A portrait of William Webb Ferguson, the first African-American to serve in the Michigan Legislature, was unveiled in the Capitol on Wednesday by the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus.
Governor Rick Snyder also attended the unveiling. Mr. Ferguson served in the House as a Republican from 1893 until 1896. Mr. Ferguson was from Detroit and the first African-American to attend Detroit Public Schools. His family also founded a newspaper for a by the black community in the city.
Mr. Ferguson was an advocate for the black community and fought for civil rights. After being denied service in a restaurant he filed a discrimination lawsuit eventually heard by the state Supreme Court, which sided with Mr. Ferguson and ruled against racial discrimination in public places.
Rep. Sheldon Neeley (D-Flint), chair of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus, introduced HR 256, a tribute to Mr. Ferguson, which passed the House Wednesday. Sen. Vincent Gregory (D-Lathrup Village) sponsored SR 134, the same resolution, which passed the Senate.
Source : MIRS News Service, February 28, 2018