New Afrikan Edward P. McCabe was Born Oct 10 1850
Early settler of Nicodemus Clerk of Graham County in 1880
Kansas state auditor from 1883-1887
First African American to hold statewide office in a northern state
Worked to create a state for blacks in Oklahoma Territory..
Edward P. McCabe was former state auditor and was considered the most powerful man in Kansas. After he moved to Oklahoma Territory in 1890, he established the City of Langston, an all black community, and the Langston Herald newspaper. McCabe said the Territory was the “paradise of Eden and the garden of the Gods.” Until statehood, he served as deputy territorial auditor of Oklahoma and was heavily involved in early Oklahoma civil rights issues. He pushed for Oklahoma to enter the Union as a black state.
McCabe became a leading figure in an effort to stimulate a black migration into what was then the territory of Oklahoma, with the hopes of creating a majority-black state that would be free of the white domination that was prevalent throughout the Southern United States. In pursuit of this goal, McCabe founded the city of Langston, Oklahoma.
The city was founded on the idea to help stop racial persecution. It was part of a program to create more than twenty-five new “black settlements” within the Oklahoma Indian Territory.
Langston, Oklahoma is one of the few remaining all-black towns located in the former Oklahoma Territory. The town, which opened for settlement on October 22, 1890, was named for John Mercer Langston, who took office as the first black Virginian to serve in the United States House of Representatives only one month earlier.
Langston’s principal founders were William L. Eagleson, a prominent newspaper editor, Edward P. McCabe, a former Kansas state auditor, and Charles W. Robbins, a white land speculator. Eagleson and McCabe had both been ardent supporters of black migration to Oklahoma Territory and through their efforts the town’s population was settled by blacks from Kansas and several Southern states.
Taking on the role of chief promoter of Langston, McCabe encouraged only those blacks with sufficient resources to support themselves to move to the town. Through his efforts the town attracted an estimated 600 settlers by January 1891 with more blacks settling in the surrounding rural areas.
Many small businesses opened to support this burgeoning population. Among those first established were several grocery stores, saloons, blacksmith shops, barbershops, a feed store, and a newspaper, the Langston City Herald, edited by McCabe. Within two years, at least twenty-five businesses, from banks to ice cream parlors, were operating in town.
There were also several churches, Masonic orders, public and private elementary and secondary schools, a volunteer fire company, and a seventy-five member militia. Although Langston’s citizens made a tremendous effort to attract a railroad company to build through their town, they were ultimately unsuccessful in this endeavor. The absence of convenient access to the rails dealt the town an economic blow and stunted its population growth potential.
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