Oscar Stanton De Priest had presence. Fair-skinned enough to pass for white, and standing at least 6 feet tall with white hair adorning his head, he was distinctly noticeable, “perhaps the most striking Negro in Chicago,” one Tribune reporter penned.
But it was his presence as the only black person in national political leadership that provided hope to millions of African Americans who were finding their way in a shifting country.
De Priest, who was born in Alabama to former slaves, became Chicago’s first black alderman, and then the first black person from a Northern state to sit in Congress — and the latter he did as the sole black member for three terms.
Read more at The Chicago Tribune.