Thomas Van Renssalaer Gibbs

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Thomas Van Renssalaer Gibbs Thomas Van Renssalaer Gibbs.jpg
Thomas Van Renssalaer Gibbs

Thomas Van Renssalaer Gibbs (1855–1898) was a member of the 1885 Florida Constitutional Convention, served in the Florida House of Representatives, and was a school administrator. [1] He was nominated to West Point by Representative Josiah Walls, who was also African American. [2]

Florida's Constitution of 1885, its fifth, was drawn up by the Constitutional Convention of 1885. The convention was held from June 9, 1885 until August 3, 1885 in Tallahassee, Florida "for the purpose of reforming the "Carpetbag" Constitution of 1868", according to course literature from the University of Virginia. It was Florida's fifth constitutional convention and restored the election of many public officials, reduced the salaries of the governor and other state officers, made the governor ineligible for reelection, abolished the office of lieutenant governor, and provided for a legislature of fixed numbers.

Florida House of Representatives Lower house of the Florida Legislature

The Florida House of Representatives is the lower house of the Florida Legislature, the state legislature of the U.S. state of Florida, the Florida Senate being the upper house. Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution of Florida, adopted in 1968, defines the role of the Legislature and how it is to be constituted. The House is composed of 120 members, each elected from a single-member district with a population of approximately 157,000 residents. Legislative districts are drawn on the basis of population figures, provided by the federal decennial census. Representatives' terms begin immediately, upon their election. As of 2019, Republicans hold the majority in the State House with 73 seats; Democrats are in the minority with 47 seats.

In the legislature, Gibbs and his father helped pass legislation establishing a white normal school in Gainesville, Florida and a "colored school" in Jacksonville. State Normal College for Colored Students was a predecessor of Florida A&M College and was relocated to Tallahassee where it opened in 1887 with 15 students. Gibbs served as its assistant principal and Vice President until his death in 1898. [3] The only son of Jonathan Clarkson Gibbs, Thomas married Alice Menard, the daughter of politician John Willis Menard who in 1868 was the first African American elected to Congress.

Florida A&M University public, historically black university in Tallahassee, Florida (U.S.)

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) is a public, historically black university in Tallahassee, Florida. Founded in 1887, it is located on the highest geographic hill in Tallahassee. It is the 5th largest historically black university in the United States by enrollment and the only public historically black university in Florida. It is a member institution of the State University System of Florida, as well as one of the state's land grant universities, and is accredited to award baccalaureate, master's and doctoral degrees by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Jonathan Clarkson Gibbs American state official

Jonathan Clarkson Gibbs, II was a Presbyterian minister and a prominent African-American officeholder during Reconstruction. He served as the first, and as of 2018 the only, black Secretary of State and Superintendent of Public Instruction of Florida, and along with Josiah Thomas Walls, US Congressman from Florida, was among the most powerful black officeholders in the state during Reconstruction.

John Willis Menard African American politician

John Willis Menard was a federal government employee, poet, newspaper publisher and politician born in Illinois to parents who were Louisiana Creoles from New Orleans. After moving to New Orleans, on November 3, 1868, Menard was the first black man ever elected to the United States House of Representatives. His opponent contested his election, and opposition to his election prevented him from being seated in Congress.

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  2. Allman, T.D. (2013). Finding Florida. The True History of the Sunshine State. Atlantic Monthly Press. p. 260. ISBN   9780802120762.
  3. Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University-About The University