Lawrence Washburn Minor

This biography was written by Regina Bergeron. Lawrence Washburn Minor was born (~1829) enslaved in Louisiana. His father, Philip Minor, was the Linwood plantation owner and fathered at least 3 children with Lawrence’s mother, Lucy. At the prompting of lady family members, he provided private tutors for the children. In 1836, he left provisions in his will to free Lucy and her 5 children. They were each given a gift of $2,000. Lawrence was sent to Ohio where attended Oberlin preparatory school with his siblings. He continued his studies in the college program.

He moved to New Orleans and taught there until there was an incident in his store during a rebellion. In 1852, he relocated to Ohio where he married Maria F. Morris (daughter of Shelton Morris). They had four children (Ella Evaline, John Lawrence, Shelton Morris, and Lucretia). Even though he was educated, he worked for many years as a steamboat porter in Louisville, KY. He was actively involved in the Anti-Slavery movement and the Underground Railroad with his family. Also, he was actively involved in the Freedman’s Bureau Bank with his brother-in-law, Horace Morris. In 1871, he was appointed as professor of the Latin language and English literature at Alcorn University. He became the first Principal of Prairie View A&M University. He died from a congestive chill on November 5, 1880 in Texas. His remains were transported to Eastern Cemetery.

His brother, Lt. Patrick Minor, was the first black officer to command an all-black troop in the Civil War. His sister, Odile Minor Burnham, organized the First Colored School in Leavenworth, KS. His youngest sister, Josephine Minor married Justin Perry Holland, Sr. (notable classical guitarist and composer). For over 30 years, her sons worked at the U.S. Customs House in New Orleans.

The photo of Minor is from Special Collections/Archives Department, John B. Coleman Library, John B. Coleman Library. He is buried in Section 2AD, Row 17 of Eastern Cemetery. His grave is unmarked.