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

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.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Warren County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Bowling Green, Kentucky in Wikipedia.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Shake Rag (Bowling Green, KY)
NKAA Source: All coons look alike to me (song)
NKAA Source: Ghost walks: a chronological history of blacks in show business, 1865-1910
NKAA Source: Biographical dictionary of Afro-American and African musicians
NKAA Source: Dictionary of American Negro biography

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry:  McIntosh, Tom
NKAA Entry:  Chenault, Lawrence E.

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Crowders, Reuben [Ernest Hogan],” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 28, 2022,

Last modified: 2021-05-14 16:27:24