Civil RightsThe Word - Media

John Mitchell Jr.

John Mitchell, Jr. (1863-1929) was an influential African-American journalist, newspaper editor, and civil rights activist. He was born on July 11, 1863, in Richmond, Virginia, during the era of slavery. Mitchell became widely known for his work as the editor and publisher of the Richmond Planet, one of the most prominent African-American newspapers of its time.

Mitchell used the Richmond Planet as a platform to advocate for civil rights, racial equality, and social justice for African Americans. He fearlessly addressed issues such as lynchings, segregation, and disenfranchisement in the South. His writings played a significant role in raising awareness of racial injustices and mobilizing public opinion against discrimination.

Richmond Planet Building

In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Mitchell was involved in various civil rights organizations. He served as the president of the National Afro-American Press Association and worked closely with prominent civil rights leaders such as Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois.

Mitchell’s activism extended beyond the boundaries of journalism. In 1904, he successfully organized a boycott against Richmond’s segregated streetcars, leading to their eventual desegregation. He also made history by becoming the first African American to run for governor of Virginia in 1921, although he was unsuccessful in his bid.

Richmond Planet front page

John Mitchell, Jr. dedicated his life to fighting for racial equality and advocating for the rights of African Americans during a time of intense discrimination and segregation. He passed away on December 3, 1929, leaving behind a lasting legacy as a trailblazer in the struggle for civil rights.

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