Crawford As An African American Last Name

The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 42,183 black Americans with Crawford as their last name. That represented 26% of the total of 164,457 entries.

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

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.

5,085 people named Crawford were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 672 as mixed.

There was a total of 31,976 people with the name.

Crawford 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 10,807 people with the last name Crawford as black within a total of 55,446 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 17,082 people named Crawford as black within a total of 90,837.

Historic Black Figures With The Crawford Surname

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

George Williamson Crawford

  • Born: 1877
  • From: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
  • Died: 1972

George Crawford attended the Tuskegee Institute and graduated with a degree in law from Yale in 1903. He was only the second black student to do so. He became clerk of the New Haven Probate Court in 1903 where he also established a successful private practice.

Crawford was one of the founders of the NAACP and was a close friend of WEB DuBois. He set up the New Haven branch in 1917.

Crawford was a mason and wrote a book about Prince Hall, one of the early leaders of the black freemason movement.

Annie Lee Crawford

  • Born: 1905
  • From: South Carolina
  • Died: 1996

Annie Lee Crawford was born in South Carolina, but her family moved to North Carolina when she was young. She married Ernest Moss and started a family.

Annie had worked as a laundress and a cook, before securing a job as a clerk within the federal government. She was a widow when she moved to work as a communications clerk in the Pentagon in 1949.

Annie Lee Moss was one of a list of people named as a communist during Senator McCarthy’s witch-hunt (otherwise known as the House Un-American Activities Committee).

The televised interrogation of the elderly soft-spoken lady was part of turning public opinion against McCarthy. Annie Lee was defended by the noted black lawyer George Hayes.

Crawford In Black Military Records

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

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 Crawford was in August 1867. Henry Crawford was a Recruit in the Tenth Cavalry. He was stationed in August 1867 at Fort Riley (Kansas) and Washington D.C.

One of the later entries was in July 1914. William Crawford was a Private in the Ninth 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.

William Crawford

One of the earliest entries for Crawford was for William Crawford from Washington, District of Columbia. He enlisted in September 14 1861 at Portsmouth when he was aged 30.

The record shows that William was assigned on July 1 1863 to the ship Sabine.

His occupation before enlisting was as a Steward. His naval rank was Officers Steward.

William Crawford

One of the later entries was for a sailor who enlisted at Baltimore in November 1 1864. William was aged 18 and was from New Orleans, Louisiana.

He was assigned to the ship Don on March 6 1866.

His occupation before enlisting was as a Waiter. His naval rank was Landsman.

“Landsman” was the lowest rank at the time and was given to recruits with little sea experience.