LANSING — This evening, state Rep. Leslie Love (D-Detroit) will join in the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus’s (MLBC) presentation of the first African American portrait to hang in the Michigan Capitol. The new portrait will feature former state Rep. William Webb Ferguson, who in 1893 was elected as Michigan’s first black legislator. The portrait will debut during the MLBC’s annual Black History Month Celebration from 5 to 7:30 p.m., in the first-floor rotunda area of the state Capitol Building.
“We’ve waited 120 years for this honor; and I’m glad we are finally recognizing Rep. William Ferguson and other African-Americans for their contributions and service to our state,” said Rep. Love, MLBC 2nd Vice Chair of the MLBC. “The importance of this portrait is more than just an image, it is a valuable reminder of the political contributions African-Americans have made, and continue to make, in Michigan.”
Prior to the portrait unveiling, Rep. Love will deliver the biography of Rep. Ferguson, a very accomplished man even before his time in the Legislature. Ferguson was a successful printer and real estate salesmen before becoming an attorney and a civil rights advocate. Rep. Ferguson was also one of the first black pupils in Detroit Public Schools before becoming the first African-American to serve in the Michigan House of Representatives.
“While I am proud of the step we are taking today, this is not the end. I look forward to the day when we add the portrait of an African-American woman to our collection,” explained Rep. Love. “I am amazed and inspired by the history of Rep. William Ferguson and I hope others will be too.”