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Family History Project

Five-Volume History of Our Family

In 2017-2018, I collaborated with my brother Dr. John Payne and my nephew Chris Payne to create the four-volume Family History shown below on the right to document our family story.


My Aunt Elizabeth had kept six volumes of well-documented photos of my mother's side of the family going back several generations. John and my sister-in-law Grace inherited those volumes. John scanned and emailed me the photos. Chris created an online Family Tree. My cousin Helen Raymond had created a 10-page Family History for my father's side of the family. My nephews John, Tony, and Pat contributed their stories and photos. I did extensive research to fill in the blanks.

When my cousin Nina Nicholas Wilkes told me in 2018 that the University of South Carolina was planning to hold a ceremony to honor my great grandfather, Francis Lewis Cardozo, I created the volume shown below on the left for that project. Chris agreed to represent the family at the ceremony.


The five volumes total almost 600 pages. The story is fascinating because of many illustrious family members, some of whom are listed below. My brother suggested using the volumes to create a book and contacted a publisher who is interested. I copied the files for the five volumes (which are too large to email as Word docs) to flash drives and mailed them to family members for Christmas in 2018. Having the Word versions allows them to update the Family History for their families and to give copies of the expanded versions to their children.

Click images to see Flip Books.

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Henry Jones' Amazing Will!

There are no photos of Henry Jones, but he left a very powerful impression on generations of the family! Henry was from the West Indies and went to Philadelphia where he became very successful as a caterer, having one of the best catering firms in the city. Henry belonged to a group of African American men who dominated the catering business in 19th century Philadelphia. In 1845, he opened a restaurant.

Lawyers say the will Henry left was one of the finest and cleverest ever drawn up in Landsdale County, Pa., where he lived. It made provisions for the dispersal of an estate of over $300,000 that provided the next three generations with ample funds. To his six children, Henry left the interest on the estate -- enough to allow each of them to live with financial ease. He had also purchased property for each of them.


Henry’s will specified that his estate was to be settled when his last child died, which occurred with the death of Emma Jones Warrick on January 13, 1923. Then the estate was divided equally among the families of the six Jones children. Emma’s 1/6 share went to her 3 children – William, Blanche, and Meta.


When Blanche died in childbirth in 1911, her money went to her six children – Margaret, Elizabeth, Warrick, Meta, Frances, and Catherine. Each received approximately $8,000 which would be over $200,000 each today. That money allowed Elizabeth, Margaret, and Catherine to open the legendary Cardozo Sisters beauty shop. Frances used her money to attend University of Michigan at Ann Arbor where she received an MA in psychology. The whole family continues to benefit from the wisdom and foresight of Henry Jones!

Francis Lewis Cardozo:  South Carolina Secretary of State/Treasurer

1837 -- 1903

Francis was born on February 1, 1837 in Charleston, South Carolina. He attended Charleston schools from age 5 until age 12 when he began a 4-year apprenticeship in carpentry. By the time he was 21, Francis had saved $1,000 which he used to finance his education at the University of Glascow in Scotland. During the four years he attended the university, he won $1,000 as a prize scholarship in a competitive examination, fifth prize in Latin among 200 students, and seventh prize in Greek among 150 students. Following his study in Scotland, Francis attended Presbyterian seminaries in Edinburgh and London for three years with funds he had earned by working during his vacation.

When Francis returned to the United States in 1864, he settled first in New Haven, Connecticut where he met and married Romena Howell and assumed charge of the Temple Street Congregational Church. He returned to Charleston in the following year to accept the principalship of the Normal School where he served for three years. The school was later re-named The Avery Institute.


Francis became involved in Reconstruction politics. His election as a delegate to the South Carolina Constitutional Convention in 1868 marked the beginning of a distinguished political career. The Republican Party of the state nominated Francis for Secretary of State of South Carolina –- a position to which he was elected in July, 1868. One of his major achievements in that office was his work on the Land Commission.

In 1871, Francis took a leave of absence from his state office to teach Latin at Howard University in Washington, D. C. In 1872, he returned to South Carolina at the solicitation of friends and was elected as State Treasurer -- a post he held until 1874. In addition to his state duties, Francis attended law school at the University of South Carolina from which he graduated in 1876.

After 1877, Francis spent the remaining years of his life in Washington, D. C. As a national figure in politics and education, Francis was nominated for the presidency of Howard University in 1877. In recognition of his contributions, the Cardozo Business High School was named for him. Francis died in Washington on July 22, 1903. In his article on in the Journal of Negro History, Edward F. Sweat noted that Francis “brought into public life an intelligence, a vibrant sincerity, and a vigilance in guarding public funds that challenged the morality of the age”.

1877 - 1968

Meta Warrick Fuller: Sculptor Studied in Paris

Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller (1877-1968) was born Meta Vaux Warrick in Philadelphia to Emma Jones Warrick, a beautician, and William H. Warrick who owned a barber shop. Her thriving Black middle-class family provided her with educational and cultural opportunities often denied African Americans of the era.

Celebrated as a sculptor whose artistic vision and understanding of the Black experience was well ahead of her contemporaries, Meta Fuller was the first Black American artist to draw heavily on African themes for her subject matter. One of Meta's most famous sculptures is "Ethiopia Rising" shown in the middle below. It celebrated the liberation of Ethiopia -- the first African nation to free itself from colonial rule.


Meta attended the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Arts (now the Philadelphia College of Art) from 1894 to 1899 and continued her studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia from 1903 to 1907. By 1902, Meta was already an established artist in Paris, where her work was exhibited at Siegfried Bing’s famous gallery for modern art and design. Meta met and studied with Rodin.




Solomon C. Fuller: Psychiatrist


In 1909, Meta married Solomon C. Fuller, a prominent neurologist and pathologist. Dr. Fuller was the first Black psychiatrist to attain sufficient recognition and distinction as a neuropathologist and clinician to warrant an obituary in the New England Journal of Medicine when he died in 1953. His portrait hangs with those of psychiatry’s founding fathers at the HQ of the American Psychiatric Association in Washington, D.C. 


In 1904, Fuller went to Munich for a year to study psychiatry and worked in the laboratory of Dr. Alois Alzheimer, the German psychiatrist for whom the disease is named. On his return to Westboro, Dr. Fuller continued his interest in brain pathology and began to publish. In the early 1970s, the APA Black Caucus introduced the Solomon Carter Fuller Award at the APA annual meeting. The first lecture was delivered by the lieutenant governor of California in 1975. A community mental health center in Boston bears Fuller’s name.

Boston psychiatrist Charles Pinderhughes, M.D. knew Fuller and wrote of him: “This remarkable man on his own initiative achieved excellence in psychiatry and neurology as a clinician, scientist, educator, and scholar at a time when opportunities and recognition....were not available to him because of his color.”

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Elizabeth Cardozo Barker / Cardozo SIsters Hair Stylists

1901 -- 1981

As a child, Elizabeth Cardozo Barker (in the middle below) spent her summers playing and working in and around the beauty shop run by her grandmother, Emma Jones Warrick, in Atlantic City, N.J.

In 1929, Elizabeth began a beauty shop in her Washington, D.C. apartment where it was not unusual for her to have customers until midnight. Four years later, Elizabeth asked her sister, Margaret Cardozo Holmes (on the left below), to join her. In 1937, they moved the business to a store front on Georgia Avenue where they named the shop Cardozo Sisters Hair Stylists and ran one of the best-equipped and most popular hair salons in Washington. Catherine Cardozo Lewis joined her sisters in the mid-1940s and served as the salon’s general manager.


The firm was influential in the growth of the Black beauty industry in the city, providing its employees with first-rate training and optimum conditions for career advancement. The air-conditioned salon had a luxurious décor and employees wore white uniforms. The shop closed one day every three months for operators to attend demonstrations by top hairstylists. The business expanded to five storefronts, consumed a city block near Howard University, had 25 employees, and coifed as many as 200 clients daily.

Cardozo Sisters Hair Stylists is a prototype emulated by generations of salon owners. Indeed, the talents, efficiency, professionalism, and consideration for clients as well as employees displayed by the shop serve as a model worthy of emulation by all entrepreneurs. Elizabeth was appointed the D.C. Board of Cosmetology in 1963. She was named president in 1967 and held that post until she retired in 1970.


In August 1940, Elizabeth married Beltran Barker, owner and operator of a gas station on 8th Street and Florida Avenue, N. W. In addition to their home in Washington, the family had a summer place at Highland Beach and later bought another summer home on Cape Cod.

As part of The Black Women's Oral History Project, photos of Elizabeth, Margaret, and Catherine were displayed at the New York Public Library in Manhattan for their accomplishments as the Cardozo Sisters Hair Stylists and were celebrated at in the ebook The Black Women's Oral History Project.

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1922 -- 2003

Francis Cardozo Nicholas :  Artist

Francis Cardozo Nicholas was the son of Elizabeth Cardozo and her first husband Julian Nicholas. In the 1940s, Nick studied at Pratt Institute, the Brooklyn Museum School, the Art Students’ League, and the Pennsylvania Museum School of Art.


Nick worked as a freelance illustrator of textbooks, an artist for Norcross Cards, a graphic designer, and an art director in New York City for more than 20 years. As an illustrator and commercial artist in New York City from 1953-73, he was known as Frank Nicholas. However, his friends, golf partners, and chess challengers called him "Nick".


By 1972, Nick was widely published when he bought a home on Cape Cod where he moved with his second wife Faythe. There Nick accomplished his goal of being a full-time fine artist and produced his Narrative Impressions paintings. Nick particularly loved painting seascapes and dancers.


1895 -- 1965

Eslanda Cardozo Robeson /  Wife of Paul Robeson

In 2013, the Democracy Now show Remembering the Overlooked Life of Eslanda Robeson, Wife of Civil Rights Legend Paul Robeson discussed the 2013 book Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson. The author of the book, Barbara Ransby, was interviewed. Eslanda attended the University of Illinois and won a scholarship to Columbia University where she graduated with a BS in chemistry. She also studied at the London School of Economics

Eslanda "Essie" Cardozo Goode Robeson was the wife and business manager of singer and actor Paul Robeson. Her maternal grandfather was Francis Lewis Cardozo. Essie lived a colorful and amazing life. Her career and commitments took her many places: colonial Africa in 1936, the front lines of the Spanish Civil War, the founding meeting of the United Nations, Nazi-occupied Berlin, Stalin's Russia, and China two months after Mao's revolution.

Essie was a woman of unusual accomplishment — an anthropologist, author, a prolific journalist, actress, a tireless advocate of women's rights, a civil rights activist, an outspoken anti-colonial activist, and an internationally sought-after speaker. Yet, historians for the most part have confined Essie to the role of Mrs. Paul Robeson, a wife hidden in the large shadow cast by her famous husband.

In this masterful book, biographer Barbara Ransby refocuses attention on Essie, one of the most important and fascinating Black women of the 20th century. Chronicling Essie's eventful life, the book explores her influence on her husband's career and how she later achieved her own unique political voice.


Essie's friendships with a host of literary icons and world leaders, her renown as a fierce defender of justice, her defiant testimony before Senator Joseph McCarthy's infamous anti-communist committee, and her  marriage that endured for over 40 years — all are brought to light in the pages of this inspiring biography.
Essie's indomitable personality shines through, as do her contributions to the United States and 20-century world history.



Paul Robeson

When Essie married Paul Robeson, they toured the world and were freedom fighters for Black Americans, Africans freeing themselves from colonialism, the miners in Wales, the Spanish during the Civil War there, and all the world's peoples. 


The remarkable documentary Paul Robeson: Here I Stand shows that Robeson won a statewide academic competition for a full scholarship to Rutgers where he was the third Black person to attend and the only Black person on the football team! Robeson became the greatest football player in America! He earned 12 Varsity Letters in four sports at Rutgers -- four in football, three each in basketball and baseball, and two in track. He also received two All American citations for football! He sang in the glee club and was an outstanding scholar. In his junior year, Paul was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. He was valedictorian of the class of 1919 and gave the commencement address at graduation. He won the Rutgers Oratorical Contest for 4 years straight! Following college, Robeson played three years as a pro in the American Professional Football League.

When Robeson moved to Harlem to attend Columbia University, he was already a national hero. He made his Broadway debut in 1922. In London, Paul met pianist Larry Brown who became his life-long musical accompanist. Their first recording sold 50,000 copies in 4 months! Paul's son says in the documentary that Robeson was probably the third most popular radio artist in the US in the late 1920s and early 1930s. 

Robeson was also a linguist -- fluent in 12-20 languages! He used his music, including concerts with Negro spirituals and folk songs of other countries, to make the point that all men are brothers. So, he used his music politically -- not just to entertain, but to educate. He was famous for his rendition of Ole Man River. Paul became a star on both sides of the Atlantic. He starred as Othello in London. He was embraced by high society, but also began to meet Europe's leading thinkers. In Europe, Robeson met the African leaders of the anti-colonialists movements. The documentary gives credit to Essie for much of Paul's success and questions whether he would have succeeded without her.

When Paul was performing in London, he learned about the plight of the miners in Wales who had marched on London. Many miners had been locked out of the mines and their families were on the verge of starvation. Paul arranged to have a trainload of food sent to them! He began to see himself as part of the "workers of the world". He went to Wales and made a film about miners.

When Paul sang in Russia, the audience was packed outside in the streets by the thousands! Paul went to Spain during the Spanish Civil War to support the fight against fascism. He sang in London to support the Jews fleeing Hitler because he could see the connection between their oppression and that of Blacks. When he returned to the US, Robeson had become one of the most famous singers in the world. 

When Paul sang The Ballad For America, the radio station said it received the largest audience response (calls and letters) of any show. He toured the country, performing. When Paul played Othello on Broadway in 1943, it had the longest run of any Shakespearean play on Broadway! The show toured the country for nine months -- refusing to play to segregated audiences which were the norm then.

In the 1940s, Paul was the most famous Black man in the world. He supported the unions across the country and fought for the rights of working people. He gave up his concerts for three years to fight for full citizenship for Black Americans! He was the chief spokesman for the crusade against lynching. The Robesons returned to Europe with much acclaim. When the Robesons returned to the US, Paul was again received at sold-out concerts across the country.

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