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Forgotten Legacy: William McKinley, George Henry White, and the Struggle for Black Equality

National Archives Museum

Friday, January 29, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. EST

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In Forgotten Legacy, historian Benjamin R. Justesen reveals a previously unexamined facet of William McKinley’s Presidency: an ongoing dedication to the advancement of African Americans. During the first two years of his administration, McKinley named nearly as many African Americans to federal office as all his predecessors combined. He also acted to stiffen federal penalties for participation in lynch mobs and to support measures promoting racial tolerance. Nonetheless, historians have long overlooked McKinley’s cooperative relationships with prominent African American leaders, including George Henry White, the nation’s only black congressman between 1897 and 1901.


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