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Biographies of
Prominent African Americans
in West Virginia

Mildred Mitchell-Bateman
The first African-American woman to head a West Virginia state government agency

J. R. Clifford
Pioneer journalist, lawyer, and civil rights leader

John W. Davis
President of West Virginia State College and civil rights leader

Martin Delany
The highest ranking black officer in the Union Army during the Civil War

Elizabeth Simpson Drewry
The first African-American woman elected to the West Virginia Legislature

Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Renowned black literary scholar and chair of Harvard University's African- American Studies Department

Hal Greer
Huntington native and member of the basketball hall of fame

Lawson Family Genealogy

John C. Norman Jr.
Noted thoracic and cardiovascular surgeon and researcher

Christopher Payne
The first black member of the West Virginia Legislature

Samuel W. Starks
Local and national leader of the black Knights of Pythias fraternal order

Leon Sullivan
Charleston native and civil rights leader

Booker T. Washington
Noted educator and first president of Tuskegee Institute


History of African Americans in West Virginia

West Virginia History CenterWest Virginia History Center

West Virginia Archives and History