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Julian Talbot Bailey was born March 22, 1859, near Barnett, Warren County, Ga. He attended Howard University, purportedly completing an M.A. degree. After teaching for a time in North Carolina, Bailey moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County, Arkansas) in 1884, where he taught at Philander Smith University, Mississippi State Normal College (1884-85) and Bethel University (where he was President during 1886-87). At the same time, he was engaged in newspaper work as editor of the Arkansas Herald and Mansion newspapers. He also began publishing the Little Rock Sun in 1885.
As an editor, Bailey was highly independent and a strong proponent of civil rights for African-Americans. Bailey expanded his newspaper work in 1888 to include the Hot Springs Sun and the Texarkana (Texas) Sun which, with the Little Rock paper, had a combined circulation of more than 6,000. Bailey was apparently an effective political speaker, as well. Julian Talbot Bailey was admitted to practice by the state supreme court on May 21, 1888, and was said by one historian to have “actively engaged in ... a large and growing practice, ...” No other evidence of a law practice has been found. Bailey was listed as an attorney only in the city directory of 1888-89. The Fort Worth Daily Gazette noted his arrival in that city in November 1890.
Sources: Judith Kilpatrick, “(EXTRA)Ordinary Men: African-American Lawyers and Civil Rights in Arkansas Before 1950,” 53 Ark. Law Rev. 299, 303 n7, 332, 338, 345 (2000); I. Garland Penn, The American Negro: His History and Literature 240-45 (1969); Samuel S. Taylor, Survey of Negroes in Little Rock and North Little Rock 26 (1941); Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Eastern Arkansas 795-96 (1890); African American Biographical Database, Profile at http://aabd.chadwyck.com/bbidx/full_rec (last visited on 6/21/99); State Supreme Court Admissions Records; John G. Browning & Chief Justice Carolyn Wright, “We Stood on Their Shoulders: The First African-American Attorneys in Texas,” to be published in the Howard Law Journal, 2015-16.
Copyright ©2003 Judith Kilpatrick, all rights reserved