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Lee de Forest was the son of a Congregational minister. His father moved the family to Alabama he took up residency and later became the president of a college named Talladega that was designed specifically for black students, a college that was almost on the brink of bankruptcy. The de Forest family was not well received by citizens of the white populated neighbourhood. Those people resented his father's efforts to edify blacks!
What made it worst all, of the many friends Lee de Forest had; they were mainly of the black race. One can just imagine the ambiguity that developed in the neighbourhood. Still being inquisitive he had a strong interest in science, and of course, this train of thought was not his father's wish at all, he wanted his son to follow in his footsteps and become a clergyman preaching the gospel!