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Prominent black political leader dies

March
03
1898

On this day in 1898, Norris Wright Cuney, politician, died in San Antonio. Born to a white planter father, Philip Minor Cuney, and a slave mother, Adeline Stuart, in 1846 near Hempstead, Texas, Cuney was educated in Pennsylvania. After the Civil War Cuney studied law and was appointed president of the Galveston Union League in 1871. In 1873 he was appointed secretary of the Republican State Executive Committee. Over the next twenty-odd years he held a number of important positions in the Republican Party. In 1886 he became Texas national committeeman of the Republican party, the most important political position given to a southern black man in the nineteenth century. One historian of the Republican party in Texas characterizes the period between 1884 and 1896 as the "Cuney Era." Among his achievements was the organization of the Screwmen's Benevolent Association and he was a supporter of the black state college at Prairie View (now Prairie View A&M University). Maud Cuney-Hare, the noted musicologist, was his daughter.

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