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John Mercer Langston and the Fight for Black Freedom

By William Cheek and Aimee Lee Cheek

Although Langston, who died in 1897, was a black Politician, orator, lawyer, intellectual, diplomat, and congressman, he has never before been accorded fullscale biographical treatment. Born free on a Virginia plantation, Langston graduated from Oberlin College in 1849, gained admission to the Ohio bar, and by the age of twenty-five, became the first black American to hold elective office. Still in the years of his political apprenticeship, he promoted black civil rights, helped shape the nascent Republican party, aided in the Oberlin-Wellington Rescue and John Brown's raid, and recruited black soldier for the Union cause. In 1864 he became the first president of the National Equal Rights League.

From an extensive search of primary sources, the authors construct a richly textured picture of the beginnings of Langston's career as a national black leader. More than a biography, the work also incorporates social and political history. Embedded firmly in a study of northern black community life and activism, it reveals the degree to which Langston and his cohorts set the terms of the fight for freedom and citizenship.

Price: $22.99
Member Price: $20.69

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