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John Mitchell Jr.
John Mitchell Jr. was born on this date in 1863. He was a Black journalist, activist, and politician.
He was born in Richmond, VA, 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 a proponent 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 1901 and would later become Grand Chancellor of the Fraternal Order of the Knights of Pythias. As a nonviolent 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.
The Encyclopedia of African American Heritage
by Susan Altman
Copyright 1997, Facts on File, Inc. New York