Raymond J. Burr (c. 1845-?)
Raymond J. Burr was born in 1845 to John Emory Burr, a barber, and Elizabeth Burr, a homemaker. Burr lived in the Third Ward of Philadelphia with his parents and older sister, Letitia C. Burr (Class of 1861). Burr's great-grandfather was Aaron Burr, Vice President of the United States under Thomas Jefferson, who had fathered children with his mulatto servant, Mary Emmons. Raymond J. Burr graduated from the Institute of Colored Youth in 1860. In 1862, Burr was "learning the dry goods business in Philadelphia." He continued to support ICY after graduation, serving as a member of the Executive Council of the School in 1861 and President of the Alumni Association by May of 1863.
In July of 1865, Raymond J. Burr was named Secretary at "An Important Meeting for [Black Male] Suffrage" (clipping from this newspaper notice shown at left). Burr's fellow secretaries were the well-known political activists William Still and Jacob C. White, Jr. During the meeting, several reverends rallied for the cause of black male voting rights. They mentioned important events in recent history: the Emancipation Proclamation, the massacre of United States Colored Troops at Fort Pillow, Tennessee, and the finally, the siege of Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia and the Civil War's end. Many of ICY's students were highly politically active, and participation in history-making events like rallying for suffrage was a common occurrence. An 1868 Philadelphia city directory indicates that Burr was working as a clerk in Philadelphia. The 1871 Nineteenth Annual Report lists Burr as a "signpainter." Roger Lane's William Dorsey's Philadelphia and Ours reported that in 1902, Raymond J. Burr served as the funeral pallbearer for "Colonel John McKee, an extremely wealthy African American man." He had worked as McKee's "longtime secretary". In 1914, Burr was employed as a painter.
1860 Federal Census, Philadelphia Ward 3, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Roll: M653_1153, Page: 317, Image: 323, Family History Library Film: 805153, Ancestry.com; "John Pierre Burr," Ancestry.com; Board of Managers of The Institute for Colored Youth, Objects of the Institute for Colored Youth, with a list of the officers and students, and the annual report of the Board of Managers, for the year 1862, Philadelphia, 1862; "Notice", The Christian Recorder, September 28, 1861; "At a special meeting of association of Alumni of the Institute for Colored Youth," The Christian Recorder, May 30, 1863; "The Right of Suffrage. An Important Meeting" The Christian Recorder, July 22, 1865; 1868 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania U.S. City Directory, U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989, Ancestry.com; Board of Managers of The Institute for Colored Youth, Objects of the Institute for Colored Youth, with a list of the officers and students, and the nineteenth annual report of the Board of Managers, for the year 1871, Philadelphia, 1871; Roger Lane, William Dorsey's Philadelphia and Ours: On the Past and Future of the Black City in America, New York, Oxford University Press, 101-102. 1910 Federal Census, Philadelphia Ward 26, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1401; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0584; Family History Library:1375414, Ancestry.com; "Raymond J. Burr, Occupation: Painter", 1914 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania City Directory, U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989, Ancestry.com.