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Joseph P. Evans

Member From: 1871 - 1873

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  • Birth Date: January 5, 1835 Birth Place:Dinwiddie County, Virginia
  • Death Date: May 16, 1889
  • Gender: Male Race: African American
  • Spouse: Josephine C.
  • Children: 10+
  • Religion: African Methodist Episcopal
  • Education:
  • Military Service:
  • Occupation/Profession: Whitewasher, Plasterer, and Minister
  • Memberships/Affiliations: Laboring Men’s Mechanics’ Union Association, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
  • Additional Info Links: Bio from Encyclopedia Virginia
    Bio from Virginia's Martin Luther King Jr. Commission
  • Bio: Joseph P. Evans served in both houses of the General Assembly (1871–1875). Born enslaved, Evans purchased his freedom in 1859, running a Petersburg news kiosk during the American Civil War (1861–1865). Evans became politically active by 1867, and four years later he won a term in the House of Delegates representing Petersburg. In 1873 voters elected him to the Senate of Virginia, representing the district comprised of Petersburg, and Prince George and Surry counties. A well-connected Republican, Evans secured patronage jobs and presided over the short-lived Laboring Men’s Mechanics’ Union Association. His political position began to weaken in the early 1880s when most African American members of the party found common cause with the Readjuster Party. Evans remained a staunch Republican, a faction whose members were known as straightouts, and in 1884 unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. House of Representatives. He suffered financial difficulties followed by mental health concerns, and died in 1889 in Petersburg. His son William W. Evans later served a term in the House of Delegates (1877­–1880).

  • Other Notable Service and/or Elected Offices: Senate of Virginia - 1874 - 1875
Session District District Number Party Leadership Committees
1871-1873 Petersburg Republican Counties, Cities and Towns
Privileges and Elections

*The information within this interactive and searchable application has been researched extensively by the House Clerk’s Office. As with any historical records of this age and breadth, there may be discrepancies and/or inconsistencies within records obtained from a variety of credible sources. Any feedback is encouraged at history@house.virginia.gov.

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