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Twilight, Alexander (1795 – 1857)

For the next twelve years he learned reading, writing and math skills while performing various farming duties. He was able to save enough (probably with some assistance from the farmer for whom he labored) to enroll in Randolph’s Orange County Grammar School in 1815 at the age of 20. During the next six years (1815-1821) he completed not only the secondary school courses but also the first two years of a college level curriculum. Following his graduation from Randolph he was accepted at Middlebury College, entering as a junior in August of 1821. Two years later he received his bachelor’s degree. Middlebury College claims him to be the first African-American to earn a baccalaureate degree from an American college or university.

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Harmony Society: A Utopian Community

The Harmony Society, also called the Rappites, were similar to the Shakers in certain beliefs. Named after their founder, Johann Georg Rapp, the Rappites immigrated from Württemburg, Germany, to the United States in 1803, seeking religious freedom. Establishing a colony in Butler County, Pennsylvania, called Harmony, the Rappites held that the Bible was humanity’s sole authority.

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Karls, James M. (1927-2008)

Dr. Karls’ greatest contribution to the public appreciation of social work is his development of the “person in the environment” (PIE) assessment system that distinguishes social work from the other mental health professions. Working with Dr. Karin Wandrei, Dr. Karls used the concept underlying social work practice of person-in-environment to develop a system for social workers to record the results of their assessment that addresses the whole person. It helps the practitioner determine recommended courses of action, and to clearly follow the progress of the work. PIE has been translated into many languages, and it has been computerized. It is used as a teaching tool not only in the US but in other countries. PIE provides an alternative to the medical model that has traditionally dominated mental health practice, and encourages social work leadership in social rehabilitation, community resources, and advocacy models.

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Micheaux, Oscar D. (1884 – 1951)

Micheaux sought to create films that would counter white portrayals of African Americans, which tended to emphasize inferior stereotypes. He created complex characters of different classes, and was never interested in simplicity. The themes discussed in Micheaux’s films represented the development of the black voice in mass media. They questioned the value system of both African American and Caucasian communities, while causing problems with the press and state censors. His own life experiences were the basis for much of his work. Growing up in southern Illinois, which had long been influenced by Southern migrants and culture, he learned about some relationships between African Americans and whites, and their misunderstandings.

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Amana Colonies: A Utopian Community

“The Amana Colonies were one of many utopian colonies established on American soil during the 18th and 19th centuries. There were hundreds of communal utopian experiments in the early United States, and the Shakers alone founded around 20 settlements. While great differences existed between the various utopian communities or colonies, each society shared a common bond in a vision of communal living in a utopian society.”

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Pinchback, Pinckney Benton Stewart: (1837-1921)

Before ascending to the office of governor, Pinchback had run for both a U.S Senate seat and a seat in the U.S. Congress simultaneously in 1872. He won both contests but was barred from taking his congressional post when his opponent contested the election and was awarded the position. Pinchback was denied his seat in the senate as well as a result of charges of election fraud.

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Company Towns: 1880s to 1935

In the 1890s, in remote locations such as railroad construction sites, lumber camps, turpentine camps, or coal mines, jobs often existed far from established towns. As a pragmatic solution, the employer sometimes developed a company town, where an individual company owned all the buildings and businesses.

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United Neighborhood Houses, Fiftieth Anniversary – 1951

Address by Mr. Mark A. McCloskey, 1951. “Above all, the settlements are called upon to continue to be free, to list where they will, to be different in emphasis, varied in interest and program as well as personal leadership, but called to unity and joint action in support of our common humanity. Time will not tame the settlements in the next fifty years.”

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