Carroll Barber (1924-1999) was born in Geneva, Illinois, and completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan in 1948. Barber later received a graduate degree in anthropology from the University of Arizona. Barber participated in a Freedom Ride from New Orleans, Louisiana, to Jackson, Mississippi. He was arrested on July 15, 1961, for his participation. Barber later served as a part-time instructor at Fisk University in the anthropology department.