CW Gray: African American Funeral Director

CW Gray
(1875 – 1942)

Read all about an African American Funeral Director, CW Gray in the article titled CW Gray: Alexandria’s Early 20th Century Funeral Director. The article is in the Alexandria Gazette Packet Newspaper dated July 19 -25, 2018 on page 12. You can get the paper online at

Alexandria Own Three-time Baseball Hall of Famer

Behind the Alexandria Gazette story on Leon Day dated July 5, 2018.

Combing through the cemeteries in Baltimore, Maryland, I came across a grave with a large flat headstone at the Arbutus Memorial Park Cemetery in Baltimore. This grave belonged to Leon Day who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Prior to finding Leon’s grave, I did not know who he was. I decided to research Leon and behold, I found that he was a native Alexandrian.

I asked several old timers in Alexandria about Leon Day; they were aware of Leon’s baseball abilities, but they did not know that he was one of their own native Alexandrians.

Leon’s parents were Ellis Day and Hattie Lee. Ellis was adopted by James Washington and Susie (Susan) Washington in Alexandria. On 14 April 1864, James Washington married Susan Johnson in Alexandria, Virginia. In 1900, Ellis Day lived in the Washington’s household at 512 North Royal Street. By 1906, Leon was married to Hattie Lee. They were living in Baltimore, Maryland in 1920. In their household were their children Ellis Day age 13, William H. Day age 10, Ida M. Day age 5, Leon Day age 3, Robert Day an infant. Also Ellis’ step-daughter Marian Lee age 20 and his sister-in-law, Eva Lee age 20 lived in the household.

A copy of Leon Day’s birth certificate was obtained to verify whether he was born in Alexandria. He was born in Alexandria on 30 October 1916. His birth certificate is showed.

Leon Day’s 1916 Birth Certificate

Leon’s first wife was Helen Johnson. She travel with Leon when he played in Puerto Rico, South American and in Canada. He was on the Passenger and Crew List of 1936 on the Vessel Coamo which arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico. On the 1940 Puerto Rico’s census, Leon and his first wife, Helen lived in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. Leon was listed as a Professional Baseball player.

After the death of Helen, Leon married Geraldine Ingram. Leon was born in 1916 and his second wife, Geraldine was born in 1953. Geraldine loved baseball as much as Leon. After his death, she continued to represent him at all the local baseball games and she attended two of his Hall of Fame ceremonies; these ceremonies were The National Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York and the Negro League Hall of Fame. On 6 April 2005, Geraldine died ten years after Leon.

You can read the Alexandria Gazette’s July 5, 2018, article on page 13 at

%d bloggers like this: