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.

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Harrison, Tom,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 4, 2023,

Last modified: 2017-07-19 17:51:20