WALTER I LEWIS, Negro Genealogy, 1902 African American Portrait Print


TYPE: Antique Photograph

Date published:1902

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AUTHENTICITY: This is an authentic historical print, published at the date stated above. It is not from a modern copy.



born near Chester, S. C. No record having been kept, it Is not possible to determine the date of his birth. Walter is the third of seven children that were born to William Charles and Mollie Lewis who were slaves to a man by the name of W. T. Gilmore. He successfully passed from the common schools to the preparatory department of Biddle University. Waiter I. Lewis graduated with the second honor of his class of five from Biddle University, in Charlotte, N. C., and at once began his life-work, public school teaching, at Spartanburg, S. C. After teaching in that city for three years, two of which he succeeded in securing a sufficient donation from the Peabody Fund to have the school term increased from five to nine months. he accepted an appointment under the Freedmen’s Board of the Presbyterian Church, to take charge of their parochial school in Columbia, Tenn. Special inducements were offered him to take a position in the newly organized graded schools of that city, and he resigned the parochial school after serving one year, and accepted work with the graded school. This he found congenial and won special distinction in using the phonetic method of teaching primary pupils, that system being newly introduced there then. Having a turn for political contests he vigorously entered local political campaigns, generally on the winning side, and won some distinction as a campaign orator. Mr. Lewis came to Florida in 1890, as corresponding secretary of, the Afro-American Chautauqua Association, whose president was the lamented Dr. J. C. Price. The failure of that enterprise was a withering blow to Mr. Lewis. After remaining in Florida for nearly a year, at Tallahassee, Mr. Lewis became field correspondent and agent for the Florida Sentinel, then published in Gainesyllle. In 1892, Mr. Lewis got a position as city editor on the Labor Union Recorder of Savannah. For a time his activity seemed to be equal to the task of redeeming that paper, but the entailments of indebtedness were too great. It went under. He was urged to go to Jacksonville to enter the office of the Jacksonville Advocate the inducements being flattering he went. He served the Advocate until the Daily American was established. He was on the Daily Americanas its city editor, and was on deck when that sheet went down. In the winter of 1895-96, necessity demanded a better daily news for the colored people of Jacksonville. This was secured at the office of the Metropolis,one of the most successful afternoon papers that is published In the whole South. Mr. Lewis was put on as reporter for his race, on the stale of the Metropolis,and has held this place continuously ever since. He is a firm believer in the survival of the fittest in all things, and declares this Is the key to the solution of the race problem.


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