Graphic of part of the Emancipation Proclamation
Rights and POwer: The POlitics of Reconstruction
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Jonathan Gibbs

Jonathan Gibbs was educated in Philadelphia and then, he later related, was "refused admittance into eighteen colleges because of my color." Eventually, he attended Dartmouth College, and became the first African American graduate.

He later served as a Presbyterian minister in New York and Pennsylvania.

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Sent to North Carolina as a religious missionary after the Civil War, Gibbs opened a school for the freedpeople, and then moved to Florida.

He was appointed Secretary of State in 1868, and Superintendent of Education in 1873, becoming the only African American to hold statewide office in Florida during Reconstruction.

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