Fayette County’s Black Legislators


March 6, 2013 by DuboisOnMain

Christopher H. Payne of Fayette County, who served as West Virginia's first black legislator

Christopher H. Payne of Fayette County, who served as West Virginia’s first black legislator

On Feb. 16, 2013, Danny Wright — historian, Fayette County Circuit Clerk and a DuBois On Main board member — shared the history of four black legislators from Fayette County, WV, who served in the House of Delegates from 1896 to 1918. Their names were Christopher H. Payne (pictured), James Monroe Ellis, H. H. Railey, and John V. Coleman.

Below you can listen to this fascinating history. The first three African Americans elected in West Virginia came out of Fayette County, a heritage we can all be proud of. However, newspapers at the time did not even mention this historical event. Danny has worked hard to bring this history out of obscurity and we hope you enjoy his lecture.

Danny also spoke about the formation of West Virginia from Virginia after the outbreak of Civil War. Email us at DuBoisOn116Main@gmail.com if you’d like to hear that section of the lecture.

Further Reading:

Colored Schools in West Virginia by H. H. Railey

Christopher H. Payne at Encyclopedia West Virginia



One thought on “Fayette County’s Black Legislators

  1. This has been an exciting, informative joyful experience! Thanks you!

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