This is part two of a blog post series highlighting the Oakland Cemetery residents featured in the 2019 Capturing the Spirit of Oakland Halloween tours.
Henry Rucker was the seventh of 14 children born to Edward and Betsey Rucker. The family was enslaved by the King family of Athens, Georgia. Following Emancipation, Edward and Betsey moved their family to Atlanta where young Henry found work with his father as a plasterer. He invested his earnings and purchased a large house for his family and a barbershop. Rucker became one of the most influential and wealthy businessmen in the city. He was active in politics and held several local and federal offices, culminating in his appointment as the state’s Collector of Internal Revenue by President William McKinley in 1896. Henry Rucker challenged institutionalized racism as a political boss and elevated other African Americans into positions of power. He remained a leading figure in Atlanta until his death in 1924.