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  • Writer's pictureRicki King

Iowa's first Black presidential candidate

Updated: Oct 18, 2020

Who was the first black person from Iowa to run for President of the United States? If you study presidential history you know this, right? Well, I don’t study presidential history and had to research it.

I tried a quick search on Google asking the question. It didn’t work. I tried asking friends adding I think he ran in 1900 or 1904. No, clue where I came up with the years. I kind of recalled reading something about a black guy running. I just can’t recall where I read it or who it was. I tried Google again asking black presidential candidates which also was a no go.

There is an exhibit at the state historical building on caucuses in Iowa. So, I went to check it out twice. The information wasn’t there either time. It hit me why not try the Iowa secretary of state office. They should have the records of everyone who has run for president in Iowa. I was hoping the records went back to 1900. Yes, they had records but not that far back. The girl at the desk went back to see where I might find those records. What do you know she said the state historical building archives? Yeah, I had already checked there and online.

The problem was I needed a name or at least the year. I went back and talked to friends and employees that were there. One of them suggested I talk to a volunteer that was there that day. I talked to him. It turns out he majored in politics at college and wrote or contributed to a book. Turns out he had never heard of a black guy from Iowa running.

While I was in talking to the volunteer a friend was talking to another friend John Zeller that was not in the original group discussion. It was a good thing the question held her interest. Because she asked the correct person or historian that comes into the historical society to research. John knew the answer. He also knew there was a story about George Edwin Taylor’s bid for president in 1904[1] in the book Outside in African-American History in Iowa 1838-2000.

George_Edwin_Taylor Presidential candidate 1904

Notice- The only Negro who ever made the race for President.

Once I had the name it was an oooh and I knew that moment. I now knew where I had read the story. My brother Karey King had done a Facebook post on George. Previously, author Bruce L. Mouser contacted me about Taylor while he was writing the book For Labor, Race and Liberty George Edwin Taylor, His Historic Run for the White House, and the Making of Independent Black Politics.

Now that I had the name and year, I could check on newspaper stories and how many votes he received. Again, it was not a quick lookup to see how many votes he received. I found online where “… only a few scattering votes of which there is no exact record.” [4] There is no information on who reported the scattering of votes. A newspaper story indicates he had dropped out of the race before the election.[5] I pulled the official 1904 general election ballot from the Iowa state archives to see if Taylor’s National Liberty Party was on the ballot.[6] It would not show if he had received any votes but it would answer if he dropped out of the race before the election.

iowa-1904-presidential-candidate-returns-right side
Election Return 1904 listing presidential candidates.(Left side of page)

Election Return 1904 listing presidential candidates. (Right side of page.)

There is still the question of “Who was the first black person from Iowa to run for President of the United States?” The answer will depend on how you interpret “from Iowa”. If you mean they lived in Iowa at the time they entered the race George Edwin Taylor would be the correct person. However, I do not look at it that way. To me “from Iowa” means born and raised in Iowa. Thus, making me Ricki Sue King the first black from Iowa to run for President. I am currently gathering signatures to get my name on the official 2020 general election ballot which will allow me to bypass having to caucus. As of today, I am 120 signatures away from the 1,500 needed signatures. I will not be able to turn in the signatures until 27 July 2020 to the Iowa secretary of state. He will verify the signatures and give the okay to add Ricki Sue King to the names printed on the official general election ballot.

[9] George Edwin Taylor, Presidential candidate ca. 1904

Ricki Sue King, first Black female Presidential candidate from Iowa 2020.

Either way, George Edwin Taylor is the first black male and I (Ricki Sue King) will be the first black female from Iowa to run for president of the united states. If you are wondering George’s vice-presidential running mate was W. C. Payne and mine is Dayna R. Chandler. Dayna also happens to be my cousin and another female.

Dayna R. Chandler Vice Presidential candidate 2020.

2020 Presidential election

Ricki Sue King, Presidential candidate

Dayna R. Chandler, Vice Presidential candidate

Genealogy Know Your Family History Party

Slogan: I don’t want your vote. (I want your signature.), and The opportunity to lose.

Platform: To be the first black female from Iowa to run for President. Yes, of the United States. I will not be going any further than Iowa.

Related stories:

[1] "Deposed-Bounced," Monroe City [Missouri] Democrat, 28 July 1904; digital image, ( : accessed 18 October 2019), p. 3, col. 5.; also "George Edwin Taylor," Ada [Oklahoma] Weekly Star, 18 August 1904; digital image, ( : accessed 15 October 2019), p. 4, col. 3.; also "Iowa Has Aspirant For Presidency," The Des Moines [Iowa] Register, 4 September 1904; digital image, ( : accessed 15 October 2019), p. 3, col. 1-2.

[2] George E. Taylor Presidential candidate photograph 1904, University of North Florida, Thomas G. Carpenter Library, Eartha M. M. White Collection

[3] Ibid.

[4] 1908 Alamanac and Encyclopedia, (New York, New York: The Press Publishing Co., 1907), p. 268.

[5] "Comes Out For Roosevelt," The Evening Star [Washington, District of Columbia], 8 October 1904; digital image, ( : accessed 17 October 2019), p. 32, col. 3.

[6] Secretary of State, Elections: Election Return, 1904, State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] "Bitterly Attacks Both Old Parties," The Des Moines [Iowa] Register, 4 September 1904; digital image, ( : accessed 18 October 2019), p. 7, col. 5-7.

[10] Photos copyright protected.


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