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According to some reports, George Edwin Taylor was the first Black person selected by a political party to run for president.

Taylor was born in August 4, 1857 in Little, Ark. to a slave father and free mother. He eventually settled in Wisconsin, attending Wayland University in the state before moving into labor politics and working as a newspaper columnist.

Becoming a fixture of Wisconsin’s still-prominent labor movement, he relocated to Iowa and involved himself in politics while also running his weekly newspaper, The Negro Solicitor. Taylor’s prominence in political and civil rights circles became something of note when he became president of the National Colored Men’s Protective Association, and aligned with the National Negro Democratic League, an organization of Black Democratic Party members.

In November 1904, Taylor was named the presidential nominee for the National Negro Liberty Party. Also known as the National Liberty Party, it was said to be the first political party created for and by Black people.

The failed bid proved that Taylor had influence among Black independents at the turn of the century. This occurred as the GOP began focusing on the North while conservative Democrats dominated political channels in the South. Taylor moved to Jacksonville, Fla., living out the rest of his days as an organizer with the local YMCA while still dabbling in newspapers and journalism.

Taylor passed in 1925 at the age of 68.

Shirley Chisholm is the first Black presidential candidate for a major political party. In 1848, Frederick Douglass received a single vote as a presidential candidate for the Liberty Party but most view the gesture as symbolic more than anything.

PHOTO: Public Domain


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