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

Williams, Charley H. "Banjo Dick"

(born: 1849  -  died: 1920) 

Born in Kentucky, Charley Williams moved to Arizona in 1871 as a cook and housekeeper for the L. A. Smith family, according to author Alton Hornsby in Black America: a state-by-state historical encyclopedia, v.1, p.41. Charley Williams was known as Banjo Dick, and in the 1880s, he had a mining company named the Banjo Dick Mine, located near Tucson, AZ. According to author Hornsby, the mine was thought to the be first African American owned and operated mining operation in Arizona. The mine lasted but a few years, then Charley Williams moved to Nogales, AZ, where he shined shoes and played the banjo for extra money. "His biggest engagement was that of playing at La Vennis Park, the exclusive rendezvous of the Tucson aristocrats." For more see In Steps of Esteban: Tucson's African American Heritage at the University of Arizona Library.

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Black America : a state-by-state historical encyclopedia

Related Entries Citing this Entry


Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Williams, Charley H. "Banjo Dick",” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 26, 2024,

Last modified: 2017-09-11 16:21:55