A.C. Hamlin

A.C. Hamlin, first black member of the Oklahoma Legislature.

Just a year after becoming a state in 1907, Oklahoma elected its first black state legislator: A.C. Hamlin of Logan County.

However, some of Hamlin’s lawmaker colleagues tried to make sure it wouldn’t happen again.

They passed a constitutional amendment that effectively limited black voters by creating ridiculous voter registration requirements.

As a result — and despite having sponsored multiple pieces of successful legislation — Hamlin lost a bid for reelection.

The amendment was finally declared unconstitutional in a 1915 court case. But it was too late to help Hamlin, who died in 1911.

Black History Month: Notable Oklahomans and state history

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