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date: 03 April 2020

Randolph, Paschal Beverly locked

(10 Aug. 1825–29 July 1875),
  • John Patrick Deveney

Extract

visionary, spiritualist, Rosicrucian, sex magician, reformer, teacher, and novelist, was born to Flora Clark, a single mother, and grew up in the notorious Five Points section of New York City. His mother, he later claimed, was a descendent of the queen of Madagascar, and his father a scion of the Randolph family of Virginia, signers of the Declaration of Independence and descendants of Pocahontas, but the truth was probably more prosaic. His father was either William Randon or William B. Randolph, neither scions of the Randolphs nor married to his mother. When circumstances demanded it and when it suited his purposes, Randolph denied that “a drop of continental African, or pure negro blood” ran in his veins—“not that it were a disgrace,” he added (Randolph, Curious Life 4 18 At the same time however when he was what he called ...

A version of this article originally appeared in African American National Biography.

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