From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Whitman, Albery A.

(born: 1851  -  died: 1901) 

Albery Allson Whitman was born into slavery in Hart County, KY, on the Green River Plantation. Albery was the husband of Caddie Whitman (1857-1909), who was also from Kentucky. Albery was a poet and a Bishop of the Methodist Church. He was a graduate of Wilberforce College [now Wilberforce University] and served as Dean of Morris Brown College in Atlanta. His published works include "Leelah Misled" in 1873, "Not a Man and Yet a Man" in 1877, and "The Rape of Florida" in 1884. His last work was published in 1901: "An Idyll of the South." His talent as a Negro poet has been described as between Phillis Wheatley and Paul L. Dunbar. Albery A. Whitman was also the father of musician Caswell W. Whitman (1875-1936) and the Whitman Sisters, one of the most successful vaudeville troupes in the U.S. Albery taught his older daughters to dance when they were children, and for a brief period they were manged by their mother, Caddie. The Whitman troupe first toured Kentucky in 1904. The Whitman Sisters were Mabel (1880-1962), Essie B. (1882-1963), Alberta (1887-1964), and Alice (1900-1969). Mabel directed the shows, Essie was a comic singer, Alberta was a flash dancer and did male drag, and Alice was an exceptional tap dancer. For more on Albery A. Whitman see Dictionary of American Negro Biography, by R. W. Logan and M. R. Winston; and Albery Allson Whitman (1851-1901), epic poet of African American and Native American self-determination (thesis), by J. R. Hays. For more about the Whitman Sisters see The Royalty of Negro Vaudeville by N. George-Graves; and Jazz Dance, by M. W. Stearns and J. Stearns. For more on Caswell Woodfin Whitman see the following Chicago Defender articles - "The Whitman Sister's kin passes away," 04/04/1936, pp.1 & 10; "Allen Bowers Entertains," 03/06/1932, p.7; and "The Whitmans arrive," 03/16/1918, p.6 - [article citations provided by the Curator of the Chicago Jazz Archive at the University of Chicago].

References

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Dictionary of American Negro biography
NKAA Source: Albery Allson Whitman (1851-1901): epic poet of African American and Native American self-determination (dissertation)
NKAA Source: The Royalty of Negro vaudeville: the Whitman Sisters and the negotiation of race, gender and class in African American theater, 1900-1940
NKAA Source: Jazz dance; the story of American vernacular dance
NKAA Source: The Chicago defender (newspaper)

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry:  Compton, J. Glover

Social Bookmarking

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Whitman, Albery A.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed August 23, 2017, http://nkaa.uky.edu/nkaa/items/show/1035.

Last modified: 2017-07-19 13:51:27