My Contribution: I was active in literary, social, and Democratic political circles in Harrisburg. In addition to serving as councilman for the Eighth Ward and clerking in different offices in the Harrisburg capitol, I published and authored books, journals, magazines, and directories — most notably, The Pennsylvania Negro Business Directory in 1910.
My Legacy: My work in publishing, government, and politics left a legacy for my son, Layton Howard, who was a member of Jas. H.W. Howard & Son Publishing Company. My political and literary work lived on long after my work was done through my published works. My numerous associations with other agents of change in the Eighth Ward is noteworthy. As a publisher and writer, my work, The Pennsylvania Negro Business Directory, remains an invaluable primary record of distinguished African Americans in Pennsylvania in the early twentieth century.
About Me: “Mr. Howard is a man of ability and intelligence who has espoused the democratic cause for the reason he that he believes the contention of the democracy for tariff reform is founded in justice and equity and that a tariff for monopoly must work in injustice to all who labor, be the color of their skin white or black.” The Patriot, October 17, 1889.
“Mr. Howard is a man of ability a forcible writer and has considerable editorial experience.” The Patriot, July 10, 1889.
Full Name: James H. W. Howard
Birth Date: 1856/1862 (estimates based on federal census records from 1880-1910).
Death Date: Unknown. Howard last listed as living in Maryland in the 1930 census. Last recorded appearance in 1932.
Place of Birth: Ontario, Canada
Race: “Mulatto” (1880 Federal Census)
Places of Residence: 1118 Montgomery Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1893); 306 S. 15th Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (1900-1910)
Connection to the Old Eighth Ward: Knew the community of the Eighth Ward as his book, The Pennsylvania Negro Business Directory, features many of its residents; served as a city councilman for the Eighth Ward.
Family Members: Wife: Ella Dorem (m. 1884). Son: Layton Leroy.
Education: Buffalo High School, New York (1875); Sinico Academy (1879).
Occupations: Dealer. Merchant. Member of Marshall & Howard fruit and produce firm. Publisher of Howard’s Negro American Magazine, the State Journal, Howard’s Negro American Monthly (1880-1890), Pennsylvania Negro Business Directory (1910), and The New Era (1915). City council member, Harrisburg (1885-1888). Writer: Bond and Free published in 1886, a novel written with accounts from friends and family of slavery experiences in Virginia, and Color Struggles published in 1899. Clerk in the Secretary of State Office (1893-1895), and the Office of State Treasurer (1906-1908). Grand Deputy Marshal.
Church Membership: Mite Society of Elder Street Presbyterian Church (elected officer); Capital Street Presbyterian Church (member); and Bethel A.M.E Church (participated in events).
Activism: Democratic leader, in favor of tariff reform and supporter of Grover Cleveland’s presidential candidacy; served on executive committee of Negro Democratic State League of Pennsylvania (1888); spoke at meeting of The Colored Cleveland Reform Club in 1888; chaired Colored Democratic State League (1890); participated in the Colored Men’s Protective League: “an organization of colored men, of this city, the object of which is to advance the interest of all colored men—socially, politically and industrially” (Patriot, Sep 5, 1891); elected representative of League to the Afro-American League convention in 1891; served on the Executive Committee of Tariff Reform Club; endorsed by the Cleveland Tariff Reform Club for his name to be placed on the ticket to run for house of representatives for Harrisburg in 1892; nominated to run for City Assessor in Harrisburg in 1893; spoked at a meeting of the city’s Tammany Association in support of mayoral candidate Eby and the Democratic cause in 1893; served on the committee to organize the memorial service for Frederick Douglass at Elder Street Presbyterian in 1895; ran on ballot for school director of the Second Ward in 1896; applied to be United States consul to Haiti in 1896; acted as business manager of a musical and literary club held at the office of Joseph L. Thomas in 1905; spoked at a meeting of the Sixth Ward Social Club in 1906; served on the committee for the benefit of Harrisburg Hospital in 1907; gave address at People’s Forum at Bethel A.M.E. Church in 1907; assisted with the “50th Anniversary of the Emancipation Celebration and Exhibition,” September 15 to October 1, 1913; spoke in an event series put on by the local branch of the NAACP in 1928; spoke at the meeting of National Democratic Negro Voters’ League in Washington D.C. in 1932; served as member of Negro Press Association and Negro Business League. Mason (1915).
Connections: William Battis, George Galbraith, John P. Scott, J. Q. Adams, and W. H. Jones, Joseph L. Thomas, William Howard Day, Josephine Bibb, George H. Imes, Daniel Potter, James Grant, Dr. W. H. Jones, W. Jus- tin Carter, Dr. W. H. Jones, Dr. Charles Crampton, Robert Nelson, Joseph L. Thomas, and James Auter, Harry Burrs, Rev. W. Marshall, C.W. Strothers, Luther Newman, Charles Crampton, A. Dennee Bibb, Maude B. Coleman, and W. Justin Carter.