Hugh Price is a former president of the National Urban League. His great-grandmother was the sister of Lewis Latimer, the African American co-founder of the electricity industry.
Ran Yan is executive director of the Lewis Latimer House Museum.
We bring you a very special conversation on diversity in history. Namely, the PUF team had the honor of speaking with a former president of the National Urban League, whose great-grandmother was the sister of the totally awesome Lewis Latimer, the African American co-founder of the electricity industry.
PUF's Steve Mitnick: Both of you have immense knowledge and interest in Lewis Latimer. Hugh, talk about how your interest developed.
Hugh Price: Lewis Latimer's parents were George and Rebecca Latimer, my great, great, grandparents. They were notable escaped slaves. They escaped from Norfolk, Virginia in 1842.
George was a very fair-skinned mulatto man, and Rebecca was very brown skinned. They slipped below deck on a ship in Norfolk, sailed to Baltimore, came above, traveled as master and slave, as far as Philadelphia, and then traveled as husband and wife the rest of the way.
An employee of their former slave owner, James Gray, spotted George in Boston shortly after they arrived. There ensued an effort to try to recapture him and send him back to Virginia. Abolitionists like William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglas, and black folks in Boston rallied around his cause.