The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 56,008 black Americans with Rogers as their last name. That represented 19% of the total of 302,261 entries.
This article tracks their numbers in the census since the Civil War. We also look at historic African American people named Rogers.
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.
5,597 people named Rogers were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 741 as mixed.
There was a total of 51,158 people with the name.
Rogers 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 10,353 people with the last name Rogers as black within a total of 85,855 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 20,963 people named Rogers as black within a total of 162,636.
Historic Black Figures With The Rogers Surname
Here are some notable African Americans in history with Rogers as their last name.
Joel Augustus Rogers
- Born: 1880
- From: Negril, Jamaica
- Died: 1966
Born in Jamaica, Joel Augustus Rogers emigrated to the U.S. in 1906 where he became a citizen.
Rogers worked as a Pullman Porter in Chicago in the 1920s, which allowed him to travel across the country. He loved to visit libraries in the major cities where he researched African American history.
He also worked as a journalist for several black newspapers through the 1930s and 1940s. Meanwhile, he self-published scholarly works on black figures in history.
His books include “World’s Great Men of Color” in which he sought to elevate the achievements of African Americans. He had some questionable theories that gave African Ancestry to notable white people. But much of his work was based on extensive research.
Rogers was a friend of the Virgin Islands-born socialist activist Hubert Harrison.
Other notable Pullman Porters
Pullman porters worked as attendants on luxurious Pullman sleeping cars from the late 19th to mid-20th century. The porters were mostly African Americans.
While the job were prized due to a relatively steady income, the men still struggled to achieve fair pay and working conditions.
Other notable black Americans who spent some time as a Pullman porter include:
- Charles Brooks, a pioneering inventor
- William Henry Coleman, an early doctor
- Born: 1949
- From: Fort Smith, Arkansas
Patricia Rogers’ mother was a member of the NAACP in Fort Smith, Arkansas. The young Patricia got involved in picketing and sit-ins by the time she was 12. She switched high school in senior year to desegregate a white school.
Rogers was Episcopelian but became a teacher at a black Catholic School. She had never seen a black nun and asked God to send some to the school. She then had a dream in which a voice said to her: “what about you?”
She converted and became a Catholic nun. Sister Patricia Rogers eventually became the director of a Dominican Center in Milwaukee, where she was quietly influential for the good of the community.
Rogers In Black Military Records
Military records are a rich resource of for family history research. Here are examples of the Rogers 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 Rogers was in July 1867. Frank Rogers was a Private in the Tenth Cavalry. He was stationed in July 1867 at Fort Leavenworth.
One of the later entries was in November 1914. John Rogers was a Corporal 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 Rogers was for Daniel Rogers from Nashville, Tennessee. He enlisted in August 1862 at Cairo when he was aged 21.
The record shows that Daniel was assigned on January 1863 to the ship Clara Dolsen.
His occupation before enlisting was as a Cook. His naval rank was Officer’s Cook.
One of the later entries was for a sailor who enlisted at Philadelphia in May 1864. Alexander was aged 25 and was from Goshen, New York.
He was assigned to the ship Suwanee on March 1865.
His occupation before enlisting was as a Steward. His naval rank was Landsman.
“Landsman” was the lowest rank at the time and was given to recruits with little sea experience.
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.
Amos Rogers graduated from the Tuskegee Institute in December 1943. He qualified as a bomber pilot. Amos was from Tuskegee Institute, Alabama.
Corneilus Rogers came from Chicago, Illinois. He graduated in July 1943 as a fighter pilot.
You can find a full list of graduate pilots in our list of Tuskegee Airmen.