Crowders, Reuben [Ernest Hogan](born: April 17, 1860 - died: May 20, 1909)
Born in Bowling Green, KY, in the Shake Rag District, Reuben Crowders became known as Ernest Hogan, comedian, actor, dancer, songwriter,and playwright. Crowders composed many songs, including the controversial song All Coons Look Alike to Me. He introduced the pasmala dance in the 1890s and was regarded as an exceptional dancer and the best dancing comedian. He produced Rufus Rastus in 1905, and The Oyster Man in 1907. Crowders was an actor in both productions; he was a leading actor of his time. He became ill during the run of The Oyster Man and later died of tuberculosis; he is buried in Bowling Green, KY. His last name is also spelled Crowder or Crowdus in various sources. A documented chronology of Crowders' career is included in The Ghost Walks, by H. T. Sampson.
For more see African Americans in California Sheet Music; The First Rock and Roll Record; Biographical Dictionary of Afro-American and African Musicians, by E. Southern; and Dictionary of American Negro Biography, by R. W. Logan & M. R. Winston. View Ernest Hogan - The Father of Ragtime hosted by Andy Stahl, a Kentucky Blues History Corner video by the Kentucky Blues Society on YouTube.
In 2009, a historical marker was erected for Ernest Hogan at the L&N Depot in Bowling Green [see Ernest Hogan by Christopher Beebout, an Explore Kentucky History webpage]. There are Ernest Hogan research materials housed at the Western Kentucky University Special Collections Library, and in libraries in other states.