Early African American Political Candidates, Bourbon County, KY
In 1867, an African American man ran for deputy on the Republican ticket. The man was on the ticket with Allen H. Bashford, who was the great-grandfather of Edward F. Prichard, Jr. Bashford was running for sheriff, and both he and the African American man lost their bids for office, and an effigy of Bashford was hung in front of the courthouse [source: "The Ed Prichard Oral History Interviews," an article by Kenneth H. Williams in The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, summer/autumn 2006, v.104, nos.3&4, p.404]. In 1873, Jacob M. Porter ran for constable in Paris, KY [source: "Election for constable - a darkey on the track," Paris True Kentuckian (newspaper), 05/07/1873, p.3, col.1; and Ante-bellum free Negroes as race leaders in Virginia and Kentucky during Reconstruction (thesis) by C. B. King, p.55]. In his thesis, C. B. King took from the newspaper article that J. M. Porter was the first African American candidate to run for office in the Paris District. Porter was actually preceded by Bashford's running mate in 1867 who has not been named. J. M. Porter removed his name from the election in 1873, because the white "Radical Democrats," as they were named in the newspaper article, did not support him and had found their own candidate, J. A. Logan. The African American Radical Democrats were in favor of Porter as the candidate and there was a split within the party. J. M. Porter was an active civic leader among African Americans in Paris, KY. He was the son of Jefferson Porter, Sr.; his father had been a slave and inherited property along with his freedom [see Jefferson Porter in NKAA Database, entry 1 and entry 2). J. M. Porter, born in 1848, was an officer within Hiram Lodge, No. 5, Masons; the Knight Templars; and the Knights of Friendship, all in Paris [source: History of Bourbon, Scott, Harrison, and Nicholas Counties, Kentucky by Perrin and Peter; and the 1870 U.S. Federal Census]. J. M. Porter was also an activist; he was a member of the banking committee within the Bourbon County (KY) Protective Union of Color that was formed in 1880 in reaction to the William Giles case.