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

White, Perry

(died: 1877) 

Perry White was shot and killed by Cassius M. Clay on Sunday, September 30, 1877. White and his mother were former slaves. With the end of slavery, Clay had employed White's mother as a cook. He claimed that she was "robbing him of silver plate and other articles."

Clay was on his way to a Negro church near Richmond, KY, to hire another cook when he crossed paths with Perry White. According to Clay, he shot White because he had threatened Clay's life.

Clay turned himself over to the authorities; he was tried, and the jury gave the verdict of justifiable homicide. According to author K. McQueen (Cassius M. Clay: Freedom's Champion, p. 31), "The shooting of White seems to have been a turning point in Clay's mental health." Nothing more is known about Perry White.

For more see "Cassius M. Clay's ready pistol," New York Times, 10/02/1877, p. 1; Appleton's Cyclopaedia of American Biography (1888), vol. 1, by J. G. Wilson and J. Fiske [available fulltext at Google Books]; and Cassius M. Clay: "Freedom's Champion," by K. McQueen.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Madison County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Richmond, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Foxtown, Kentucky in Wikipedia.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The New York times (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Cassius M. Clay, "Freedom's Champion": the life-story of the famed Kentucky emancipationist

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“White, Perry,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 29, 2022,

Last modified: 2021-02-08 17:47:36