Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Oxford African American Studies Center. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 05 August 2020

Holly, John Oliver, Jr. locked

(3 Dec. 1903–20 Dec. 1974), civil rights activist and political leader,
  • Nishani Frazier


was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. His family moved to Rhoda, Virginia during World War II and at fifteen years old he began working in a coal mine. Holly’s decision to leave school concerned his parents, who subsequently took the family to Roanoke, Virginia to ensure that he and his siblings completed their education.

At age twenty Holly followed his father to Detroit, Michigan and while there attended Cass Technical Commercial School. He obtained employment at Packard Motor Company but soon left. Holly regularly changed jobs, until his marriage to Leola Lee in 1926. The couple had two sons, Marvin and Arthur, born after the couple relocated to Cleveland, where Holly took a position for three years as a porter at Halle Brother’s Department Store. When the retail giant downsized, Holly obtained work as chauffeur and later as a shipping clerk with the Federal Sanitation Company, a chemical manufacturer.

In ...

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

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription