Francis Drake, Free Black Barber

Francis Drake, Free Black Barber (HM2E4Q)

Location: Norfolk, VA 23510
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Country: United States of America
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N 36° 50.988', W 76° 17.093'

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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 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.
HM NumberHM2E4Q
Placed ByCity of Norfolk
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, February 6th, 2019 at 4:02pm PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 385448 N 4078980
Decimal Degrees36.84980000, -76.28488333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 36° 50.988', W 76° 17.093'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds36° 50' 59.28" N, 76° 17' 5.58" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)757
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 52 E Freemason St, Norfolk VA 23510, US
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