Explore By:

 Please turn your device to landscape view for wide tables like those below.

Richard Gault Leslie Paige

Member From: 1871 - 1882

Member image
  • Birth Date: May 31, 1846 Birth Place:Norfolk, VA
  • Death Date: September 21 or 22, 1904
  • Gender: Male Race: African American
  • Spouse: Lillie A. Ruffin (m. November 26, 1868)
  • Children: Five sons, three daughters plus one other child
  • Religion:
  • Education: Howard University Law School - Graduated 1879
  • Military Service:
  • Occupation/Profession:
  • Additional Info Links: Bio from Encyclopedia Virginia
    Bio from Virginia's Martin Luther King Jr. Commission
  • Bio: R. G. L. Paige was a Republican member of the House of Delegates (1871–1875, 1879–1882) and possibly the first African American lawyer in Norfolk and one of the first in Virginia. Born into slavery in the city of Norfolk, Paige escaped to Philadelphia about 1857 and eventually settled in Boston. After the American Civil War (1861–1865) and the abolition of slavery, he returned to Norfolk. There he purchased the local African American burial ground (later Mount Olive Cemetery) and in 1871 won election to the House of Delegates. In the General Assembly Paige lobbied for civil rights, served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention, and won a patronage appointment as an assistant clerk at the Norfolk customs house. In 1880 he delivered a speech against lynching that was widely reprinted, but no legislation resulted. That same year he threatened to, but in the end did not, sue a Richmond theater company that refused to seat him. From 1882 to 1885 he served as secretary of the curators of the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute. In 1882 he helped pass legislation chartering the Virginia Building and Savings Association and became a founding member of its board of directors. Paige died in 1904.
Session District District Number Party Leadership Committees
1871-1873 Norfolk County Propositions and Grievances
1874-1875 Norfolk County Republican Propositions and Greivances
Retrenchment and the Economy
1879-1880 Norfolk County Republican Counties, Cities and Towns
Labor and the Poor
Privileges and Elections
1881-1882 Norfolk County Funder Claims (Chair)
Schools and Colleges

*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.

Search What's This?

Advanced Search