Friends of MLK - The Busey Family

Jul 31, 2023, 16:14 PM
Title : Friends of MLK - The Busey Family
Video Id : 799994584
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Date published : Jan 22, 2023, 00:00 AM
It's Davenport's history. It's not just Davenport’s black history, but this is Davenport's history.
Thomas And Jake Busey.
They become some of Davenport's pioneers here in this area as well.
In terms of when we look at why black families moved to Davenport.

Jake Busey was born on September 17th of 1859, came to this city with his mother in 1864. He graduated from the high school, which we now know as Davenport Central High School on June 23rd of 1877.
He was Davenport High School's are Davenport's second black graduate. He said he owed his education to ex-Mayor J.W. Stewart, who took a deep interest at him and assisted him throughout school.
After graduating from high school, Jake went to Nashville, Tennessee, where he taught night school for six months. He then returned home.
For 21 years after that, he worked as a janitor at the old library building at Sixth and Brady Streets. 
Tom Busey, his brother, was also born in Calhoun, Kentucky. His story is a little different, and after coming to Davenport, he received his education at school number two and after leaving, learned the trade of cook.

The story of the Busey brothers and how they got here at at different times. So born in slavery in Calloway County, Kentucky, they owe their deliverance from the fetlock and the lash to the strong parental
love of their father and mother.
During the Civil War in the dead of night, their parents hitched up a team on their master’s oxen and without detection loaded it their nine children into the wagon and hauled them to the Union Army camp some ten miles away from where their plantation was.
They were given protection of the troops and when overtaken by the irate master was he he made his way to the union camp that following morning the oxen where return to the slave owner, but he never regained possession of his former slaves.
The family then proceeded to Columbus, Kentucky, where the father was pressed into service in the Union Army. During ten days and nights in a cold and drizzly, rainy evening, the elder Busey, the father, was engaged in throwing embarkments for the union forces, and while so engaged, he contracted pneumonia from which he then died.

When the parents had made their escape, they took with them their nine children. The 10th child who lived on a different plantation and worked was Thomas Busey.
When they got here in Davenport, Mrs. Busey arrived with her nine children. She had $2 to her name. They had to send back to get Thomas some a few years later.
And that's why he came later in life.

And when he gets here, he's probably of age where where he could start working. It says that her her children, they did not shy away of repaying her the debt for the sacrifice that she made, that they got their freedom.

They put her up in a in a in a house. They say that was a comfortable home is what they say that that she lived in. Paid for and furnished by the earnings of Tom and Jake. And that house was located at 616 Eastern Avenue in East Davenport. 

I think the Busey family is a typical what what you would think in terms of runaway slave. The owner comes after them, the Union Army saves the day, and then you have this strong black mother who takes her nine children from Kentucky and lands here in Davenport, Iowa, and then has the gall to send back after the war for her 10th son, Thomas Busey. And they're successful in doing it.
I think the amazing piece is that there's so many stories that we hear of that families were totally destroyed and never even reconnected during slavery and even post-slavery. And so to have this this family that has was able to have this reconnection, I think is amazing.

And we can look back at the Buseies and say there there there was someone that came before me that helped pave the way for what I have access to today.
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