On this day in 1884, John R. Lynch, former congressman from Mississippi was elected temporary chairman of the Republican convention and became the first black to preside over deliberations of a politcal party.
Born enslaved in Louisiana in 1847, John Roy Lynch was buried with military honors in Arlington National Cemetary in 1939. During his lifetime, this self-educated man was a photographer, veteran, lawyer, congressman and an author. As a representative, he became known this speech arguing his support for the Civil Rights Bill then under debate in Congress.
"They were faithful and true to you then; they are no less so today. And yet they ask no special favors as a class; they ask no special protection as a race. They feel that they purchased their inheritance, when upon the battlefields of this country, they watered the tree of liberty with the precious blood that flowed from their loyal veins. They ask no favors, they desire; and must have; an equal chance in the race of life."Books by John R. Lynch:
The Late Election in Mississippi. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1877.
Colored Americans: John R. Lynch's Appeal To Them. Milwaukee: Allied Printing, [1900?]
The Facts of Reconstruction. New York: The Neale Publishing Company, 1913. Reprint, edited by William C. Harris, Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1970.
The Facts of Reconstruction (New York, 1913), online
Some Historical Errors of James Ford Rhodes. Boston: The Cornhill Publishing Co., 1922.
Pittsburgh Courier, article, February 22, 1930.