In 1868 John W Menard was the first black elected to Congress. He was awarded his full salary but never seated.
Menard went on to become a state legislator for Florida and to hold a number of civil service positions. Menard began various news publications throughout the course of his life that advocated for African American rights. Menard was also a poet; he wrote and published Lays in Summer Lands. Menard made many contributions as an activist, politician, writer, and publisher.
“Every dollar spent, every drop of blood shed and every life lost, was a willing sacrifice for the furtherance and perpetuity of a white nationality. Sir, the inherent principle of the white majority of this nation is to refuse forever republican equality to the black minority. A government, then, founded upon heterogeneous masses in North America would prove destructive to the best interest of the white and black races within its limits.”
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