Student Historian

Charlene J. Fletcher, Ph.D., is an affiliate faculty member in the Africana Studies Program at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis (IUPUI). Most recently, Charlene served as the ACLS Emerging Voices Postdoctoral Research Associate at Brown University’s Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice. She holds a Ph.D. in History specializing in 19th century United States and African American history and gender studies.

Alma Shealey Adams (1946- )

Congresswoman Alma Shealey Adams currently represents North Carolina’s 12th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives.  She is the 100th woman elected to that legislative body and the second African American woman, after Eva Clayton, to represent North Carolina in the U.S. Congress. … Read MoreAlma Shealey Adams (1946- )

Harold “Slim” Jenkins (1890-1967)

Harold Jenkins was an African American entrepreneur and owner of the renowned Slim Jenkins Supper Club in Oakland, California, popular from the 1930s to the 1960s.  Jenkins was born July 22, 1890, in Monroe, Louisiana and relocated to Oakland shortly after World War I, and … Read MoreHarold “Slim” Jenkins (1890-1967)

National Negro Opera Company (1941-1962)

Mary Cardwell Dawson established the National Negro Opera Company (NNOC) in 1941 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Born in North Carolina, Dawson graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music in 1925, the only African American in her class. Facing discrimination in her aspiration for a career … Read MoreNational Negro Opera Company (1941-1962)

Venice Tipton Spraggs (1905-1956)

The Chicago Defender Front Page, November 16, 1940 “Image Ownership: Public Domain” Venice Tipton Spraggs served as the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Defender and was the first African American inducted into Theta Sigma Phi, a professional journalism fraternity.  Spraggs was born in 1905 … Read MoreVenice Tipton Spraggs (1905-1956)

Violette Neatley Anderson (1882-1937)

In 1926 Violette Neatley Anderson became the first African American female attorney admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court.  Anderson was born on July 16, 1882 in London, England to Richard and Marie Neatley.  The family immigrated to the United States and settled in … Read MoreViolette Neatley Anderson (1882-1937)

William Henry Johnson (ca. 1835-1864)

William Henry Johnson served as the personal valet to Abraham Lincoln.  Johnson was born around 1835; however, his exact date of birth, parentage, and birthplace remain unknown.  He began working for the Lincoln family in Springfield, Illinois as a barber and valet in 1860 and accompanied Lincoln … Read MoreWilliam Henry Johnson (ca. 1835-1864)