During post-Civil War Reconstruction, thousands of formerly disenfranchised African-Americans began to vote and helped elect African-Americans to office. They included John Mercer Langston to Congress and 100 men to the General Assembly.
This year lawmakers voted to list and honor these members with plaques to be displayed in the State Capitol. Del. Jennifer McClellan (D) sponsored the House measure.
"It's not being taught the way that it should, and certainly there is an appetite in the public to learn more about these people," says McClellan. "It's an amazing story. But it also is a great tragedy because just as suddenly, they were dismissed."
And that's due to eventual passage of Jim Crow laws. The plaques will be unveiled in January.