Bannister As An African American Last Name

The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 2,016 black Americans with Bannister as their last name. That represented 23% of the total of 8,639 entries.

This article tracks their numbers in the census since the Civil War. We also look at historic African American people named Bannister.

We end with a review of early records of black military service in the United States.

After The Civil War

The 1870 census was the first survey after the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation. In 1850 and 1860, only free African Americans were recorded in the census. The many enslaved were omitted.

From 1870 onward, all black Americans were included.

93 people named Bannister were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 25 as mixed.

There was a total of 966 people with the name.

Bannister In The 1900 And 1940 Census

The mixed category was dropped from the census in 1900, so we just need to look at the black numbers this time.

The 1900 census recorded 222 people with the last name Bannister as black within a total of 1,530 that year.

By the way, the mixed category returned in the 1910 and 1920 censuses. It was dropped again in 1930, but replaced with extra categories for colored and non-white in a way that seems confusing now.

This changed again in 1940 and we can simply focus on one black category.

The 1940 census recorded 596 people named Bannister as black within a total of 4,391.

Historic Black Figures With The Bannister Surname

Here are some notable African Americans in history with Bannister as their last name.

Anne Bannister Spencer

  • Born: 1882
  • From: Henry County, Virginia
  • Died: 1975

The Harlem Renaissance after the First World War was a period when African American art, literature, and music flourished around Harlem.

Painters, poets, writers, and musicians established a creative hub of black culture in the United States. The movement was hugely influential on the development of black literature and art through the twentieth century and today.

Anne Bannister was educated in a seminary in Lynchburg. After graduating in 1899, she married a fellow student, Charles Spencer, and taught in high schools.

Anne constantly wrote poems on scraps of paper through her twenties and thirties. But her talent was only discovered when she was establishing a local chapter of the NAACP.

She invited the writer and NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson to speak at her house in 1919. He found her poems and arranged for some to be published. She was forty when the first poem appeared in print.

Although living in Virginia, Anne Bannister Spencer is considered to be part of the Harlem Renaissance. Her poems touched on themes of race and nature. Perhaps “White Things” is the best known.

Bannister In Black Military Records

Military records are a rich resource of information for family history research. Here are examples of the Bannister surname from military service.

Buffalo Soldiers

Five regiments for black soldiers were formed during the Civil War. They were known as the Buffalo Soldiers.

Their records are part of the national archive of military monthly returns. The information includes the year and place of birth, where they enlisted, their occupation, and their height.

One of the earliest military entries for Bannister was in June 1873. John Bannister was a Private in the U.S. Ninth Cavalry. He was stationed in June 1873 at King Ranch, Neuces County, Texas.

One of the later entries was in July 1909. Alexander L. Bannister was a Private in the U.S. Tenth Cavalry.

If you are researching military ancestors, there is a free index of these records on and

You have to create an account on either website, but you do not need to pay for the Buffalo Soldiers archive.

Bannister In The Freedmen’s Bureau Records

The Freedmen’s Bureau was established after the Civil War to help newly freed African Americans. You can read more in our article on researching the Freedmen archives.

There are over 140 records for Bannister in the archives. Here are some of the first names:

  • Angeline
  • Cyrus
  • Henry
  • Mahala