John Mercer Langston

American politician

John Mercer Langston (December 14, 1829 – November 15, 1897) was a dean at Howard University. He helped create the department of law at the university.

John Mercer Langston
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 4th district
In office
September 23, 1890 – March 3, 1891
Preceded byEdward Carrington Venable
Succeeded byJames F. Epes
United States Minister Resident to the Dominican Republic
In office
March 26, 1884 – June 23, 1885
PresidentChester A. Arthur
Grover Cleveland
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byJohn Thompson
United States Minister Resident to Haiti
In office
November 27, 1877 – June 30, 1885
PresidentRutherford B. Hayes
James A. Garfield
Chester A. Arthur
Grover Cleveland
Preceded byEbenezer Bassett
Succeeded byGeorge Washington Williams
Personal details
John Mercer Langston

(1829-12-14)December 14, 1829
Louisa, Virginia, U.S.
DiedNovember 15, 1897(1897-11-15) (aged 67)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Caroline Wall
EducationOberlin College (BA, MA)

Langston was born a free black in Virginia. His mother used to be a slave. His father was English. He was elected town clerk in Ohio. This made him the first black person to hold a public office (a job where the people vote for you). In 1888, he was elected to the U.S. Congress. He was the first black congressman from Virginia.