De Baptiste, Richard
- Sandy Dwayne Martin
De Baptiste, Richard (11 November 1831–21 April 1901), Baptist leader and race advocate, was born in Fredericksburg, Virginia, to free parents, Eliza (maiden name unknown) and William De Baptiste. Born in a slave state when individuals were fined and incarcerated for teaching blacks, enslaved or free, De Baptiste was fortunate to have parents who earnestly sought to educate their children and some relatives in their home, despite the law and heavy surveillance. In 1846 the De Baptistes moved to Detroit, Michigan. De Baptiste then received additional education and for some time attended classes at the University of Chicago. Having been the leading building and manufacturing contractor in Fredericksburg, the elder De Baptiste, after an unsuccessful partnership in a grocery enterprise, returned to his earlier work. Richard De Baptiste became a partner in the business before his twenty-first birthday and served for some years as its manager. From 1858 to about 1861 he also taught black youth in the public schools of Mount Pleasant, Hamilton County, Ohio....