John Dancy, prominent leader in the American Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and the Republican Party, was born in Tarboro in 1857 as the son of a freedman whose parents had been manumitted. Dancy’s father was a builder and contractor who also served as a county commissioner after the war. Dancy was educated first at home and later entered Howard University in 1873. He left school before completing his requirements due to the death of his father. Dancy returned home and began a short career as an educator since he soon became involved in politics.
Deeply involved in church affairs, Dancy made significant contributions through his involvement with the AME Zion Church and editorship of the church newspaper, Star of Zion, for many years. Dancy served as a trustee for Livingstone College. He died in 1920 and details of his life can be found in his son’s memoirs, Sand Against the Wind. His son shared Dancy’s commitment to public service and was active in the Detroit Urban League for many years.
William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, II, 7-8—sketch by Marvin Krieger
John C. Dancy III, Sand Against the Wind (1966)
John C. Dancy, ed., AME Zion Quarterly Almanac (1894)