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James Black Edit Profile

lawyer , founder National Prohibition Party

James Black was an American temperance movement activist and a founder of the Prohibition Party.


Black, James was born on September 23, 1823 in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, United States. Son of John and Jane (Egbert) Black.


Attended Lewisburg Academy, 1840-1843.


In 1872 Black was the first nominee of the Prohibition Party for President of the United States. Early years \r\n In 1836 the family moved to the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which would remain his hometown for the rest of his life. As a boy Black worked for a time in a sawmill before entering the Lewisburg Academy in 1841.

In 1844 Black began the study of law, passing into the Pennsylvania state bar in 1846 and setting up a legal practice in Lancaster. Black married Eliza Murray in 1845. Black was actively involved in establishing the Good Templars, a temperance organization.

In addition, he co-founded the National Temperance Society and Publishing House with Neal S. Dow, another pioneering temperance leader. In its first 60 years, the publishing house printed over one billion pages. It published three monthly periodicals with a combined circulation of about 600,000.

It also published over 2,000 books and pamphlets plus textbooks, flyers, broadsides and other temperance materials. In 1869, Black and some of his friends founded the Prohibition Party. Possibly one reason for the low vote he received was that the powerful Anti-Saloon League, under the direction of Wayne Wheeler, would not support third party candidates.

The same was true of the influential Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). Death and legacy \r\n Black died of pneumonia at his home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on December 16, 1893. He was 70 years old at the time of his death.


  • However, he won no electoral votes and only 5,607 popular votes.


  • Other Work

    • Author: Cider Tract, 1864. Is There a Necessity for a Prohibition Party, 1876. A History of the Prohibition Party, 1880.

      The Prohibition Party, 1885.


Political career \r\n Three years later he was selected to run as the party’s first Presidential candidate.


[Prohibition Party]\r\nBlack was initially a member of the Republican Party but was also deeply committed to anti-alcohol activism, having joined the Washingtonian movement while still a youth.


Married Eliza Murray, 1845.

John Black

Jane (Egbert) Black

Eliza Murray