John Roy Lynch

John Roy Lynch portrait
Portrait by Betsy Creekmore

John Roy Lynch (Adams County)

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

Weekly Mississippi Pilot, May 21, 1870
Weekly Mississippi Pilot, May 21, 1870
Hinds County Gazette, June 7, 1871
Macon Beacon, July 22, 1871
Vicksburg Daily Times, January 10, 1872
Natchez Democrat, August 24, 1872
New National Era, February 27, 1873
New National Era, May 1, 1873
Vicksburg Herald, October 14, 1874
Vicksburg Herald, October 14, 1874
Clarion-Ledger, March 4, 1875
Weekly Louisianian, January 22, 1881
Saint Paul Globe, June 2, 1884
Weekly Commercial Herald, Sep 25, 1885
Atlanta Constitution, October 9, 1885
Daily State Ledger, October 27, 1892
Daily State Ledger, October 27, 1892
Daily State Ledger, October 28, 1892
Richmond Planet, November 23, 1895
Clarion-Ledger, July 3, 1896
Clarion-Ledger, December 18, 1896
Weekly Clarion Ledger, February 2, 1899
Clarion-Ledger, April 27, 1900
Clarion-Ledger, April 27, 1900
Clarion-Ledger, November 23, 1986
Clarion-Ledger, May 3, 2006
Headstone of John Roy Lynch
Headstone of John Roy Lynch, June 26, 2022
Headstone of Cora Lynch
Headstone of Cora Lynch, June 26, 2022