We know that Andrew Williams was working as a "boot black" when he purchased his land. A boot black was a person who shined shoes for a living. In the nineteenth century, people of African ancestry often worked in occupations that provided personal services (i.e., shining shoes, selling and marketing goods) or as laborers.

By 1855, Williams was a cartman. Cartmen were licensed by the mayor's office and were responsible for hauling goods and merchandise around the city. Previously limited to white men, licenses had only recently become available to African Americans when Williams became a cartman. It was a step up the economic ladder.

The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church Branch Militant was an important part of Andrew Williams' life, and as a trustee he was responsible for buying and maintaining property.

He was an activist who worked with others to establish organizations that would "uplift the race." He was a member of the African Mutual Relief Society, an organization that looked out for the welfare of its dues-paying members. Such societies offered financial assistance to the survivors of deceased members, paid for funerals, and helped families when the head of the household was unemployed. Williams was also active in the suffrage movement, which fought to give African American males the right to vote.