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Wolridge, Rufus

September 20th, 1902 - October 21st, 1987

Self-employed, Laborer (Oil Seed Mill)

Wolridge, Rufus

Rufus Wolridge from Lexington (Lee County) was born in 1902 and self-employed 39 years later. After that, he worked in an oil seed mill. Census records show that he did not grow up surrounded by Germans like other black German speakers in Lee County. And yet, the former mayor of Lexington, W. O. Exner, vividly remembers conversing with him in German. Wolridge is described as "the town clown." The picture Mayor Exner later found shows Wolridge driving a carriage at a county festival in 1965. The story of how he acquired German is about as obscure as the rest of his life. One thing about Wolridge stands out, however: it appears that in Lexington, Afro-Germans were part of the community as a matter of course without too many questions being asked about their background. The mayor after W. O. Exner, Robert Willrich, was also an Afro-German from Lee County.

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