From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Atkins, Charles "Speedy"

(born: 1875  -  died: 1928) He was known as "Speedy" because he was a very fast tobacco worker. He has also been referred to as Henry Atkins in print publications. His grave marker reads Charles Atkins, 1875-1928. Atkins had moved to Paducah, Kentucky, from Tennessee, and one day while fishing he drowned in the Ohio River. His body was turned over to African American funeral home director A. Z. Hamock, who prepared Atkins' body with an experimental super-preservative. The experiment left Atkins body mummified. Pleased with the results, Hamock put the mummified Atkins on display. It was not until 1994 that Atkins was finally buried in Maplelawn Cemetery in Paducah. Numerous television programs and newspapers around the country have highlighted the story of Speedy Atkins. For more see Charles Atkins at Find A Grave.

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Atkins, Charles "Speedy",” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 3, 2020,

Last modified: 2018-08-21 19:26:54