Posts Tagged With: history

Boyd Gray: Cycle From New York City to San Fransisco

One day while on newspapers.com. I decided to search for black cyclist during the late 1800s, early 1900s and I came across a story from 1894 about a cyclist named Boyd Gray. According to numerous newspaper articles, Boyd was in his early 20s and a resident of Yonkers, NY. He also worked as at the Getty House Hotel which was also located in Yonkers, NY. His father, who lived in Georgia, wrote Boyd and asked him if he could assist with payment their family farms mortgage. According to The Yonkers Herald dated August 13, 1894, “Gray did not have very much money, and night after night conjectured about a way to make money to save the farm. He at last hit upon an idea of riding through the country and earning money by blacking boots.” Boyd left New York City, The New York World Building (aka the Pulitzer Building) to be exact to cycle across the country to San Francisco on May 10, 1894. An article in the Democratic Chronicles Newspaper from June 23, 1894, described Boyd as “…a muscular young man, black as coal, and about five feet seven inches in height.”

Boyd arrived in San Francisco on October 17, 1894, and was able to raise the money to save his family farm. In addition to boot blacking he was also promoting for the bike company Derby according to The Rock Island Argus newspaper. “He not only carries a boot black’s box, but on the red sweater which he wears are the words “I ride a Derby.” So that between what money he makes at shinning shoes, he receives remuneration of the manufacturers of the “Derby” bike which he rides.” Most days Boyd rode anywhere between 60 miles to over 100 miles per day on his journey. In each place along his route he stopped he blacked the boots of the local towns people as well mayors, police chiefs and other notable people in those areas. He was well received in most places except in Chicago , where he was denied the opportunity to blacked the boots of Mayor John P. Hopkins according to an article in the El Paso Times dated April 13, 1895.

Below are some articles I found about Boyd’s trip but I haven’t found much else besides they articles about his epic adventure. I also haven’t found anything about Boyd Gray’s upbringing or life after his trip but, I did find a 1905 New York State Census for a man named Boyd Gray was living in Yonkers and working for a family as a butler. I’ll keep searching to see what else I can find out more about him and his journey.

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Diamond Episode of BlackProGen LIVE!

There is still time to share your feedback and enter for a chance to win some cool prizes. Click Here 

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These Divers Search For Slave Shipwrecks and Discover Their Ancestors

“Meet a group of vibrant scuba divers determined to find, document and positively identify slave shipwrecks.”

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BlackProGen LIVE! Ep 95: Birthright: Who Has the Right to Tell My People’s Stories?

“Should there be a stipulation on who has the right to tell certain stories? Is it dependent on the role certain groups play within the historical event landscape? Episode 95 will tackle this difficult topic.”

Watch Live tonight!

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Learn Beauty Culture

 

“I want the great masses of my people to take a greater pride in their personal appearance and to give their hair proper attention.” Madam C.J. Walker

Madam C.J. WalkerMadam C.J. Walker Sat, May 16, 1925 – Page 8 · The New York Age (New York, New York) · Newspapers.com

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Reasons to buy a Ford

Found this 1919 Ford ad in The Citizen-Patriot newspaper.

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Tulsa Colored Business Directory

 

When I took my trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2017 I took pictures of the plaques honoring the businesses that were destroyed in the greenwood massacre. The pictures below are listed in the business directory in The Tulsa Star in 1920.

 

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Day trip to Montgomery

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Last week I traveled to Georgia to visit some family, since the part of Georgia I was in was under a three hour drive from Montgomery, Alabama. I decided to take a day trip there. I planned to go to Alabama Department of Archives & History, the Legacy Museum, the National Memorial For Peace and Justice and to visit my cousin Frank.

Our first stop was the Legacy Museum  located at 115 Coosa Street.

“The Legacy Museum:  From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration opened to the public on April 26, 2018, in Montgomery, Alabama. The 11,000-square-foot museum is built on the site of a former warehouse where enslaved black people were imprisoned, and is located midway between an historic slave market and the main river dock and train station where tens of thousands of enslaved people were trafficked during the height of the domestic slave trade. Montgomery’s proximity to the fertile Black Belt region, where slave-owners amassed large enslaved populations to work the rich soil, elevated Montgomery’s prominence in domestic trafficking, and by 1860, Montgomery was the capital of the domestic slave trade in Alabama, one of the two largest slave-owning states in America.” (museumandmemorial.eji.org)

I went through a number of emotions while in the museum, I went from sad once I entered, then I begin to get mad half way through viewing the timeline on the wall. Before exiting I was happy that this museum exist, I definitely recommend visiting the Legacy Museum while in Montgomery.

Photo from museumandmemorial.eji.org

 

Next, we went to the National Memorial For Peace and Justice located at 417 Caroline Street. I believe there is free shuttle service from the museum to the memorial, if you feel like driving your car, there is plenty of parking at the memorial (well I went on a Monday and there was plenty of parking for me) you can also walk to the memorial which will take you about 16 minutes.

“The Memorial for Peace and Justice was conceived with the hope of creating a sober, meaningful site where people can gather and reflect on America’s history of racial inequality.  EJI partnered with artists like Kwame Akoto-Bamfo whose sculpture on slavery confronts visitors when they first enter the memorial. EJI then leads visitors on a journey from slavery, through lynching and racial terror, with text, narrative, and monuments to the lynching victims in America. In the center of the site, visitors will encounter a memorial square, built in collaboration with MASS Design Group. The memorial experience continues through the civil rights era made visible with a sculpture by Dana King dedicated to the women who sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott.  Finally, the memorial journey ends with contemporary issues of police violence and racially biased criminal justice expressed in a final work created by Hank Willis Thomas. The memorial displays writing from Toni Morrison and Elizabeth Alexander, words from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and a reflection space in honor of Ida B. Wells.” (museumandmemorial.eji.org)

It was eerily quiet walking under the steel monuments, it was 95 degrees and I got chills.

 

Below are some of the picture I took while at the memorial.

 

Next stop was Alabama Department of Archives & History located at 624 Washington Ave. It was about 1:30 PM by the time we got to the archives and I planned on getting an hour of research in. To my surprise the research room is closed on Monday’s (I should have checked the hours of operation, rookie mistake) but I did learn the research room will be now be open every Saturday.

 

Our last stop was to visit cousin Frank, we met about five years ago through our cousin Sonny, whom I met via ancestry.com. My great great grandfather and cousin Frank’s grandfather were brothers.

 

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BlackProGen LIVE! Ep 83: Stories from the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, Parts 1&2

Did you miss BlackProGen LIVE Episode 83? Don’t worry you can check out parts 1&2 below.

“In 2018, The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) opened the The National Memorial for Peace and Justice which memorializes more than 4,400 African American men, women, and children who were hanged, burned alive, shot, drowned, and beaten to death by white mobs between 1877 and 1950. Episode 83 will feature the family history of some of the victims documented in the memorial in an effort to humanize and bring light to their lives outside of a tragic event they have been associated with.”

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BlackProGen LIVE!: Ep 71 Runaways: Self-Liberated Africans and the Underground Railroad

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