He went to Yukon in 1898 during the Gold Rush and prospected for gold, making a fortune and losing it when his claim was swept away in a flood. He then established a law practice in Dawson City. He was elected to the Yukon Territorial Council in 1905, and first ran for the Canadian House of Commons in the 1908 federal election but was defeated.
In the 1911 federal election he was His (or Her) Highness Stevens" campaign manager, and was rewarded by the government of Robert Laird Borden by being appointed to the position of Commissioner of the Yukon.
As Commissioner from 1912 to 1915, he tried to bring in legislation to protect miners, loggers and others who worked for companies that went bankrupt. During World War I, Black recruited a regiment from the Yukon to fight in the war.
He became the company"s Captain, and was wounded in combat. Following the war, he settled in British Columbia in 1919, and ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia.
As Speaker, he kept a.22 caliber pistol in his chambers which he used to shoot rabbits on Parliament Hill.
Black"s personal and financial life were strained during the Great Depression and he had a nervous breakdownHe was committed to the Westminster Veterans Hospital in London, Ontario for 6 months. Being unavailable to preside over the final session of the 17th Parliament, he resigned prior to its commencement in January 1935. She held the seat, becoming the second woman elected to the House of Commons (the first being Agnes Macphail), and the first American-born woman to do southern
Black was released from hospital in July 1935, and moved to Vancouver to recuperate.
Martha stepped aside, and allowed Black to run for the Yukon seat in the 1940 election. The local unions supported McEwen and the LPP"s platform of support for collective bargaining, family allowance, old age pensions, workers’ compensation and equality for “Indians and Eskimos.” Black campaigned on a more left wing platform, promising collective bargaining, minimum wages, maximum-hour and minimum-age laws, paid holidays, unemployment insurance and labour representation on government boards and defeated McEwan by a margin of 162 votes.
He remained in Parliament until the 1949 election, which he did not contest. He attempted to recapture his seat in the 1953 election but was unsuccessful.