His mother died when he was six or seven and Randolph ended up homeless. A half-sister took him in but didn't care for him, and let him beg on the street for the cost of his upkeep.
At 15, he started working on ships to support himself and traveled widely throughout Europe and as far as Persia. It is believed that he was introduced to occultists in England and Paris, France.
He returned to America when he was in his twenties and started to make his living as a speaker and writer. He wrote more than 50 books on medicine, magic and spiritualism.
As a spiritualist, he spoke out against slavery and after the war he worked for literacy for the formerly enslaved. He is credited for being the first to promote a system of occult beliefs and practices (the magic mirror, hashish use and sexual magic) that had been unfamiliar to Americans.
Randolph eventually founded the Fraternitas Rosae Crucis, the oldest Rosicrucian organization in the United States.
Randolph died at 49 under mysterious circumstances. Did Randolph die from a self-inflicted wound to the head as a contemporary news story reported or had he been killed by a fellow Fraternitas member accidentally?
Mixed Experience History Month is the annual blog post series created by writer Heidi Durrowcelebrating the history of the Mixed experience. Established in 2007, Mixed Experience History Month is an effort to highlight the long history of folks involved in the Mixed experience. Please look for more profiles of people, places and events of the Mixed experience every weekday of May at Lightskinned-ed Girl, the blog! Thanks for reading. And check out some of the previous year's profiles: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011.