John Mercer Langston photograph   Save
Ohio History Connection
Description: Photograph of John Mercer Langston (1829-1897), an African American lawyer, congressman, and university official from Virginia and Ohio. Langston was born in 1829 in Virginia, the son of a wealthy white planter and an emancipated slave. His parents died in 1834, leaving Langston a sizeable inheritance. He moved to Ohio, living first in Marietta, and then in Cincinnati before attending Oberlin College, graduating in 1849. Although he was prohibited from attending law school because of his race, Langston read law and became the first African American lawyer in Ohio, passing the bar in 1854. He settled in Brownhelm, Ohio, where he was elected town clerk in 1855, becoming one of the country's first African American elected officials. Not long after, he moved to Oberlin, where he served on city council and the board of education. During his long career Langston explored many interests, including law, politics, public service, and education. He was a leader in the anti-slavery and African American rights movements, and was also sympathetic to the temperance and women's rights causes. During the Civil War he helped recruit African Americans to serve in Ohio regiments. He died in 1897. View on Ohio Memory.
Image ID: AL05836
Subjects: Langston, John Mercer, 1829-1897; African American Ohioans; Lawyers; Elected officials; Civil War; Education; Underground Railroad--Ohio; Abolitionists
Places: Brownhelm (Ohio); Oberlin (Ohio); Lorain County (Ohio)