My Contribution: I was the constable of the Eighth Ward and Seventh Ward and an active agent in criminal justice issues and politics within the community of Harrisburg. I served as secretary during the mayoral elections of Harrisburg.
My Legacy: I was a significant leader in Harrisburg’s political circles, whether by organizing the Central Blaine Club or Union Republican Central Club, pursuing justice as constable, or organizing meetings in conjunction with the local churches. My political and activist work as a leader in Harrisburg’s Black Community continues to remain relevant today.
About Me: “Pursuant to a call, the colored citizens of the city met in large numbers on Wednesday evening in the M.E. church in Short street, for the purpose of organizing a campaign club. The meeting was called to order by Wm. R. Dorsey” Harrisburg Telegraph, July 5, 1872.
Full Name: William R. Dorsey
Birth Date: 1834
Death Date: December 5, 1901
Place of Birth: Maryland
Race: Black (1880 Federal Census)
Places of Residence: 505 South Avenue, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Connection to the Old Eighth Ward: Resident; constable in Eighth Ward; organizer of political meetings in ward.
Family Members: Wife: Rebecca Washington Dorsey.
Education: Could read and write.
Church Membership: Wesley Union A.M.E. Zion Church.
Activism: Central Blaine Club, President; Union Republican Central Club of Harrisburg Committee; Central Union Club (marshal); and Good Samaritans and Daughters of Samaritan Club.
Connections: William Battis (fellow Republican nominee for various positions in the Eighth Ward) and Joseph P. Popel (Union Republican Central Club).