Bishop As An African American Last Name

The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 11,825 black Americans with Bishop as their last name. That represented 10% of the total of 116,618 entries.

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

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.

1,486 people named Bishop were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 200 as mixed.

There was a total of 22,654 people with the name.

Bishop 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 3,021 people with the last name Bishop as black within a total of 38,981 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 4,563 people named Bishop as black within a total of 65,283.

Historic Black Figures With The Bishop Surname

Here is a notable African American in history with Bishop as their last name.

Sanford Bishop

  • Born: 1947
  • From: Mobile County, Alabama

Sanford Bishop got a law degree from Emory University in 1971 and opened a law practice in Columbus, Georgia.

He was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1977 and served there until he won election to the state Senate in 1990.

Bishop was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1993. As of the time of writing, he has been reelected since then.

Bishop In Black Military Records

Military records are a rich resource of information for family history research. Here are examples of the Bishop surname from different military services:

  • Buffalo soldiers
  • Black civil war sailors
  • Tuskegee airmen

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 Bishop was in August 1867. Alexander Bishop was a Private in the U.S. Tenth Cavalry. He was stationed in August 1867 at Council Grove.

Another entry was in July 1914. Wheeler Bishop was a Corporal 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.

Black Civil War Sailors

The National Parks Service has a free archive of African American sailors during the Civil War.

The information includes their age, height, rank, occupation, and where and when they enlisted. It also includes every ship that they served on.

You can search the database on the National Parks website.

Richard H. Bishop

One of the earliest entries for Bishop was for Richard H. Bishop from Philadelphia. He enlisted in October 1862 at Philadelphia when he was aged 14.

The record shows that Richard H. was assigned on January 1863 to the ship Mohican.

His occupation before enlisting was as a Waiter. His naval rank was 3rd Class Boy.

“3rd Class Boy” was a rank generally given to seamen in training, who performed various manual tasks and duties aboard a ship under supervision. This could prepare them for promotion to the rank of 2nd class boy and then to 1st.

Moses Bishop

One of the later entries was for a sailor who enlisted at Newport in July 1864. Moses was aged 31.

He was assigned to the ship Constitution on March 1865.

His naval rank was Officers Steward.

Tuskegee Airmen

The Tuskegee Airmen were military personnel who served at the Tuskegee Army Airfield or related programs.

Nearly one thousand black pilots graduated from the Tuskegee Institute. They flew single-engine fighter planes or twin-engine bombers. 352 fought in combat.

Darryl Bishop graduated from the Tuskegee Institute in September 1943. He qualified as a Liaison pilot. Darryl was from Houston, Texas.