1456422683923-1#RVA John Mitchell Jr Mitchell, John, Jr. (July 11 1863– Dec 3rd 1929) and the Richmond Planet (1883 -1996) was an African American businessman, newspaper editor, activist, and politician in Richmond, Virginia

#ArmSelfDefense : Mitchell investigated lynchings, advised blacks to arm themselves in self-defense, and editorialized against the Spanish-American war, saying it would make Cubans and Filipinos subject to the racism that dominated the South. As editor of the Richmond Planet, he frequently published articles in favor of racial equality. In 1904, he organized a black boycott of the city’s segregated trolley system.

In 1863, John Mitchell, Sr. and his wife Rebecca were living on the Lyons family estate in Henrico County, Virginia, near Richmond. The Mitchells were slaves; John was a coachman and Rebecca was a seamstress. On July 11, 1863, they had John Mitchell, Jr. Who was born a slave in Richmond, Virginia in 1863, shortly before the end of the American Civil War and of slavery. He grew up to become a civic leader and civil rights activist in Richmond’s Jackson Ward community. The neighborhood had long had free African Americans, and it became a center of the freedmen’s community after the war; it became known as the “Black Wall Street of America.” The black population in the city increased as freedmen migrated there for work and to enjoy a strong black community. In 1902 Mitchell opened the Mechanics’ Savings Bank in Richmond. Its deposits hit an all-time high of over half a million dollars in 1919. Three years after that, the bank failed.

and as a child, he helped support his parents by selling newspapers. He graduated first in his class from Richmond Normal High School. He became the editor of The Richmond Planet, (later the Richmond Afro-American). Mitchell was a brilliant man of many talents. In 1890, he was elected to the Richmond City Council,but around the turn of the century, he became cynical of politics.

He was aproponent of building Black businesses, pushing for economic and industrial development and urging Blacks to save money and buy property. He founded the Mechanics Savings Bank in 1901and would later become Grand Chancellor of the Fraternal Order of the Knights of Pythias. As a advocate of self defense soldier of social change, Mitchell led a boycott that eventually bankrupted a segregated streetcar company. Mitchell served as a delegate to two Republican conventions and ran for governor on an all-Black ticket. John Mitchell died on December. 3, 1929.

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