As our archive is filling up quickly, from time to time, we’re collecting past stories on a common theme.
Today, we look at three years of articles chronicling the black history of Rochester.
First, in Austin Steward’s Legacy is the Pride of Rochester, George explores the life of Austin Steward (1791 – 1869), a former slave who rose to be one of Rochester’s most prominent businessmen, as well as an acclaimed author. Local artists Shawn Dunwoody and Athesia Benjamin have made portraits of Steward.
In Frederick Douglass in Rochester: a gallery of images and words, George adds to our appreciation of Frederick Douglass’ legacy in Rochester.
Also see Fred DouglasS gets his due
In See the “News” at Northeast: Booker T. Washington’s visit with George Eastman, we move to the early years of the 20th century when Booker T. Washington dined in a little known visit with George Eastman. The article includes a field trip to the George Eastman House and a video made by Northeast media students.
In Remembering General Elwell Otis on his Day, June 15th: Rochester’s imperial war hero , we move to the nineteen-teens and F. Grant Gilmore. Gilmore was a barber, umpire and journalist who founded the Rochester Sentinel. Gilmore is best know as perhaps the first African-American author to write a war novel. His 1915 The Problem: A Military Novel includes a black protagonist, Sgt. Henderson, and is set during the Filipino War.
As mentioned in the above article, in 1917 Gilmore lived in the Frederick Douglass Club on 92 Industrial Street, a boarding house for black men. Not mentioned was that the Frederick Douglass Club was raided by police under suspicion of gambling and illegal drug use (quite probably both were trumped up charges). We don’t know if Gilmore was associated with the raid, but he appears to have left Rochester shortly thereafter, resurfacing a few years later in a Philadelphia census.
Next is 1946. In 70 years ago today when Jackie Robinson broke the color line at Red Wings Stadium, we recounted when Jackie Robinson was in town playing for the Montreal Royals. We also learned that at least one Rochestarian, Walt Williams, security guard at the Rochester Public Library, met Robinson — in Walt’s case at the downtown YMCA.
1946 was also the first time an African-American played professionally in Rochester. In Not Earl Lloyd. But a painting of Dolly King, the first African-American Rochester Royal, at the Edgerton-R Center’s beautiful mural, we saw the mural of Dolly King in the Edgerton R Center. In 1946, King played for the Royals in the old Edgerton Park Arena for the Rochester Royals when they members of the National Basketball League.
Then four years later in 1950, in When NBA history was made at Edgerton Park, back to Edgerton Park Arena when Earl Lloyd became the first African-American to play in the National Basketball Association. See also Rochester especially should support an Earl Lloyd U.S. Postage Stamp
Then, in On his Day, remembering when Martin Luther King visited Rochester, January 7th, 1958 was 1958 when Dr. Charles T. Lunsford entertained Martin Luther King Jr. in his home on Elmwood Avenue and Charles Price took an iconic photograph.
Next, in Looking at “1964″ across the generations at World of Inquiry, students at the World of Inquiry created a video after interviewing participants in the 1964 Rochester riots.
Then, a year later in 1965, Malcolm X would speak in Rochester five days before his assassination. 51 years ago when Malcolm X was assassinated 5 days after his prophecy in Rochester. And his Speech to Mississippi Youth
Two years later in 1967, Muhammad Ali — during his period of exile from boxing — would speak at Madison and Franklin High Schools. In 1967 when Muhammad Ali was at Madison and Franklin
A year later, in When Baltimore burned 47 years ago, we looked at how Rochesterians viewed the 1968 Baltimore Riots.
Then, three years later, in Reflecting on the RCSD’s most tumultuous year, 1971 , we looked at the racial disturbances in city schools that contributed to the ending of the district’s mandatory busing program.
In 1984, Jesse Jackson, the first African-American candidate to win a substantial amount of delegates in the Democratic primaries spoke at Monroe Community College the same day President Ronald Reagan addressed a rally at the War Memorial. November 1st, 1984: Ronald Reagan five days before his 49 state landslide. And Jesse Jackson at MCC. And a liberal enclave.
And in 2013, America’s first black President ate lunch at Magnolia’s. A seat at the President’s table three years later
In On Dr. Charles T. Lunsford and the house where he entertained Martin Luther King Jr., we looked at Dr. Charles T. Lunsford, Rochester’s first African-American physician who lived through — and influenced — over 60 years of Rochester history.
In Democrat and Chronicle prints “Pioneer for Black police officers guarded King one night in 1958” and much more on Captain Charles Price (1923 – 2021), we looked at the long and distinguished career of Captain Charles Price, Rochester’s first Black police officer who took a photograph of Martin Luther King Jr. at the Lunsford home.
In (Un) Writing an old wrong in Brighton’s Meadowbrook neighborhood and a look back at B.H.S. in the late 1970s and early 80s, we looked at racial covenants that prevented black Rochesterians from living where they wanted.