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John W. Boyd (ca. 1841-post 1885)

John W. Boyd was one of the first African Americans to serve in the Tennessee General Assembly. Born in Georgia to Jackson and Martha Boyd around 1841, John Boyd grew up probably in both Georgia and Tennessee. His family is documented in the 1870 census as living in Tipton County. Boyd married Martha Dogette of Mason, Tipton County, and they had at least five children. An attorney in Tipton County during the Reconstruction era, Boyd was a member of the Republican Party and his political career began in 1878, when he was elected as magistrate of the Ninth Civil District of Tipton County. He served as a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives from 1881 to 1885. He was an effective spokesman for African American rights in a chamber increasingly dominated by the Bourbon Democrats, who sought to enhance their party's ascendancy by denying basic civil rights to black Tennesseans. Boyd died at an undetermined date and is buried in Magnolia Cemetery at Mason.

Published » December 25, 2009 | Last Updated » January 01, 2010