So this one time I was at a bar watching football and talking smack to the bartender (because YES, I DON’T CARE IF THE STEELERS ARE LOSING, THEY ARE STILL MY TEAM, SIR, AND THEY COULD TOTALLY TURN THIS GAME AROUND), and this black lady who ALSO was a Steelers fan walks in:

Bartender says hello to her and then turns to me: Hey! She’s also a Steelers fan.
Me: AAAYYYYEEE!!
Bartender: Oh, do you two know each other?
Me: Why yes, I do. All black people know each other.
Bartender::: looks shamed ::::
Me::: is highly amused:::

The moral of the story is that NOT ALL BLACK PEOPLE KNOW EACH OTHER.

Unless of course you are John Mercer Langston and Langston Hughes:

John Mercer Langston was born free in 1829 in Louisa County, Virginia the youngest of Lucy Jane Langston (a freedwoman of mixed decent – African and Native American) and Ralph Quarles, a white planter from England. Quarles had freed Lucy and their daughter Maria in 1806, in the course of what was a relationship of more than 25 years. Their three sons were born free, as their mother was free. After his parents died, John was moved to Chillicothe, Ohio with his guardian and his brothers. He enrolled in the preparatory program at Oberlin College (following after his brothers who were the first black students to be admitted) at the age of 14. John Langston earned a bachelor’s degree in 1849 and a master’s degree in theology in 1852 from Oberlin. Denied admission to law schools in New York and Ohio because of his race, Langston studied law (or “read the law”, as was the common practice then) as an apprentice under attorney and Republican US congressman Philemon Bliss; he was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1854.

With his brothers, helped runaway slaves to escape to the North along the Ohio part of the Underground Railroad. In 1858 he and Charles partnered in leading the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society, with John acting as president and traveling to organize local units, and Charles managing as executive secretary in Cleveland.

In 1863 when the government approved founding of the United States Colored Troops, John Langston was appointed to recruit African Americans to fight for the Union Army. He enlisted hundreds of men for duty in the Massachusetts Fifty-fourth and Fifty-fifth regiments, in addition to 800 for Ohio’s first black regiment. Even before the end of the war, Langston worked for issues of black suffrage and opportunity. He believed that black men’s service in the war had earned their right to vote, and that it was fundamental to their creating an equal place in society.

In 1864 Langston chaired the committee whose agenda was ratified by the black National Convention: they called for abolition of slavery, support of racial unity and self-help, and equality before the law. To accomplish this program, the convention founded the National Equal Rights League and elected Langston president. He served until 1868. Like the later National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the League was based in state and local organizations.

In 1868 Langston moved to Washington, D.C. to establish and serve as dean of Howard University’s law school; it was the first black law school in the country. Appointed acting president of the school in 1872, and vice president of the school, Langston worked to establish strong academic standards. He also engendered the kind of open environment he had known at Oberlin College. Langston was passed over for the permanent position of president of Howard University School of Law by a committee that refused to disclose the reason.

During 1870, Langston assisted Republican Senator Charles Sumner from Massachusetts with drafting the civil rights bill that was enacted as the Civil Rights Act of 1875. The 43rd Congress of the United States passed the bill in February 1875 and it was signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1875.

In 1888, Langston was urged to run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives by fellow Republicans, both black and white. Leaders of the biracial Readjuster Party, which had held political power in Virginia from 1879 to 1883, did not support his candidacy. Langston ran as a Republican and lost to his Democratic opponent. He contested the results of the election because of voter intimidation and fraud. After 18 months, the Congressional elections committee declared Langston the winner, and he took his seat in the US Congress. He served for the remaining six months of the term, but lost his bid for reelection as Democrats regained control of Virginia. Langston was the first black person elected to Congress from Virginia, and he was the last for another century.

From 1891 until his death in 1897, he practiced law in Washington, DC. He died at his home, Hillside Cottage at 2225 Fourth Street NW in Washington, DC, on the morning of November 15 from malaria induced acute indigestion.

So.

HOW DO JOHN MERCER LANGSTON AND LANGSTON HUGHES KNOW EACH OTHER?
John Langston was the great-uncle of Langston Hughes, poet.

Happy Wednesday kids! See you tomorrow. Maybe. If I’m not swamped.

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