Almanack Contributor Richard White

Richard White

Richard White is an independent researcher with a focus on New York’s African American history. His articles have appeared in Civil War History, The Journal of Negro History, and other publications.


Monday, July 1, 2019

The French Cyclone: Early Professional Wrestler Al Marlowe

Al Marlow with his trainer Joe Malcewicz courtesy Ogdensburg journal“Al Marlowe, ‘the French Cyclone,’ returned yesterday from Alburg, Vt. where he wrestled Leo Desbriches, champion of the New England states, to a draw…. The Ogdensburg man is proving himself one of the best wrestlers in this section….”

On November 28, 1919, this was the reportage in Ogdensburg’s Republican Journal’s sports section regarding the city’s 21 year old professional grappler’s two hour match. His career was marked by two championships, and many print sources referred to Marlowe as “an artist of the mat.” Today he is recognized as one of the last legitimate professional wrestling champions in the North Country as well. » Continue Reading.


Monday, December 10, 2018

Isaac Johnson: Former Slave, Master Mason

slavery days in old kentucky“The citizens of our patriotic town are erecting a fine town hall which is to cost from $10,000.… Mr. Isaac Johnson, a colored gentleman from West Winchester, Ont. is the contractor and one of the best architects in the country.”

This statement from the Gouverneur Free Press in July, 1884 references a construction project in Waddington under the supervision of an African American stone mason who recently moved his family from Canada to this small community in St. Lawrence County located between Ogdensburg and Massena. After having been born into enslavement in the South before the War Between the States, Johnson became a self-made, polished professional. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Frederick Douglass On The Stump In Jefferson County

frederick douglass“The Republican Party is the ship, all else is the sea.”

This famous statement by Frederick Douglass was more than a casual observation. Douglass was a Republican in a time before the realignment of American political parties. After the American Civil War, he became one of the Party’s busiest, and strongest, campaigners, especially in New York.

Republican candidates counted on his oration skills to inspire voters – both black and white – through Reconstruction and after. In fact, in the late 1870s, the Republican State Committee relied on his campaign talents. This was the case in Jefferson County when Douglass rallied large gatherings in Adams in 1879, and Theresa in 1880, near the city of Watertown. » Continue Reading.