St. Benedict the Moor (1526-1589)

“Image Ownership: Public Domain” Benedetto Manasseri, an Italian of African descent, was born near Messina, Italy to Cristoforo and Diana Manasseri in 1526. His parents, captured as slaves from Africa in the early 16th century, were brought to San Fratello, near Messina.  They converted to … Read MoreSt. Benedict the Moor (1526-1589)

Mercedes Frias (1962- )

Politician and immigrant and women’s rights advocate Mercedes Lourdes Frias was born in the municipality of San Antonio de Guerra, Dominican Republic, on October 28, 1962.  The daughter of a stevedore and a washerwoman, she earned her degree in geography at the Autonomous University of … Read MoreMercedes Frias (1962- )

Denny Méndez (1978- )

Beauty pageant queen, model, and actress Denny Andreina Méndez de la Rosa was born on July 20, 1978 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.  Her mother, Lidia Chavez, who had divorced her biological father, met a vacationing Italian, Sergio Casabianca, who became her stepfather.  At age five, … Read MoreDenny Méndez (1978- )

Michele Amatore (1826?-1883)

As a six-year-old boy named Quetto, Michele Amatore witnessed his village of Commi in the Nuba Mountains of southern Sudan decimated by Egyptian soldiers and their leaders who profited from the slave trade.  The oldest of four children, his father was a village chief named Bolingia; … Read MoreMichele Amatore (1826?-1883)

Harold Bradley (1929- )

Expatriate former athlete, actor, entrepreneur, and entertainer Harold Willard Bradley Jr. was born on October 13, 1929 in Chicago, Illinois.  Raised in a racially diverse middle class neighborhood, his father, Harold Sr., had been one of the early African American professional football players prior to … Read MoreHarold Bradley (1929- )

Cécile Kyenge (1964- )

An Italian government official and medical professional, Cécile Kyenge Kashetu was born in the mining town of Kambove, Democratic Republic of Congo. In 1983 she moved to Italy and worked as a maid while studying medicine and surgery at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore … Read MoreCécile Kyenge (1964- )

Sandy Cane (1961- )

Sandra “Sandy” Maria Cane was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, the younger of two daughters of an African American father, a US Army paratrooper during World War II, and an Italian mother, whose family had established a stonemason business in northern France.  At age 10, in … Read MoreSandy Cane (1961- )