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Norfolk, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Francis Drake, Free Black Barber

 
 
Francis Drake, Free Black Barber Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brandon D Cross, January 19, 2019
1. Francis Drake, Free Black Barber Marker
Inscription.  Francis Drake, a slave barber, was the first black to gain his freedom in post-Revolutionary War Norfolk after a 1782 Act of the Virginia General Assembly authorized “any person...to emancipate and set free, his or her slaves.” Drake was emancipated by Mayor Thomas Newton, Jr. on 23 May 1791, probably after he paid for his freedom. His deed of manumission cites “divers good causes” as the reason for manumission. By 1795, Drake had saved enough money to purchase his daughter Catherine and son Francis, Jr. from bondage. Working alone or in concert with other free blacks, he served as an intermediary in helping other slaves acquire their freedom. As a free black, Drake accumulated considerable wealth. He was the proprietor of a barbershop at 20 Main Street in 1801. By 1803 he owned four city lots, the largest holdings of Norfolk’s free black landowners. In 1806 Francis Drake employed and trained several apprentice barbers at his shop, then at 22 Water Street. His residence was near here at 6 Freemason Street.
 
Erected by City of Norfolk.
 
Location.
Francis Drake, Free Black Barber Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brandon D Cross, January 19, 2019
2. Francis Drake, Free Black Barber Marker
36° 50.988′ N, 76° 17.093′ W. Marker is in Norfolk, Virginia. Marker is at the intersection of East Freemason Street and St Pauls Boulevard, on the left when traveling east on East Freemason Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Norfolk VA 23510, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Willoughby-Baylor House, 1794 (within shouting distance of this marker); St. Joseph’s Catholic Church & School (within shouting distance of this marker); Freemason Street Baptist Church (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Bank Street Baptist Church (about 600 feet away); Whitehead House, 1791 (about 700 feet away); The Cannonball Trail (about 700 feet away); St. Paul’s Church, 1739 (about 700 feet away); First Baptist Church (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Norfolk.
 
Categories. African AmericansColonial EraIndustry & Commerce
 

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Credits. This page was last revised on February 6, 2019. This page originally submitted on February 5, 2019, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. This page has been viewed 63 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on February 5, 2019, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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