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John Mercer Langston: A Resource Guide

Always an advocate, John Mercer Langston (1829-1897) continually fought for the equality and education of Black Americans as a lawyer and politician. Learn more about Langston through selected sources including books, manuscripts, speeches, and websites.


C.M. Bell (Firm), photographer. Langston, Hon. Jno. M.. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

Born free, John Mercer Langston accomplished many firsts being an African American lawyer, politician, educator, and advocate. He became one of the few African American lawyers in the mid-1800s. Langston served as the first African American public official in the United States by being elected township clerk of Brownhelm Township, Ohio. Later, he instituted the Law Department of Howard University. While serving as the first Black congressman to represent Virginia in the U.S. House of Representatives, Langston strongly advocated against slavery and segregation.

This guide compiles digital and print resources available from the Library of Congress such as books, manuscripts, speeches, and electronic resources with additional external resources.