African American “Fruits of the Ballot” During the Reconstruction Era

0 Posted by - August 4, 2017 - BLACK POLITICS, RECONSTRUCTION

During the Reconstruction era, African Americans were elected to a number of high political offices in the South. In Little Rock, Arkansas, Mifflin W. Gibbs was elected as the first African American municipal judge in the United States, with the electorate being majority white.

Louisiana had a total of three African American lieutenant-governors during this time: C.C Antoine, P.B.S. Pinchback, and Oscar J. Dunn. Pinchback later became acting governor of the state after the removal of the white incumbent. Pinchback was also elected to the United States Senate; however, he was never seated.

Johnathan Gibbs, a graduate of Dartmouth, was Secretary of State in Florida and he later held the position of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Mississippi could not be left out of African American high office holders. In 1872, John R. Lynch became the Speaker of the House and in 1873, A.K. Davis was Lieutenant-Governor, James Hill was Secretary of State.

There were many Black conventions held throughout the North and the South. During these conventions, African American citizens were encouraged to participate in politics. In the North, two days after the passage of the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery, John H. Rock was the first Black lawyer to be admitted before the U.S. Supreme Court.


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