His daughter is Janice Inman-Joseph.
The People's Weekly World of May 20 2000, carried a May Day Supplement. On page B, San Antonio activists paid tribute to contributors to the "worker's cause" Emma Tenayuca (1916-1999), John Inman (1896-1996), Manuela Soliz Sager (1911-1996), James Sager (1902-1979), Luisa Moreno (1906-1992).
Born in 1896 to a farmer and his wife in a settlement of some 12 to 15 African-American families southeast of San Antonio, Inman cut hair while getting his degree at Guadalupe Seminary College in Seguin. He went on to use that degree to teach from behind the chair rather than inside the pulpit. During WWII Inman was kicked off of Kelly Air Force Base where he was living and had his first barbershop. Later, Inman opened his shop on Hackberry during the 1920’s and it was soon the spot where you could find information on issues affecting the African-American community. As A.C. Sutton once said, “Anything that looked like a movement, he would be a part of.” At the Hackberry St. Shop nearly all his income came from within the African-American community and he was free from sanctions from the white community for his activism.
In 1928, Inman was elected president of the local NAACP. Over the years, he organized Eastside residents to sign up for the poll tax and to petition City Hall for more fire hydrants on the Eastside. When pecan workers organized for better wages and working conditions during the Depression, Inman encouraged them to use his shop as a meeting place. He also actively pushed African-Americans to patronize businesses that did not racially discriminate. In interviews before his death at 100, John Inman recalled the rocky years of 60’s when he participated in restaurant sit-ins in San Antonio. He once said, “The harder they fought me the harder I fought back. I was never afraid of risking my life for the cause of justice and freedom.
"Free Angela Davis"
Rev. Claude Black was very active over the years, in San Antonio, helping to radicalize many. His influence helped to bring together a multi-ethnic coalition of individuals attempting to free black activist Angela Davis, including executing a local petition campaign signed by black State Representative G.J. Sutton, and local activists Franklin Garcia, Rosie Castro, Albert Pena, Jr., John Inman, and others.
People’s World, June 12, 1971, covered the meeting “!,500 in San Antonio at Free Angela meeting."
“San Antonio, Texas—The first mass rally and dance for Angela Davis in the Southwest was a smashing success here May 23 as some 1,500 persons attended.
“David Poindexter, main speaker of the evening, termed the rally and dance the most successful he had yet seen.
“First speaker for the evening, Rev. C. W. Black, Jr., pastor of the Mt Zion First Baptist Church, was followed by Franklin Garcia, international representative of the Amalgamated Meatcutters and Butcher Workmen’s Union.
“Seated on the platform were Carlos Richardson, Texas co-ordinator of Student Nonviolent Co-ordinating Committee and chairman of the San Antonio Committee to Free Angela Davis; Raul Rodriguez, publisher of Chicano Times, and Rosie Castro, both candidates for City Council; G.J. Sutton and John Inman, black community leaders; John Stanford, Communist party spokesman; Mario Cantu, Chicano businessman; Mrs Manuela Sager, and David Plylar.
“Poindexter dealt with the August 7 shoot-out at the Marin County Courthouse, used as the excuse for Angela Davis’ subsequent imprisonment. He said Davis ‘didn’t know about Jonathan Jackson’s attempt; didn’t give Jonathan any guns; and had she known, she would have stopped Jonathan. Angela knew that the only defense we have is organizing people.’
A memo in the FBI file of Rev. Claude Black, referred to a note in the file from 1956, the author of which was not identified:
"It is not believed that Reverend Claude W. Black is a Communist Party member or sympathizer. He is a well-known champion of Negro rights. He is the pastor of the Mt. Zion First Baptist Church. He is a friend of John Inman and has worked with him on occasion; however, it is believed that Black's interest is in the rights of the Negro people."
That jibes with the recollection of Taj Matthews, Black's grandson. Matthews said Tuesday that Black once told him Inman, a well-known East Side barber who died in 1996, was a communist, but that he was not to tell anyone.
- Beyond the Alamo Neighborhood Discovery Tours Guidebook copy: East Side / Ellis Alley © 2002
- [ http://www.aframnews.com/html/2006-09-13/lead3.htm African-American news and issues, Veteran of the Civil Rights Movement Turns 90 This Year, 2006/09/13]
- My SanAntonio, FBI file on Rev. Black is chapter in city's history, BY JOSEPH S. STROUD : OCTOBER 5, 2010