1909 York Pa’s Eureka Band

The Eureka Band

This is a photo of an early York band called the Eureka Band of York, Pa. They were an all colored band which traveled and entertained throughout the area in the early 1900’s. Some of the officers and band members were; William Dorsey, President; Benjamin Richardson, vice-President; Harry Barton, Secretary and Manager; Rankin Wilson, Leader; David Barton asst. Leader; Charles Thomas, Treasurer; Basil Harris, Charles Jones and James Berry, Trustees. Other members included; F.G Gordon and Earl Dorsey. The band practiced at the Old Bethel A.M.E. Church on the corner of King and Newberry Street. They played at different venues around the area including Memorial services conducted at the Lebanon Cemetery which were hosted by Master of Ceremony Aquilla Howard and were attended by members of Faith Presbyterian Church, Shiloh Baptist Church, Bethel A.M.E. Church and Zion A.M.E. Church.

One of their most memorable performances was when they played for the celebration honoring the Two Hundred and ninety-sixth anniversary of the Afro-American in this country on December 8, 1915 at St. Paul’s Hall on West Jackson Street in York. The Celebration was sponsored by the Young Men’s Progressive Club and the Young Ladies Always Ready Club, two African American organizations based at Bethel A.M.E. Church.

In addition to the lively entertainment there were several powerful speeches given throughout the event including one by Rev. Dr. J.A. Cole entitled “Will the Education of the Negro Solve the Race Problem? Dr. George Bowles spoke on the topic of “What Achievements has the African American Made in this Country”? The final talk for the event was from Professor J.I. Reed who spoke on “How Can the Negro Best Enjoy His Liberty and Freedom………….from all reports it was a joyous and uplifting affair……..The photo was submitted by my Cousin Calvin Kirkland, who is a cousin of the two Dorsey men in the photo, and was restored by me(Jeff Kirkland)……hope you enjoy it as much as I did…………


Author: jkirk

Founder and Chief Researcher for the York African American Historical Preservation Society