Washington, James H. (1850–1916)

By: Nolan Thompson

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: September 29, 2020

James H. Washington, Black legislator and politician during Reconstruction, was born at Fredericksburg, Virginia, in May 1850. He attended school at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, and, after graduation, lived with his mother, three sisters, and brother in Washington, D.C. In the early 1870s Washington moved to Texas and settled in Navasota, where he served as principal of the city school for Blacks. At the Republican party state conventions of 1872 and 1873 he acted as a vice president. At the Colored Men's Convention of 1873 (see BLACK STATE CONVENTIONS) he served on the state executive committee and on the committee on address. That same year Washington was elected to the Thirteenth Legislature as a representative of Grimes County. On September 4, 1873, he married Mary F. Campbell, the daughter of Baptist missionary Israel S. Campbell. They had one daughter. Washington moved from Navasota to Galveston in 1874 and served on the city council as an alderman from the Eighth Ward. He also held a position as an inspector of customs in Galveston. In 1876 he again acted as a vice president at the Republican state convention. At the Republican state conventions of 1884, 1888, and 1890, he served as a member of the state executive committee. In 1890 Washington moved to La Marque, where he cultivated a small truck farm and raised chickens until his death on December 23, 1916. He is buried in the Galveston city cemetery.

J. Mason Brewer, Negro Legislators of Texas and Their Descendants (Dallas: Mathis, 1935; 2d ed., Austin: Jenkins, 1970). E. W. Winkler, Platforms of Political Parties in Texas (Austin: University of Texas, 1916).

  • Education
  • School Principals and Superintendents
  • Peoples
  • African Americans
  • Politics and Government
  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Civic Leaders
  • Civil Rights, Segregation, and Slavery
  • Agriculture
  • Farmers
  • Civic and Community Leaders
  • Government Officials
  • House
Time Periods:
  • Reconstruction
  • Late Nineteenth-Century Texas

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

Nolan Thompson, “Washington, James H.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 25, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/washington-james-h.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

September 29, 2020

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