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

Shaw, Edward

(born: 1826  -  died: 1891) 

Edward Shaw, born in the late 1820s, was a free man who moved to Memphis, TN around 1852. He owned a saloon and gambling house there.

Shaw has been described as a radical Republican political leader, the most powerful African American leader in Memphis. He was defeated in a run for Congress in 1869. He spoke up for the rights of African Americans, for integrated schools, and against poll taxes. He served on the City Council and the County Commission and was elected wharf master. He was also a lawyer and editor of the Memphis Planet newspaper.

Edward Shaw was the husband of Sarah Shaw, born in Kentucky about 1836, and the father of William Shaw, also said to have been born in Kentucky, around 1863 [source: 1870 U.S. Census].

For more see "Ed Shaw" in the article "Free Blacks had impact on county history - Historian traces roots of black population," Commercial Appeal, 10/14/1993, Neighbors section, p. e2; and Blacks in Tennessee 1791-1970, by L. C. Lamon.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Memphis planet (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Commercial appeal (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Blacks in Tennessee

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry: African American Lawyers/Attorneys, Kentucky, 1880-1940

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Shaw, Edward,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 18, 2024,

Last modified: 2020-12-02 17:43:01