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

Independent Colored Clubs Movement

In response to African American discontent with the longstanding political parties, Independent Colored Clubs were formed throughout the United States as early as 1885 and as late as 1922. One of the early Independent Colored Clubs in Kentucky was formed in Paris, KY in January of 1887. Renamed the Independent Party of the Colored Race, it maintained the right to act only with political parties that would guarantee Colored people the fullest rights of free American citizens. One of the main points of contingency related to education, including decent schools for Colored children. The initial meeting of the Independent Colored Club of Paris was held at the 2nd Baptist Church; the meeting was described in the newspaper as a "mass meeting"; the club was said to have 600 members. For more see "Paris, Ky." in the column "Independence in Kentucky" on p. 1 of the New York Freeman, 2/5/1887.

Even earlier clubs were formed in 1885. The Independent Colored Club of Staunton, VA was formed in September 1885; it intended to vote for the Democratic state ticket. For more see "Political Notes" in Peninsula Enterprise, 9/12/1885, p. 2.

Another club that formed in 1885 was the East End Independent Colored Club in Springfield, OH. Sam Spears was the president with Sam Garrett serving as secretary. The club had about 40 members. For more see "A New colored club," Springfield Globe-Republic, 9/16/1885, p. 3.

The Young Men's Colored Independent Political Club in Omaha, NE formed in 1886 [source: The Omaha Daily Bee, 11/2/1886, p. 6, col. 1]. In 1887, the Independent Club of Colored Virginians in Washington, D.C. was formed with colored men from Virginia with the object for "the improvement of the general condition of the colored people of the State and the preservation of the good name and welfare of the Commonwealth." For more see The Washington Bee, 9/10/1887, p. 1, bottom of col. 3 & cols. 4-5.

In 1888, the Independent Colored Clubs that were formed in West Virginia were seen as a revolt against the Republican Party. There were thought to be 10,000 colored voters in West Virginia, a potential that could give the Democrats a victory. For more see The Weekly Herald [Baltimore], 4/27/1888, p. 4, col. 1, item 9].

Other Independent Colored Clubs mentioned in local newspapers, were located in New York City and Helena, MT in 1888; New Hope, VA in 1889; the Colored Citizens' Independent Club in Los Angeles, CA and in San Francisco, CA, both in 1890; the Independent Colored Club establishd by John W. Robbins in Grand Rapids, MI in 1890 [source: R. M. Jelks, "Making opportunity: the struggle against Jim Crow in Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1890-1927, Michigan Historical Review, vol. 19, no. 2, Fall 1993, pp. 36 & 38]; St. Paul, MN in 1892; Anaconda, MT in 1894; the Independent Colored Club of Homestead, PA in 1895; Seattle, WA, 1896; Independent Colored Political Club in Des Moines, IA and the Independent Colored Club in Kansas City, MO, both in 1897.

In Nicholasville, KY, the Independent Club of Colored Voters was formed by R. C. O. Benjamin in 1897. For more see "The Colored Independent," Richmond Climax, 10/13/1897, p. 1. Still more clubs at the turn of the century included The Colored National Independent Political Club in Point Pleasant, VA in 1900 and the Independent Colored Men's Club in Salt Lake City, UT in 1901. In 1908, the Young Men's Independent Club, Colored, was held in Marion, KY at the home of William M. Goodall, 414 Center Street. For more see "President and War Secretary Taft characterized as enemies," Crittenden Record=Press, 7/2/1908, p. 7. In Louisville, KY in 1909, the Independent Colored Political League was formed with headquarters in the U. B. F. Hall at 9th and Madison Streets [source: "Negroes have knives sharpened for Vaughn," Courier-Journal, 5/19/1909, p. 4]. A club in Omaha, NE in 1910 was known as the Independent Colored Political Club. In 1910, the Independent Colored Club of Winchester, KY met at Orren Bate's store in Poyntersville to declare A. Floyd Byrd the Democratic nominee. The club was said to have a membership of leading Colored citizens, including Orren Bates, with Jim Nickels and Dennis Daniel as the secretaries. For more see "Negroes from Byrd Club," Winchester News, 11/1/1910, p. 1.

Clubs mentioned in later newspaper articles were the Independent Progressive Colored Club and the Good Citizens League of Indiana, both formed in 1912 in Indianapolis; Colored Independent Club in Tulsa, OK and in Hillsboro, NC, both in 1914; the Independent Colored Club of Lima, OH in 1919; and the Henry Ford for President, Independent Colored Club No. 1, said to have formed in Birmingham, AL in 1922 [source: "Can you beat it?," The Appeal, 6/3/1922, p. 2].


  • 1885 - Springfield, OH - East End Independent Colored Club
  • 1885 - Staunton, VA - Independent Colored Club
  • 1886 - Omaha, NE - Young Men's Colored Independent Political Club
  • 1887 - Paris, KY - Independent Colored Club (renamed) Independent Party of the Colored Race
  • 1887 - Washington, D.C. - Independent Club of Colored Virginians (members from Virginia)
  • 1888 - Helena, MT - Independent Colored Club
  • 1888 - New York, NY - Independent Colored Club
  • 1888 - West Virginia - Independent Colored Clubs
  • 1889 - New Hope, VA - Independent Colored Club
  • 1890 - Grand Rapids, MI - Independent Colored Club
  • 1890 - Los Angeles, CA - Colored Citizens' Independent Club
  • 1890 - San Francisco, CA - Colored Citizens' Independent Club
  • 1892 - St. Paul, MN - independent Colored Club
  • 1894 - Anaconda, MT - Independent Colored Club
  • 1895 - Homestead, PA - Independent Colored Club
  • 1896 - Seattle, WA - Independent Colored Club
  • 1897 - Des Moines, IA - Independent Colored Political Club
  • 1897 - Kansas City, MO - Independent Colored Club
  • 1897 - Nicholasville, KY - Independent Club of Colored Voters
  • 1900 - Point Pleasant, VA - Colored National Independent Political Club
  • 1901 - Salt Lake City, UT - Independent Colored Men's Club
  • 1908 - Marion, KY - Young Men's Independent Club, Colored
  • 1909 - Louisville, KY - Independent Colored Political League
  • 1910 - Omaha, NE - Independent Colored Political Club
  • 1910 - Winchester, KY - Independent Colored Club
  • 1912 - Indianapolis, IN - Good Citizens League of Indiana (Witherspoon United Presbyterian Church)
  • 1912 - Indianapolis, IN - Independent Progressive Colored Club
  • 1914 - Hillsboro, NC - Colored Independent Club
  • 1914 - Tulsa, OK - Colored Independent Club
  • 1919 - Lima, OH - Independent Colored Club
  • 1922 - Birmingham, AL - Henry Ford for President, Independent Colored Club No. 1

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Independent Colored Clubs Movement,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 19, 2024,

Last modified: 2022-10-12 18:03:04