Most of the African Americans migrating to Arizona came from the southern states and their work experience was agriculture. In 1860 there were only 21 Blacks in Arizona and ten years later there was still only 26. Here are some more numbers that you may already have, 1880, 155; 1890, 1,357; 1900, 1,848; 1910, 2,009.
Most worked at jobs they had learned in the South, cooks, barbers, laborers, drivers, maids, table waiters and porters. Before long they branched out as cowboys, soldiers, merchants, gold prospectors, stagecoach drivers and musicians. Because of the shortage of women many, like pioneer Anglos, married Mexican women.
Bill Neal, a former Army scout, eventually hauled freight and passengers in the Tucson. In 1895, he and his young wife, Ann opened the Mountain View Hotel at Oracle in the Catalina Mountains. He ran thousands of head of cattle. There were Black gold prospectors, Ben McClendon, was the most famous of them. The Lost Ben McClendon Mine is one of Arizona’s best-known lost mines.
Booker T. Washington, during his visit in 1911 noted he was happy to see so many Blacks moving into a variety of occupations. The Home Kitchen restaurant had a Black owner. One of only three wholesale fruit merchants in the city was Black and blacks had almost a majority of barber trade.