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
John Mercer Langston - Brady-Handy.jpg
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.