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date: 20 September 2020

Currin, Green Jacob locked

ca. 1847–after 1915 African American pioneer civil rights advocate who was the only black to serve in the territorial legislature of Oklahoma.
  • Kenneth Wiggins Porter


Born in Tennessee, Jacob Green Currin (or Curran) went to Kansas about 1877. He was part of the great Exoduster movement of Southern blacks emigrating North in search of freedom and opportunity. By 1883 he was living in Topeka, Kansas, where in 1885 he was a member of the police department. In 1888 he was the Republican nominee for police judge, but despite the city's Republican majority of 1,500, he and two other black Republican candidates were defeated.

This defeat seems to have turned Currin's thoughts from Kansas to Oklahoma. He participated in the great land rush of April 22, 1889, and was successful in obtaining a claim in Kingfisher County. In July he was elected vice president of the Oklahoma Immigration Association of Topeka, which supported the plans of Republican politician and prospector E. P. McCabe for black colonization of the Cherokee Strip an area ...

A version of this article originally appeared in Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience.

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