Arthur Bunyan Caldwell.

History of the American Negro and his institutions; (Volume 4) online

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which he served for two years, Good Hope seven years and
various country churches in the counties of North Hamp-
ton, Person, Nashe and Robeson. He was for a while pres-
ident of the State Teachers' Association and was fre-
quently called upon to conduct institutes in various parts
of the State. Dr. Vincent owns property both in Raleigh
and in New York City and measured by present day stand-
ards of monetary success would be called a successful man.
When reflecting upon the disadvantages of his childhood
and youth and the difficulties with which he has had to
struggle, his accomplishments and his character are re-
markable. He has not only come out victor himself over
obstacles, but has pointed the way for the youth of his
race who are ambitious and not afraid to work.

Despite his manifold activities Dr. Vincent threw the
full force of his personality and profound influence into
the various forms of war work, speaking for Liberty
Bonds, War Savings Stamps, Red Cross, etc., and render-
ing every assistance in his power to the registration of the

Summarizing his work, Dr. Vincent taught at Shaw
eleven years, was general missionary of the N. C. Bap-
tists for several years, was the first missionary in the co-
operative effort between Northern and Southern Baptists,
known as the New Era movement, was president of State

/ tfl


Teachers Asso., was evangelist and S. S. missionary for a
number of years and is now editor of the Searchlight.

Henry Melvin Edmondson

There is a tendency in these modern days, on the part
of young men ambitious to succeed, to rush into the work
of life unprepared. Too late, many of them see their mis-
take and wish that they had taken time to equip themselves
for the real work of life. The result of this condition is
often observed in the number of rather capable young men
filling clerkships, serving as porters, or doing day labor.
Many of these had the ability, but lacked the courage and
patience to undergo the privations necessary to secure a lib-
eral education. Mr. Henry Melvin Edmonson, a rising
young attorney and assistant cashier of the Forsyth Sav-
ings & Trust Company, at Winston-Salem, did not make
such a mistake, however-

He is a native of Virginia, having been born at Hous-
ton, in Halifax Co., on June 11, 1888. His father, William
Edmondson, was a son of Osborne and Ann Edmondson.
His mother, who before her marriage was Miss Sue Flennou
was a daughter ofHampton and Patsy Flennou. Mr. Ed-
mondson's father was a cook and he himself worked about
the hotel when not attending the public school. He was
encouraged by his parents to make the best of his opportuni-
ties and when sixteen years of age matriculated at Kittrell
College, from which he was graduated with the A. B. degree
in 1910. Having decided to take up the study of law, he
then entered Shaw University, from which he was gradu-
ated with the degree of LL.B. in 1913- Prior to this, how-
ever, he had taken the State examination and had been ad-
mitted to the bar before he finished at Shaw. He entered
heartily into the athletics of college life, and was an enthusi-
astic football and baseball player.

Immediately after his graduation, he located at Win-


ston-Salem, where he has steadily made for himself a
place in the business and professional life of North Caro-
lina's largest city. His law practice is largely civil. He
is attorney for two local business organizations and institu-
tions and is Secretary of the Colored Fair Association. For
some time he has been with the Forsyth Savings & Trust
Company as assistant cashier.

In politics he is a Republican, but has taken little part
in partisan affairs. He is an active member of the Mis-
sionary Baptist Church and is Superintendent of the Sun-
day School. Among the secret orders he is identified with
the Masons.

When asked for some expression as to how he thought
the best interests of the race could be promoted, he an-
swered: "First by acquiring an education, then property."

Mr. Edmondson is quiet, thoroughly affable in manner,
and thoroughgoing in his work. He believes that "a thing
that is worth doing at all, is worth doing well." He un-
derstands values in men as well as in property and is not
easily diverted from an undertaking when once he puts his
hand to it.

Robert James Frederick

In recent years dentistry, medicine, pharmacy and those
professions requiring exkct knowledge and skill have at-
tracted increasing numbers of the race, and it is gratifying
to note that a large percentage of them have succeeded.

Among the successful druggists must be mentioned Dr.
Robert James Frederick of Goldsboro. The way to his
present position was not strewn with flowers, but through
the years when he was struggling for an education he was
sustained by "the constant guidance and prayers of a dear
mother and by faith in God."

Dr. Frederick was born at Warsaw, Duplin Co., April
24, 1886. His father, John K. Frederick, was a carpenter,



and was the son of Malcolm and Pennie Merritt. The lat-
ter was a slave, but Malcolm Merritt was free born.

On Christmas Day, 1912, Dr. Frederick was united in
matrimony to Miss Annie L. Jones of Raleigh. She was a
daughter of Jacob J. and Sarah A. Jones. Mrs. Frederick
was educated at Shaw University, Raleigh.

As a boy young Frederick attended the Warsaw pub-
lic schools- From there he passed to the A. & M. at Greens-
boro, where he studied for two years. Being a carpenter
he worked his way through school by this means and by
hotel work at the North.

He took his course in Pharmacy at Shaw University,
where he won his degree in Pharmacy in 1911. He was
under the necessity of making his own way in school but
did not permit this to discourage him.

In 1910 he began his work as a druggist at Charlotte
with J. L. Eagles. In 1912 he removed to Goldsboro, where
he has since resided and where he runs the Wayne Drug
Co. on S. James St., a controlling interest of which he owns.

In politics he is a Republican though he has not been
active- He belongs to the Baptist church and is a member
of the Masons, Odd Fellows and Pythians. He owns a home
and other property at Goldsboro and takes an active part
in all movements among the people looking to the betterment
of conditions. He is of the opinion that the best interests
of the race are to be promoted "By qualifying to vote in-
telligently, by work and economy and adjustment to condi-
tions so as to live with all people without friction, and by
serving God at all times."

Thomas Ledyard McCoy

One of the older men of the State who has had a suc-
cessful career is Thomas Ledyard McCoy. Mr. McCoy is a
native of Louisiana where he was born several years before
the war on Aug. 9, 1858. He was never afraid to work



and by his own efforts struggled up from poverty and ob-
scurity. His father, Munford McCoy, was a blacksmith and
a wheelwright. He was a son of Robert McCoy, who was
a native of North Carolina. Mr. McCoy's mother was Rose
(Muse) McCoy- She was a daughter of Charles and Peggy
Muse, natives of Louisana.

Young McCoy came of school age during the war. But
as soon as the public schools were opened he entered and
passed from the public schools to Leland University, New
Orleans, where he was graduated from the normal depart-
ment in 1878. Soon after he entered college his father died,
leaving his mother with nine children to support. In order
to help in the support of the family, and keep up his col-
lege work, Mr. McCoy found it necessary to teach during
his vacations. Looking back now over the years of youth
and boyhood he is of the opinion that his own temperate
life and the desire to help the race out of ignorance have
been the greatest factors in his life.

Mr. McCoy has been twice married. His first wife, to
whom he was married in 1880, was Miss Mary Green. She
bore him ten children of whom four survive. They are
Stella, Antoine, Fleetwood and Ida- In 1909 Mrs. McCoy
passed away. In 1912, Mr. McCoy was married to Miss
Eugenia Hill, also of N. C. She was educated at Shaw and
was herself a teacher in the public schools.

Mr. McCoy has had varied experiences in business
which have taken him to almost every nook and corner of
the country, as well as into Mexico and Canada. He was
in the Pullman service for five years, and for a short time
worked at railroad building in Mexico. He taught in the
public schools of Louisiana for five years after which he
went to Florida and taught for ten years. The next ten
years were spent in business in Fla. He was then called
to St. Augustine School, Raleigh, and has since resided at
Raleigh. He taught at St. Augustine two years. He has
taught commercial courses privately.

In politics he is a Republican and before leaving Louisi-
ana was a Justice of the Peace for eight years. He was


postmaster at Raphael, La., for four years and rural letter
carrier in N. C. for seven years. In 1900, he was census

He is a member of the Episcopal church and belongs
to the Masons, the Odd Fellows and Pythians. Speaking
from close observation and long experience, Mr. McCoy
says, "The Negro activities in the recent world war was
a blessing in disguise for the American Negro. He will
get better treatment from now on if he will use discretion
and qualify himself for service. The present unrest will
soon pass and the Negro will gradually get what is due
him. Patience and forbearance must be preached by both

In 1919 Prof. McCoy was elected Principal of the
Wake Forest Public Graded School.

Leland Stanford Cozart

It is the policy of the Mary Potter Memorial School
at Oxford to employ the best teachers available. Accord-
ingly, Mary Potter has come to stand for thoroughness and
efficiency. Among the capable young men on the faculty
must be mentioned Prof. Leland Standford Cozart, profes-
sor of Natural Science and English Literature.

Prof. Cozart was born in Granville Co. on February 8,
1892. After laying the foundations of his education in the
public schools, he attended the Mary Potter High School,
graduating with first honor in 1912. In the fall of the
same year, he matriculated at Biddle University, where he
won his A. B. degree with first honor in 1916. Speaking of
the difficulties which he had to overcome in getting an edu-
cation, he says : "My main difficulties were involved in get-
ting money to pay for my schooling. The bare facts are
that I entered college with $24.00, believing that, if once I
entered, it would take more than ordinary force to eject me.
I worked hard and finally, in the providence of God, went



through college and trust that the college went through

Fortunately, Prof. Cozart's early influences were good
and while the way was full of hardships, he had the cour-
age and patience to forge steadily forward until he had
fitted himself for the serious work of life. He has always
tried to practice the Greek ideal of a sound mind in a sound

Upon graduating from Biddle, he did press reporting"
awhile, which included feature stories, many of which re-
ceived favorable comment from the leading American maga-
zines. Later, he was called back to Mary Potter High
School, where some years before he had been a brilliant
student and was assigned to the chair of Natural Science
and English Literature. He has held this position since,
except for one year, when, during the war, he was in the
service of the country.

In politics, Prof. Cozart is a Republican, though he has
not been active in party matters beyond expressing the
franchise. He is a member of the Presbyterian Church,
and in the capacity of an elder is closely identified with its
spiritual movement. He belongs to the Masons.

Prof. Cozart has traveled extensively in the United
States and had the opportunity of seeing much of Europe
while he was in the army service. His favorite reading is
along the line of his work, science and English literature,
sociology and philosophy. When asked for some expression
with reference to the progress of his race, Prof. Cozart said :

"I firmly believe that the best interests of the race in
this State and in the nation may be promoted by justice in
the courts and an equal chance before the law. The dark-
est side of mob-rule is that, while the best element of the
Whites is. not in favor of lynching, it has not made strong
enough protest to prove its opposition. To my mind it is
entirely possible for the more sober classes of Whites to
inspire the masses of Negroes with the feeling that they
are as truly Americans in time of peace as well as in war."

John Henry Crow

The Rev. John Henry Crow of Dunn is a popular and
successful pastor of the Baptist denomination, who with
singleness of purpose has devoted himself to the work of
the Gospel ministry. He was born in Duplin Co. May 14,
1869. His father, the late Jordan Crow, was a deacon in
the Baptist Church, and his mother, Mary (Mclver) Crow,
was a Christian woman, so the home influences of his boy-
hood were good. As a result his mind turned early to reli-
gious matters. Even as a boy he reached the decision
which brought him into the church and later into the min-
istry. His paternal grandparents were Henry and Onie
Ward, the maternal grandmother was Annie Mclver.

Mr. Crow has been twice married. His first marriage
occurred when he was about twenty-one years of age, to
Mrs. Mary Harper of Montgomery Co., Ga. There were
two children born to this union, Lewis and Laura Crow.
In 1902 Mrs. Crow passed to her eternal reward. Later on
December 24, 1905, Mr. Crow was married to Miss Mary
F. Barnes of Wayne Co., N. C. She was educated at the
Goldsboro State Normal and was, before her marriage, a
teacher. They have two children, John Henry, Jr., and
Clinton Crow.

Young Crow went first to the Duplin public schools
and passed from there to the Fremont Graded Schools.
During 1901 and 1902 he studied Theology at Shaw Univer-
sity. '

Mr. Crow was licensed to preach in 1892 by the Baptist
church at Vidalia, Ga., and was also ordained in Georgia.
He had gone South on public work and his first pastorate
was in Montgomery Co., Ga. After about a year there he
returned to his native State and was soon preaching full
time. He accepted a call from the Beaver Dam church in
Sampson Co., which he served for three "years and repaired
the house of worship. At Dover, where he preached for



three years, a new church edifice was erected. He also
built a new church at Shady Grove, Bessie Station, which he
served for three years. Hook's Grove called him and he
served that congregation four years and built a new church.
For twenty years he has been preaching at the First Baptist
church of Fremont. The church in which that body now
worships has been erected under his administration. Land
was bought and a new church begun during a two year
pastorate of St. John's at Dunn. He served St. John's at
Lumberton five years and built a new house, Holy Swamp,
three years, and built there also and Purvis one year. He
has also done considerable work in South Carolina. He
preached three years at St. Paul at Mullins, S. C, and re-
painted the church ; three years at Olive Grove, Effingham,
and repaired the church. He is now (1919) rounding his
third year as pastor of the First Baptist church of James
City, where he completed a church that had already been
begun. While he has made a most remarkable record as a
church builder and has added thousands of dollars to the
value of the church property of the denomination, this
by no means measures his service as he has had a most
fruitful ministry and has brought many new members
into the church.

He believes the thing most needed today is a better
understanding between the races, that is between the best
elements of both races. His favorite reading is along Bibli-
cal and Theological lines. He owns a comfortable home at

John William Crockett

John William Crockett, the former manager of the A.
M. E. Zion Publishing House at Charlotte has made for
himself an enviable record as a business man and as an
active, earnest worker in the church. He comes to this



State from South Carolina, having been born at Lancaster
on April 26, 1871.

Mr. Crockett attended the local public school as a boy
and later went to the Lancaster High School. He has al-
ways been a hard worker. In fact, it was necessary for
him to make his own way through school. Early in life
he identified himself with the church and the Sunday School
and to these inspiring influences Mr. Crockett attributes no
small part of his success in life. Growing up on the farm,
he developed a healthy, vigorous Body which has been able
to stand well the strain of the years. He continued to
farm until after he was married. Moving then to Charlotte
he engaged in insurance work, following that pursuit for
eighteen years and made for himself such a record that he
came to be recognized as a substantial, successful business
man of his race. He organized the Afro-American Mutual
Ins. Co. of North and South Carolina, of which he is Secy.,
and built the splendid three-story brick building, 410-412-
414 E. 2nd St., Charlotte, N. C, and the two-story brick
building corner of Pond and Hampton Sts., Rock Hill, S. C.
When there was an opening at the head of his denomina-
tional publishing house at Charlotte, it was realized that Mr.
Crockett was the logical man for that position. This
work includes not only a book store, but also represents
the publishing interests of the whole denomination, includ-
ing the Sunday School literature, the weekly organ of the
denomination and the book publications as well. Mr.
Crockett surrounded himself with a corps of able assist-
ants who not only turned out work creditable to himself
but to the great religious body that he served. He held this
position for four years.

In politics he is a Republican but he has had little time
to give to political matters. Among the secret orders he
is affiliated with the True Reformers and the Masons, being
deputy of the 14th district. His opinions with reference
to what will contribute most to welfare of the race are all
fundamental. First, he believes in working, and also in an
adequate wage. He believes in saving, and in the building



of good homes with the right sort of education and the
establishment of business enterprises.

He himself is a living example of what these policies
mean when carried out in the life of a man.

On June 9, 1890, Mr. Crockett was married to Miss Mar-
garet E. Frazier of Lancaster, S. C.

Mr. Crockett edits and publishes the Progressive Mes-
senger, operates a printing plant and carries a line of
lodge and S. S. supplies.

Lawrence Macauga Cheek

The subject of this biography, Lawrence Macauga
Cheek, is -a gentleman of exceptional type. He hails from a
county that is distinguished for the number of high class
persons of color that have gone from it into other parts of
the State and country. Mr. Cheek was born in Warren Co.
November 20, 1886. His father's name was Hillard C.
Cheek and his mother's maiden name was Rosa Dowtin,
the daughter of Edward and Christine Dowtin. His father's
mother's name was Zilphia.

Mr. Cheek had the unusual advantage of being brought
up in a Christian home and of having parents who were
deeply interested in his future and who had sufficient
intelligence to render him help in seeking for more light.
He was poor as was the case with so many of the best men
of the race in the beginning. Mr. Cheek knows what work
means, and to his willingness to work he owes a large part
of his success in the world today. His parents helped all
in their power, but young Cheek had to get busy and do all
kinds of work in order to obtain an education. He worked
on the farm, in the lumber camp, on steamboats and in ho-
tels and on Pullman cars and any other place where he was
able to secure a job to enable him to finish his education.
He began his education in the country schools of Warren
Co. and afterward attended the Shiloh Normal and Indus-



trial School located at Warrenton, N. C, the county seat of
Warren Co., from which he was graduated in 1907. In the
fall of the same year he entered Shaw University and by
hard work in school and out of school he managed to re-
main until 1911 when he was graduated from the collegiate
department with the degree of A. B. He then pursued his
studies further at Chicago University during the years of
1912 and 1913. In 1912 he was offered the chair of Latin
and Greek at Houston College of Houston, Texas. He ac-
cepted the position and remained there until 1915.

Mr. Cheek always looked on the business world as of-
fering great opportunities to his race as well as to indivi-
duals and early began to plan to make some line of business
his contribution toward the elevation of the people. He ac-
cordingly resigned his position in Houston in 1915 and came
to Raleigh. After casting about and conferring with other
young men who had an eye to business he succeeded in or-
ganizing the Organ Printing Company at Raleigh which is
now the largest company of its kind in the State owned and
controlled by Negroes. A wide vision characterized the
management from the beginning, up-to-date machinery was
installed and it was not long before the company was firmly
established. In 1917 Mr. Cheek took the lead in organizing
the Raleigh Independent Company for the purpose of pub-
lishing a weekly paper for the county and city. Mr. Cheek
was elected to the position of business manager as well as
managing editor of this progressive weekly, which has
come to be recognized as one of the leading papers of its
kind in the State. Mr. Cheek is a young man who will make
for himself a place in any community and the people of
Raleigh are justly proud of him. He is public spirited
and deeply interested in all that concerns the welfare of
the community at large as well as his own people. When
he came to Raleigh he found that some of the old type of
leaders had depended more upon politics than work and
that little effort seemed to have been made to teach business
and industry to the young people. In his zeal he ran across
many old line leaders but he had abundant evidence to feel


that the people were with him and deeply appreciated his
efforts to teach the young people to become self-supporting.

Mr. Cheek is a devoted Christian and a loyal member
of the First Baptist Church of Raleigh. He is active in
all the work of the church, being Assistant Supt. of the
Sunday School, member of the choir and young people's so-
ciety. Among the secret orders he is a member of the
Odd Fellows and Pythians and is Secretary of the local
branch of the N. A. A. C. P.

He, as might be judged from his record, has great con-
fidence in the part that business is to play in the develop-
ment of his people and his idea of the solution of the race
problem is co-operation of the race in business affairs.

Mr. Cheek was married on June 24, 1914 to Miss Ellean
Elizabeth Whitaker, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William
Whitaker of Raleigh. Mrs. Cheek's brother is the business
partner of Mr. Cheek and has played an important part with
Mr. Cheek in the business affairs of Raleigh.

Mr. Cheek considers the fine Christian influence of a
Godly father and mother the greatest single factor in the
shaping of his life.

John Robert Thirgood Christian

Someone has said, "The proper study of mankind is
man," and there is no more interesting type than what we
are accustomed to call the self-made man. He is at his best
in America, where conditions have permitted the rise from
poverty and obscurity to places of leadership in various fields
of endeavor. One of the men of this type to claim our at-
tention in the religious field is Rev. John Robert Thirgood
Christian now (1920) at the Christian Temple C. M. E.
Church, Washington, N. C.

Mr. Christian is a native of Alabama, having been born
at Melbourne, Ala., Sept. 5, 1876. His father, Alfred Com-
modore Christian, was a farmer. He was a pious man of

Online LibraryArthur Bunyan CaldwellHistory of the American Negro and his institutions; (Volume 4) → online text (page 32 of 48)