Abolitionist Career of John Willis Menard

Phillip W. Magness

This lecture explores the life of the pioneering African-American abolitionist John Willis Menard. Though little-known today, Menard participated in two of the great liberating moments of the 19th century: the end of slavery in the United States and the Morant Bay Rebellion in Jamaica. He holds the distinction of being the first African-American to win an election to the United States Congress after campaigning for a seat from Louisiana shortly after the end of the Civil War, although he was refused his seat on account of his race. Later in life Menard achieved distinction as a newspaper publisher and author of the book of poetry, “Lays in Summer Lands.”

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