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

Durham, John Stephens

(born: 1861  -  died: 1919) 

John Stephens Durham, sometimes said to be from Kentucky, was actually born in Philadelphia, PA. He was the United States Minister to Haiti (1891-1892); he had replaced Frederick Douglass, who had resigned. The appointment was made during the Harrison Administration. Durham had been the Consul at San Domingo (1890-1891).

Durham was an 1886 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, one of the first African Americans to graduate from the school. He was a civil engineer; a journalist with the Bulletin, a Philadelphia newspaper; and an author of at least two books, Diane, Priestess of Haiti and To Teach the Negro History: a suggestion.

In 1897, Durham married Constance McKenzie, a white woman who had been the director of the Porter School Kindergarten in Philadelphia.

For more see "The West Indies," The Quarterly Register of Current History, vol. 1 (1892), pp. 439-440; "The New Minister to Haiti," New York Times, 9/06/1891, p. 1; and "School teacher weds a Negro," New York Times, 7/02/1897, p. 10.

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Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Diane, priestess of Haiti
NKAA Source: To teach the Negro History: a suggestion
NKAA Source: The Quarterly register of current history (periodical)
NKAA Source: The New York times (newspaper)

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“Durham, John Stephens,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 25, 2024,

Last modified: 2020-10-21 18:30:26