Edward P. McCabe

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McCabe in 1887

Edward P. McCabe (October 10, 1850 – March 12, 1920), also known as Edwin P. McCabe, was an African-American settler, attorney, and land agent who became one of the first African Americans to hold a major political office in the American Old West. A Republican office-holder in Kansas, McCabe became a leading figure in an effort to stimulate a black migration into what was then the territory of Oklahoma, with the hopes of creating a majority-black state that would be free of the white domination that was prevalent throughout the Southern United States. In pursuit of this goal, McCabe founded the city of Langston, Oklahoma.

Kansas State of the United States of America

Kansas is a U.S. state in the Midwestern United States. Its capital is Topeka and its largest city is Wichita, with its most populated county being Johnson County. Kansas is bordered by Nebraska on the north; Missouri on the east; Oklahoma on the south; and Colorado on the west. Kansas is named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the (south) wind" although this was probably not the term's original meaning. For thousands of years, what is now Kansas was home to numerous and diverse Native American tribes. Tribes in the eastern part of the state generally lived in villages along the river valleys. Tribes in the western part of the state were semi-nomadic and hunted large herds of bison.

Oklahoma State of the United States of America

Oklahoma is a state in the South Central region of the United States, bordered by Kansas on the north, Missouri on the northeast, Arkansas on the east, Texas on the south, New Mexico on the west, and Colorado on the northwest. It is the 20th-most extensive and the 28th-most populous of the fifty United States. The state's name is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning "red people". It is also known informally by its nickname, "The Sooner State", in reference to the non-Native settlers who staked their claims on land before the official opening date of lands in the western Oklahoma Territory or before the Indian Appropriations Act of 1889, which dramatically increased European-American settlement in the eastern Indian Territory. Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory were merged into the State of Oklahoma when it became the 46th state to enter the union on November 16, 1907. Its residents are known as Oklahomans, and its capital and largest city is Oklahoma City.

Southern United States Cultural region of the United States

The southern United States, also known as the American South, Dixie, Dixieland, or simply the South, is a region of the United States of America. It is located between the Atlantic Ocean and the western United States, with the midwestern United States and northeastern United States to its north and the Gulf of Mexico and Mexico to its south.

McCabe was born in Troy, New York on October 10, 1850. As a child he moved from Troy to Fall River, Massachusetts, Newport, Rhode Island, and Bangor, Maine. When his father died, he left school and began to work. Eventually he moved to New York City where he worked on Wall Street. Finding no avenues for promotion beyond clerk and porter in New York, he then moved to Chicago in 1872 where he worked as a clerk for Potter Palmer. He was then appointed clerk in the Cook County, Illinois office of the U.S. Treasury Department (Taylor). [1]

Troy, New York City in New York, United States

Troy is a city in the U.S. state of New York and the seat of Rensselaer County. The city is located on the western edge of Rensselaer County and on the eastern bank of the Hudson River. Troy has close ties to the nearby cities of Albany and Schenectady, forming a region popularly called the Capital District. The city is one of the three major centers for the Albany Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which has a population of 1,170,483. At the 2010 census, the population of Troy was 50,129. Troy's motto is Ilium fuit. Troja est, which means "Ilium was, Troy is".

Fall River, Massachusetts City in Massachusetts, United States

Fall River is a city in Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States. The City of Fall River is located approximately 53 miles (85 km) south of Boston, 17 miles (27 km) southeast of Providence, Rhode Island, 20 miles (32 km) south of Taunton, 12 miles (19 km) west of New Bedford, 20 miles (32 km) north of Newport, Rhode Island, and 200 miles (320 km) northeast of New York City. The City of Fall River's population was 87,103 at the 2010 census, making it the tenth-largest city in the state.

Newport, Rhode Island City in Rhode Island, United States

Newport is a seaside city on Aquidneck Island in Newport County, Rhode Island, located approximately 33 miles (53 km) southeast of Providence, Rhode Island, 20 miles (32 km) south of Fall River, Massachusetts, 73 miles (117 km) south of Boston, and 180 miles (290 km) northeast of New York City. It is known as a New England summer resort and is famous for its historic mansions and its rich sailing history. It was the location of the first U.S. Open tournaments in both tennis and golf, as well as every challenge to the America's Cup between 1930 and 1983. It is also the home of Salve Regina University and Naval Station Newport, which houses the United States Naval War College, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, and an important Navy training center. It was a major 18th-century port city and also contains a high number of buildings from the Colonial era.

McCabe then traveled to Nicodemus, Kansas in 1878 where he was an attorney and land agent. After two years of residing in Nicodemus he was appointed county clerk of the not long established Graham County, and the next fall he was elected to a full term as county clerk. At age 32 McCabe was elected Kansas State Auditor, and became the highest ranking African American officeholder outside of the Reconstruction South (AAME). He served two terms as the state auditor and failed to win a third nomination. He then moved to Washington D.C., where he fruitlessly lobbied for an appointment for governor in the new Oklahoma Territory, from President Benjamin Harrison (Taylor). Even though he was not appointed, he moved to the Oklahoma Territory in 1890 still looking to make a difference.

Nicodemus, Kansas Unincorporated community in Kansas, United States

Nicodemus is an unincorporated community in Graham County, Kansas, United States. The community was founded in 1877 and is named for the Biblical figure Nicodemus.

Oklahoma Territory territory of the USA between 1890-1907

The Territory of Oklahoma was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from May 2, 1890, until November 16, 1907, when it was joined with the Indian Territory under a new constitution and admitted to the Union as the State of Oklahoma.

Benjamin Harrison 23rd President of the United States

Benjamin Harrison was an American politician and lawyer who served as the 23rd president of the United States from 1889 to 1893. He was a grandson of the ninth president, William Henry Harrison, creating the only grandfather–grandson duo to have held the office. He was also the great-grandson of Benjamin Harrison V, a founding father. Before ascending to the presidency, Harrison had established himself as a prominent local attorney, Presbyterian church leader, and politician in Indianapolis, Indiana. During the American Civil War, he served in the Union Army as a colonel, and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a brevet brigadier general of volunteers in 1865. Harrison unsuccessfully ran for governor of Indiana in 1876. The Indiana General Assembly elected Harrison to a six-year term in the U.S. Senate, where he served from 1881 to 1887.

He was soon appointed the first Treasurer of Logan County, Oklahoma. McCabe was also one of three founders of Langston City. "By 1881, several Negro leaders were planning for the potential resettlement of twenty or thirty thousand freedmen in Oklahoma". [2] McCabe "acquired a 320-acre (1.3 km2) tract near Guthrie, Oklahoma, which became the town of Langston about 1892". [2] The city was an all-black area ten miles northeast of Guthrie. The city was named after a black Virginia Congressman who had pledged his support for a black college in Langston City (Taylor). Finally in 1897, a Colored Agricultural and Normal School was opened, this was later called Langston University.

Logan County, Oklahoma County in the United States

Logan County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 41,848. Its county seat is Guthrie.

Guthrie, Oklahoma City in Oklahoma, United States

Guthrie is a city and county seat in Logan County, Oklahoma, United States, and a part of the Oklahoma City Metroplex. The population was 10,191 at the 2010 census, a 2.7 percent increase from the 9,925 at the 2000 census.

Langston, Oklahoma Town in Oklahoma, United States

Langston is a town in Logan County, Oklahoma, United States, and is part of the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 1,724 at the 2010 census, an increase of 3.2 percent from 1,670 at the 2000 census. Langston is home to Langston University, the only historically black college in Oklahoma.

The city was founded on the idea to help stop racial persecution. It was part of a program to create more than twenty-five new “black settlements” within the Oklahoma Indian Territory.

McCabe then embarked on an ambitious adventure in state-building, using Langston as a nucleus. He encouraged the immigration of Negroes 'in such numbers that eventually they would outnumber the whites.' In 1892 he went so far as to predict that within a few years Congress would have two Negro senators from Oklahoma. He planned to organize Negro settlers so that he could muster a majority of black voters in each representative and senatorial district of the proposed state". [2]


State-building as a specific term in social sciences and humanities, refers to political and historical processes of creation, institutional consolidation, stabilization and sustainable development of states, from the earliest emergence of statehood up to the modern times. Within historical and political sciences, there are several theoretical approaches to complex questions related to role of various contributing factors in state-building processes.

McCabe supported the idea of making Oklahoma into an all black state, and wanted to help with the efforts of the idea. [3]

McCabe had personal ambitions tied into this endeavor, hoping that he would be appointed governor or secretary of the Oklahoma Territory. [2] “The opportunity for progress through prosperity and the chance to escape racial discrimination were the two drawing attractions promoted by Oklahoma black newspapers. The newspapers emphasized one or the other at random in 1905 and 1906.” [4] The efforts of McCabe and others "achieved impressive results. The black population of Oklahoma continued to grow until statehood in 1907". [5] Between 1900 and 1906 the black population at least doubled. [5] "Black Oklahomans owned fairly large farms and even controlled whole towns", [6] and were "behaving in a manner directly contrary to the hopes and expectations of the whites. Past 1900 large numbers of Negroes began moving from the South and East sections to the interior part of the state. They left farming and the Oklahoma coal mines, and took urban service jobs". [6]

Despite these gains, a black majority was not realized in Oklahoma, nor was McCabe able to secure any higher political office. Even though this never happened, McCabe played a big role in taking a stand for African American rights in a time where there was a great deal of racial persecution. Edwin P. McCabe died on March 12, 1920 in Chicago, Illinois and was buried in Topeka, Kansas.


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  1. Simmons, William J., and Henry McNeal Turner. Men of Mark: Eminent, Progressive and Rising. GM Rewell & Company, 1887. p1055-1058
  2. 1 2 3 4 Philip Mellinger, Discrimination and Statehood, published in The Chronicles of Oklahoma, Vol 49 (1971), p. 340-78, 343.
  3. Christy Aquilla, "Chandler: The Ellis Family Story". 2004. 2006-11-17.
  4. Philip Mellinger, Discrimination and Statehood, published in The Chronicles of Oklahoma, Vol 49 (1971), p. 340-78, 346.
  5. 1 2 Philip Mellinger, Discrimination and Statehood, published in The Chronicles of Oklahoma, Vol 49 (1971), p. 340-78, 349.
  6. 1 2 Philip Mellinger, Discrimination and Statehood, published in The Chronicles of Oklahoma, Vol 49 (1971), p. 340-78, 350.