He served in the U.S. Army, attaining the rank of captain and earned the Bronze Star and Army Commendation Medal for his service in Vietnam.
Francois Clemmons won a Grammy, played a lead supporting role on Mr. Rogers, and returned to Addison County to teach and perform at Middlebury College.
He was only the second African-American on the medical school faculty. With his wife Lydia, he bought, restored, and worked a farm in Charlotte – now the non-profit Clemmons Family Farm.
Not until the close of the 20th century did a black woman sit in the Vermont Legislature.
The fascinating, unlikely story is told in “The Man of the House,” a 2022 memoir by Robert Wallace Bennett, a former Vermont journalist, public relations and marketing executive, Brooklyn Dodgers hero Johnny Podres biographer, internationally-recognized expert rabbit breeder – and diligent, committed husband and father.
Elected to the Legislature in 1945, many Montpelier institutions like the Pavilion Hotel and the Montpelier Tavern were closed to him due to segregation.
Born a slave on a Virginia plantation, Bates was first elected to the office of Sheriff in Vergennes in 1879, fourteen years after the end of the Civil War.
A woman born and raised in Shoreham was the first black woman elected to a prestigious academic society, and later became a professor at Howard University.
While a soldier during the American Revolution, Haynes wrote extensively, criticizing the slave trade and slavery. He continued these activities after the war, and also began to prepare sermons, family prayers and other theological works.
The Irasburg Affair was a much discussed – and disputed – collision of an emerging Black America with small-town, overwhelmingly white Vermont.