by Karl Kurtz
Working through a listserv maintained by the Legislative Studies Section of the American Political Science Association, Prof. Chris Mooney of the University of Illinois at Springfield compiled the following list of African-Americans who have served as presiding officers of state legislatures (by first year of service):
- John R. Lynch, Speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives, 1872 (pictured)
- Cecil A. Partee (D-Chicago), President of the Illinois Senate (1971-73; 1975-77)
- S. Howard Woodson (D-Trenton), Speaker of the New Jersey Assembly, 1974-75
- K. Leroy Irvis (D-Pittsburgh), Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (1977-79; 1983-89)
- Willie L. Brown. Jr. (D-San Francisco), Speaker of the California Assembly (1981-95)
- Daniel T. Blue, Jr. (D-Raleigh), Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives (1991-94)
- Herb Wesson (D-Los Angeles), Speaker of the California Assembly (2002-04)
- Emil Jones, Jr. (D-Chicago), President of the Illinois Senate (2004-2008)
Additions or corrections to this list are welcomed. A number of other African-Americans have served as minority leaders or in other leadership positions but not as presiding officers.
January 2009 update: See "Record Number of African-American Top Leaders."