Famed baritone vocalist Julius Lorenzo Cobb Bledsoe was born December 29, 1887 in Waco, McLennan County, Texas to Henry Lee Devalt Bledsoe and Jessie Cobb Bledsoe. His father died when he was still an infant and by the time he was about two and a half years old, he and his mother were living with her parents, the Cobbs, near downtown Waco. His grandfather Stephen Cobb has been mentioned as a founder of Waco’s historic congregation, New Hope Baptist Church. It was at New Hope where young Julius had sung solos by the time he was five years old. In 1914, Bledsoe graduated as valedictorian of Central Texas Academy, founded by African American Baptists in 1901 in Waco. From there, Julius went on to enroll at Temple College in Waco before transferring to Bishop College in Marshall, Texas where he earned his A B degree.Read the rest of this entry »
Category Archives: black history
The account of the Black Seminoles in Texas begins in Florida. Slavery had been abolished in Spanish Florida since the late 1600s and the area became a refuge for freed as well as fugitive slaves. Though some were taken as slaves by the Native tribes that resided there, those of African descent are generally believed to have interacted peacefully with the native tribes, with some amount of intermarriage and more significantly, the adoption of the tribal ways and customs. The people known as Seminoles are sometimes referred to as being a conglomeration of a number of tribes living in the area, including the Creek Tribe, although the Creek Tribe is also usually referred to separately. Tribes included the Lower Creeks, Mikusukis and Apalachicola, among others and they are believed to have migrated there from the areas now represented by the states of Georgia and Alabama.
Bass Reeves was a groundbreaking lawman in the West. Most people who know his name would be aware that he was born a slave and became a respected law officer mostly in the area that became Oklahoma, long before it became a state.
Reeves was born into slavery in 1838 in Crawford County, Arkansas on the property of former Arkansas state legislator, William Steele Reeves. Authoritative accounts say instead that he was born in Texas. His last name was that of the owner William Reeves and his first name is believed to have been in honor of a grandfather by the name of Bass Washington.
After the success of the book and film Hidden Figures which generated much deserved recognition for NASA employees Katherine Jonson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, the book with the eye catching title of Hidden Genius: Frank Mann, the Black Engineer Behind Howard Hughes came to our attention. It is the story of Frank Calvin Mann, as told by H. T. Bryer.
Nathan/Nathaniel “Nat” Love was born into slavery but became a well known cowboy, even publishing a book on his life experiences, “The Life and Adventures of Nat Love, Better Known in the Cattle Country as ‘Deadwood Dick’.” The book can be purchased or downloaded free from various sources.