Today’s post comes from John P. Blair with the National Archives History Office.
Ever since President Gerald Ford recognized Black History Month during the Bicentennial of the United States in 1976, each February brings forth a celebration of the history and accomplishments of notable African Americans. However, there are hundreds of thousands of other African Americans who have served our nation, contributed to our society, and who during their lifetimes influenced hundreds of others.
Black History Month is for them too.
The records of the National Archives and Records Administration reveal the lives of many relatively obscure African Americans—if one knows where to look.
For instance, there is Floyd Henry Crumbly. Crumbly was a successful businessman in Atlanta and Los Angeles, and a civic and social leader who rose through the ranks of the U.S. Army to lead troops when our nation called.
Born in Rome, Georgia, on May 10, 1855, Crumbly’s father, Robert Crumbly, was a slave, but his mother, Mariah Connally, was a free woman of color. Crumbly later wrote his mother, although free born, “under the custom of the times was practically a slave having married a slave man.”
During the American Civil War, Crumbly and his mother left for Nashville, but he returned to Georgia after she died of smallpox in 1869. Continue reading