Josiah Walls Succeeds Against Political Headwinds

Josiah T. Walls
Josiah T. Walls

“Political conditions in Florida began to change rapidly in the early 1870s. Republican expectations of permanent control of state government quickly dissipated into a struggle for survival. Two developments forced the moderate Republican leadership to consider nominating a Negro for statewide office.

First was the increased violence and terrorist activity that swept Florida during this period, and the other was the rapid advance  made by the rising tide of Conservative votes in state elections. Past performance, unmodified by these new political currents, would have negated the chances of any black politician for higher office. Because of these currents, however, Josiah Walls was nominated and elected to the House of Representatives.”

Source: Josiah Walls: Florida’s Black Congressman of Reconstruction by Peter D. Klingman; University Press of Florida, 1976 p. 30

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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