Born a slave on Rocheland Plantation, was owned by David Harrison. His father, Washington Bullen, was a Harrison slave, but Claiborne continued in that estate only a few years, for he was born in 1860. He went to school in a barn and was taught by a Miss Day, a white woman, during Reconstruction Days. He finally attended Rust College at Holly Springs; his father paid his expenses the first two years, but he worked his way through the last two. On his way back to school the third term he didn’t have money enough to pay his fare all the way to Holly Springs, so the conductor put him off the train and he walked the rest of the way. After reaching there he secured work with a white family and they permitted him to continue his studies at Rust.
After finishing at Rust he returned to Fayette and taught a small school for negroes. He was then nineteen years of age. Later he received his masters degree from a Chicago University, and taught English at Alcorn College, a state agricultural mechanical college for negroes in Claiborne County for fourteen years. After leaving Alcorn, and teaching in West Point, in a negro Baptist college, he returned to Fayette, his home, and was elected principal of the Fayette Negro High School in 1918 to succeed Howard, who died that year. This position he held until his death in 1934. In 1880, he married Lucy Brown, of Fayette, and to this union were born five children, now living in Fayette. Leola Bullen, wife of Claiborne Bullen, Jr., is now teaching in the Fayette negro school. There were four generations of the Bullen family who used the name Claiborne, a thing seldom done among negroes. In 1916 he married Alice Kemp, of Tensas Parish, Louisiana.
Contributed by: Ann Allen Geoghegan from data gathered at the American Memory Project Webmaster’s note: This article was not dated but would have been from sometime around the late 1930’s.
|Webmaster’s note: This article was not dated but would have been from sometime around the late 1930’s.