Mary Smith Kelsey Peake (1823–1862) taught many former slaves underneath Emancipation Oak. Sept 1861, she started a school near Fort Monroe, within present grounds of Hampton Univ. Supported herself as a dressmaker, & secretly taught from her home, instructing African Americans of all ages. Founded the Daughters of Zion to provide aid to the poor & the sick. In 1851 she married Thomas Peake, a former slave. Today, the city of Hampton honors Peake with a school, a street, & a park.
Barney Ford was born a slave in Virginia. At the age of twenty-fire, he escaped and began a successful career in a variety of entrepreneurial ventures.By 1860, he was living in Denver and became a prosperous tycoon in the hotel, restaurant, and barbershop businesses, earning the nickname the "Black Baron of Colorado." Throughout the Civil War, he gave financial assistance, food, and jobs to escaped and free African Americans.
Elizabeth "Bessie" Coleman (January 26, 1892 – April 30, 1926) was an American civil aviator. She was the first female pilot of African American descent and the first person of African American descent to hold an international pilot license