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African American Shoe Shiners and Shoe Repairers in Lexington, KY, 1930-1947
Start Year : 1930
End Year : 1947
By 1920, there were approximately 50,000 shoe repair shops in the United States. In Lexington,KY, there were many African Americans who supported their families as shoe repairers, shoe shiners, and shoe finishers. The making, repairing and caring of shoes were trades taught in Kentucky's African American normal and industrial institutes, orphanages, and schools for students with disabilities. During the economic depression, when jobs were few and the purchase of new shoes had drastically declined, skilled workers in other trades turned to shoe repair and shoe shining as a source of income. Very limited research has been done on these occupations, but very good documentation can be found in reference to Lexington, KY, and African Americans employed in the shoe care and repair market. Below are some of their names for the years 1930-1947. Many were WWI and WWII veterans. The information comes from Polk's Lexington (Kentucky) City Directories, U.S. Federal Census Records, military registration records, death certificates, and other sources as noted.
[See also the NKAA entries African American Shoe Makers and Shoe Repairers in Lexington , KY, prior to 1900; African American Shoe Makers in Kentucky; and African American Shoe Makers from Kentucky.]
- William Anderson was a shoe shiner at McGurk's Shoe and Hat Shop (1939 directory). William and Luvenia Anderson lived at 252 E. 3rd Street (1940-41 directory).
- William E. Anderson (b.1873) was a shoe shiner for M. Churchill Johnson. He had been a porter at his father's barber shop at the corner of Main and Upper Streets, according to his WWI draft registration card. Anderson lived at 321 E. 2nd Street (1940-41 directory) with his father Will Anderson. [see also NKAA entry Suter Brothers, Barbers]
- Robert Arthur was a shoe repairman at Ben Snyder Inc. Robert and Mary Arthur lived at 668A Charlotte Court (1942 directory).
- Thomas Atkins was a shoe shiner at Woodland Barber Shop. He lived at 543 E. 2nd Street (1937 directory).
- Edward Bailey was a shoe shiner at E E Harber Shoe Repair Company. He lived at 150 N. Eastern Avenue (1947 directory).
- Roosevelt Ballard was a shoe repairman at E E Harber Shoe Repair Company. He lived at 389 Patterson Street (1945 directory).
- James W. Beatty was a shoe shiner at 204 Deweese Street (1942 directory).
- Benjamin Bibbs (b.1880) was a shoe shiner at N Y Hat Cleaners (1931 directory). According to his WWI draft registration card, Bibbs had been a tinner at State University on Limestone [now University of Kentucky], and he and Lena Bibbs lived at 167 E. 7th Street.
- William Bibbs was a shoe shiner at Lexington Hatters and Cleaners. He lived at 716 N. Limestone Street (1940-41 directory).
- Coleman Bledshaw was a shoe shiner at Lexington Hatters and Cleaners. He was the husband of Artemesia Bledshaw, and the couple lived at 530 Lawrence Street (1940-41 directory).
- Robert Brookter was a shoe repairman for Mrs. Sadie Bederman. He lived at 501 Patterson Street (1945 directory). [The last name Brookter was more common in Louisiana and Mississippi, than in Kentucky.]
- Daniel Boone was a shoe shiner for Clyde R. Clem. Boone lived at 558 N. Upper Street (1937 directory).
- William Huston Bradshaw (b.1877) was a shoe shiner at McGurk's Shoe Shop. He lived at 274 E. 2nd Street (1940-41 directory), and was the husband of Susie Bradshaw, according to his WWI draft registration card.
- Matthew Buckner was a shoe shiner at Lexington Hatters and Cleaners. Buckner lived at 448 Ohio Street (1937 directory).
- Thomas Henry Buckner (b.1878) was a shoe shiner. He lived at 450 Chestnut Street (1943-44 directory). He had been a waiter at the Phoenix Hotel in downtown Lexington, according to his WWI draft registration card, and lived at 824 Charles Avenue with his wife Mollie Buckner.
- Titus Buckner (1855-1936) was a shoe repairman (1931 directory). He had also been a shoemaker and was listed in William's Lexington City Directory 1881-82. Buckner was also a minister. Reverend Titus Buckner was born in Fayette County, KY. He was the husband of Julia Buckner, b.1856 in KY. The couple lived at 196 Eddie Street, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. Titus Buckner was a widower by 1920, and Mattie Titus is listed as his wife in the 1931 city directory. Titus Buckner is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Lexington, KY, according to his death certificate.
- Jesse Cawl (1911-1971) was a shoe shiner at McGurk's Shoe Shop at 244 E. Short Street (1942 directory). He was born in Jefferson County, KY, and Eugene Booker is listed as his mother on the birth certificate. Cawl was a WWII veteran, he enlisted in Cincinnati, OH, on January 22, 1943, according to his Army enlistment record. Cawl died in Louisville, KY.
- Felix Chapman (1906-1966) was a shoe repairman and shoe finisher for Charles H. McAtee. Chapman lived at 366 E. 2nd Street (1939 directory and 1940-41 directory). He was later a shoe repairman at E E Harber Shoe Repair Company, and lived at 545 Wilson Street (1945 directory). Chapman had been a chauffeur and lived at 336 E. Short Street (1927 directory). Chapman died in Bourbon County, KY.
- Marcus Caldwell was a shoe shiner at Lexington Hatters and Cleaners. Marcus and Sarah Caldwell lived at 507F S. Aspendale Drive (1939 directory).
- Robert D. Claybourne (b.1880) was a shoe repairman at McGurk's Shoe Shop. He lived with his wife, Lollia Claybourne, and family at 357 Wilson Street (1947 directory). Claybourne, born in KY, had been a shoemaker at a shoe store in Louisville according to the 1920 U.S. Federal Census.
- Farris Craig (b.1890) was a shoe shiner for Fred D. Bostic. Craig lived at 352 Poplar Street (1937 directory). He is listed with his wife Anna H. Craig, and his step-daughter in the 1920 U.S. Federal Census. He had been a porter in a barber shop owned by William Johnson in Lexington, KY, according to his WWI draft registration card. Craig was born in Danville, KY, the son of John and Jessie Craig, according to the 1900 Census.
- Kenneth Craig (1923-1945) was a shoe repairman for Samuel Bederman. He lived in Versailles, KY (1943-44 directory). Craig was born in Buffalo, NY, the son of Clayton Coleman and Roy C. Craig, Sr., and according to his death certificate, his parents were Kentucky natives. Kenneth Craig died of tuberculosis in Lexington, KY.
- Joseph Davis was a shoe repairman employed by Samuel Bederman. Davis lived at 324 Hickory Street (1931 directory). He was later a shoe shiner at Harber Shoe Repair Company, and lived at 501D N. Aspendale Avenue (1940-41 directory).
- John Doty was a shoe shiner at Broadway Shine Parlor. He lived at 468 Kenton Street (1942 directory).
- Loyal R. Drye (1901-1975) was a shoe shiner at Five Minute Hat Shop. Loyal and his wife Eliza lived at 178 Race Street (1931 directory). He died in Cincinnati, OH.
- Jessie Edwards was a shoe shiner for Samuel Bederman. He lived at 327 Chestnut Street (1940-41 directory).
- Alphonso Fair was a shoe shiner employed by William T. Hurst. Alphonso and Mayme Fair lived at 446 Ash Street (1931 directory).
- Nathaniel C. Farmer was a shoe repairman at 306 E. 2nd Street (1931 directory).
- William Fisher was a shoe shiner at Broadway Shine Parlor. He lived at 197 Deweese Street (1947 directory).
- Thomas Foster was a shoe shiner at Harber Shoe Repair Company. Foster lived at 313 Henry Street (1939 directory).
- Lawrence Fox was a shoe shiner for Martin Berlin. Fox lived at 427 Kenton Street (1940-41 directory).
- Mitchell Garth (b.1881) was a shoe shiner. He worked from his home at 133 W. Water Street (1937 directory). Garth was born in Alabama, and had been a janitor while a boarder at the home of Samuel Young on Corral Street, according to the 1930 U.S. Federal Census.
- James A. Graves (b.1891) repaired shoes at his home, 523 S. Spring Street (1931 directory). He was born in Kentucky, the son of Florida Graves, according to the 1920 U.S. Census. James Graves later repaired shoes at 211 Deweese Street (1937 directory). James was the husband of Abbie Graves. The city directory entry reads "Shoe Repair Shop, I Doctor Shoes, Heel Them and Save Their Soles" (1945 directory).
- Patrick Green was a shoe shiner at McGurk's Shoe Shop (1947 directory).
- Walker Green was a shoe finisher at McGurk's Shoe Shop. He lived at 726 Chiles Avenue (1945 directory).
- Peter Harley was a shoe shiner at 164 Race Street (1943-44 directory).
- Samuel M. Harrison (1874-1951) was a shoemaker and shoe repairman at 535 Jefferson Street, and he lived at 533 Jefferson Street (1931 directory). Harrison was born in Fayette County, KY, the son of Martha Allen Harrison and Essix Harrison, according to his death certificate. He was the husband of Cordelia Harrison. By the 1940s, Samuel Harrison had expanded his shoe repair business to include the making of artificial limbs (1943-44 directory). Samuel M. Harrison is buried in the Greenwood Cemetery in Lexington, KY.
- John F. Holman was a shoe shiner at McGurk's Shoe & Hat Shop. He lived at 150 N. Eastern Avenue (1943-44 directory).
- Henry E. Howe (1911-1984) was a shoe finisher at a shoe shop in 1930 when he was living with his grandmother Mary Howe at 275 E. 4th Street, according to the U.S. Federal Census. He was later a shoe repairman at 607 N. Limestone, and was married to Nannie Howe. The couple lived at 275 E. 4th Street (1937 directory). A few years later, Henry Howe lived at 332 Ohio Street (1942 directory) with his wife Louise P. Howe (1945 directory), and he was still repairing shoes on N. Limestone.
- Alex Hutsel was a shoe shiner employed by Samuel Bederman. Hutsel lived at 350 Deweese Street (1942 directory).
- William Irvin was a shoe shiner for Robert E. Parris. Irvin lived at 549 Thomas Street (1937 directory).
- Christ Jackson was listed as a laborer who lived at 180 Correll Street [Corral Street] in the R. C. Hellrigle and Co's Lexington City Directory 1877-78, and he was later a shoe shiner at Broadway Shine Parlor (1939 directory). Christ and Lillie Jackson lived at 309 Coleman Street (1939 directory and 1940-41 directory).
- James L. Jackson was a shoe shiner who lived at 217 E. 2nd Street (1942 directory).
- Robert Jackson was a shoe repairman for Sol Bederman. He and his wife Annabelle Jackson lived at 219 E. 2nd Street (1945 directory).
- Roy Jackson was a shoe shiner at 314 Corral Street (1931 directory).
- Robert E. Johnson was a shoe shiner for Samuel Bederman. He lived at 436 Kenton Street (1943-44 directory).
- Shirley B. Johnson was a paperhanger when he and his wife Sidney lived at 553 Ohio Street (1931-32 directory). Shirley Johnson was later a shoe shiner at O K Barber Shop, and the couple lived at 145 Prall Street (1939 directory).
- Chester Jones was a shoe repairman at 559 White Street (1937 directory). He was later a shoe shiner at the Lexington Shoe Hospital (1939 directory).
- Lloyd Jones was a shoe finisher and shoe repairman at McGurk's Shoe and Hat Shop. Lloyd and Mary Jones lived at 684C Charlotte Court (1943-44 directory & 1945 directory).
- Oliver Jones was a shoe shiner at 371 Corral Street (1937 directory).
- William C. Jones repaired shoes at 243 Lee Street. He and his wife Callie C. Jones lived at 923 Whitney Avenue (1931 directory).
- John L. Lawrence was a shoe shiner at Lexington Hatters and Cleaners. John and Mary Lawrence lived at 450 N. Upper Street (1940-41 directory).
- David Lee was a shoe shiner at McGurk's Shoe & Hat Shop. He lived at 736 N. Broadway (1943-44 directory).
- Spurgeon L. Lewis (1911-1985) was a shoe shiner at Unique Shine Parlor. Lewis lived at 326 E. 2nd Street (1937 directory) with his parents, Henry S. and Elizabeth T. Lewis. There was a family of eight listed in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census.
- Joseph B. Lyons, Sr. was a shoe shiner at Lexington Hatters and Cleaners. Joseph and Sam Ella Lyons lived at 182 Eddie Street (1937 directory). They later lived at 507D S. Aspendale Drive (1942 directory). [He was the father of Donald W. Lyons, Sr. and Joseph B. Lyons, Jr.]
- Robert Hamilton McClasky (b.1881) was a shoemaker at his home at 209 South Broadway, and was the husband of Clara M. McClasky, according to his WWI draft registration card. He is listed as a widow in the 1920 Census, he was sharing his home, 207 S. Broadway, with his brother John E. McClasky (b.1891) who was a shoe repairman. Both brothers were born in Kentucky. Robert McClasky was later a shoe repairman at 207 S. Broadway (1931 directory), and would become the owner of Tuskegee Shoe Shop, which had a separate entry in the city directory (1945 directory). The shop was located at his home. The directory entry reads "Tuskegee Shoe Shop, (c; Robert H. McClasky), 35 Years of Dependable Service, Shoe Repairing, and Rebuilding." He was the husband of Birdie McClasky (1945 directory).
- Andrew McGee (1894-1942) was a shoe shiner for John K. Reeder. McGee lived at 346 Corral Street (1939 directory). He is listed in the 1920 U.S. Federal Census as a barber. He had earlier been a porter at Wiley & Fields, at the corner of Main and Broadway, according to McGee's WWI registration card. Andrew McGee was born in Kentucky, the son of Pollie Lee and William McGee, according to his death certificate. He lived with his grandmother when he was a child; Jane Lee was a widow who lived on Constitution Street in Lexington, KY, according to the 1900 Census. Andrew McGee was a WWI veteran and is buried in the National Cemetery in Nicholasville, KY.
- Michael Miegel was a shoe shiner at Broadway Shine Parlor (1947 directory).
- William Mells was a shoe shiner for Martin Berlin (1940-41 directory). He later shined shoes at Lexington Hatters and Cleaners. William and Jean Mells lived at 248 Jefferson Street (1942 directory). Jean Hamilton Mells was a 47 year old widow when she died in 1948, according to her death certificate.
- Thomas Mells (1900-1967) was a shoe shiner at Lexington Hatters and Cleaners. Mells lived at 122 W. 4th Street (1942 directory), and later lived at 248 Jefferson Street (1943-44 directory). He died in Lexington, KY, according to the Social Security Death Index.
- Thomas Mullen was a shoe shiner at McGurk's Shoe Shop. He lived at 351 E. 3rd Street (1940-41 directory).
- Robert Mundy (1915-1976) and Thomas L. Mundy (1916-1983) were brothers, both were shoe shiners at Harber Shoe Repair Company. Robert was the husband of Ruth Mundy and the couple lived at 419 Chestnut Street. Thomas Mundy lived at 243 Ann Street (1937 directory). The brothers were born in Kentucky, the sons of George and Sally Mundy. The family of seven is listed in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census, they lived on Mary Street in Lexington, KY.
- Edward M. Neal, Jr. was a shoe repairman at 508 Thomas Street (1937 directory).
- Raymond Nichols was a shoe shiner for Henry Howe (above). Nichols lived at 738 N. Broadway (1939 directory).
- Kenneth A. Paige (1903-1961) was a shoe repairman at 322 Chestnut Street in the 1930s. Kenneth and his wife Anna J. Paige lived at 219 W. 7th Street (1931 directory). Kenneth Paige is listed in the Lexington city directory for almost two decades, including his employment at E E Harber Shoe Repair Company (1942 directory). Paige was also a shoe repairman at Pinkston's, and lived at 351 Corral Street (1945 directory). He was owner of "Paige's Shoe Repair Shop, The House of Souls and Heels." The business was located at 211 Deweese Street (1947 directory).
- Charles Palmer did shoe repairs at his home, 445 Chestnut Street. He was the husband of Anna B. Palmer (1931 directory).
- John Nimrod Paul was born in 1885 in Russell County, KY. He was the husband of Emma Grider Paul, born in 1892 in Cumberland, KY. The couple lived in Russell Springs, KY, according to John Paul's WWI registration card. John Paul had a shoemaker's shop in Russell Springs according to the 1920 U.S. Federal Census. By 1930, the family of six lived in Lexington, KY, and John Paul did shoe repairs from their home at 457 Georgetown Street (1931 directory).
- Felix Pearsall (1922) was a shoe shiner for Charles H. McAtee (1939 directory). He was the son of Katherine Pearsall who was a widow when listed in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census.
- Gilbert W. Potter (1910-1954) was a shoe shiner for Sol Bederman, and he and his wife Virginia lived at 667C Charlotte Court F (1945 directory). He had been a waiter (1937 directory), and was later a porter at Drake Hotel (1939 directory). Gilbert W. Potter served in the U.S. Army during WWII, he enlisted in Cincinnati, OH, October 23, 1942, according to his enlistment record.
- Albert Rogers was a shoe shiner at Harber Shoe Repair Company. Rogers lived at 230 E. 2nd Street (1937 directory).
- Jesse Ross shined shoes at N Y Hat Cleaners. He lived at 731 Whitney Avenue (1931 directory).
- Paul L. Seals (1930-1985) was a shoe shiner at McGurk's Shoe Shop. He lived at 500C N. Aspendale Drive (1947 directory). Seals was the son of Robert P. and Marjorie R. Seals, the family of four is listed in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census.
- Harry Shields was a shoe repairman. He lived at 248 E. Short Street (1942 directory). Shields was later a shoe repairman at Tuskegee Shoe Shop (1947 directory). He was the husband of Sarah Shields.
- David Singleton was a shoe shiner for Sol Bederman. He lived at 248 E. 5th Street (1937 directory).
- Jerry Smith was a shoe shiner at 118 W. Vine Street. He was the husband of Beatrice T. Smith (1947 directory).
- John Smith repaired shoes at 401 1/2 Race Street. He and his wife Mary Smith lived at 562 Thomas Street (1931 directory).
- Rudolph Smith was a shoe shiner at McGurk's Shoe & Hat Shop. He lived at 374 E. 2nd Street (1943-44 directory). He was later a shoe shiner at E E Harber Shoe Repair Company, and lived at 428 Ash Street (1945 directory).
- Thornton Smith was a shoe shiner at 390 Patterson Street. Smith lived at 721 Noble Avenue (1942 directory).
- George W. Stewart was a shoe repairman at 337 N. Limestone. George and Leona P. Stewart lived at 341 N. Limestone (1937 directory).
- George A. Stone was a shoe shiner and a shoe repairman at Harber Shoe Repair Company. Stone lived at 532 Emma Street (1939 directory), and later lived at 425 N. Upper Street (1943-44 directory).
- A second George A. Stone was a shoe finisher at 417 E. 2nd Street. He was the husband of Rose L. Stone (1943-44 directory), the couple lived at 309 E. 2nd Street (1940-41 directory).
- Albert Taylor was a shoe shiner. He lived at 133 Water Street (1940-41 directory).
- Dillard Taylor (1884-1939) did shoe repairs at 801 Whitney Avenue. He was married to Lizzie Taylor (1931 directory). Dillard Taylor was born in Scott County, KY, the son of Litha Redd and George Taylor, according to his death certificate. He was buried in Georgetown, KY.
- George T. Taylor (1900-1952) was a shoe repairman. He lived at 322 Chestnut Street (1942 directory). Taylor was later a shoe repairman at Third Street Bargain Store. George and Rosa Taylor lived at 316 Deweese Street (1945 directory). According to his death certificate, George T. Taylor was also a shoemaker. He was born in Macon, GA, the son of Eugenia and Lee Taylor. He is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Lexington, KY.
- Ella B. Thomas was one of the few women who were employed as a shoe repairer. The business was at 337 N. Limestone, and Thomas lived at 341 N. Limestone (1931 directory).
- James Tribble was a shoe shiner at McGurk's Shoe & Hat Shop. He lived at 753 Loraine Avenue (1943-44 directory).
- Sanford Vinegar was a shoe shiner for George Miner. He lived at 477 W. 4th Street (1937 directory).
- E. Waldo was a shoe shiner at Lexington Hatters and Cleaners located at 321 Wilson Street (1942 directory). He was the husband of Corine Waldo.
- Joseph E. Walker was a shoe shiner. Joseph and Mozelle Walker lived at 157 N. Eastern Avenue (1945 directory).
- Virgil Washington was a shoe repairman employed by Sol Bederman. Washington lived at 309 E. 6th Street (1931 directory).
- Thompson Webb was a shoe shiner at Unique Shine Parlor. He was the husband of Hattie Webb (1939 directory).
- Earl White was a shoe shiner for Sol Bederman. White lived at 702 Lindbergh Court (1940-41 directory).
- Joseph White was a shoe repairman for Samuel Bederman. White lived at 343 E. 2nd Street (1937 directory).
- Albert Wilkerson was a shoe shiner at State Cleaners. He lived at 413 Elm Street (1937 directory)
- Jesse Williams was a shoe repairman at Harber Shoe Repair Company. Jesse and Clara Williams lived at 205 E. Euclid Avenue (1937 directory).
- Jesse Williams, Jr. was a shoe repairman at E E Harber Shoe Repair Company. He lived at 248 Roosevelt Boulevard (1943-44 directory).
- William Wilson was a shoe shiner at Lexington Hatters & Cleaners (1937 directory).
- William Winchester was a shoe shiner at Lexington Hatters and Cleaners (1940-41 directory).
- Harry E. Worsham was a shoe shiner at Lexington Shoe Hospital. Worsham lived at 445 Chestnut Street (1942 directory). He was later a shoe repairman for Mrs. Sadie Bederman (1945 directory).
- Nathaniel Young was a shoe shiner at Martin's Barber Shop. Nathaniel and Luella Young lived at 108 York Street (1939 directory).
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Tuberculosis: Care and Deaths, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Russell Springs, Russell County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Bourbon County, Kentucky / Alabama / Cincinnati, Ohio / Macon, Georgia / Louisiana / Mississippi / Buffalo, New York
Bailey, John S.
Birth Year : 1830
Death Year : 1892
John S. Bailey, the husband of Julia Frances Bailey, was one of the wealthiest African Americans in Racine, WI. He was born in Kentucky, and moved to Indiana where he married Julia in 1851. By 1857, the couple lived in Racine, where John owned a barber shop. They were two among the 92 African Americans living in Racine, Wisconsin in 1860, and there were several from Kentucky. John's barbering business was a success and he was able to hire others to work for him, including white barbers. Bailey's barber shop was located in the basement of the American Bank in Racine. He had a home built for his family at 1124 Wisconsin Avenue. His daughter Florence (b.1860) is thought to have been the first Colored student and graduate of Racine High School. Bailey's two sons, George S. (b.1865) and William H. (b.1869), were in the barbering business with their father. Julia Bailey's parents were from Kentucky, they had migrated to Indiana where Julia was born in 1833. A few years after John Bailey's death in 1892, his entire family moved to Fulton, Washington and are listed in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census: Julia was a dressmaker, no occupation was listed for Florence, and George and William were barbers. By 1910, Julia and her sons lived in Seattle, WA. George and William owned a barbershop. Julia Bailey is sometimes listed as Mulatto or white in the census records. By 1920, she is no longer listed, and George and William are still single, they live together, and still own their barbershop. It is not known if their father, John Bailey, was ever a slave in Kentucky. For more see "History: the John S. Bailey family," Milwaukee Star, 11/28/1970, p.6.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Migration West
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Racine, Wisconsin / Seattle, Washington
Banks, William Venoid
Birth Year : 1903
Death Year : 1985
In 1975, William V. Banks, born in Geneva, KY, was the first African American to own and operate a television station in the United States, WGPR-TV in Detroit, MI. He also became the owner, in 1964, of the first black radio station in Detroit, WGPR-FM. Banks was a graduate of Lincoln Institute, Wayne State University (1926), and the Detroit College of Law (1929) [now Michigan State University College of Law]. He also became an ordained minister after completing his studies at the Detroit Baptist Seminary in 1949. Banks founded the International Free and Accepted Modern Masons and Eastern Star, serving as its supreme president. He also founded the Universal Barber College and the International School of Cosmetology in 1957. A biography of Banks' life, A Legacy of Dreams, was written by S. T. Gregory. For more see "Founder of 1st black-owned TV station dies," United Press International, 08/26/1985, Domestic News section.
See photo image of William V. Banks on p.23 of Jet, December 30, 1985-January 6, 1986.
Subjects: Barbers, Cosmetologists, Beauty Shops, Hairdressers, Beauty Supplies, Lawyers, Migration North, Radio, Religion & Church Work, Television, Fraternal Organizations, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Geneva, Henderson County, Kentucky / Detroit, Michigan
Barbers (Louisville, KY)
Mention of the following African American barbers in Louisville, KY, can be found in The History of the United Brothers of Friendship and Sisters of the Mysterious Ten, by W. H. Gibson, Sr. : Washington Spradling, David Straws, Henry Cozzens, John Morris, Alexander Morris, Jr., Alexander Morris, Sr., Shelton Morris, Theodore Sterritt, Nathan B. Rogers, J. C. N. Fowles, and Austin Hubbard.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky
Birth Year : 1834
Death Year : 1902
Barr, a barber, was the first African American to build a commercial building in Watertown, NY, prior to 1910 when there 76 African Americans in the community. Barr had arrived in Watertown in 1865; he was an escaped slave from Kentucky and had been living in Montreal before moving to New York. Barr had a chicken farm and owned a dry cleaners and clothes dying shop before building the three story building named Barr Block. He was a successful businessman and leader in the African American community. He was one of the first Board of Trustee members of what is today Thomas Memorial AME Zion Church. The Henry Barr Underground Railroad Community Development, Inc. was named in his honor. For more see L. L. Scharer, "African-Americans in Jefferson County, New York; 1810-1910," Afro-Americans in New York Life and History, vol. 19, no. 1 (Jan. 31, 1995), pp. 7ff.; and J. Golden, "Blacks have long had faith in Watertown," Watertown Daily Times, 02/26/1995, Lifestyles and Leisure section, p. G1.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Freedom, Migration North, Religion & Church Work, Underground Railroad: Conductors, Escapes, Organizations, Research
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Watertown, New York
Beckwith, Anna M. Logan
Birth Year : 1884
Death Year : 1964
Mrs. Anna M. Logan Beckwith was a pharmacist in Cincinnati, OH. In 1928, she purchased the Peerless Pharmacy, located on Alms and Chapel Streets. Beckwith was considered a leading member of the Colored citizens in Cincinnati and is mentioned in Negro Employment in Retail Trade: a study of racial policies in the department store, drugstore, and supermarket industries, by Bloom, Fletcher, and Perry. Beckwith is also included in The Negro in the Drugstore Industry, by F. M. Fletcher. Anna Beckwith was born in Berea, KY, the daughter of Elijah and Amanda Logan. The family of six is listed in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census; Elijah Logan was a widower. Anna Logan moved to Cincinnati in 1903. She was the wife of Carl Beckwith, a mail carrier (1881-1971) from West Virginia. In 1910 the Beckwith family lived at 5304 Central Avenue in Madisonville, OH, [source: William's Hamilton County Directory for 1909-10]. The household included Anna, Carl, their daughter, and Anna's brother, Phocia [or Foshen] Logan (b. 1882 in KY), a barber who owned his own shop [source: 1910 U.S. Federal Census]. By 1920, the Beckwiths had a second daughter and the family lived in Cincinnati, OH. Anna Beckwith was still managing her drugstore in 1930 [source: U.S. Federal Census], and the family had moved to Wyoming, OH. Anna and Carl Beckwith are listed in William's Hamilton County (Ohio) Directory for the years 1939-1944, but there is no mention of the pharmacy. Anna Beckwith was a graduate of Berea College. For more see Cincinnati's Colored Citizens, by W. P. Dabney.
Subjects: Barbers, Migration North, Postal Service, Pharmacists, Pharmacies
Geographic Region: Berea, Madison County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio
Birch, Ernest O. and Edward E. [Birch Bros.]
The Birch brothers, Ernest (1884-1951) and Edward (1887-1974), were born in Winchester, KY. They were the youngest two sons of Jane and Samuel Birch, who was a barber. Their oldest brother was Arthur Birch, he was a hotel porter, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. The family of five lived at 125 E. Third Street in Winchester. Ernest and Edward Birch would go on to create a partnership in 1908 known as Birch Brothers, an architecture business in Cincinnati, OH. They were not licensed in Ohio, but are recognized as two of the earliest African American architects in the city. Ernest Birch was a graduate of Kentucky Normal and Industrial Institute for Colored Persons [now Kentucky State University], where he first studied to become a teacher, and later switched to carpentry. Edward Birch studied architecture engineering at Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute [now Hampton University]. According to the 1910 census, the two brothers were managing their business and were lodgers at the home of William and Eliza Ford on West Canal Street [Eliza Ford was b.1867 in KY]. By 1920, Ernest was the husband of Corenna Birch, b.1891 in KY, and she is also listed as Ernest's wife on his WWII Draft Registration Card in 1942, a period when Ernest was employed by the Rubel Baking Company. He is listed as an architect at 3146 Gaff Avenue in the 1946 William's Cincinnati (Ohio) City Directory. Also in 1920, Edward Birch was the husband of Susie B. Whittaker, b.1890 in KY, and Edward was employed as a Pullman Porter. The couple and Susie's sister lived on Mountfort Street in Cincinnati. Edward Birch was previously married to Eva Downey, b.1890 in KY, and they had a son named Augustine E. Birch, b.1908 in KY. The couple divorced in 1916, and Eva and her son Augustine are listed as living in Winchester, KY in the 1910 census and 1930 census. Edward Birch is listed as a draftsman at 1123 Yale Avenue in the 1936-1937 William's Cincinnati Directory. He is credited for designing the Brown Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church. For more see the Ernest Octavius Birch entry and the Edward Eginton Birch entry, both in African American Architects, 1865-1945 edited by D. S. Wilson.
Subjects: Architects, Barbers, Businesses, Migration North, Pullman Porters
Geographic Region: Winchester, Clark County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio
Campbell, William Joseph
Birth Year : 1863
Death Year : 1912
William [W. J.] Campbell was a politician, a member and organizer of the Knights of Labor, a delegate and leader of the United Mine Workers of America, and a civil rights leader. The Knights of Labor, a labor organization, was founded as a secret society in Philadelphia, PA, in 1869. According to the organization's website, as of 1881, the Knights of Labor were no longer secret, and by 1886 the membership included 50,000 African American workers and 10,000 women workers. W. J. Campbell fought for improved race relations in coal towns and for interracial unions. He would become the representative of the Kentucky District of the United Mine Workers of America. W. J. Campbell was born in Morgan County, AL, the son of William Campbell and Bethiah Jones Campbell [source: W. J. Campbell's KY death certificate]. His family was poor; his father died when he was a boy. W. J. Campbell was hired out to a man who allowed him to attend and finish school in Huntsville, AL. Campbell became a teacher at the school he had attended. In 1880, he moved to Birmingham, AL, where he studied barbering and would become a barber. In 1881, he left barbering for the coal mines in Pratt City, AL. He became an advocate for the rights of African American miners, and in 1881 was secretary of the newly organized Knights of Labor in Pratt City. A year later, he was organizer-at-large, and established the first Knights of Labor in Birmingham and Montgomery. He established the beginnings of the United Mine Workers and the Federation of Mine Laborers, Division 10, in Chattanooga, TN. The division included Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky. W. J. Campbell was also a politician; he was the elected secretary of the Republican Committee of Jefferson County, AL, in 1882 and was also an elected delegate to the Republican State Convention. In 1892, he was an elected delegate-at-large to the Republican National Convention for Alabama. W. J. Campbell got married in 1889 and left Alabama in 1894 to settle in Central City, KY. Campbell was a miner and a barber, and his wife was a teacher at the Colored common school. Campbell organized Republican national league clubs for African Americans and whites. He was a delegate to the National Republican League Convention, and in 1901 was a member of the Republican State Campaign Committee. In 1898, Campbell drafted the Miners' Pay Bill of Kentucky that was passed by the Kentucky Legislature; it replaced the two weeks pay bill that had failed. In 1900, Campbell was a delegate to the National United Mine Workers of America [UMWA]. The UMWA was founded in Columbus, OH, in 1890, resulting from the merger of the Knights of Labor Trade Assembly No. 135 and the National Progressive Union of Miners and Mine Laborers. The constitution of the UMWA barred discrimination based on race, religion, and national origin. In 1901, Campbell became the secretary-treasurer of UMWA District 23 and is said to be the first African American at the post within the UMWA. He came to Lexington, KY in July of 1901 to settle a matter with W. D. Johnson, editor of The Standard newspaper. In 1904, Campbell was a member of the executive office of the UMWA, serving as a cabinet officer of John Mitchell. He was also president of Afro American National Protective Union, which sought to organize a National Labor Union. In 1912, Campbell would serve as president of the National Negroes' Industrial and Protective Union of America. William J. Campbell was the husband of Sallie L. Waddleton of South Carolina; the couple last lived in Drakesboro, KY. Campbell was a Mason, a member of the Odd Fellows, and a member of the A.M.E.Z. Church. He died November 28, 1912, and is buried in Smith Chapel Cemetery in Drakesboro, KY [source: Kentucky Death Certificate]. For more see the Knights of Labor website; the Brief History of the United Mine Workers of America website; The Challenge of Interracial Unionism, by D. Letwin; "W. J. Campbell...," Freeman, 01/24/1903, p. 4; "Birmingham: Victory won by the Warrior [AL] miners," Huntsville Gazette, 09/13/1884, p. 3; "Mr. W. J. Campbell," Huntsville Gazette, 02/13/1886, p. 2; "Mr. W. J. Campbell" in the Personals column of the Freeman, 01/20/1900, p. 8; "W. J. Campbell of Central City, Ky...," Freeman, 07/20/1901, p. 4; "W. J. Campbell," Freeman, 02/08/1902, p. 8; picture of W. J. Campbell on p. 1, biography on p. 4 of the Freeman, 03/01/1902; "Important Points great events in the suburban districts," Freeman, 03/01/1902, p. 4; "Mr. W. J. Campbell, miner," Freeman, 04/23/1904, p. 4; and "National Negroes' Industrial and Protective Union of America," Freeman, 01/27/1912, p. 6.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Barbers, Education and Educators, Migration North, Miners, Mines, & Steel Mills, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Fraternal Organizations, Union Organizations
Geographic Region: Morgan County, Alabama / Central City and Drakesboro, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky
Combs, Richard "Tallow Dick"
Combs, a barber, was from Beattyville, KY. He was one of the ten men initially charged with complicity in the murder of William Goebel. While on his deathbed, Goebel had been named Governor of Kentucky following a very controversial and contested governor's race. Richard Combs was the only African American linked to the murder; though there was testimony during the trial that two Negroes had been hired to kill Goebel. W. H. Watts, a Negro janitor of the Adjunct General's Office in the Kentucky Executive Building, also testified in the case [it had only been since 1872 that Negro testimony was accepted in a Kentucky court]. Goebel had won the Democratic nomination for governor in 1899, was shot and mortally wounded January 30, 1900, while outside the Kentucky State Capitol Building, and died February 3, 1900. A senator from Kenton County, KY, he was sometimes described as ruthless, at other times as a reformer. As a reformer, he pushed for a number of changes, including more rights for women and Negroes, and he wanted to do away with lotteries and pool halls. For more see William Goebel in the Kentucky Encyclopedia; "Goebel suspects indicted," from Frankfort, KY in the New York Times, 04/19/1900, p. 1; "Prison cell for Powers," New York Times, 08/19/1900, p. 1; The First New Dealer, by U. Woodson; and V. Hazard, "The Black testimony controversy in Kentucky, 1866-1872," The Journal of Negro History, vol.58, issue 2 (April 1973), pp. 140-165.
Subjects: Barbers, Corrections and Police, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Gambling, Lottery
Geographic Region: Beattyville, Lee County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Kenton County, Kentucky
Darnes, Rebecca and William
The Darneses were activists and community leaders in Cincinnati, OH. William Darnes, a barber, was born in 1809 in Pennsylvania. Rebecca, his wife, described as a mulatto, was born in 1811 in Kentucky. Both she and her husband were free, according to the 1850 Census. Her mother was born in Maryland. The Darneses were fairly well-off real estate owners in Cincinnati. William had been a Master Mason at the St. Cyprian Lodge in Pittsburgh, PA. When he arrived in Cincinnati, he had applied for admission to the white lodge and was denied. William Darnes would become a founding member of the St. Cyprian Lodge in Cincinnati, which was approved in 1847. In 1849, it would become the first African American grand lodge in Ohio. Rebecca was a member of the Daughters of Samaria and a member of the Society of Friends. Around 1844, she and her husband had joined others, including Salmon P. Chase, to assist in Lydia P. Mott's efforts to establish a home for orphaned and homeless Colored children in Cincinnati. The Darneses also helped raise Alexander G. Clark (1826-1891), who was William Darnes's nephew and would become a civil rights leader in the West. For more see Frontiers of Freedom, by N. M. Taylor; History of the Negro Race in America, 1619-1880, vol. 2, by G. W. Williams [available full text at Project Gutenberg and Google Book Search]; African American Fraternities and Sororities, by T. L. Brown, G. Parks and C. M. Phillips; and "Alexander G. Clark" in the Encyclopedia of African American Business, by J. C. Smith, M. L. Jackson and L. T. Wynn. [*Rebecca Darnes was an aunt, by marriage, to Alexander G. Clark. His mother, Rebecca Darnes Clark, has been described as African.]
Subjects: Barbers, Civic Leaders, Migration North, Fraternal Organizations, Women's Groups and Organizations, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Pennsylvania / Cincinnati, Ohio
Duncan, Clark and Julia
Born in 1849 in Logan County, KY, Clark Duncan was a hotel employee in Springfield, IL; he was a member of the community of African Americans who had migrated from Kentucky to Springfield. Clark Duncan was the son of George Duncan and Louisa Orendoff [later Stevens] (b.1835 in KY); it is not known if the family was free or enslaved. During the Civil War, Clark Duncan had served with the 15th Colored Infantry and he was 1st Sargent with Company B of the 6th Colored Cavalry. After the war for a few years, he alternated living in Springfield, IL, and Russellville, KY. He was married to Springfield native Julia Chavious, the daughter of Malan Chavious (d. 1879), who was from Kentucky and had been a barber in Springfield. Julia Chavious Duncan was Grand Treasurer of the Grand Court of Illinois. Clark Duncan was a Knight Templar, a Mason, and Senior Warden in Lodge No. 3. Like George Stevens and other African Americans in Springfield, Clark Duncan voted for Ulysses S. Grant during the 1868 presidential election. The Duncan family lived at 312 N. Thirteenth Street in Springfield, IL. Clark Duncan died April 7, 1929 in Springfield, IL, according to the Illinois, Deaths and Still Births, 1916-1947, at FamilySearch.com. For more see History of Sangamon County, Illinois; together with sketches of its cities, by Inter-state Publishing Company (Chicago) [available online at Google Book Search]; and contact the Springfield, Illinois, African American History Foundation.
Subjects: Barbers, Voting Rights, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Fraternal Organizations, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Russellville, Logan County, Kentucky / Springfield, Illinois
Early School in Louisville, KY
Start Year : 1838
End Year : 1838
Jerry Wade, described as a mulatto, was a barber at the Gault House in Louisville, KY. He had purchased his freedom and that of his family. Wade was fairly well off and rented one of his homes to his son and his family. The front of the house was rented to Jane Grey Cannon Swisshelm and her husband, both of whom were white. Jane Swisshelm, from Pennsylvania, was an abolitionist and advocate for women's rights. Around 1838 she opened a school for African Americans in the Wade home. Both she and the students were harassed by whites, and Wade was notified that his house would be burned down if the school continued. All of the students withdrew from the school. For more see Half a Century, by Jane Grey Cannon Swisshelm, 1815-1880; and Jane Cannon Swisshelm was active against slavery!, an African American Registry website. See also the entries for African American Schools in the NKAA Database.
Subjects: Barbers, Education and Educators, Freedom, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Pennsylvania
Edrington, Gustavus V.
Birth Year : 1813
Gustavus V. Edrington was an escaped slave from Kentucky. When his owner attempted to take him back to Kentucky, the Brookville, IN, community came to his rescue. Edrington had come to Brookville by way of Butler County, OH, where he married Malinda Jefferson in 1838. Malinda was born in 1823 in Ohio, and Edrington was born in Virginia in 1813; they were both described as Mulattoes. Shortly after their marriage, the couple moved to Iowa, where their four children were born; Iowa was a free state. In 1850, the year their fourth child was born, the Edringtons moved to Brookville, Franklin County, IN. They are listed as free in the 1850 U.S. Federal Census. Gustavus owned a barbershop. Brookville was a fairly new town: the area had been inhabited by several American Indian tribes before the Moravian missionaries settled there in 1801. Franklin County was incorporated in 1811. Many families were drawn to the area when construction was started on the Whitewater Canal in 1834; it would become a major avenue for waterway transportation. And the population jumped again with the building of the Duck Creek Aqueduct in 1848. There were 2,315 heads-of-households in 1830, and 17,979 persons in 1850, including 115 free Blacks (nine born in KY) and 104 free Mulattoes (five born in KY). Slavery had been prohibited in the Indiana territory by the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, but it allowed the reclaiming of fugitive slaves. Settlers from Kentucky and Virginia who owned slaves ignored the ordinance, and the Indiana territorial legislature created laws that circumvented the ordinance, thus allowing for both slavery and indefinitely indentured servants. The abolitionist members of the legislature gained control around 1809 and were able to overturn many of the pro-slavery and indentured servant laws. Gustavus Edrington had been in Brookville about six years when his owner and a posse from Kentucky arrived and identified Edrington as a fugitive slave; he was put in jail and was to be taken back to Kentucky and slavery. News of his capture spread fast, and when night fell, the men of Brookville went to the jail and released Gustavus Edrington. They next found the men from Kentucky and told them to leave town or they would be hanged--the men left town. Edrington continued his barber business in Brookville until some time during the Civil War when he moved to Centerville, IN, and opened a barbershop and a soda fountain. For more see "Slave hunters got rebuff at Brookville," Greensburg Daily News, 11/27/1936, p. 4; "Bury me in a free land: the Abolitionist Movement in Indiana," by Gwen Crenshaw (an IN.gov website).
Subjects: Barbers, Freedom, Migration North, Riots and Protests Outside Kentucky
Geographic Region: Virginia / Kentucky / Butler County, Ohio / Iowa / Brookville, Franklin County, Indiana / Centerville, Indiana
Edson, Edward Frank and Mary M.
According to Northwest Black Pioneers: a centennial tribute, Edward (b.1863 in Kentucky) and Mary Duvall Edson (b.1866 in Tennessee) were two of the early African American pioneers in urban Tacoma, Washington. The Edsons had been living in Kentucky and resettled in California before moving to Washington in 1889. Mr. Edson owned a barber shop and Mrs. Edson was a music teacher. The couple, who lived at 1422 K Street, helped establish the Allen A.M.E. Church. For more see "Tacoma" on page 38 of Northwest Black Pioneers: a centennial tribute, by R. Hayes.
Subjects: Barbers, Migration West, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, 1st African American Families in Town
Geographic Region: Kentucky / California / Tacoma, Washington
Eubanks, Henry T.
Birth Year : 1853
Death Year : 1913
Henry T. Eubanks, born in Stanford, KY, was elected to the Ohio General Assembly in 1903 and 1908. Prior to his election, he had worked as a waiter in Louisville, and several other cities, and he had a barber shop in Cleveland. He was the first African American vice president of the Ohio League of Republican Clubs. For more see H. T. Eubanks in The Biographical Annals of Ohio. 1902- by W. A. Taylor et al. [available full view at Google Book Search]; and A Ghetto Takes Shape by K. L. Kusmer.
See photo image of H. T. Eubanks on p.420 in The Biographical Annals of Ohio. 1902- by W. A. Taylor, at Google Books.
Subjects: Barbers, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Legislators (Outside Kentucky)
Geographic Region: Stanford, Lincoln County, Kentucky / Cleveland, Ohio
Frankfort, KY, Klan Violence
Start Year : 1871
On March 25, 1871, a letter was sent to the U.S. Congress asking for protection from the Ku Klux Klan for the newly-freed African Americans in Kentucky. The letter was from Colored citizens of Frankfort & vicinity, signed by Henry Marrs, a teacher; Henry Lynn, a livery stable keeper; N. N. Trumbo, a grocer; Samuel Damsey; B. Smith, a blacksmith; and B. T. Crampton, a barber. The letter contained a list of 116 incidents of beatings, shootings, hangings, tarring and feathering, and other violence that had taken place around the state. For more see Documentary History of the Negro People in the United States, vol. 2, ed. by H. Aptheker.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Freedom, Lynchings, Blacksmiths
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky
Birth Year : 1849
Death Year : 1935
Born in Lexington, KY, into slavery, Benjamin Franklin chose his name during his christening. In 1868 he traveled to Europe, assisting a sick man by the name of Newcomb. He returned to Kentucky and assisted Kentucky Chief Justice George Robertson, who had had a stroke. Franklin was also a barber in Lexington, later moving the business to Midway. For about 40 years, he was a chiropodist in Lexington. He held several other jobs, all of which allowed him to accumulate considerable means, including bank stock. His wife was Susan J. Britton Franklin (d.1914) and their home, "designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque style," was built in 1884 at 560 North Limestone Street in Lexington, KY. Benjamin Franklin died in 1935. For more see Biographical Sketches of Prominent Negro Men and Women of Kentucky, by W. D. Johnson; Lexington, Heart of the Bluegrass, by J. D. Wright, Jr.; and see Benjamin Franklin in "Colored Notes," Leader, 03/19/1935, p.11 & 03/20/1935, pp.7 & 17.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Midway, Woodford County, Kentucky
Grear, William A. "Bill"
Birth Year : 1923
Death Year : 2006
Grear was born in Russellville, KY, the son of Oretha Williams Grear and Charles C. Grear. He was the first African American-elected official in Florida: in 1968 Grear was elected city commissioner of the City of Belle Glade. He was elected vice mayor in 1974 and mayor in 1975. Grear was also owner of B and E Rubber Stamps and Trophies. He was a barber and a director of a child development center. He was the husband of Effie Carter Grear, a school teacher and principal of Glades Central High School. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, 1975-2006 ; M. Malek, "Bill Grear, Belle Blade's first Black commissioner, dies at 82," The Palm Beach Post, 08/18/2006, Local section, p.2B; and African American Sites in Florida by K. M. McCarthy.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Education and Educators, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Migration South, Mayors
Geographic Region: Russellville, Logan County, Kentucky / Belle Glade, Florida
Hardin, William Jefferson
Birth Year : 1830
Death Year : 1890
Born a free person in Russellville, KY, Hardin was a politician, speaker and barber. He won two elections to the Wyoming Territory Legislative Assembly, the first African American to do so. He also served two terms as mayor of both Park City, Utah, and Leadville, Colorado. Hardin was educated by Shakers in Kentucky, and he would become a teacher for free Colored children in Bowling Green, KY. He left Kentucky in 1852 to head out West and settled in Colorado Territory in the early 1860s. By 1882, he was serving his second term as a Republican legislator in the Wyoming Territory. Hardin was considered very wealthy, said to have assets worth $20,000. For more see Dictionary of American Negro Biography, by R. W. Logan & M. R. Winston; William Jefferson Hardin at the BlackPast.org website; and "Honorable W. J. Hardin...," Weekly Louisianian, 02/04/1882, p.2.
See photo image of William Jefferson Hardin at BlackPast.org.
Subjects: Barbers, Migration West, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Legislators (Outside Kentucky), Mayors
Geographic Region: Russellville, Logan County, Kentucky / Wyoming / Park City, Utah / Leadville, Colorado
Birth Year : 1840
Death Year : 1915
Henry Hart was born in Frankfort, KY, the son of Frederick Hart, from Boone County, and Judith Brown, from Frankfort. Henry Hart moved to Cleveland, OH, when he was 14 years old and there learned to play the violin. He later lived in New Orleans, where he was employed as a violin player and where he met his wife, Sarah, a pianist. The couple moved to Evansville, IN, in 1867, where Henry Hart was employed as a barber and also performed as a musician. Hart formed the Alabama Minstrels in 1872; the group included Kentucky native Tom McIntosh. Hart's minstrels performed in blackface by using burnt cork. By 1885, the Hart Family was living in Indianapolis, performing as a family string orchestra. The Harts had five daughters: Estelle, Lillian [who died as an infant], Myrtle, Hazel, and Willie. Myrtle became a concert harpist and toured the United States, billed as the only colored harpist in the world. Hazel, also a musician, was a school principal in Indianapolis. She died in a bus accident in 1935; the Hazel Hart Hendricks School is named in her honor. For more see Henry Hart, a Wikipedia website; and "Henry Hart" in Biographical Dictionary of Afro-American and African Musicians, by E. Southern.
See photo image of Henry Hart from the Indianapolis News, 04/06/1901
Subjects: Barbers, Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Indianapolis, Indiana
Hunter, Leo Simon
Birth Year : 1911
Death Year : 1997
Leo S. Hunter, born in Louisville, KY, was a graduate of the University of Louisville. In 1999, two years after his death, Hunter was inducted into the Barbering Hall of Fame located in Canal Winchester, Ohio; he was nominated by Kay Jetton, a barbering instructor at West Kentucky Community and Technical College. Hunter was the first inductee from Kentucky and the fourth African American. In 1941, Hunter had been asked by Moneta J. Sleet, Sr. to start a barbering program at West Kentucky State Vocational School [now West Kentucky Community and Technical College]; Sleet was the school's business manager. Hunter had started to learn barbering when he was 11 years old. He designed the program at West Kentucky State and trained his first class of students, but left the school to serve in the Army during WWII, and the barbering program was dropped. He returned in the 1950s and re-established the barbering program, and he owned a barber shop. For more see J. Blythe, "Kentucky barbering teacher named to hall of fame," The Paducah Sun,10/06/1999,
Subjects: Barbers, Education and Educators, Military & Veterans, Higher Education Before Desegregation, Kentucky
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky
Birth Year : 1818
Isbell was free born in Kentucky and at the age of 20 moved to Chicago. He participated in Chicago's first recorded sports competition in a race between Isbell, a Native American named White Foot, and a man on a horse; Isbell won the race. According to author Perry Duis, who cited articles in the Chicago Post and the Chicago Democrat, Isbell was the fastest and most popular runner in the Chicago area for ten years. He retired and became a full-time barber after coming in second in a race in 1847 that took place before more than 1,000 spectators. For more see Challenging Chicago: coping with everyday life, 1837-1920, by P. R. Duis, pp. 171-172.
Subjects: Barbers, Migration North, Track & Field
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois
Jones, Abel Bedford and Albert Thomas
Birth Year : 1810
The following information on the Jones brothers comes from Dr. Michael F. Murphy, Historian of Education at the University of Western Ontario; Dr. Murphy is working on a book about the schooling of colored and mulatto children in London, Ontario, Canada between 1826 and 1865. The Jones brothers played a major role in the schooling of these children. The brothers had been slaves in Madison County, KY. Abel was a field-hand and Albert worked for a millwright who owned a large merchant mill. Albert earned enough money to buy his freedom in 1833; he was 23 years old. He also purchased the freedom of Abel and a younger brother. The brothers immigrated to London, Upper Canada (now Ontario). Albert became a barber and merchant, and Abel was a barber and an herbal dentist. The brothers did quite well with their businesses. Abel may have been involved with the African American resettlement program. The brothers were interviewed by Samuel Ringgold Ward, S.G. Howe, and Benjamin Drew when these commentators reported on the condition of fugitive slaves in Canada. Abel's whereabouts are unknown after the mid 1850s. In 1866, Albert, often referred to as Dr. Jones, and his large family left London. Perhaps they returned to Kentucky. The Jones children were Betsy, Paul, Elizabeth, George B., A.O., Frances A., Victoria S?, Torreza O?, Albion, and Princess A. If you have more information or would like more information about Abel and Albert Jones, please contact Dr. Michael F. Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Education and Educators, Fathers, Freedom, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration North, Dentists
Geographic Region: Madison County, Kentucky / London, (Upper Canada) Ontario, Canada
Kavanaugh was a freed slave from Richmond, KY, who made his way to Texas in 1837 and settled in Houston. He was one of the many barbers in the Republic of Texas; barbering ranked second to farming as an occupation for freemen. For some residents, there were too many freemen and there was fear of an uprising by the freemen, aided by abolitionists. A law was enacted that required all freemen to leave; Kavanaugh appealed to the Texas Congress that he be allowed to remain in the Republic of Texas. No action was taken by Congress and Kavanaugh left the area some time after 1846 when he appeared on the Washington County, Republic of Texas Tax List, and the Poll List. For more see the Black Studies Research Sources: Race, Slavery, and Free Blacks - Series 1: Petitions to Southern Legislatures, 1777-1867, Reel 15; H. Schoen, "The Free Negro in the Republic of Texas," Chapter IV, Southwestern Historical Quarterly, vol. 41, issue 1 [Online]; A. F. Muir, "The Free Negro in Harris County, Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, vol. 46, issue 3, [Online]; and "Memorial of Nelson Kavanaugh" in the Texas State Library.
Subjects: Barbers, Freedom, Migration West
Geographic Region: Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky / Houston, Texas
Kentucky Congress of Barbers and Beauticians
Start Year : 1937
The Kentucky Congress of Barbers and Beauticians was probably the continuation of the Kentucky State Colored Beautician's Association, which was formed in 1937, though it is not known exactly when the Kentucky Congress of Barbers and Beauticians got its name. For the 13th annual conference, Mrs. Christine Moore Howell, an authority on health regulations, addressed the group at Emmanuel Baptist Church during the meeting held in Louisville, KY, June 25-28, 1950 [source: "Mrs. Howell speaks to Kentucky barbers," Washington Afro-American, 07/01/1950, p. 6]. About 2,000 persons attended the conference. The 20th annual conference was held in Lexington, KY, in 1957. The 21st conference was held in Louisville, KY, with R. Joss Brown serving as the speaker for the opening session; Brown was a civil rights lawyer from Vicksburg, Mississippi [source: "Equal rights must be won 'cafeteria style'," Baltimore Afro-American, 07/15/1958, p. 5]. The 24th conference was also held in Lexington, July 9-12, 1961 [source: "Kentucky show to include barbers," Barber Trade, 01/01/1961, p. 21]. Mrs. Martha Cobb was president of the organization.
See photo image of beauticians unit and barbers unit from the 20th conference on p. 34 in Lexington, Kentucky, by G. Smith, at Google Books.
Subjects: Barbers, Cosmetologists, Beauty Shops, Hairdressers, Beauty Supplies
Geographic Region: Kentucky
Lewis, Fountain C., Sr.
Birth Year : 1822
A barber living in Cincinnati, Lewis came to Covington, KY, in 1856 to cash a check written on the Farmers' Bank and was arrested and jailed. His arrest had nothing to do with the check or the bank but rather was retaliation for all of the perceived injustices the people of Cincinnati had heaped upon Kentuckians concerning African Americans. The mayor of Covington recognized Lewis and authorized his release after a payment of $2. Lewis is listed as a freeman at 15 W. Cincinnati Township in the 1860 Federal Population Schedule. He is described as a mulatto who was born in Kentucky around 1822. He was said to be the barber of dignitaries and aristocrats. In 1895, Fountain Lewis and his son, Fountain Lewis, Jr. (b. 1858), were operating barbershops in Cincinnati, according to the Williams' Cincinnati Directory, 1895-96. According to Wendell P. Dabney, author of Cincinnati's Colored Citizens, p. 183, Fountain Lewis, Sr. came to Cincinnati as a free man in the 1840s. He was a barber for many years and was joined in the business by his son, Fountain Lewis, Jr. Years later, Fountain Jr. was joined in the barbering business by his son Fred K. Lewis; the two later established an undertaking business and the barber shop was closed. Fountain C. Lewis, Sr. was the husband of Daphney Cotton Lewis (b. 1831 in MS); the couple had three sons when the 1860 U.S. Federal Census was taken. Fountain Lewis, Sr. was single and 43 years old when he registered for the Civil War in June of 1863 in Hamilton County, OH [source: U.S. Civil War Draft Registration Records]. For more see "Kentucky retaliation," New York Daily Times, 04/02/1865, p. 2.
Subjects: Barbers, Migration North
Geographic Region: Cincinnati, Ohio / Covington, Kenton, Kentucky
Birth Year : 1794
Death Year : 1845
This entry was researched, written and submitted by
Nancy O’Malley, Assistant Director
William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology and
Office of State Archeology
1020A Export Street
University of Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky 40506
Carter Lightfoot was a free black man who lived in Paris, Kentucky where he made a living as a barber. Nothing is known of his early life or the circumstances of his freedom. However, he was free by 1830 when he is listed in the Bourbon County federal census as the head of a household of four, including himself (between 36 and 55 years of age), an adult female between 24 and 36 years of age, and a male and a female both between 10 and 24 years. The older female may have been his wife, Jane, although she was still technically a slave in 1830. On April 4, 1831, Carter purchased Jane’s freedom from John Harvey (alternately spelled Hervie) of Frankfort. The manumission record described him as 37 years old, with yellow skin color (a common way to identify light-skinned people of color), 5’ 3 ½” in height "spare but of good size" and with a scar on his left nostril. The manumission record indicated that Carter signed with his mark.
Two white men, named Joseph (abbreviated as Jos.) and possibly Josiah (abbreviated as Jos’h) Lightfoot, and living in separate households, are also listed in the 1830 census for Bourbon County and may have some connection to Carter. Only one of the men, Jos’h (Josiah), owned slaves.
The other two younger household members are unidentified but probably were not his children. In late June of 1833, Carter Lightfoot had his will prepared, possibly in reaction to the cholera that was raging through Kentucky at the time and aware that he might be one of its victims. His will instructed his executor, John G. Martin, to pay all his debts and leave the rest of his property to his wife Jane. Of their children, he wrote, “If she [Jane] could in any way be instrumental with the property I have given her above in obtaining the freedom of my children by her I greatly desire it."
Carter may have also wished to secure his wife’s inheritance of the house and lot after his death. His will made reference to a house and lot that he owned in Paris. On March 29, 1831, Carter entered into a mortgage agreement with Aris Throckmorton, Joseph Biggs and J. C. Smith in which they served as security for the purchase of the house and lot referred to in the will. Carter and the three men negotiated a promissory note for $550.00 that enabled the purchase of the property, giving Carter until October of 1831 to pay the note back. This he managed to do and the deed was formally transferred to him on October 20, 1831. The property lay on the northwesterly side of Main Street and was part of inlot 2. Carter’s lot fronted 13 ½ ft on Main Street, extending back 72 ft. It was sandwiched between an impressive three story commission house belonging to Charles S. Brent and a building that occupied the corner of Main Street and present day 2nd Street. Its current address is 203 Main Street. The building on the lot today is a two story brick commercial building with a heavy Italiante cornice both on the shopfront and at the roofline. Langsam and Johnson (1985) suggest that this building was built after 1877. If this is so, it replaced the earlier building purchased and occupied by Carter Lightfoot from approximately 1830 until 1845 when he died; his wife Jane may have lived here a few years longer, possibly to 1851, when a court appointed administrator sold it to Benedict B. Marsh.
BARBER, HAIR-DRESSER, &C
RESPECTFULLY informs his customers and the public generally that he has settled himself permanently in Paris and may be found at his shop, opposite Timberlake’s Hotel, where he will accommodate all those who may please to call on him. Those having demands against him, will present them for payment—and those indebted will please recollect that punctuality is the life of business.
The ad is interesting for several reasons. It indicates that he had taken possession of his Main Street property by October of 1830, possibly renting it with the intent to purchase, and operated his barbering business there. He probably also lived there, a common practice of tradesmen of the time. He acknowledged having some personal debts which he was in a position to repay and was owed money that he wished to collect. Although he was apparently illiterate, the wording of the ad suggests a certain gentility and refinement in its use of the adage about punctuality in paying one’s debts. Finally, the postscript references the continuation of his services from an earlier time, perhaps on a more itinerant basis, in which he traveled to his customers rather than working out of a shop. With the acquisition of a shop on the main street of the county seat, however, he took his place as one of the town’s businessmen with a social status that greatly contrasted with the status of a slave or even a free black laborer of lesser skills. It is also possible that he was the only barber in business in Paris in the 1830s and early 1840s. Five years after his death in 1845, only one black barber, George Morgan, was identified as such in the 1850 federal census and, like Carter Lightfoot, he owned real estate—probably in Paris and possibly next to a hotel operated by Charles Talbott.
Barbering was an occupation with some intriguing social implications between the barber and his customers. By the 19th century, the occupation of barber had become closely associated with African-Americans, largely due to the common practice of the white elite to have their hair cut and beards shaved by slaves. This association led to a decline in status of barbers among whites and a decline in white competition. Free blacks benefited as a result even though their clientele was, by necessity, exclusively white, a practice that tended to encourage segregation of barbering services and placed black barbers in the position of being dependent on white clients for their livelihood. Given the very personal nature of cutting and dressing hair and its relationship to personal image and appearance, barbers had to be very careful in performing their services. Complaints about barber shop hygiene were common and barbers were cautioned to disinfect their tools at an early date. Many customers brought their own brushes, razors and towels when they visited a barber to avoid infection.
Carter Lightfoot’s household was again censused in 1840. Only three people were listed: a man and a woman who were between 36 and 54 years of age (Carter and Jane) and a male between 10 and 23. Two of the persons in the household were employed in manufacture and trade. One of these was undoubtedly Carter whose barbering business would have been considered a trade. It’s probable that their children were still held as slaves.
Carter died in 1845 and his wife appears to have followed him in death by 1851 when their house and lot were sold by a court appointed agent to Benedict B. Marsh to settle their estate. None of the probate documents associated with the Lightfoot estate mentioned any children and their whereabouts, even their names are unknown. Marsh sold the house and lot in 1855 to another free man of color, Jefferson Porter. Eleven years later, Porter sold the property and the adjoining corner lot to Robert P. Dow and John Hickey. Robert Dow established a prominent commercial presence on this corner as a grocer.
Carter Lightfoot was one of only a few men of color who owned property in Paris prior to the Civil War. His profession as a barber was a higher status one for men of color that required more specialized skills and catered to an exclusively white clientele. In many parts of the south, a black barber had either white or black clients but not generally both. It is likely that Lightfoot sought white clients since he went to the trouble of advertising his establishment of a barber shop in Paris in the local newspaper. Had his clients been men of color, he would not have had to advertise in the local paper since many free black men could not read or write. While he did not speculate in urban lots or acquire any other city or county property than his house/barbershop on Main Street, he must, for a time, have been a well known fixture around town. The fate of other Lightfoot family members is unknown. Neither Carter nor his wife Jane succeeded in procuring the freedom of their children before the Civil War abolished slavery. Their children may have lived in Franklin County where Jane’s former master, John Hervie, lived in 1830. With the demise of Carter and Jane Lightfoot within a few years of each other, and no evidence that any of their heirs came forward to claim the estate, the proceeds of the sale of their property on Main Street might have been used to settle their debts and/or added to the city’s coffers as unclaimed assets.
- Bourbon County deeds
- Federal census returns for 1830, 1840 and 1850
- 1831 Western Citizen on file, The Bourbon Citizen/Citizen Advertiser office, Paris, Ky.
- Julie Ann Hurst (2005), "Barbershops in Harrisburg’s Old Eighth, 1890-1905,"Vol. 72, no. 4, pp. 443-453, Pennsylvania History.
- Walter E. Langsam and William Gus Johnson (1985), Historic Architecture of Bourbon County, Kentucky. Historic Paris-Bourbon County, Inc., Paris, and Kentucky Heritage Council, Frankfort.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Freedom
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky
Migration from Canada to Kentucky by 1870
End Year : 1870
In 1865, at the close of the Civil War and at the time slavery ended in Kentucky with the ratification of the 13th Amendment [December 18, 1865], there were persons listed as "Black" or "Mulatto" in the U.S. Census who had returned to Kentucky from Canada or moved to Kentucky from Canada. Below are some of the names, occupations, and locations of those living in Kentucky when the 1870 U.S. Federal Census was taken.
- Samuel and Anny Dupee were born in Canada and in 1870 lived in Henderson, KY. Samuel was born around 1835, he was a laborer, and Anny was born around 1840, both could read and write.
- The W. H. and Margaret Johnson family had returned to Kentucky; both parents were Kentucky natives. The family lived in Louisville, where Mr. Johnson was a store porter. Their son Henry was born in 1857 in Canada; daughter Almyra was born in 1861 in Michigan; and the last three children were born in Kentucky.
- Mary and Zach Mason, Sr. were Kentucky natives who returned to Kentucky. The family lived in Louisville, where Mr. Mason was a teamster. Their daughter Rebecca was born in 1861 in Kentucky, their son Zach Jr. was born in 1863 in Canada, and the last two children were born in Kentucky.
- Mariola McRanny, born in 1840 in Kentucky, lived in Louisville with her daughter Capitola, who was born in 1866 in Canada. They lived with several other family members.
- Abraham Miller, a barber in Louisville, was born in 1827 in Kentucky. His wife Harriet was born in 1845 in Canada. One of their sons was born in Indiana and the other was born in Kentucky.
- Jackson Morum was born in 1845 in Canada; he was a hotel waiter in Hopkinsville.
- Reverend John R. Riley was born in 1842 in Canada and lived in Louisville.
- Allael Sherman was born in 1846 in Canada; he was a school teacher in Louisville.
- James Smith was born in 1851 in Canada; he was a school teacher in Hopkinsville.
- The Smiths, Edward (b. 1826) and Hannah (b. 1840), were Kentucky natives. Their son Samuel was born in 1862 in Canada. The family lived in Covington, KY, where Edward was a day laborer.
- Mag Taylor was born in 1845 in Canada; she was a school teacher in Burkesville.
- James Thomas, a laborer, was born in 1832 in Canada. His wife Emily was born in Maryland, and their children were born in Kentucky. The family lived in Louisville.
- Mary Watters was a seamstress born 1845 in Louisiana. She lived in Louisville with her daughters Gertrude (b. 1859) and Matilda (b. 1862), both born in Canada.
- John Weakly was born in 1837 in Canada; he was a farm laborer in Hopkinsville.
- Emma Webb was born in 1849 in Canada; she lived in Louisville.
- Rueben Wright was born in 1831 in Missouri; he was a farmer. His wife Florida Wright was born in 1828 in Kentucky. Their oldest daughter Mary was born in 1858 in Canada, and their last five children were born in Kentucky. The family lived in Newport.
Subjects: Barbers, Education and Educators, Migration South
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky / Burkesville, Cumberland County, Kentucky / Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky / Newport, Campbell County, Kentucky / Canada
Migration to Deadwood, Dakota Territory
Start Year : 1870
End Year : 1900
The 1870 U.S. Federal Census shows African Americans living in the Dakota Territory; there were 80 residents, five of whom were from Kentucky. Most were former slaves who were employed as cooks and domestic help. By 1880, the Dakota Territory contained 17 African Americans from Kentucky, with the largest group of six living in the town of Deadwood, located in the Black Hills. P. Reynolds (b. 1852 in Kentucky), was a wood sawyer and contractor who had brought along his wife, Katie (b. 1852 in Arkansas), and their son, Clarrence. The family had lived in Nebraska, where Clarrence was born in 1875. Joseph Wells (b. 1831) was a cook. Theodore Lyons (b. 1830) was a barber. George Ree (b. 1861) was a laborer. Julia Francis (b. 1853 in Kentucky) was a widow who was employed as a housekeeper. She had a daughter named Dollie, who had been born in Dakota in 1879. They shared a residence with Jackson Colwell (b. 1830), a cook from Kentucky, and his brother Edmond Colwell (b. 1857 in Missouri), a liquor dealer who also ran a saloon. Deadwood was an illegal town on Native American land; it began to develop in 1874 after gold was discovered near French Creek. Not unlike Skagway, Alaska, Deadwood grew dramatically during the gold rush: the town population quickly increased from a few to 5,000. The town was filled with fortune-seekers, gamblers, prostitutes, and highway robbers; it was noted as the place where Wild Bill Hickok was murdered. Calamity Jane is also buried there. Nat Love or "Deadwood Dick," a former slave from Tennessee, is the most noted African American associated with the town of Deadwood. Love was a cowboy who brought a herd of cattle to Deadwood. When the gold fever calmed, the town became a mining town. There was a small pox epidemic in 1876. A fire in 1879 destroyed much of the town, the population decreasing as people left Deadwood to start life anew. There were four African Americans from Kentucky living in Deadwood in 1900; none of the previous six were listed as residents in the U.S. Federal Census. The Dakota Territory was divided into South Dakota and North Dakota,and both became states in 1889. For more about Deadwood see Westward Expansion, by R. A. Billington and J. B. Hedges; Old Deadwood Days, by E. Bennett; Deadwood, by W. Parker; and The Negro Cowboys, by P. Durham and E. L. Jones.
Subjects: Barbers, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Migration West
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Deadwood, Dakota Territory [South Dakota]
Birth Year : 1846
Moore, a barber, was born in Kentucky and moved to Indianapolis, IN, in 1873. He was a porter before partnering with Charles H. Lanier to become a co-owner of the Denison House Barbershop in 1891. Lanier was born in 1851 in Tennessee, and his father was a Kentucky native. Henry Moore was one of the most prominent barbers in the African American community in Indianapolis. He was also a Mason. Henry and Emma Moore (b.1851 in KY) lived on Missouri Street in Indianapolis, according to the 1900 U. S. Federal Census. For more see Slave and Freeman: the autobiography of George L. Knox, by G. L. Knox.
Subjects: Barbers, Migration North, Fraternal Organizations
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Indianapolis, Indiana
The Morris Family
Shelton Morris (1806-1889), his five siblings, and their mother, Fanny, were freed by their owner (and father of the children), Col. Richard Morris of Ohio. Shelton moved to Louisville, KY, where he purchased land and opened a barbering business and bathhouse. His younger brothers, John and Alexander, were also barbers; they joined Shelton in Louisville. Shelton married Evelina Spradling, sister of Washington Spradling, Sr., who was also a barber. In 1840 Shelton was accused of voting in the presidential election; African Americans were not allowed to vote in Kentucky until 1870 (with the passing of the 15th Amendment). Voting rights for free African Americans had been revoked in 1799 in Kentucky's second Constitution. After the voting incident and the death of his wife, Shelton moved to Cincinnati, where his sister Elizabeth lived. For more see The Saga of the Morris Family, by R. M. Graham.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Voting Rights
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio
Negro Businesses (Lexington, KY)
Start Year : 1901
In 1901, the following Lexington, KY, businesses were included in Dr. L. D. Robinson's report at the 2nd Annual Convention of the National Negro Business League in Chicago: [barbers] Benjamin Franklin, A. L. Hawkins, Anderson & Suter, A.B. Fletcher, Frank Buckner, Howard Miller; [grocery stores] John T. Clay & Sons, and A. W. Taylor; [baker and confectioner] Charles H. Allen; [cafes] Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Thompson, Walker & Roberts, Ladies Exchange, Richard Williams and Green Miller, and R. H. Gray, who owned several patents, a cafe, and an ice cream and soda parlor. For more see Dr. L. D. Robinson, "Negro Business Enterprise of Lexington, Kentucky," Records of the National Negro Business League, Part 1 Annual Conference Proceedings and Organizational Records, 1900-1919, 2nd Annual Convention, August 21-23, 1901, reel 1, frames 221-222.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Negro Business League
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois
O'Rourke, James Ralph , Sr.
Birth Year : 1913
Death Year : 1999
In 2008, it was discovered that James R. O'Rourke, Sr. was the first African American graduate of the University of Kentucky School of Library and Information Science. He graduated in 1957. Prior to his enrollment, O'Rourke had been named head librarian at Kentucky State University (KSU), a position he held from 1949-1970. Before coming to Kentucky, O'Rourke was a history instructor and served as head librarian of Stillman Junior College [now Stillman College]. O'Rourke was a 1935 graduate of Stillman Junior College, a 1947 sociology and economics graduate of Talladega College, and a 1947 graduate of Atlanta University [now Clark Atlanta University], where he earned a B.S. in Library Science. He had owned a drug store and a shoe repair shop. He had been a singer, an actor, a barber, a Pullman Porter, and shoe shiner. In Kentucky, he was a library leader. O'Rourke was the author of several articles and co-authored the Student Library Assistants of Kentucky (SLAK) Handbook, which was distributed throughout the United States and to some foreign countries. O'Rourke and C. Elizabeth Johnson, Central High School Librarian, had co-organized SLAK in 1952; it was the only state-wide organization of its kind in the United States. The organization was created to spark students' interest in library science and provided scholarship opportunities to seniors who planned to go to college. O'Rourke also led an annual workshop to assist public library employees in getting certification, and he provided library training. He was one of the first African American members of the Kentucky Library Association (KLA). He also held several positions in community organizations. He was a civil rights advocate and served as presiding chairman of the National Conference of Christians and Jews in Lexington, KY, 1966-67. He was a member of the Governor's Planning Committee on Libraries, 1967-68, and co-chairman of the Lexington (KY) Librarians Association. O'Rourke was the last chairman of the Librarian's Conference of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association, 1952-1956. He was a member of the American Library Association, the Southeastern Library Association, and the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. He was a member of the Kentucky Black History Committee of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, and was a co-contributor to the Commission's publication, Kentucky's Black Heritage. He left Kentucky a few years after his retirement from KSU in 1970 and settled in North Carolina. James R. O'Rourke, Sr. was born in Tuscaloosa, AL, the oldest child of Sally Reese and Timothy R. O'Rourke. He was the husband of George M. Wright O'Rourke [also a UK Library School graduate, 1966], and the great-grandson of Evalina Love and Shandy Wesley Jones. Shandy Jones was a slave who was freed in 1820 and later became an Alabama Legislator, 1868-1870 [see Descendants of Shandy Wesley Jones and Evalina Love Jones by Pinkard and Clark, availble full text at the Family History Archives website and in paper at the UK Libraries]. This information comes from the vita and the memorial tribute to James R. O'Rourke, Sr., provided by Dr. James R. O'Rourke, Jr. In 2009, the University of Kentucky Libraries and the School of Library and Information Science nominated James R. O'Rourke for the Lyman T. Johnson Torch Bearer Award (posthumously) for his work and dedication to librarianship in Kentucky. The award was received by his son, Dr. James R. O'Rourke, Jr.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Actors, Actresses, Authors, Barbers, Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Pullman Porters, Fraternal Organizations, Pharmacists, Pharmacies, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Tuscaloosa, Alabama / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / North Carolina
Pickard, a barber, was an escaped slave from Kentucky. He had settled in Lockport, NY, when in the fall of 1823, two slave catchers from Kentucky took him into custody. The people of Lockport would not allow Pickard to be taken back to Kentucky, and the case went to court. Lockport had a number of Quaker residents who were opposed to slavery. When Pickard attempted to escape from the courtroom by jumping out a window, he was aided by Irish canal workers, employees of the Quaker brothers Joseph and Darius Comstock. The prior year the Christmas Eve Riot in Lockport was blamed on the Irish workers having had too much to drink and getting rowdy. John Jennings was killed, which led to the first trial in Lockport. The case of Joseph Pickard took place the following year, and it almost led to a second riot. When Pickard jumped out the window, the Kentucky slave catchers went after him with pistols drawn. There was a brief standoff between the canal workers and the slave catchers before Pickard was again taken into custody and returned to the courtroom. After the case was heard, Pickard was released due to lack of proof that he was the property of a Kentucky slave owner. The slave catchers promptly left Lockport. The Joseph Pickard case is believed to be the first and only fugitive slave case in Lockport, NY. For more see Lockport: historic jewel of the Erie Canal by K. L. Riley; and 1823b. Fugitive Slave Case, Lockport on The Circle Association's African American History of Western New York State, 1770-1830 website.
Subjects: Barbers, Freedom, Migration North, Riots and Protests Outside Kentucky, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Lockport, New York
Porter, Benjamin F.
Birth Year : 1845
Death Year : 1911
Dr. B. F. Porter was 3rd Assistant Physician at the Central Kentucky Lunatic Asylum in Louisville, KY, in 1896; he was the first African American doctor at the facility. Porter was born in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, he was the husband of Elizabeth Porter (1843-1910, born in CT) and the father of Wiley Porter (b. 1877 in KY). Dr. Porter received his medical degree in 1878 and was an 1899 graduate of the College of Hypnotism. The family had lived in Columbia, SC, where Dr. Porter was a minister before coming to Kentucky, according to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census. The Porter's employed two African American servants who worked at their home. While Dr. Porter was employed at the asylum, he and his family lived in the housing provided by the institution. The Central Kentucky Lunatic Asylum had been established in 1874 as a state house for "feeble minded children." A third of the appropriations for the facility were to be used for the Colored inmates, who were to be kept in a separate ward from the white inmates. The facility had formerly been the State House of Reform for Juveniles. Dr. Porter's appointment to the institution by Kentucky Governor William O. Bradley caused a bit of alarm throughout the state when it was reported that Dr. Porter would be treating both Colored and white children. An article by the asylum superintendent, H. F. McNary, was published in The Medical News, reassuring all that Dr. Porter would only be treating the more than 200 Colored patients. With McNary's published letter, The Medical News editor gave the journal's approval to the hiring of Dr. Porter. In addition to his medical duties, Dr. Porter was also pastor of the African Methodist Church in Louisville, KY. By 1910, the Porter Family had left Kentucky for Carbondale, IL, where Dr. Porter practiced medicine, was minister of the Bethel A.M.E. Church, and was a member of the Knights and Daughters of Tabor. The family employed one African American servant. Dr. Porter was also a veteran; he was a barber when he enlisted in the Union Army on February 10, 1864, and served with the 5th Massachusetts Colored Calvary, according to his military service records. For more see "Colored Medical Doctors as Attendants in Insane Asylums," The Medical News, vol. 68, January-June 1896, p. 622 [available full-text at Google Book Search]; "Rev. B. F. Porter," The Daily Free Press, 12/22/1911, p. 5; and Marie Porter Wheeler Papers at the University of Illinois at Springfield. For more about the Asylum see Acts Passed at the ... Session of the General Assembly for the Commonwealth, Regular Session, December 1873, Chapter 287, pp. 29-30 [available full-text at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Barbers, Kentucky African American Churches, Medical Field, Health Care, Military & Veterans, Religion & Church Work, Migration South, Fraternal Organizations, Appointments by Kentucky Governors, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents
Geographic Region: Williamstown, Massachusetts / Columbia, South Carolina / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Carbondale, Illinois
Roye, John Edward and Nancy [Edward James Roye]
John Roye (d.1829) told others that he had been born a slave in Kentucky. He and his wife Nancy (d. 1840) moved to Newark, OH, where Roye became a prosperous land owner. He was also part owner in a river ferry, and left all that he owned to his son Edward J. Roye, b 1815 in Newark, OH. Edward Roye was a barber and he owned a bathhouse in Terre Haute, IN. He was educated and had been a student at the University of Athens (OH). He left the U.S. for Liberia in 1846 and was a merchant. Roye became one of the richest men in Liberia. He became the Chief Justice and Speaker of the House. He founded the newspaper Liberia Sentinel in 1845, a short-lived venture that lasted about a year. In January 1870 , Edward Roye became the fifth President of Liberia. During his presidency, he was accused of embezzlement and jailed in October 1871. He escaped, and it is believed he drowned sometime in 1872 while trying to reach a ship in the Monrovia harbor. For more see "Edward Jenkins Roye," Newark Advocate, 04/22/1984; C. Garcia, "TH barber Edward James Roye became 5th president of Liberia," Tribune Star, 02/24/2007, pp.1&5; and Edward James Roye in The Political and Legislative History of Liberia by C. H. Huberich.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Fathers, Freedom, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Migration North, Mothers, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Newark, Ohio / Liberia, Africa
Saffell, Daisy M. and George William Saffell
In 1912, Daisy Saffell (1875-1918), an "expert" embalmer in Shelbyville, KY, spoke on behalf of the National Negro Funeral Directors' Association during the 13th Annual Convention of the National Negro Business League in Chicago. Saffell estimated that there were 1,100 Colored undertakers and embalmers in the United States. [*Saffell is listed as a mulatto from Shelbyville, TN, in The Mulatto in the United States by E. B. Reuter, p.303* available full view at Google Book Search]. Saffell's death certificate lists Kentucky as both her birth and death location. She was born in Louisville, KY, where she attended school. She attended Roger Williams University and was later a graduate of Fisk University. Daisy Saffell taught for 15 years in Frankfort, KY, then left to become principal of the Lawrenceburg Colored School. She left teaching and enrolled in Clark's College of Embalming in Cincinnati, OH. With the completion of the program, Saffell became the second African American woman who was a licensed embalmer in Kentucky [Minnie Watson was first]. Daisy Saffell, who was an accomplished pianist, was editor of the Kentucky Club Woman, secretary of the District Household of Ruth of Kentucky, secretary of the Colored Funeral Director's Association of Kentucky, and treasurer of the National Association of Colored Funeral Directors. Daisy Saffell was the daughter of Lizzie Travis, and in 1897 became the wife of undertaker George William Saffell (1876-1953). Daisy's funeral arrangements were handled by Thomas K. Robb, and Robb's funeral arrangements were handled by George W. Saffell. George was born in Kentucky, the son of Addie Weisger Saffell and George Saffell, according to his death certificate. In 1900, he had been a barber teacher and Daisy was a school teacher, they lived in Frankfort, KY, according to the U.S. Federal Census. By 1910, the couple had moved to Shelbyville, KY, where George was an undertaker and Daisy was a school teacher until she too became an undertaker. For more see "National Negro Funeral Directors' Association," Records of the National Negro Business League, Part 1 Annual Conference Proceedings and Organizational Records, 1900-1919, 13th Annual Convention, Chicago, Illinois, August 21-23, 1912, reel 2, frames 575-576; "Mrs. Daisy Saffell" on p.291 in Golden Jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky; and "Race progress in Kentucky: broad achievements of Mrs. Daisy M. Saffell," Baltimore Afro-American, 05/22/1913, p.2.
See photo image of Daisy Saffel[l] at the bottom of the left hand column on p.42 in the Golden Jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky, at the NYPL Digital Gallery.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Education and Educators, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Women's Groups and Organizations, Negro Business League, Association of Colored Women's Clubs
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Shelbyville, Shelby County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Lawrenceburg, Anderson County, Kentucky
Sheppard, William Henry
Birth Year : 1865
Death Year : 1927
William H. Sheppard was born in Waynesboro, Virginia. He was a devoted Presbyterian whose parents were freed slaves; his father was a barber and his mother managed a women's health bath. Sheppard became a minister, then found a way to go Africa, even though at that time African Americans were not chosen to head African missions. Sheppard was an evangelist who fought to improve the living conditions of Africans. He was also the first American to collect African art. Sheppard referred to himself as "The Black Livingston." In his final years, Sheppard resided in Louisville, KY, where he was a leader in the community as well as pastor of the Grace Hope Presbyterian Church (1912-1927). The Smoketown housing development, Sheppard Square, is named in his honor. William Sheppard was featured during Family Saturday at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, KY, February 2003. The African art collection included items donated by Sheppard's family. In 2007, William H. Sheppard was inducted into the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Hall of Fame. For more see M. Larry, "Speed will showcase William Sheppard's life," Courier-Journal (Louisville), 02/14/03; M. Lewis, "Jewel of the Kingdom," Mission Frontiers; and William Sheppard: Congo's African American Livingstone, by W. E. Phipps.
See photo image of William H. Sheppard at the Wikipedia website.
Subjects: Artists, Fine Arts, Barbers, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Waynesboro, Virginia / Africa / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky
Sneed, Stephen Taylor, "S. T."
Birth Year : 1861
Death Year : 1940
Stephen T. Sneed had served five terms as deputy sheriff in Cincinnati, OH, in 1918 [source: "Captain S. T. Sneed...," The Crisis, vol. 17, issue 1 (November 1918), p. 245]. He was over the 18th Ward, Precinct K. Sneed was also a barber who owned his own shop. He was owner of Fraternal Regalia Company, which was established in 1905. In most sources, Stephen T. Sneed is referred to as S. T. Sneed. In 1891, Sneed had moved from Covington, KY, to 106 George Street in Cincinnati, OH [source: "Republican clubs," The Freeman, 04/18/1891, p. 1]. Sneed served as Brigadier General in organizing a regiment of the Uniform Rank of the Ohio Knights of Pythias [source: "The Lodge news," Cleveland Gazette, 08/01/1891, p. 1]. He was appointed a deputy sheriff in 1911 for the city of Cincinnati. Five years later, Sneed polled enough votes to ensure the first colored judge of elections in his precinct, Walter Johnson [source: "Cincinnati, O., News," The Freeman, 11/11/1916, p. 1]. Sneed was a member of several fraternal organizations, including the United Brothers of Friendship, and he was a Past Grand Chancellor and Supreme Representative of the Knights of Pythias. R. T. Sneed was the commander of the World's Champion Drill Team, Palestine Company B, Uniform Rank, Knights of Pythias. The team was undefeated when Sneed retired in 1911, and he would join the team when requested over the next several years for performances in various states. S. T. Sneed was born in Pendleton County, KY, the son of Anna Hitch Sneed (1852-1905) and Southey Sneed (1834-1889). S. T. Sneed and his first wife, Mary E. Sneed (b. 1864 in KY), were the parents of three girls: Bessie (1882-1882), Ada (1885-1885), and Carrie (1886-1908). In 1907, S. T. Sneed married Mary Patterson (b. 1878 in KY). Stephen T. Sneed died in Cincinnati on January 7, 1940 [source: Ohio Department of Health Death Index, p. 1695]. For more see Cincinnati's Colored Citizens, by W. P. Dabney. Cemetery records for Amy, Southy, Bessie [Snead], Ada, and Carrie Sneed are in "Linden Grove Cemetery Records (.pdf), 1868-1898" within the Northern Kentucky Genealogy Database-geNKY at the Kenton County Public Library website.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Migration North, Corrections and Police, Fraternal Organizations
Geographic Region: Pendleton County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio
Spradling, Washington, Sr.
Birth Year : 1805
Death Year : 1868
Spradling was the son of an overseer, William Spradling, and Maria Dennis, a slave who belonged to Isaac Miller. Maria and her children were freed after the death of William Spradling in 1814. Washington Spradling moved to Louisville, KY, and opened a barbershop in 1825. He also purchased real estate and by 1860 was one of the richest African Americans in Louisville. He was the father of William Spradling, born 1827. For more see The Encyclopedia of Louisville, ed. by J. E. Kleber; "Death of a Colored millionaire in Louisville," Chicago Tribune, 05/22/1868; and History of the United Brothers of Friendship and Sisters of the Mysterious Ten, by W. H. Gibson, Sr.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Freedom
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky
Birth Year : 1799
Death Year : 1872
Straws, born in Kentucky, purchased his freedom from slavery and was listed as a freeman in the 1840 U.S. Federal Census. (He was also listed in the 1830 U.S. Census). Straws moved to Louisville, KY, where he opened a barbershop. He also had real estate holdings and provided funds for the establishment of the Fourth St. Colored Methodist Church. He was the husband of May Straws. Author W. H. Gibson, Sr. gives Straws' death date as 1868. For more see The Encyclopedia of Louisville, ed. by J. E. Kleber; and History of the United Brothers of Friendship and Sisters of the Mysterious Ten, by W. H. Gibson, Sr.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Freedom, Kentucky African American Churches
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky
Suter Brothers, Barbers
Start Year : 1871
End Year : 1908
Andrew and Richard Suter were born near Midway, KY, two of at least eight children born to Charles and Winnie Suter. Prior to becoming a businessman, Andrew Suter (b. 1847) served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He returned to Midway, KY, and in 1870 married Kentucky native Ellen P. Clark (1857-1918 [source: Still Voices Yet Speak]). Also in 1870, Andrew Suter had an account with the Freedman's Bank in Lexington [source: Freedman's Bank Records], and the following year he became a barber in Lexington, KY, staying in business for 37 years. For a few of those years, Andrew and his brother, Richard Suter (b. 1842), were in business together, "S., R. & A.," and their shop was located in the basement at 2 S. Upper Street [source: Prather's Lexington City Directory 1875 and 1876]. By 1878, Andrew Suter and William Anderson were in business together as "Suter and Anderson"; the barber shop was located on the corner of Upper and Main Streets [source: R. C. Hellrigle and Co.'s Lexington City Directory 1877-78]. Richard Suter, who was also a chiropodist (foot doctor), was doing business on his own and in 1882 was a barber in the Phoenix Hotel [source: William's Lexington City Directory 1881-82]. "Suter and Anderson" continued to thrive within the barbering business. Andrew Suter had a Colored servant, Amy Ferguson, who was employed at his home [source: William's Lexington City Directory 1881-82]. By 1898, "Suter and Anderson" had several other employees: William Anderson Jr., Clarence Suter (Andrew's son), Henry Dupee, and Churchill Johnson. During the same period, Richard Suter and McCagih Robinson had a barbering business, "Suter and Robinson," in the basement of a building at the corner of Main and Limestone Streets [source: Emerson and Dark's Lexington Directory 1898-9]. In addition to being a barber, Andrew Suter was a member of the Colored First Baptist Church in Lexington. He was re-elected treasurer of the church in June of 1904, at which time he had been treasurer for 27 years. Suter was dedicated to his duties, and in August of 1904, when the church split, he refused to recognize the departing members' vote to make him their treasurer. Andrew Suter was also a mason, treasurer of Mt. Carmel Chapter No. 3 R A M, and treasurer of Bethany Comandery No. 2 [source: Emerson and Dark's Lexington Directory 1898-9]. Andrew, Richard, and Clarence B. Suter are all buried in African Cemetery No. 2 according to their death certificates, and Ellen Suter is also buried there, according to the book Still Voices Yet Speak. Andrew Suter died of heart disease on July 29, 1908. He and his family had lived at 916 Lexington Avenue. His son, Clarence B. Suter, died of Bright's Disease on January 26, 1904, and his brother, Richard Suter, died of pneumonia on April 10, 1913. Andrew Suter's daughter, Katie Suter Miller, was born in 1877 and died May 28, 1929, and was also buried in African Cemetery No. 2. For more see "Andrew Suter," Lexington Leader, 07/29/1908, p. 7; and "Andrew Suter's position," Daily Leader, 08/14/1904. For more about the Suter family members buried in African Cemetery No. 2, see Still Voices Yet Speak, by Y. Giles.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Military & Veterans, Religion & Church Work, Fraternal Organizations
Geographic Region: Midway, Woodford County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky
Birth Year : 1845
Death Year : 1894
Veney was born in Kentucky. When he was a child, the Veney family members were slaves who eventually escaped from Kentucky to Canada, led by Anderson's stepfather, Levi Veney. The family settled in Amherstburg, Upper Canada; the city of Amherstburg had been a major tobacco growing territory that attracted escaped slaves from Kentucky who had knowledge of raising tobacco. As an adult, Anderson Veney remained in Amherstburg, where he had been a barber, but not making much money in that trade, he became a ship steward. When his first wife died, he moved in with a woman named Mattie or Martha, and she took his last name. In 1892, while in Cleveland, OH, Anderson Veney began having severe headaches, was forgetful and had a difficult time sleeping. He became convinced that his wife was cheating on him, and a few months after he returned to Amherstburg, he killed her. In court, Anderson was defended by African Canadian lawyer Delos Rogest Davis of Amherstburg and Mahlon K. Cowan of Windsor. Veney's sanity was argued back and forth, and the final verdict was that he was sane when he killed Mattie and should therefore be hanged. In one version of the story, the federal cabinet reviewed the case, and rather than hang an insane man, it commuted Veney's sentence to life in prison; in less than a year he died of phthisis in the Kingston Penitentiary hospital. In another version, Veney was hanged in 1893. For more see Anderson Veney in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online [free, full-text on the Internet]; Smith: New Canaan Black Settlement, Ontario, Essex County at ancestrylibrary.com; and Disorder in the court: trials and sexual conflict at the turn of the century, by G. Robb and N. Erber.
Subjects: Barbers, Executions, Freedom, Migration North, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada
Walden, a barber in Glasgow, KY, was one of the first African Americans to seek public office in that town. In 1905, he attended the Republican convention in hopes of being nominated for the office of Barren County Court Clerk, but he was not nominated. For more see the John Walden article in The Adair County News, 10/04/1905, p. 4.
Subjects: Barbers, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: Glasgow, Barren County, Kentucky
Wallace, Count X.
Birth Year : 1815
Death Year : 1880
Wallace, a barber and musician, played the violin at parties and other gatherings. He was born in Kentucky and was a freeman living in Fayette, Mississippi, according to the 1850 U.S. Federal Census. Judge Frank A. Montgomery recorded his meeting with Wallace in his book Reminiscences of a Mississippian in Peace and War, published in 1901 [available full-text at Google Book Search]. Wallace had been in Port Hudson, LA, when the Union Army seized the area in 1863 and gained control of the Mississippi River. The forces included two regiments of Colored soldiers, the 1st and 3rd Louisiana Native Guard. Wallace was a servant to the Union officers, and when the soldiers were to leave, they had planned to take Wallace with them, but Wallace requested and received a parole from his servant duties. He had shown the parole certificate to Judge Montgomery. In his civilian life, Wallace had been fairly well off, with $2,000 in personal property; he was also a slave-owner. He is listed in the 1860 Slave Schedule as owning a 35 year old female; Wallace was one of 28 slave owners in Fayette, MS. When he died in 1880, his property went to his 30 year old wife, Nelly [or Nellie], and their five children: Edgar, Gaitwood, Floyde, Mary, and Stanton.
Subjects: Barbers, Freedom, Military & Veterans, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Migration South, Free African American Slave Owners
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Fayette, Mississippi