Bailey, Africa

Ca. 1815 - September 29, 1878

In February, 1867, Africa Bailey opened an account with the Freedman's Bank. The application provides the information known here. He was then a preacher for the Second Baptist Church (often referred to as "Africa Bailey's Church") at Fort Pickering in Memphis. He was born in Southampton County, Virginia. His mother and father, Aaron and Becky, were both deceased by the time of the application, as were his siblings Jack Times and sisters Ursula and Angelina. His wife's name was Emma and he was at that time residing at Broadway and Carolina Streets in Fort Pickering near Memphis, though he reported living formerly in Marshall County, Mississippi.

From newspapers we learn that he was married to Emma Turner in a group wedding ceremony at Camp Fiske, Tennessee, on August 6, 1863. Additionally, he served as a delegate from the Tenth Ward to the Shelby County Republican Convention in 1868 and often held Republican gatherings at the church, which also served as a Black polling place in October 1868.

In May 1870, the Memphis Public Ledger published a hymn that Africa Bailey "has had...written especially for his church." It was to be sung one Sunday, Bailey commenting that "he don't want any white Radicals to attend and hear it."

   "We's nearer to the Lord
   Dan the white folks, and they know it;
   See the glory gate onbarred—
   Walk in, darkeys, past the guard!
   Bet a dollar He won't close it!

   "Walk in darkeys, from the gate;
   Hark, de kullered angels holler;
   Go 'way white folks, you're too late;
   We's de winning kuller! Wait
   Till the trumpet sounds to foller!

   "Halleloojah! tanks and praise!
   Long enuf we's borne our crosses;
   Now we's de sooperior race,
   And, wid Gorramight's grace,
   We's going to hebben afore de bosses."

Bailey died from yellow fever on September 29, 1878.