The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 34,860 black Americans with Mack as their last name. That represented 49% of the total of 71,056 entries.
This article tracks their numbers in the census since the Civil War. We also look at historic African American people named Mack.
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.
2,549 people named Mack were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 255 as mixed.
There was a total of 12,575 people with the name.
Mack 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 8,280 people with the last name Mack as black within a total of 22,970 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 13,279 people named Mack as black within a total of 35,662.
Historic Black Figures With The Mack Surname
Here are some notable African Americans in history with Mack as their last name.
Julia Cooper Mack
- Born: 1920
- From: Fayettteville, North Carolina
- Died: 2014
Julia Perry’s first husband was Jerry Cooper and her second was Clifford Mack. She was known throughout her legal career as Julia Cooper Mack.
She graduated with a degree in mathematics from Hampton University in 1940. She worked as a schoolteacher before studying law at Howard University. After receiving her law degree in 1954, she worked for three years in private practice.
Cooper Mack joined the Justice Department as a trial lawyer in 1954. After litigating over 300 criminal cases in fourteen years, she spent seven years (from 1968) with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
President Ford appointed her to the D.C. Court of Appeals in 1975. She was the first black woman to serve on a U.S. court of last resort. Judge Julia Cooper Mack was a role model and mentor to younger black female judges, like Inez Smith Reid who was first appointed to the D.C. Court of Appeals in 1995.
Mack In Black Military Records
Military records are a rich resource of information for family history research. Here are examples of the Mack 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 Mack was in January 1870. Horace Mack was a Private in the U.S. Tenth Cavalry. He was stationed in January 1870 at Camp Supply, Indian Territory.
One of the later entries was in June 1905. Dolphus Mack was a Trumpeter in the U.S. Tenth 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 Mack was for John Mack from Montgomery County, Kentucky. He enlisted in August 6 1863 at Bolivar MS when he was aged 26.
The record shows that John was assigned on June 30 1864 to the ship Prairie Bird.
His occupation before enlisting was as a Plasterer/Mason. His naval rank was 1st Class Boy.
“1st Class Boy” was the rank given to young men who enlisted when they were under eighteen.
One of the later entries was for a sailor who enlisted at Cairo in October 2 1864. James was aged 23 and was from Yalobusha County, Mississippi.
He was assigned to the ship Lafayette on March 31 1865.
His occupation before enlisting was as a Laborer/Fireman. His naval rank was Landsman.
“Landsman” was the lowest rank at the time and was given to recruits with little sea experience.
Mack 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 1,500 records for Mack in the archives. Here are some of the first names: