My Contribution: As a messenger, I was one of a select group of African Americans who worked in the State Capitol.
My Legacy: I participated in the Colored Voters League and worked in the Capitol as a messenger. My father was well-known in the Wesley Union A.M.E Zion Church and worked as a U.S. Consulate in San Domingo and France. While my father traveled and gained public notice, I preferred to stay close to my family.
About Me: My family described me as a “marvelous father” and “a real home man.” (Obituary)
Full Name: Roscoe Conklin Astwood
Birth Date: August 28, 1882
Death Date: July 1968 (Obituary)
Place of Birth: San Domingo, West Indies; or New Orleans, Louisiana (Federal Census)
Race: “Mulatto” (1910 and 1920 Federal Censuses), “Negro” (1930 Federal Census)
Places of Residence: 428 Herr Street, Harrisburg; 320 Muench Street, Harrisburg; 5415 Haverford Avenue, Philadelphia; 1625 N. 59th Street, Philadelphia
Connection to the Old Eighth Ward:
I moved to the Eighth Ward in 1891 and remained there until moving to Philadelphia in 1929 (Philadelphia Tribune, Obituary).
Family Members: Father: Rev. Henry C. C. Astwood. Mother: Alice Astwood. Wife: Lillian A. Astood (née Higgins). Father-in-Law: Josiah Higgins. Children: Edna Astwood, Lillian Astwood, Carrie Astwood, and Roscoe Astwood Jr.
Education: I attended school in the Penn building, a white school, but was later ordered to relocate to the Lincoln building, the colored school. My father refused to send his children to the colored school even though his children lived closer to the Lincoln building. I could read and write.
Occupations: Messenger for the Department of Public Printing and Binding on Capitol Hill.
Church Membership: My father was a highly recognized pastor in the Wesley Union A.M.E Zion Church and spent time as the pastor of Bethel A.M.E Church on State Street. Rev. William Marshall, who officiated my wedding, was the pastor at Harris A.M.E Zion Church.
Activism: The Colored Voters League
Connections: I was married by the Reverend William Howard Marshall. I attended a Colored Voters League event with James Auter, Denny Bibbs, Harry Burris, Dr. Charles Crampton, Walter Hooper, Robert Nelson, and Daniel Potter Sr. (Telegraph, 1915, “Colored Voters League”). Justin Carter was my father’s attorney (Harrisburg Telegraph, 1895, Astwood Mandamus).