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

Lewis, Cary Blackburn, Sr.

(born: 1880  -  died: 1946) 

Cary B. Lewis, Sr. was a newspaper journalist and editor.  He was born in Louisville, KY in 1878, the son of Plummer Sr. and Mattie Lewis [source: Illinois, Deaths and Still Births Index; and 1880 U.S. Federal Census]. He is buried in Lincoln Cemetery in Chicago, IL.

Lewis was best known as the managing editor of the Chicago Defender for ten years, 1910-1920; he was also a sports editor [source: "Obituary 4 - -  No Title. Cary B. Lewis," New York Times, 12/10/1946, p. 31]. He had been a reporter for the Courier-Journal (Louisville) before becoming a journalist with the Indianapolis Freeman, where he covered sports and national news [source: When to Stop the Cheering?, by B. Carroll].

Lewis was a prolific writer and had hundreds of articles in both the Indianapolis Freeman and the Chicago Defender. While many of the articles were about the lives of Negroes in Kentucky, Indiana, Chicago, and those in the national news, Lewis also kept the public informed about Negro baseball games. He was active in the establishment of the Negro National Baseball League (NNL). In 1920 he was elected secretary of the NNL in preparation for the 1921 circuit season and  played a major role in developing the constitution for the new league [source: Rube Foster in His Time, by L. Lester]. In 1907 Lewis had also been named secretary of the unsuccessful National Colored League of Professional Baseball Clubs in Indianapolis.

Cary Lewis, Sr. was the husband of Bertha Mosley Lewis in 1920, according to the U.S. Federal Census. [In the Chicago death index, Lewis' birthdate is given as July 15, 1888, though he is listed in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census as a 2-year old. On his World War II draft registration card, Lewis gives his birthdate as July 15, 1880; at the time, he was employed at the Poro College of Annie M. Malone. His father, Plummer Lewis, was a Civil War veteran who served with the 28th U.S. Colored Infantry, according to the U.S. Colored Troops U.S. Service Records.]

Kentucky County & Region

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Lewis, Cary Blackburn, Sr.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed April 14, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-09-01 16:59:00