March 04, 2023
African American Politicians / African Americans / Blacks In Politics pt . 7 Internet Vol – 7 Jefferson Long
Jefferson Long (1836-1900)
U.S. Congressman from Georgia
When Jefferson Long took his seat in Congress in 1870, he became the first Black to be elected to the United States House of Representatives. The day he was elected, it was said that white Georgians killed seven Blacks and chased Long to a courthouse where he remained until friends sneaked him to an uncompleted sewer.
Jefferson Long’s first speech in Congress was devoted to ways and means of protecting Blacks who were qualified to vote, but who were unjustly prevented from voting by reconstructed whites. The disheartening experience of Long’s election made such an impression on him that he declined to stand for re-election, but he did retain an active interest in Republican politics. In 1880 he attended the Republican National Convention which met in Chicago and nominated James A. Garfield for President.
Upon the completion of his term in Congress, Long returned to his tailoring business in Macon, Georgia. His early training was typical of many other Black Congressmen who followed him. He was largely self-educated, learning to read and write the best way he could. Born in Crawford County, Georgia, Long worked at a variety of odd jobs and occupations until he decided to open a tailoring business in Macon. This prospered and left him time and money for politics. Years after Long left Congress, Republican politicians, Black and white would seek him for advice, which he dispensed freely.
Soultic Magazine salutes Jefferson Long for his bravery and unwavering dedication to equality. Public knowledge article AP Source.