Edward Park Duplex became the first Black man elected as mayor of a U.S. city in the west on April 11, 1888. It capped an incredible journey for the Connecticut native, who went on to establish himself as a businessman in Northern California before becoming the mayor of the small town of Wheatland.
Duplex was born May 13, 1831 in New Haven, Conn. He and his brothers became skilled barbers in their hometown but moved west in the early 1850s in search of Gold Rush riches. Duplex settled in Marysville, Calif., where he married his wife Sophie and began a family. For two decades, the family lived in Marysville, with Duplex forging strong bonds in the business and political communities.
After moving his family to Wheatland, which is situated near Sacramento, he began a booming hair care and barbering business. Duplex passed in 1990 but his original shop still stands in Wheatland’s Main Street district.