My Contribution: I was a leading Black voice in Harrisburg in the first half of the twentieth century and the principal African American leader of the Republican party. I served as deputy secretary of the State Health Department and the chairman of the board of managers of the Forster Street YMCA. I wrote a history of Black physicians in Pennsylvania. I was an athletic trainer who helped the athletes at William Penn and a well-regarded public speaker who even led pep rallies before football games. I contributed to many educational organizations and events for people of color.
My Legacy: I consistently used my resources to develop the institutions of Harrisburg’s African American community. I advocated for voting rights, brought influential speakers to the city, and helped people whenever I could. As a person of color with a medical degree, I inspired future generations. I also worked against racial segregation in the city. I was a main character in Jackson Taylor’s historical fiction work The Blue Orchard.
About Me: “Short addresses were given by 11 men, all connected with sports at either old Tech high or at William Penn High. All praised Dr. Crampton’s fine work.” The Evening News, June 13, 1934.
Full Name: Charles Hoyt Crampton
Birth Date: March 1, 1879
Death Date: November 15th, 1955
Place of Birth: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Race: “Negro” (Draft Card) and “Mulatto” (1920 Federal Census)
Places of Residence: Harrisburg Pennsylvania: 213 River Avenue, 214 Pine Street, 509 Fourth Street, and 600 Forster Street.
Connection to the Old Eighth Ward: Resident; physician for neighborhood; organized community activities; established Forster Street Branch of the YMCA in nearby Seventh Ward.
Family Members: Father: Benjamin Crampton. Mother: Susan Dorsey. Reared by Col. Frederick Lucious Copeland.
Education: Old Central High School, 1899 (only Black orator in class). Medical Degree from Howard University. Doctor of Humane Letters at Lincoln University, 1944.
Occupations: Physician. Athletic Physician for nearly forty years at two schools: Harrisburg Tech (1917-1926) and William Penn High School (1926-1955).
Church Membership: Capital Street Presbyterian Church (member and chairman).
Activism: Worked or spoke at Republican rallies; headed Black division of the Republican Party in Pennsylvania and served as Vice Chairman in Dauphin County; contributed to Colored YMCA; spoke at colleges in Gettysburg and Pittsburg; educated African-American women in first aid, held Red Cross rallies; conducted “Peoples Forum” at various churches for twenty years; sued Victoria theatre over segregation in 1913 and won.
Connections: Maude Coleman, C. Sylvester Jackson, Robert Nelson, Aubrey Robinson, and others.