Related archival collection: James and Ethel Lucus papers, circa 1902-1990, bulk 1910-1960, measures .53 linear feet and documents the personal and professional lives of James William Lucus and Ethel Minns Lucus. The collection is comprised of photographs, correspondence, postcards, newspaper clippings, diplomas, awards, pamphlets, leaflets, programs, and vital statistics records. Contact the Archivist for more information.
James William Lucus (1895-1986) was born in Abbeville, Georgia and raised in Fitzgerald, Georgia. He received his high school diploma in 1915 at Tuskegee Institute from the late Booker T. Washington, then principal. In 1918 he joined the United States Army Corps of Engineers. After serving in World War I, he went on to study engineering at the Lewis Institute. Finding it difficult to find a professional job as a black engineer, Lucus earned a teaching certificate and a bachelors degree at the University of Chicago. He taught engineering and physics at Dusable High School, in Chicago, for 26 years. He was active in the Chicago West Side NAACP chapter and various community organizations, including serving as vice president of the Physics Club of Chicago. In 1926, Mr. Lucus married Ethel Minns (1904 – 1990), who worked in the performing arts.
Hildred Lucus McCurtis is the daughter of James William Lucus, and Meridith McCurtis is the granddaughter of James William Lucus.
James and Ethel Lucus papers, Anacostia Community Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution, gift of Meridith McCurtis and Hildred Lucus McCurtis.
African American engineers
African American soldiers
African American teachers
United States. Army. Corps of Engineers
World War, 1914-1918
Permanent Collection, Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum