Rosborough, J. T. (1907–1964)

By: Peggy Hardman

Type: Biography

Published: June 1, 1995

Updated: January 26, 2019

J. T. Rosborough, political and civil-rights activist, was born on September 19, 1907, to Willie and Lula (Robinson) Rosborough in Harleton, Texas. Upon graduation from Central High School in Marshall he married a classmate, Sallie Mae Harris, who became a teacher in Marshall. They had three children. After briefly attending Wiley College, Rosborough returned to Marshall to establish a dry-cleaning business. He served as a volunteer Boy Scout leader until his death, at which time he held the position of troop committeeman. Rosborough and William McMillan founded the Progressive Voters League of Marshall. When McMillan left to assume the presidency of Rusk College, Rosborough became the league's president, a position he held until he died. Rosborough was the second black to be elected to the Democratic state convention from Harrison County. He toured Marshall and nearby counties explaining the importance of voting and teaching the operation of voting machines to first-time voters. Just before he died he became active in the gubernatorial campaign of John Connally. Rosborough was a member of the NAACP, for which he was involved in fund-raising and membership campaigns. He also worked successfully to integrate the Marshall Little League. He was president of the Knights of the Round Table in Marshall and worshipful master of the St. John chapter of the Masonic Lodge. He was devoted to his church, Ebenezer Methodist, where he served on the board of stewards and participated in the Men's Bible Class. Rosborough died on May 31, 1964. Governor Connally and Representative Wright Patman were among the numerous individuals who sent condolences and praised Rosborough's lifelong service to community and country.

Effie Kaye Adams, Tall Black Texans: Men of Courage (Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall-Hunt, 1972).

  • Peoples
  • African Americans
  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Activists
  • Civic Leaders

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

Peggy Hardman, “Rosborough, J. T.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 26, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 1, 1995
January 26, 2019

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