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Apess, William

Apess's parents were itinerant basket-makers and he lived as a young child mostly with his grandparents, who were very cruel to him. When his grandmother broke his arm he was rescued by an ... [more]

Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki

Te Kooti was named Akirangi in a prophecy by Te Toiroa foretelling his birth. According to the prophecy if Te Turuki had a child who died, followed by Te Rangipatahi having a child who live... [more]

Stands In Timber, John

Stands In Timber was born the son of Stands Different and Buffalo Cow, but his father died in 1887 and his mother in 1892, and he was then raised by his grandparents. First, he and his y... [more]

Schweig, Eric

Schweig was born to an Inuit mother and a Chippewa Dene father in Inuvik, the Northwest Territories. At six months he was adopted by a German-Canadian family. During his childhood in Inuvi... [more]


Seal was born to a Nigerian mother and Brazilian father in Kilburn, London. Both his parents were students with part-time jobs, and he was privately fostered with a white family with four b... [more]

Rat-Children of Shah Daula

According to a centuries-old tradition, barren women who worship at the shrine of the Sufi saint Shah Daula, in Gujrat, Pakistan, will become fertile. But unless they donate their first-bor... [more]

Pelzer, David J.

Pelzer was the third of five children of alcoholic parents. His father deserted the family, and David was horrifically physically abused from the age of four by his alcoholic birth mother (... [more]

Klein, Hans-Joachim

Klein's mother committed suicide when he was four. His father, a policeman who had been a member of Hitler's SS, was a violent man who abused the boy so badly that he was taken to an orphan... [more]

Fitzgerald, Ella

Fitzgerald's birth parents both died when she was a child; she never knew her father and her mother died about 1935. Some sources state that she earlier ran away from her abusive step-fathe... [more]

Douglass, Frederick

Douglass was born in Maryland to a slave woman and named Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey; his father was white - quite possibly his mother's owner (a common practice). As a young child... [more]

Cochran, Jacqueline

Cochran was born sometime between 1906 and 1910, and was orphaned as a baby. She was a foster child in a feckless, poverty-stricken family (she got her first pair of shoes when she was eigh... [more]

Brickley, James

Brickley's mother died when he was four and he was physically and emotionally abused by his step-mother for years. When he was 10 his father discovered the abuse and he was placed with his ... [more]

Bird, A. John

Bird is the founder of The Big Issue, the magazine produced and sold by the homeless in Britain. He was one of six sons of a poor London family. After his parents were evicted from their... [more]

Trapp Family

The Trapps, Baron and Baroness von Trapp and their 10 children, are one of the world's most famous families, and the subject of one of the most successful stage musicals and films in histor... [more]

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