The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 75,954 black Americans with Sanders as their last name. That represented 33% of the total of 230,374 entries.
This article tracks their numbers in the census since the Civil War. We also look at historic African American people named Sanders.
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.
8,129 people named Sanders were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 942 as mixed.
There was a total of 32,916 people with the name.
Sanders 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 19,148 people with the last name Sanders as black within a total of 64,274 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 28,581 people named Sanders as black within a total of 110,412.
Historic Black Figures With The Sanders Surname
Here are some notable African Americans in history with Sanders as their last name.
- Born: 1935
- From: Waldo, Florida
Vince Sanders was born on a farm in Florida, but attended high school in Orlando where his mother moved with her second husband. Sanders served with the military before settling in Chicago.
He studied speech and drama in Chicago and got involved with Community Theatre.
His radio career started in 1958 as a voice actor. His rich baritone was much in demand for narration.
Sanders hosted a radio talk show through the 1960s. He also provided commentary for Muhammad Ali’s showdown with George Foreman in Zaire in 1974.
Sanders was also successful in radio administration. When he moved to New York, he was instrumental in developing the National Black Network, the first black-owned radio news network.
He was also a founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists. The organization inducted him into their Hall Of Fame in 2005. Carole Simpson was honored in the same year.
Other founding members include:
The Association honored journalists from all areas of the industry. Garry Howard was a notable sports editor given the honor.
- Born: About 1950
- From: Montgomery, Alabama
Despite the passing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, schools in Montgomery continued to be segregated.
An activist couple, Arlam and Johnnie Carr, won a landmark case that year for their son to attend the Sidney Lanier High School.
Susie Sanders was one of three students who transferred to the school as the first black pupils. Sanders had attended the all-black George Washington Carver High School, and she entered Sidney Lanier as a sophomore.
This made it the first High School in Montgomery to be integrated. This is how a local newspaper reported events:
Three Negro teenagers, two girls, and a boy, became the first Negro students to attend Sidney Lanier High School in the long history of the school and they entered into the strange new world without mishap.Alabama Journal, September 1964 (newspaper no longer published)
Arlam Carr Jr and Shirley Martin were the two other teenagers. You can find a photo of the two girls here.
The phrase “without mishap” was not warranted. There weren’t major riots outside the school on the day of admission. But there’s no doubt that the three young students faced considerable challenges inside it as they made history.
Susie married Freddie Hubbard, a sergeant in the army, shortly after she graduated from Sidney Lanier in 1967. She went on to study English at the Tuskegee Institute.
Sanders In Black Military Records
Military records are a rich resource of for family history research. Here are examples of the Sanders 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 Sanders was in April 1867. William Sanders was a Private in the Tenth Cavalry. He was stationed in April 1867 at Fort Leavenworth and Washington D.C..
One of the later entries was in July 1914. Harmon Sanders was a Sergeant 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.
Daniel B. Sanders
One of the earliest entries for Sanders was for Daniel B. Sanders from Philadelphia. He enlisted in November 1862 at Boston when he was aged 26.
The record shows that Daniel B. was assigned on March 1863 to the ship Kingfisher.
His occupation before enlisting was as a Cook. His naval rank was Landsman.
“Landsman” was the lowest rank at the time and was given to recruits with little sea experience.
One of the later entries was for a sailor who enlisted at New London in August 1862. Edward was aged 17 and was from Wilmington, Delaware.
He was assigned to the ship Hastings on June 1865.
His occupation before enlisting was as a Coal Wheeler. This was the term for a laborer who shovels coal into a wheelbarrow to bring to feed a furnace.
Edward Sander’s naval rank was 1st Class Boy.
“1st Class Boy” was the rank given to young men who enlisted when they were under eighteen.
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.
Pearlee Sanders graduated from the Tuskegee Institute in March 1943. He qualified as a fighter pilot. Pearlee was from Bessemer, Alabama.