The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 26,222 black Americans with Curry as their last name. That represented 35% of the total of 74,919 entries.
This article compares census numbers before and after the Civil War. We also look at historic African American people named Curry in the last three centuries.
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 onwards, all black Americans were included.
2,435 people named Curry were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 348 as mixed.
There was a total of 13,876 people with the name.
Curry 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 5,887 people with the last name Curry as black within a total of 25,132 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 8 people named Curry as black within a total of 154.
Historic Black Figures With The Curry Surname
Here are some notable African Americans in history with Curry as their last name.
- Born: 1941
- From: Reidsville, North Carolina
Sadye Curry attended the Howard University College of Medicine, following in the footsteps of her older brother. She graduated in 1967.
When she went to Duke for post-graduate studies, she was the first woman and first African American to do so.
She returned to Howard University as an assistant professor and rose to become assistant chief of medicine and associate professor.
Curry was the first female black American to specialize as a gastroenterologist.
There is a hundred years between Sadye’s graduation in medical studies and Rebecca Cole graduating in 1867 as only the second black woman doctor in the country.
- Born: 1951
- From: Brooklyn, New York
Wayne Curry’s father was a teacher, and his parents were committed to their children’s education.
Although born in New York, the family moved to Cheverley in Maryland as some of the first black families in the area. Wayne and his brother were the first black students to integrate the local elementary school in 1959.
While working in civil administration in Prince George’s County, Curry studied law at night. He set up his own legal practice in the 1980s.
When he was appointed as the County Executive in 1994, he was the first African American to hold the position.
Curry In Black Military Records
Military records are a rich resource of for family history research. Here are examples of the Curry surname from three different military services:
- Buffalo soldiers
- Black civil war sailors
- Tuskegee airmen
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 Curry was in July 1867. Percy Curry was a Private in the Tenth Cavalry. He was stationed in July 1867 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
One of the later entries was in February 1914. Andrew Curry was a Wagoner in the Ninth Cavalry.
If you are researching military ancestors, there is a free index of these records on Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org.
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 Curry was for Henry Curry from Gallipolis, Virginia. He enlisted in January 1863 at Cincinnati when he was aged 29.
The record shows that Henry was assigned on December 1863 to the ship .
His occupation before enlisting was as a Cooper. His naval rank was 2nd Class Fireman.
Firemen in the Navy worked in the engine room and with other machinery.
One of the later entries was for a sailor who enlisted at Philadelphia in July 1864. William was aged 29 and was from Milford, Delaware.
He was assigned to the ship Mingoe on January 1865.
His occupation before enlisting was as a Mariner. That means he was already a sailor.
His naval rank was Seaman. A seaman in the Navy is a sailor who is not an officer.
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.
John Curry graduated from the Tuskegee Institute in August 1945. He qualified as a bomber pilot. John was from Indianapolis, Indiana.
Walter Curry came from Washington, D.C.. He graduated in September 1945 as a fighter pilot.
You can find a full list of graduate pilots in our list of Tuskegee Airmen.