Virginia Craft Rose

Dates Alive: 1913-2011

Family: Fossett, Hemings, Hern

Location (at interview): Oakland, CA

Virginia Rose was the daughter of Elizabeth Letitia (Bessie) Trotter and Henry Kempton Craft, a Harvard graduate, electrical engineer, teacher, and YMCA executive.  He was the grandson of William and Ellen Craft, famous for their daring escape from slavery in 1848.  Bessie Trotter, who attended the New England Conservatory of Music, was the sister of the prominent civil rights leader William Monroe Trotter.

Virginia Rose attended the University of Pittsburgh, graduated from Barnard College, and did graduate work at Western Reserve University.  She married Joshua Rose in 1934 and they moved to California, where he headed the Oakland branch of the YMCA.  She passed her pride in her Trotter and Craft heritage along to their three children, who shared memories of cross-country car trips to keep up with their East Coast roots.  Only late in life did Mrs. Rose begin to “ponder” her connection to the Fossetts of Monticello.  As she said in 2006, “You don’t know who you are until you know where you came from.”


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Interview Information

15 July 2006, Oakland, CA
Interviewee: Virginia Craft Rose
Also present: Richard Rose, Virginia Rose Niles, Mary Ellen Butler, Donald Butler, Stephanie Perry, Allegra Aldridge