe and took up residence in Boston. Always of a literary bent, she published her first volume of poetry, Passion Flowers, in 1854; this and subsequent works--including a poetry collection, Words for the Hour (1857), a play, Leonora; or, the World's Own, produced in 1857, and A Trip..
Emma Goldman, (born June 27, 1869, Kovno (now Kaunas), Lithuania, Russian Empire--died May 14, 1940, Toronto, Ontario, Canada), international anarchist who conducted leftist activities in the United States from about 1890 to 1917.Goldman grew up in her native Lithuania, in Konigsberg, East Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Russia), and in St. Petersburg. Her formal education was limited, but she read widely and in St. Petersburg associated with a radical student circle. In 1885 she immigrated to the United States and settled in Rochester, New York. There, and later in New Haven, Connecticut,..
Daisy Bates, in full Daisy Gatson Bates, nee Daisy Lee Gatson, (born 1914?, Huttig, Arkansas, U.S.--died November 4, 1999, Little Rock, Arkansas), American journalist and civil rights activist who withstood economic, legal, and physical intimidation to champion racial equality, most notably in the integration of public schools in Little Rock, Arkansas.Daisy Gaston was adopted as a baby after her mother's murder and her father's subsequent flight for his own safety before prosecution of the three white men suspected of the murder could begin. She attended Huttig's segregated public schools,..
Jose Marti, in full Jose Julian Marti y Perez, (born January 28, 1853, Havana, Cuba--died May 19, 1895, Dos Rios), poet and essayist, patriot and martyr, who became the symbol of Cuba's struggle for independence from Spain. His dedication to the goal of Cuban freedom made his name a synonym for liberty throughout Latin America. As a patriot, Marti organized and unified the movement for Cuban independence and died on the battlefield fighting for it. As a writer, he was distinguished for his personal prose and deceptively simple, sincere verse on themes of a free and united America.Educated first..
Michael Moore, in full Michael Francis Moore, (born April 23, 1954, Flint, Michigan, U.S.), American filmmaker, author, and political activist, who was best known for a series of documentaries--often controversial--that addressed major political and social issues in the United States.Following his graduation from high school, Moore, as an 18-year-old member of the Flint school board, began his populist assault on what he viewed as the injustices of American capitalism. In 1976, after having attended but not graduated from the University of Michigan at Flint, Moore started a radical..
Edward Snowden, in full Edward Joseph Snowden, (born June 21, 1983, Elizabeth City, North Carolina, U.S.), American intelligence contractor who in 2013 revealed the existence of secret wide-ranging information-gathering programs conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA).Snowden was born in North Carolina, and his family moved to central Maryland, a short distance from NSA headquarters at Fort Meade, when he was a child. He dropped out of high school and studied intermittently between 1999 and 2005 at a community college; he completed a GED but did not receive a college degree. He..
Giuseppe Mazzini, (born June 22, 1805, Genoa [Italy]--died March 10, 1872, Pisa, Italy), Genoese propagandist and revolutionary, founder of the secret revolutionary society Young Italy (1832), and a champion of the movement for Italian unity known as the Risorgimento. An uncompromising republican, he refused to participate in the parliamentary government that was established under the monarchy of the House of Savoy when Italy became unified and independent (1861).Education and exile.Giuseppe Mazzini was a doctor's son; his birthplace, formerly a republic, was annexed to the Kingdom..
Kathy Acker, (born April 18, 1948, New York, New York, U.S.--died Nov. 30, 1997, Tijuana, Mex.), American novelist whose writing style and subject matter reflect the so-called punk sensibility that emerged in the 1970s.Acker studied classics at Brandeis University and the University of California, San Diego. Her early employment ranged from clerical work to performing in pornographic films. In 1972 she began publishing willfully crude, disjointed prose that drew heavily from her personal experience and constituted a literary analog to contemporary developments in music, fashion,..
George Ripley, (born Oct. 3, 1802, Greenfield, Mass., U.S.--died July 4, 1880, New York, N.Y.), journalist and reformer whose life, for half a century, mirrored the main currents of American thought. He was the leading promoter and director of Brook Farm (q.v.), the celebrated utopian community at West Roxbury, Mass., and a spokesman for the utopian socialist ideas of the French social reformer Charles Fourier. Ripley became literary critic for the New York Tribune, and his articles and reviews were widely syndicated. He was an arbiter of taste and culture for much of the reading public.Ripley..
Kate Millett, in full Katherine Murray Millett, (born September 14, 1934, St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.--died September 6, 2017, Paris, France), American feminist, author, and artist, an early and influential figure in the women's liberation movement, whose first book, Sexual Politics, began her exploration of the dynamics of power in relation to gender and sexuality.Millett earned a bachelor's degree with honours in 1956 from the University of Minnesota, where she was also elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Two years later she was awarded a master's degree with first-class honours from the University..
Henrietta Szold, (born Dec. 21, 1860, Baltimore, Md., U.S.--died Feb. 13, 1945, Jerusalem), American Jewish leader, who was a founder of Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America.Szold was of a German-speaking Hungarian immigrant family; her father was a rabbi. After graduating from public high school in 1877, she taught French, German, Latin, science, mathematics, and history at the Misses Adams' School girls' academy in Baltimore, Maryland, for 15 years. Having studied Hebrew and the Talmud with her father, she also taught classes in her father's synagogue. In 1889 she organized..