Dickerson As An African American Last Name

The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 16,381 black Americans with Dickerson as their last name. That represented 32% of the total of 51,889 entries.

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

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.

2,142 people named Dickerson were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 299 as mixed.

There was a total of 8,918 people with the name.

Dickerson 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 4,993 people with the last name Dickerson as black within a total of 16,432 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 5,796 people named Dickerson as black within a total of 26,743.

Historic Black Figures With The Dickerson Surname

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

Mary Dickerson

  • Born: 1830
  • From: Haddam, Connecticut
  • Died: 1914

Mary Dickerson established a dressmaking shop in Newport, Rhode Island, in her forties and became an influential figure amongst black women in the region.

She was the founder of several societies for the betterment of women.

Dickerson In Black Military Records

Military records are a rich resource of information for family history research. Here are examples of the Dickerson 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 Dickerson was in February 1874. James Dickerson was a Private in the U.S. Ninth Cavalry. He was stationed in February 1874 at Corrigan, Texas.

Another entry was in June 1914. Clarence Dickerson was a Corporal in the U.S. 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.

James A. Dickerson

One of the earliest entries for Dickerson was for James A. Dickerson from New York City. He enlisted in November 1863 at Newport when he was aged 21.

The record shows that James A. was assigned on March 1864 to the ship Santee.

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.

Melby H. Dickerson

One of the later entries was for a sailor who enlisted at Baltimore in April 1864. Melby H. was aged 21 and was from Baltimore, Maryland.

He was assigned to the ship St Lawrence on September 1865.

His naval rank was Landsman.

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

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.

Charles Dickerson graduated from the Tuskegee Institute in November 1943. He qualified as a fighter pilot. Charles was from New Rochelle, New York.

Tamenund Dickerson came from Detroit, Michigan. He graduated in November 1944 as a fighter pilot.

You can find a full list of graduate pilots in our list of Tuskegee Airmen.