John Roy Lynch (Adams County)


Portrait of John Roy Lynch in Mississippi's Old Capitol

U.S. House of Representatives: 1873-1877, 1882-1883
Speaker of the Mississippi House: 1872-1873
State House: 1870-1873

Birth: September 10, 1847 in Vidalia, LA
Death: November 2, 1939 in Chicago, IL

Born into slavery in Louisiana, the son of Irish planter Patrick Lynch, Lynch was a lawyer, photographer, plantation owner, and writer. His book, The Facts of Reconstruction (1913), is available for free on Project Gutenburg. His older brother, William H. Lynch, also served in the state house and was active in local business and politics.

Because Lynch is already well-researched and well-documented, I have spent less time on him than other legislators on this site.

"I am treated, not as an American citizen, but as a brute. Forced to occupy a filthy smoking-car both night and day, with drunkards, gamblers, and criminals; and for what? Not that I am unable or unwilling to pay my way; not that I am obnoxious in my personal appearance or disrespectful in my conduct; but simply because I happen to be of a darker complexion... Mr. Speaker, if this unjust discrimination is to be longer tolerated by the American people, which I do not, cannot, and will not believe until I am forced to do so, then I can only say with sorrow and regret that our boasted civilization is a fraud; our republican institutions a failure; our social system a disgrace; and our religion a complete hypocrisy."
(John R. Lynch, speech on civil rights, quoted in Annjennette Sophie McFarlin, Black Congressional Reconstruction Orators and Their Orations, 1869-1879, 1976)

Wikipedia entry on John R. Lynch
Memorial on Find A Grave