Wendell P. Dabney      

Guide to African American Resources
at the Cincinnati History Library and Archives




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Cincinnati History
Library and Archives

Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal










Frank A.B. Hall

Frank Alfred Butcher Hall was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi in 1870, the son of former slaves. He came to Cincinnati in 1892 and operated a lunch stand in Walnut Hills for five years until he was appointed a sub-patrolman of the Cincinnati Police Department. In 1899 he was made a patrolman and rose through the ranks until he reached the position of detective from which he retired in 1926. He was the city's first African American detective.

In 1931, Mr. Hall was elected to City Council and served a two-year term but was defeated for re-election. He was the first African American elected to Cincinnati City Council.

  Frank A.B. Hall
Frank A.B. Hall
Hall Photoprint Collection (Photo SC#14)
Cincinnati History Library and Archives
Cincinnati Museum Center
Mr. Hall was also very active in the community. He was trustee, steward and chairman of the Building Committee of the Brown Chapel AME Church. He was an ardent supporter of the freemasons. From 1925-1930, He was the Ohio State Grand Master of the Prince Hall Lodge. He was also a member of the Elks, the Universal Negro Improvement Association, the Ancient United Knights and Daughters of Africa, the Negro Civic Welfare Association, NAACP, and president of Mercy Hospital from 1922 to 1926.
Frank A.B. Hall died March 11, 1934. He was survived by his wife Elizabeth who lived to be 103, a daughter, Mabel, and a son, Arthur who was a deputy sheriff.

To learn more about Frank A.B. Hall, consult the following resources:

Hall Photoprint Collection
Photo SC#14 and unprocessed collection
Photo collection SC#14 consists of 9 photographs. The Photograph Department also has an unprocessed collection of 95 photos, donated by his daughter, Mabel Hall Davidson. The photos, which cover from the 1890s to the 1960s, include images of the Hall family and the Davidson family, mostly unidentified. Mrs. Davidson was a teacher at Wilberforce and a physical education teacher in the Cincinnati Public Schools.   View catalog record   Request slip

Sources Used for Biographical Sketch:
  • Obituary of Frank Hall and tributes from various Cincinnati dignitaries in The Crusader [newspaper], March 17, 1934. Cincinnati History Library and Archives, Cincinnati Museum Center.
  • Other newspaper obituaries, Cincinnati History Library and Archives, Cincinnati Museum Center.


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This online guide opened on February 10, 2004.