Wednesday, April 2, 2003

Ohio Moments

John Langston first black elected official


On April 2, 1855, John Mercer Langston - the first African-American in the country to be elected to public office - became clerk of Brownhelm Township, Ohio.

Langston was born free in Louisa County, Va., in 1829. His father was a white planter, and his mother was an emancipated slave who was half black and half Native American. Both died when he was 5, and he went to live with a white family in Chillicothe. He later lived in Cincinnati, where he kept company with freedmen.

He earned a bachelor's and a master's degree from Oberlin College. No law school would admit him, so he read law under Philemon Bliss of Elyria. Langston became Ohio's first black lawyer after passing the bar in 1854. He practiced in Brownhelm, where he was elected town clerk. He later served on Oberlin City Council and the Oberlin Board of Education. Langston organized black volunteers for the Union during the Civil War, and he was appointed educational inspector for the Freedman's Bureau afterward.

Langston helped organize the law department at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and he served as U.S. consul-general in Haiti for eight years. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1888. Langston died in 1897.

Rebecca Goodman

E-mail or call (513) 768-8361.

News family relieved, one of its own is safe
War prompts retirees to reflect on own service
Try Arnett for treason, senator says
Teacher concerned for ex-students
Red Cross 'buddies' available
His men's lives officer's priority
Helping kids cope with war

Monitor critical of city's progress
Monitor, Streicher at odds over pace
Chess offers children a challenge, a chance
UC names med center director
Woman killed by broken elevator
Tristate A.M. Report

BRONSON: Opening Day
KORTE: City Hall
Some Good News

2 townships advance leadership searches
Former Reading superintendent sues

House GOP offers $100M in new taxes
Ohio Moments

Judge: Fletcher free to choose
Suit claims man raped in jail cell
Hard line taken on nuisance tenants
Ex-official on trial in sex case
NKU to host 2 governor candidate forums
Courier-Journal writer dies after brief illness
Smallpox vaccinations to follow newest guidelines