Iowa History Daily: On November 8, 1904, voters headed to the polls to vote with a new choice: George Taylor of Oskaloosa, Iowa, represented the first African-American man to run for President of the United States. Although Taylor didn’t win, his run represents an important first in America’s history.
Born free in Little Rock, Arkansas, in the decade before the American Civil War, spent most of his childhood in Illinois and Wisconsin. Working as a journalist in La Crosse during the 1880s, Taylor moved to Oskaloosa, Iowa, to open a weekly newspaper in 1891 with hopes of appealing to the nearby African-American population in Buxton and other area coal mining towns.
The following year, Taylor started the National Colored Men’s Protection League, and his work started to gain national attention. Gaining a national reputation as someone committed to advancing Black rights, Taylor proved ready to run as a third party candidate for President of the United States in 1904.
Running with promises from other like-minded individuals that over 300 stump speakers would help 6,000 candidates for local offices around the country, Taylor found disappointment when the promised support failed to materialize. In an election where the incumbent Teddy Roosevelt carried the day, Taylor finished sixth and captured roughly 1,000 total votes. However, Taylor’s run represents an important movement toward a more equal America. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar