John Mercer Langston Birthplace

John Mercer Langston Birthplace

John Mercer Langston was born 5.5 miles N.W. of here on 14 Dec. 1829, son of plantation owner Ralph Quarles and his former slave Lucy Langston. A graduate of Oberlin College (1849), in 1855 Langston became township clerk of Brownhelm, Ohio--the first African American popularly elected to office. During the Civil War, he recruited regiments for the Union army. Afterward, he was founder and first dean of the Law Department of Howard University, served as minister resident in Haiti and chargé d'affaires in Santo Domingo, and was first president of what is now Virginia State University. In 1888 he became the first black congressman elected from Virginia. He died on 15 Nov. 1897 in Washington, D.C.

Marker: W-222, Virginia Department of Historic Resources (1995)

  • <p>Photograph shows John Mercer Langston (1829-1897), who was an abolitionist, first dean of the law school at Howard University and U.S. Representative from Virginia.</p>


West Main St at Courthouse Sq, Louisa, VA 23093

Joe Minor as John Langston

  • Joe Minor Performs an Excerpt from John Langston's Autobiography, “From the Virginia Plantation to the National Capitol.”