Ask FSA Andy about Ohio’s black history

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Hello Again,

Well I guess winter is back but by the time you read this article January will be behind us.

The warm days of January were nice but I sure could do without the mud — My dogs seemed to find every muddy spot on the farm.

As producers have passed through the office, politics have been on their minds and most are happy to share their opinions — and it certainly has been interesting.

Black History

February begins Black History Month and I wondered about Black politicians in Ohio’s history.

John Mercer Langston was born in 1829 in Louisa County, Virginia, to Ralph Quaries, a white plantation owner, and Jane Langston, a black slave.

Langston and his brothers moved to Oberlin, Ohio, around 1834, after the death of their parents, to live with family friends.

Langston enrolled in Oberlin College at the age of 14, earning both his bachelors and masters degrees. He was denied admission to law school, but studied under Attorney Phileman Bliss and was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1854.

He became actively involved in the antislavery movement here in Ohio and organized antislavery societies locally and at the state level, as well as helping runaway slaves on the Ohio part of the Underground Railroad.

In 1855, Langston became the country’s first black elected official when he was elected clerk of Brownhelm Township. He would become a founding member and president of the National Equal Rights League.

In 1868, Langston moved to Washington DC to establish and serve as dean of the first black law school in the country at Howard University. In 1877, Langston left Howard University to become the U.S. Minister to Haiti.

When he returned to the U.S. he moved to Virginia and was named president of Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute, now known as Virginia State University.

He ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives as an Independent, but lost to his Democratic opponent. He contested the outcome and won the election 18 months later, serving for six months. He lost his bid for reelection.

Oklahoma would later name Langston University in his honor. What an amazing chapter in Ohio’s African American heritage.

Buffer strips

On the FSA front, beginning in January producers can submit offers for Bioreactors and Saturated Buffer practices on Filter Strip (CP21) and Riparian Buffer (CP22) practices.

This initiative is meant to improve water quality with the installation of a Denitrifying Bioreactor or Saturated Buffer on existing or re-enrolled CRP contract acres devoted to a CP21 or CP22.

As always you can contact your local FSA office with questions.

That’s all for now,

FSA Andy

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