My Contribution: I was an outstanding student scholar in Harris- burg’s Central High School and a graduate of Harvard University. I later returned to Harrisburg to serve my community as a middle school teacher.
My Legacy: I leave the legacy of excellence as the first Black graduate of an institution in Harrisburg to enter Harvard “direct and unconditionally” (Harrisburg Telegraph, September 16, 1914). My decision to return to my home community with new knowledge and expertise makes me relevant in a society where discussions continue about the need for educators who are invested in long-term commitment in urban education.
About Me: “Payne stood fifth out of a class of one hundred and seventy-six, and if his record at Central indicates anything, he should have a brilliant record at Harvard.” — Harrisburg Telegraph, September 16, 1914.
Full Name: Horace Preston Payne
Birth Date: August 1, 1894 or 1895
Place of Birth: Front Royal, Virginia
Race: Black (1910 Federal Census); “Negro” (WW1 Draft Registration Card, 1930 Federal Census)
Places of Residence: 1411 N. 4th Street, 309 S. 14th Street (1917), and 19 S. 16th Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; 4114 Enright Avenue (1942), and 4232 Cote Brilliant Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri
Connection to the Old Eighth Ward: : Knew many in the community of the Eighth Ward.
Family Members: Father: Richard A. Payne. Mother: Sarah Payne. Siblings: Catherine Payne-Campbell, William Payne, Anna Payne Campbell, Mary Payne Patterson, Robert Payne, and Elizabeth Payne. Wife: M1: Ermille M. Bass, died by 1940; M2: Pauline Ross Payne. Children: Minor P. Payne, Robert W Payne, Catherine Duncan, Horace Jr. Payne and Derek P. Payne
Education: Central High School, 1912; Harvard University, Bachelor’s degree, 1917; Northwestern University, Master’s degree.
Occupations: Public School Teacher (Allison and Edison Schools, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Sumner High School and Harris Teachers College, St. Louis, Missouri
Church Membership: Possibly St. Paul’s Baptist Church
Activism: Iroquois Club (1913)
Connections: Catherine Payne Campbell (sister), Jane (Janie) Blalock (fellow teacher), Rev. William H. Marshall (family friend), Cassius Brown, and Dr. A. Leslie Marshall.