Lot 16: Texas Black political “boss”, 1913 biography
15th December 2016
Author: Hare, Maud Cuney; Title: Norris Wright Cuney, A Tribune of the Black People; Place Published: New York; Publisher: Crisis Publishing Company; Date Published: 1913; Description: Introduction by James S. Clarkson, Formerly Surveyor of Customs of the Port of New York (Crisis Publishing Company, New York, 1913) First Edition. Original cloth. Illustrated. 230pp. Though he never held major elective office, even in his native Texas, Cuney, who died in 1898, was one of the most politically-powerful African-Americans at the end of the 19th century.Born before the Civil War to a Mulatto slave woman and a rich Texas plantation owner who freed and educated him, Cuney settled in Galveston after the War and (like his father) took an early interest in politics, attending every national Republican Convention for two decades, becoming a leader of the Texas Republican Party, politically rewarded by federal appointment as US Collector of Customs for the Port of Galveston, a position that enabled him to form a potent union of 500 Black dock workers. Though he lost his only bid for elective office as Mayor of Galveston, he rose to the height of political power as State Chairman of the Texas Republican Party - the highest Party office then held by any African-American in the South. Racism contributed to his being ousted from that position before his death in 1898. But for Black Texans - as well as national leaders of the newly-formed NAACP (which later published his daughter's book) Cuney remained an heroic symbol of African-American political accomplishment in the era of segregation.
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