[First Black Florida Congressman:] Papers in the Case of Jesse J. Finley vs. Josiah T. Walls. Second Congressional District of Florida.
Josiah T. Walls (1842–1905) was the first African American Congressman from Florida, and the only one, until Corrine Brown’s victory in 1992.
This lengthy text concerns the contested 1874 Congressional election in Reconstruction Florida between Walls and challenger, Jesse J. Finley (1812–1904).
The dispute is detailed in the chapter “Black against White: J.J. Finley and the 1874 Campaign” within Klingman’s Josiah Walls. Florida’s Black Congressman of Reconstruction (1976).
A Democrat, Finley successfully challenged Rep. Walls’ re-election for a second term in Congress by claiming illegal voting and vote tampering. The “crux of the contested election rested upon allegations of conspiracy and fraud in Lake City at the Colored Academy precinct.” (Klingman) Already in the second year of his term, Walls was removed from office in April 1876 by the Democrat-controlled House Committee on Elections.
The elections of 1876 saw violence against Republicans in Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida. In 1877, within a year of Rep. Walls’ removal, Reconstruction ended in Florida and federal troops were withdrawn.
OCLC records a separate entry for the State Library of Florida only. All others are digital surrogates.
Description: [First Black Florida Congressman:] Papers in the Case of Jesse J. Finley vs. Josiah T. Walls. Second Congressional District of Florida.
Washington [D.C.]: U.S. Gov’t Print. Office, 1876. 196pp., whip-stitched. 8vo. 44th Congress, 1st Session, Miscellaneous Document no. 58. Removed and without original wrappers; first leaf with small loss to margin (no loss of text); minor chipping at bottom edge of final two leaves; Very Good.
Ref. Black Americans in Congress 1870-2007 (Washington, 2008, pp88–93.