My Contribution: I was invested in the important work of the Colored Conventions, ensuring that African Americans had the right to vote and to run for office. I edited The Progress of Liberty, a newspaper that advocated for political equality among African Americans (The Patriot, 1869). I was an active national voice for African American suffrage and equal education in the state Equal Rights League.
My Legacy: In editing The Progress of Liberty, I provided information and guidance for African Americans of their political rights and agency. I served a crucial role in conversations related to African American suffrage and equal educational opportunities. Through this work, I was able to fight for equal justice and advocate for the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment. My work related to equitable educational opportunities still holds relevance in today’s society.
About Me: Mr. Hughes congratulated the Colored Convention “upon the recent victory at the ballot box for law and order and the rights of humanity.” — Harrisburg Telegraph, November 14, 1868.
“Mr. O. L. C. Hughes then delivered an excellent address on ‘The Elevation of the Colored Race, and the means to be used in gaining this laudable end.’” — On O. L. C. Hughes’ involvement in the 1869 Colored Convention in Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Daily Commercial, December 29, 1869.
Full Name: Orra L. C. Hughes • Birth Date: October 14, 1836 • Death Date: February 2, 1901 • Place of Birth: York County, Pennsylvania • Sex: Male • Race: Black (1900 Federal Census) • Places of Residence: Tennessee (1867); 234 N. Third Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (1867-1871); and 310 South Barry Street, Olean City, New York (1900). • Connection to the Old Eighth Ward: Collaborated with men and women of the Eighth Ward through the state’s Colored Conventions after the Civil War. • Family Members: Wife: Mary D. “Maude” Molson Hughes (d. 1881); Daughter: Lulu M. Brown. Son-in-Law: Charles Brown. • Education: Unknown • Occupations: Farm Laborer. Lawyer. Editor and proprietor of the weekly Harrisburg newspaper, Progress of Liberty. Teacher. Professor. Superintendent of Colored Schools. Lawyer. • Church Membership: Capital Presbyterian Church (Sunday school leader) • Activism: Served on the Garnet League; Negro National Convention; Fifteenth Amendment Celebration (chair); Pennsylvania Colored Conventions of 1868 and 1869 (speaker, secretary, and president); Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League; and Lancaster County Temperance Union Society. • Connections: William Howard Day, Maude D. Molson Hughes, David R. Chester, Charles J. Carter, Joseph Popel, Zachariah Johnson, Cassius Brown, John Gaitor, George H. Imes, John Q. Adams, and William Strothers.