African Americans in Greensboro's Historical Record

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Guide to Using African American Genealogy Records:

African-American genealogy poses unique obstacles to researchers. In part, this is because (prior to emancipation) many ancestors were likely to have been enslaved. Enslaved individuals did not enjoy the privileges of full citizenship, such as land ownership and legal marriage. Enslaved ancestors therefore do not typically show up in the historical record in the same way, or as frequently, as free people. This dilemma requires genealogists to be especially thorough in their research, and to make more creative use of the records that are available...

African Americans in Greensboro's 1880 U.S. Census:

The following is a partial list of African American households from Greensboro's U.S. Census of 1880. Names in bold are probable, or at least possible, candidates for individuals also named in Greensboro's 1887 City Directory.

African Americans in the 1887 Greensboro City Directory:

This is a complete list of African Americans in the Greensboro City Directory of 1887. Individuals whose names are italicized are good candidates for individuals appearing in the U.S. Census of 1880. Names in bold appeared as such in the directory and usually identify business owners or professionals. Please note that spellings may be inconsistent (e.g., "Linsey Dogged" in the City Directory is certainly "Lindsey Doggett" of the U.S. Census). As the 1890 U.S. Census was destroyed by fire in 1921, this directory (as well as others from this period) may be of particular relevance to researchers.     

Union Cemetery:

Union Cemetery is one of the most important burial sites for African Americans in Guilford County. Located on the east side of the 900 block of South Elm Street, it has been in use since the 1880s. The following is a list of burials with grave markers (there are many unmarked graves). Where possible, names are correlated with those appearing in the 1887 Greensboro City Directory.

Article about Historic Warnersville:

This article describes the development of Warnersville, a community created after the Civil War for recently freed, and then homeless and impoverished former slaves.

The author of the following article on the African-American settlement of Warnersville, Ms. Nell Craig Strowd (1902-1988), was a native of Gastonia, North Carolina.  After attending the Woman's College (now UNCG), from which she graduated in 1923, Ms. Craig served as a staff reporter for the Greensboro Record, often writing feature articles as well as pieces for the society column.  She was next appointed director of the News Bureau at the Woman's College and served in that capacity for four years.  In 1945 she married Bruce Strowd, and in her later years she lived in Chapel Hill.  Active in civic and political affairs in Orange and Chatham counties, she was also a co-editor of History of Chatham County, 1771-1971.  She died in Chapel Hill and is buried in the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery.

Those interested in the history of Warnersville, and especially the prominent role of Harmon Unthank as leader of this important African-American community, owe Nell Craig Strowd a great debt, for without her interest and efforts much of what follows would have surely been lost.

Except for a couple of unimportant passages, Ms. Strowd's article on Warnersville is presented in full.  Some notes have been added, providing US Census information on early Warnersville residents as well as other information.