by Lisa Y. Henderson
Commodore M. Reid. “Rev. Commodore M. Reid now (1920), stationed at St. James M.E. Church, Winston-Salem, N.C., is a native of the Old North State, having been born in Cabarrus Co. August 9. 1889. His father, James S. Reid, was also a minister of the Gospel, and his mother, before her marriage, was Margaret Boger. His grandparents on the paternal side were Jerry and Mamie Reid and on the maternal side Jesse and Martha Boger. Rev. Reid’s father was free-born, but his mother was a slave before Emancipation.”
John Henry Clement. “Rev. John Henry Clement, who for more than twenty years has been active in the religious and educations life of the State, resides at High Point. He is a native of Davie Co., having been born at the old town of Mocksville, on March 5, 1869. His father, Anderson Clement, was a laborer and a farmer and the boy was brought up to do all sorts of farm work. His mother, who before her marriage, was Miss Martha Lanier, was a daughter of Bob Smith, who was free born.”
Robert James Frederick. “Dr. Frederick was born at Warsaw, Duplin Co., April 24, 1886. His father, John J. Frederick, was a carpenter, and was the son of Malcolm and Pennie Merritt. The latter was a slave, but Malcolm Merritt was free born.”
Henry Pearson Kennedy. “Dr. Henry Pearson Kennedy, a successful druggist and pharmacist of New Bern, has not found it necessary to go away from his native town in order to succeed. … Still on the sunny side of thirty he has already made for himself an enviable place in the business and social life of New Bern, where he was born January 7, 1884. His father, Henry P. Kennedy, was a contractor; he was the son of Lorenzo D. and Charlotte Kennedy. The former was free-born, but the latter was a slave.
George L. White. “Like so many of the successful men of both races, Dr. Geo. L. White now (1920) stationed at Greenville, was born and reared on the farm. He was born at Jacksonville , N.C., July 15, 1870. His father, Edward White, was a farmer. Edward White was the son of John and Mariah (Mantford) White, who lived to a ripe old age. Though free born, they became involved by insolvency and were sold for their debts.”
Charles Gaston Davis. “Prof. Davis was born at the little hamlet of Cottonville, in Stanley [sic] Co., Sept. 15, 1880. His father, Frank Davis, was born near the same place in 1834 and was the son of Jackson Davis, who lived to be seventy-eight, and his wife, Nancy Davis, who died at eighty. Prof. Davis’ mother, before her marriage, Miss Judie Easley, who was born about 1830 and who was free-born. She was the daughter of Harry and Celia Easley, both of whom lived to a ripe old age.”
James Monroe Henderson. “He is a native of the old town of Concord, where he was born on Aug. 15, 1861, soon after the outbreak of the war which was to bring freedom and opportunity to him and to his people. His father, Henry A. Henderson, was a mechanic, and his mother’s maiden name was Miss Eliza Bell. John Bell was a free born, though his wife was a slave.”
Excerpted from History of the American Negro and his Institutions, Volume 4, Arthur Bunyan Caldwell, ed.