The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 18,853 black Americans with Bush as their last name. That represented 22% of the total of 84,018 entries.
This article tracks their numbers in the census since the Civil War. We also look at historic African American people named Bush.
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.
2,961 people named Bush were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 512 as mixed.
There was a total of 20,410 people with the name.
Bush 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 5,852 people with the last name Bush as black within a total of 31,991 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 7,935 people named Bush as black within a total of 48,455.
Historic Black Figures With The Bush Surname
Here are some notable African Americans in history with Bush as their last name.
Margaret Bush Wilson
- Born: 1919
- From: St Louis
- Died: 2009
The parents of Margaret Bush were members of their local NAACP in St Louis. After she graduated from Lincoln University in 1943, she was only the second black woman to practice law in Missouri.
She married a fellow lawyer, Robert Wilson, and specialized in real estate law. She successfully brought a case to the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the Missouri practice of preventing African Americans, Jewish people, and other minorities from buying homes in white areas.
Margaret Bush Wilson served as chair of the NAACP for nine terms.
- Born: 1945
- From: Florida (moved as a child to New York)
- Died: 2013
Roderick Bush’s family moved to New York as part of the great northern migration in the late 1950s. He graduated third in his class from high school in 1963 and from Howard University in 1967.
He worked as a psychologist in Kansas and got deeply involved as an activists in the Black Power Movement. Some of his best known works are:
- “We Are Not What We Seem: Black Nationalism And Class Struggle“
- “The End Of White World Supremacy“
Other Black Pioneers in Psychology
Bush In Black Military Records
Military records are a rich resource of information for family history research. Here are examples of the Bush surname from military service.
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 Bush was in December 1869. Raston Bush was a Recruit in the U.S. Tenth Cavalry. He was stationed in December 1869 at Fort Sill, Indian Territory.
One of the later entries was in January 1914. Emmanuel Bush was a Private in the U.S. Ninth Cavalry.
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.
One of the earliest entries for Bush was for James Bush from Washington, District of Columbia. He enlisted in August 27 1860 at Philadelphia when he was aged 21.
The record shows that James was assigned on June 30 1863 to the ship Norwich.
His occupation before enlisting was as a Barber. His naval rank was Landsman.
“Landsman” was the lowest rank at the time and was given to recruits with little sea experience.
One of the later entries was for a sailor who enlisted at Cairo in December 15 1863. Robert was aged 34 and was from Boone Co., Kentucky.
He was assigned to the ship General Lyon on August 7 1865.
His occupation before enlisting was as a Slave. His naval rank was 1st Class Boy.
“1st Class Boy” was the rank given to young men who enlisted when they were under eighteen.