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Anthony W. Neal

Stories by Anthony W.

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Julian D. Rainey: War veteran, city attorney, Democratic campaign leader and staunch proponent of anti-discrimination legislation

Julian David Rainey was at one time the highest-paid black man in public service in all of New England. Born April 3, 1888, in Weldon, North Carolina, he was adopted by carpenter David Rainey and his wife, Anna, of Norfolk County, Virginia. He received his early instruction in the public schools of Portsmouth, Virginia and also attended Norfolk Mission College — a school for black students, founded in 1883 by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church. He later spent two years at the College of the City of New York and, in 1915, enrolled at Harvard’s graduate school as a special student.

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Dr. Jessie K. Garnett: The first black woman to practice dentistry in the Hub

Pioneer dentist paved the way for blacks and women with career that spanned decades

Dr. Jessie Katherine (Gideon) Garnett was the first black woman to graduate from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and also the first to practice dentistry in Boston.

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Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin: A pioneer in the black women’s club movement

Part 2

The National Conference of Colored Women of America lead to the creation of the National Association of Colored Women, which became and remained the major national organization of African American Women until 1935, when one of its former presidents founded the National Council of Negro Women.

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Sergeant Horatio J. Homer: Boston’s first black police officer

With unfailing courtesy and diplomatic tact, Sergeant Horatio Julius Homer, the first African American appointed to the Boston Police Department, served 40 faithful years as police commission guard.

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Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin: A pioneer in the black women’s club movement

Known as a pioneer in the black women’s club movement, journalist, suffragist and civil rights activist, Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin issued the first call for a national convention of African American women and thus laid the groundwork for the eventual formation of the National Association of Colored Women.

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Mary Evans Wilson was founding member of the Women’s Service Club, NAACP Boston Branch

Civil rights pioneer Mary Evans Wilson dedicated her life to fighting for the rights of African Americans.

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John Van Surly DeGrasse: Boston’s pioneering black surgeon

African American surgeon Dr. John Van Surly DeGrasse, between the years 1850 and 1860, was regarded as the most cultured and accomplished black in the world, according to historian William Henry Ferris.

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Joseph Lee: famed hotelier, restaurateur, inventor

After having spent more than a decade of his childhood in bondage, in the late 19th century African American Joseph Lee became one of the most talked about hotel proprietors and restaurateurs in New England.

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Robert H. Carter: pioneering black pharmacist, entrepreneur- Black History

Robert H. Carter is believed to be the first African American certified pharmacist in Massachusetts. During a period from 1869 to 1907 he owned drugstores in New Bedford and Boston. Back then drugstores did not have a huge inventory of prefabricated drugs as are available today at CVS, Rite Aid or Walgreens. Pharmacists had to be able to formulate medications for doctors’ prescriptions.

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Abolitionist Dr. John S. Rock embodied black pride, perseverance

Dr. John S. Rock, a preeminent mid-19th century black abolitionist, dentist, doctor and lawyer, was one of Boston’s most eloquent and uncompromising champions of the rights of African Americans.

Abolitionist Frances E. W. Harper’s message to young black Bostonians

One hundred and nineteen years ago, on the evening of Aug. 21, 1894, the interest of Boston’s Colored National League (CNL), "a non-partisan organization devoted to the welfare of the race," was aroused by the spirited address of African American abolitionist, author and poet Mrs. Frances Ellen Watkins Harper of Philadelphia, Pa.

Edwin Garrison Walker: An able lawyer and legislator

Described by one observer in 1894 as “one of the most noted men of his race, an orator of the highest ability, and a lawyer second to none in his profession,” Edwin Garrison Walker was born in Boston, Mass. in 1830 to Eliza and David Walker.

Maria Louise Baldwin: An eminent educator, civic leader, speaker

Black History

Miss Maria Louise Baldwin was a gifted speaker, a civic leader and one of the nation’s most eminent African American educators. The daughter of Peter L. and Mary E. Baldwin, she was born on Sept. 13, 1856 in Cambridge, Mass. There, she attended the Sargent Primary and Allston Grammar schools. She graduated from Cambridge High School in 1874 and from Cambridge Teachers’ Training School the following year.

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Maria Louise Baldwin: An eminent educator, civic leader, speaker

Miss Maria Louise Baldwin was a gifted...

Edgar P. Benjamin: philanthropist, noted attorney and banker

Black History

Edgar Pinkerton Benjamin enjoyed a long, prosperous life in Boston as a successful attorney, banker and philanthropist. The youngest of five children, he was born in Charleston, S.C., to an African American mother and a Hebrew father. Although he told one source his date of birth was Dec. 22, 1871, Benjamin’s age is listed as six months old on the June 23, 1870 U.S. Census report for Charleston, making it more likely that he was born around Dec. 22, 1869.

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Edgar P. Benjamin: philanthropist, noted attorney and banker

Descendants of abolitionist giants and the first black northern Civil War troops attended the recent opening...

Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller: Nation’s first black psychiatrist

Black History

Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller, the nation’s first black psychiatrist, endured employment discrimination to make significant contributions to Alzheimer’s disease research and the development of American psychiatry

William H. Lewis: Eloquent orator and lauded lawyer

Black History

William H. Lewis: Eloquent orator and lauded lawyer

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William H. Lewis: Eloquent orator and lauded lawyer

Anthony W. NealThe New York Times called African American...

Butler Roland Wilson: Humanitarian and Civil Rights advocate

For more than 50 years, Butler Roland Wilson dedicated his time and...

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Dr. Crumpler: Nation’s first African American woman physician

Anthony W. NealDr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler...

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Clement Garnett Morgan: From slavery to Harvard

Clement Garnett Morgan was born to slave...

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Abolitionist William Cooper Nell fought for integrated schools

“No man in New England has performed more uncompensated labor for...

Boston’s black medical community thrived in the mid-19th century

Boston’s remarkable black medical community dates back to before the Civil War. ...

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A noble history

At turn of 20th century, Boston’s black businesses sought economic independenceAnthony W. Neal ...