Tucson’s African-American community overcame numerous scandals to become some of the city’s most prosperous and well-known citizens. Newspapers throughout the Arizona territory captured more than their unlawful exploits but gave biographical information about each African-American. Men like George Bragg, who was a barber by trade, made headlines that rocked when he was charged with the attempted murder of the railroad Superintendent and his family. Women like Fannie Garcia challenged social mores by using her millions to fight conviction for marrying the man she loved. This hour-long presentation will discuss these and other key African-Americans, who stirred controversy, challenged territorial laws and contributed to the Old Pueblo’s early history. This talk will also include the importance of the African-American social club and their unique ability to mobilize African-Americans for political causes.
Bernard Wilson is an independent researcher, who began his humanities research as part of a personal genealogical investigation into his family. He has spent the past twenty-years researching Tucson’s African-American pioneers and community. His first book, The Black Residents of Tucson and Their Achievements: A Reference Guide, exposed that Tucson had a large and thriving African-American community, that included mining millionaires. His subsequent publications derived from the hours of research for his book. Currently, his research focuses on the individual lives of the Old Pueblo’s African-Americans.