Famous Creoles
Rosette Rochon 
  Harold Doley
  Andre Cailloux
  Dr. Roudanez
  Francis E. Dumas
  Jean Baptiste Du Sable
  Jelly Roll Morton
  Fats Domino
  Henriette Delille
  General Beauregard
  Norbert Rillieux
  Louis Moreau Gottschalk
  Rose Nicaud
  Morris W. Morris
  Edmonde Dede
  Louis A. Snaer
  P.B.S. Pinchback
  Don Vappie
  John Audobon
  Joan Bennett
  Jean Lafitte
  Morton Downey Jr.
  Julien Hudson
  Illinois Jacquet
  Bryant C. Gumbel
  Marie Laveau
  Gilbert E. Martin
  Rudolphe Lucien Desdunes
  Ernest Morial
  Bill Picket
  Bishop Healy
  John Willis Menard
  Homer Plessy
  Ward Connerly
AP Tureaud
  Bishop Olivier
  George Herriman
  Alexander Dumas

John R Lynch

the first Non White to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives








John Roy Lynch

(September 10, 1847 - November 2, 1939)



1.......the first Non White Speaker of the House in Mississippi

2.......the first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives during Reconstruction, the period in United States history after the Civil War.



Lynch was born a slave near Vidalia, Concordia Parish, Louisiana. His father Patrick Lynch, an immigrant from Ireland, was a planter near Vidalia. His mother Catherine White was a slave. After John's birth, his father planned to move the family to New Orleans and free them. His fatal illness ended this plan.

A friend, promising to free the family, took title of John and his mother from Patrick before he died. But the friend instead sold Catherine and John to a planter in Natchez, Mississippi. They were held in slavery until 1863, after the Union Army arrived in Mississippi and President Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

After the Civil War ended in 1865, Lynch learned the photography trade and managed a successful business in Natchez. Although the total of his formal education was only four months in night school, he educated himself by reading books and newspapers. In addition, Lynch eavesdropped on class lessons in a white school.

Lynch's leadership was recognized in post-war political opportunities, as he won elections first as Justice of the Peace, and then as Mississippi State Representative.

He was only 26 when he was elected to the US Congress in 1873. There, he continued to be an activist, introducing many bills and arguing on their behalf. Perhaps his greatest effort was in the long debate supporting the Civil Rights Act of 1875 to ban discrimination in public accommodations.

The contesting of Lynch's third term election, in 1876, was typical of the political times. He was not allowed to take his seat, but he ran again in 1880. This election was also contested, and Lynch fought for a year before being seated. The next election was close, leaving him little time to campaign. Lynch lost re-election in 1882 election by only 600 votes.


Compliments: Library of Congress


In 1884 Lynch married Ella Sommerville. They had a daughter before their divorce. During the Spanish-American War of 1898, he was appointed Treasury Auditor and then Paymaster under the Republicans. In 1901, he began serving with the Regular Army with tours of duty in the United States, Cuba, and the Philippines.

Lynch retired from the Army in 1911, then married Cora Williams. They moved to Chicago, where he practiced law. He also became involved in real estate. After his death in Chicago 1939 at the age of 92, he was buried with military honors in Arlington National Cemetery. He was entitled to this as a Congressman and veteran.


Compliments: Library of Congress


Part of his famous speech on Civil Rights


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.



Lynch's writings

After the turn of the centutry, Lynch wrote a book, The Facts of Reconstruction, and several articles criticizing the then-dominant Dunning School historiography. Dunning and followers had emphasized the views of former slave owners and routinely downplayed any positive contributions of African Americans during Reconstruction, as well as suggesting they could not manage any political power.

Lynch argued that blacks had made substantial contributions during the period. The Facts of Reconstruction is freely available online,courtesy of the Gutenberg Project. Since he participated directly in Reconstruction-era governments, Lynch's book is considered a primary source in study of the period.






Questions, Comments, Dead Links? Email Webmaster
**All articles taken from selected reading materials are the sole property of the authors listed. In no way are these articles credited to this site. The material presented is only a brief presentation of writings from the publisher & producer of each article.
Copyright French Creoles of America®, All Rights Reserved