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Sat, 08.26.1865

Richard Thompson, Journalist born

Richard Thompson

*The birth of Richard W. Thompson is celebrated on this date in 1865.  He was a Black postal clerk and journalist. 

Richard W. Thompson was born in Brandenburg, Meade County, Kentucky.  His father was a minister of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Connection Church and died in 1872. later that year he moved with his mother, Jane, to New Albany, Indiana. In 1875, he moved to Indianapolis where he attended public schools. His performance in school was good, but he was forced to leave school before the end of his senior year due to ill health.  His mother was born in Jefferson County, Kentucky and died of pleurisy at age 53.   

At that time, in connection with his school duties, he kept books for Dr. F. W. Ferree, secretary of the Marion County Board of Health.  His work was recognized, and he was appointed by speaker to the Indiana State Legislature as a page during the 1880–1881 session. His nomination received the support of many legislators at the time, including Benjamin Harrison, S. Hinton, and J. T. V. Hill.  

In 1882, he became city editor of the Indianapolis Leader. He then moved to the Indianapolis Freeman, where he was made an editor, and the Indianapolis World. At different times he worked for that paper as compositor, foreman of the mechanical department, and managing editor.  In 1886, he turned 21 and registered as a Democrat to vote for Grover Cleveland.  Thompson had two wives, Grace Evelyn Lucas and Ella B Gibbs, both of whom taught together in Indianapolis Public Schools.  In 1887 he was employed as a deputy in the office of auditor of Marion County, Indiana under Thomas Taggart.

He came in first in a civil service exam and was appointed a letter carrier in the Indianapolis Post Office where he served until July 1893. That year he became managing editor of the Indianapolis Freeman and the Indianapolis World.  Even before his first wife died, Richard had a relationship with Grace Lucas. In 1892, Lucas was accused in a letter to the Indianapolis Freeman of being a poor teacher and of having an affair with Thompson.  After Ella's death, Thompson married Lucas on November 12, 1901 in Jersey City, NJ.  Under the name Grace Lucas Thompson, she published articles in the Indianapolis Freeman and other newspapers.

The pair lived in Washington DC for much of the rest of their lives, and she taught public schools in there.  In February 1920, Thompson was confined to his home after suffering a nervous breakdown. Thompson died on February 12, 1920, following an operation at Freedman's Hospital.  His funeral was at St. Luke's church, pallbearers were intimate friends of his: Robert Heberton Terrell, John C. Dancy, Walter Singleton, John T. Howe, J. A. Lankford, and J. Finley Wilson. 

to be a Journalist or Reporter


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