Politics and Politicians.
- Michael O. Adams
In the 1890s blacks were disfranchised, and black leaders geared their activities toward a more participatory and involved role in politics for African Americans. After the Mississippi Plan was approved on 1 November 1875, a number of states used a variety of devices, such as the so-called understanding tests, to assess blacks’ eligibility to vote. Literacy tests and ownership of property were prerequisites for voting. African Americans coming out of slavery could rarely meet these criteria.
Between 1897 and 1901George Henry White, a Republican from North Carolina, was the only African American serving in Congress; following the end of his term there were no African Americans in Congress for twenty-eight years. The next African American congressman was Oscar De Priest, who was elected to represent one of the new black districts in Chicago in 1928 It was another forty four years before an African American ...
A version of this article originally appeared in The Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present.