The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 4,579 black Americans with Craft as their last name. That represented 15% of the total of 31,452 entries.
This article tracks their numbers in the census since the Civil War. We also look at historic African American people named Craft.
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.
380 people named Craft were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 63 as mixed.
There was a total of 5,303 people with the name.
Craft 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 946 people with the last name Craft as black within a total of 9,268 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 1,474 people named Craft as black within a total of 15,269.
Historic Black Figures With The Craft Surname
Here are some notable African Americans in history with Craft as their last name.
William & Ellen Craft
- Born: 1824
- From: Macon, Georgia
- Died: 1900
William Craft was born into slavery in Macon, Georgia in 1824. He met a young enslaved woman named Ellen when they were teenagers in the late 1830s. They escaped together by taking advantage of Ellen’s light skin.
She disguised herself as a white man with William as her servant. They traveled North by train and steamship in 1848. After several close calls, they made it to Philadelphia.
The escape was so ingenious that leading abolitionists encouraged them to tell their story at public meetings. After the passing of the Fugitive Slave Act, bounty hunters arrived in Boston to recapture the couple.
The Boston Vigilance Committee, formed to resist the Slave Act, helped the Crafts escape to England where they spent 19 years. They returned to the U.S. in 1868.
Boston Vigilance Committee
The Boston Vigilance Committee was a mixed group with several prominent black abolitionists, including attorney Robert Morris. As well as the Crafts, they gave legal assistance to Thomas Sims and Anthony Burns who were recaptured in the city.
- Born: 1902
- From: Round Rock, Texas
- Died: 1985
The parents of Juanita Shanks were schoolteachers. She studied millinery at Prairie View University and worked as a seamstress in the 1920s. She joined the Dallas NAACP in 1935 and married her husband, Johnnie Craft, two years later.
Juanita Craft became a leader in the Texas NAACP and organized many branches. Craft helped organize sit-ins and pickets throughout segregated Texas. She was also involved in the campaign to integrate the University of North Texas.
She was elected to the Dallas City Council in 1975 and served two terms. There is a city park and a U.S. post office in Dallas named after her.
Craft In Black Military Records
Military records are a rich resource of information for family history research. Some of the earliest for African Americans date back to the Civil War.
President Lincoln authorized the use of “colored troops” in combat in the Union Army in 1863, although some black units had fought before then.
The records show that Jerry Craft was a Sergeant in I Company in the 89th US Colored Infantry. He was aged 38 in a military record of 1863.
Craft 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 120 records for Craft in the archives. Here are some of the first names: