John Mercer Langston was born on December 14, 1829 in Louisa County, Virginia to a white slave master and an emancipated slave.
Langston moved to Cincinnati and attended Oberlin College, where he earned a master’s degree in Theology. Because of discrimination Langston was not accepted into law school, so he studied privately in Elyria, Ohio and passed the bar exam in 1854, becomng the first African-American lawyer in the state.
Langston established a law practice in Brownhelm, Ohio, where he was also elected town clerk in 1854— making him the first African American to hold elected office within the United States. In 1888, Langston won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, becoming the first African American to win a congressional election in the state of Virginia.
Langston served in Congress from September 23, 1890, to March 3, 1891. He is also the great uncle of Harlem Renaissance writer Langston Hughes.
Source: Bio.com | Image via Google