Source: Zadie Jones, “Barnes Story, Continued From Last Week,” Alabama Citizen, March 6, 1954
Self-Taught Rebel and Educational Pioneer
Our worthy #GUOOF brother PDGM Jeremiah Barnes:
Bro. Barnes was born not “before the stars fell” as our forefathers computed time; but, eleven years after, February 28, 1844.
His mother was a slave on a plantation along the Black Warrior River, eight miles west of #Tuscaloosa. His father was the overseer. His early life was spent as a house boy in the home of his owner, Judge Washington Moody. He learned to read and write through his association with the white children of the family. This he kept secretly, knowing that education was forbidden to slaves. One day while incautiously scribbling on the side of the house, he disclosed his secret, causing his removal to the plantation. There nevertheless, he continued to pursue secretly his studies. Keeping the “Blue Back Speller” as his companion he took every opportunity to read the judge’s law papers while cleaning the office.
Later in life,He taught school in 1876. He was a pioneer and one for the first to introduce the public school system. He appeared before the Board of Education, took examination for Teacher’s Life Certificate, and was successful in obtaining same.The record will show that Jeremiah Barnes was elected by the citizens of Tuscaloosa as alderman. A position held in dignity second only to the major. No other Negro before or since has ever been known to hold the position in the city of Tuscaloosa. Jeremiah Barnes befriended Booker T. Washington as they had many things in common. Both were ex-slaves, educators and both were earnest workers in the cause of general uplift of their people. Barnes children all attended Tuskegee. He was Right Worshipful Chairman Committee Correspondent of the Grand Lodge A. F. &A. M. of Alabama 1897-1911, Grand Junior Warden, 1883, Grand Lecturer from 1888-1895, Deputy Grand Master, 1895-1896. He was Senior Warden in 1886. For 20 years chairman of the committee on foreign correspondence. He was a member of David’s Temple Lodge #9, Oak City Lodge #816 #IBPOEW
He was a charter member of #OakCityLodge2785 #GUOOFOF. Twice he was elected #DistrictGrandMaster.
We honor him thrice ❤🖐🏾🤝