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

Harrison, Tom

Born a slave in Kentucky, Harrison escaped to Ohio around 1854 after his two brothers were sold downriver. Harrison ended up in London, Ontario, Canada, where he met and married his wife. After seeing a play with Edwin Booth playing the role of Richard III, the couple named their son Richard Booth Harrison (1864-1935); he became a famous actor playing in Negro shows, including Shuffle Along and Carmen Jones, and played the role of 'De Lawd' in the film Green Pastures. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; and The Papers of Winston Coleman.

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Shuffle Along (play)
NKAA Source: Carmen Jones (videorecording)
NKAA Source: Green pastures (videorecording)
NKAA Source: Fascinating story of Black Kentuckians : their heritage and traditions
NKAA Source: J. Winston Coleman papers, 1780-1965

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Harrison, Tom,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 22, 2024,

Last modified: 2017-07-19 17:51:20