Born into slavery, William Dupree married Maria Elizabeth Isaacs, a descendant of a slave at Monticello. By 1860, he was a free man working as a plasterer and managing a brass band. In 1863, Dupree enlisted in the 55th Massachusetts Infantry where he oversaw the regimental band. The regiment spent most of its front line duty in the vicinity of Charleston, SC. After the war, William Dupree moved to Boston and found employment in the US Post Office, rising to the position of superintendent. In 1903, he purchased the Colored Co-operative Publishing Company and Colored American Magazine with other investors. An equal rights advocate, Dupree adopted Booker T. Washington’s position of accommodation, that African Americans were capable of excelling in all jobs and occupations and in spite of racism, he strove to persuade white leaders of this.
Slavery at Monticello
Thomas Jefferson fathered at least six children with his slave Sally Hemings. Descendants of slaves at Monticello became important figures in American history. Direct descendants such as John Freeman Shorter, and spouses of descendants such as James Monroe Trotter and William H. Dupree, were African Americans who enlisted in the Civil War with the 55th Massachusetts Volunteers and all of them rose to the rank of lieutenant.
This William Dupree mug is part of our Civil War and African American Series profiling outstanding men and women who have helped shape our country in important and positive ways.
The biographical History Mugs were created to teach and inspire individuals to learn about our diverse and interesting history. The biographies were researched and written by history enthusiast, Robert Compton. He colorized most of the historic photos and images used on the mugs, which were originally black and white or sepia tone. The images and biographies are imprinted on mugs at his studio in rural Vermont.
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