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LONG, RALPH

LONG, RALPH (1843–1921). Ralph (Rafe) Long, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1868–69, was born in Tennessee in December 1843, probably the son of a white father and a black mother. The family of Davis M'Gee Prendergast reportedly took Long to Limestone County around 1846. Long was elected to the convention by voters from Limestone, Navarro, and Hill counties. He was one of nine black delegates in attendance. He voted for a proposal that would have divided Texas into more than one state, unsuccessfully proposed a resolution that voided debts incurred with Confederate currency or that resulted from the purchase of slaves, and supported measures that would have prevented voter fraud and intimidation. Delegates approved Long's resolution prohibiting firearms in the convention meeting hall. Long engaged in a brawl with another black delegate, Wiley Johnson, apparently because Johnson described Long as a "rebel." The convention refused to punish either participant. Long opposed the document drafted by the convention and signed a petition prepared by Edmund J. Davis, the convention's president and leader of the Radical Republicans. Davis and other radicals believed that the new constitution neither disfranchised former Confederates nor repudiated acts of the state's former Confederate government. Long engaged in land speculation during much of his life, worked as a farmer, and remained active in local Republican party politics after the constitutional convention, when he reportedly delivered political speeches from the bed of a wagon. Kate Long High School in Springfield was named for his wife. The couple were the parents of an adopted daughter. Long died on June 6, 1921.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

J. Mason Brewer, Negro Legislators of Texas and Their Descendants (Dallas: Mathis, 1935; 2d ed., Austin: Jenkins, 1970). Doris Hollis Pemberton, Juneteenth at Comanche Crossing (Austin: Eakin Press, 1983). Merline Pitre, Through Many Dangers, Toils and Snares: The Black Leadership of Texas, 1868–1900 (Austin: Eakin, 1985).

Paul M. Lucko

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Paul M. Lucko, "LONG, RALPH," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/flo73), accessed August 23, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.