Florida and the Colored Conventions Movement
Florida Firsts and Black Reconstruction Political Formations
Rev. Jonathan Clarkson Gibbs: Florida’s First Black Cabinet Member
When Rev. Jonathan Clarkson Gibbs attended the 1868 Florida Convention after moving to Florida to help the Presbyterian Church with building Black church communities, little did he know that he would become an active member of Florida’s nascent Republican Party. He was elected in 1868 to attend Florida’s Constitutional Convention, and that experience helped him to make the acquaintance of future Governor Harrison Reed. After Governor Reed’s election, Rev. Gibbs was tapped to become the Florida’s first Black Cabinet member from 1868-1872 when he assumed the role of Secretary of State.1 That did not impede Secretary of State Gibbs from staying involved in Florida’s Black political issues like the 1871 Southern States Colored Convention in Columbia, South Carolina.2
- M. Helm, (2007, November 19) Jonathan Gibbs (1827-1874). Retrieved from https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/gibbs-jonathan-1827-1874/
State Conference of the Colored Men of Florida (1884 : Gainesville, FL), “Proceedings of the State Conference of the colored men of Florida, held at Gainesville, February 5, 1884.,” ColoredConventions.org, https://omeka.coloredconventions.org/items/show/1099.