Page Five

Largely through Poindexter's efforts colored teachers taught side by side with white teachers in nine different schools in the city of Columbus. The kind of teachers desired by colored people was set forth in the following comprehensive statement:

"Parents of colored youth, like parents of white youth, demand that those appointed to teach their children shall have the requisite educational qualifications; be pure in their lives; orderly in deportment; devoted to their work, and successful, because capable and devoted. And they demand further, that the schools for their children, in their whole make-up, be the freest possible from sectarian taint."13

Poindexter was a faithful worker while on the school board and is said to have rarely missed a meeting. He had been advocating consistently the merger of schools for white and colored students before becoming a member, and his unanimous choice for membership on the board, made up as it was of prominent men of the city, was a deserved recognition of his influence.

A further contact in an official way with the educational system of Ohio came with his appointment as a trustee of the State School for the Blind by Governor Charles Foster in 1880. He served through the year 1883, during the superintendency of George S. Snead. Later, Governor Joseph B. Foraker named consecutively the two granddaughters of Poindexter to be teach ers at that institution.

His nomination in 1885 as a trustee of Ohio University at Athens by Governor George Hoadley was not ratified by the State Senate on the ground that he was too partisan. The vote was thirteen noes to eleven ayes. Replying to the charge of partisanship, Poindexter wrote:

It is not best for colored men of the country that they be compelled to vote for the candidate of any one party. This the masses of them will feel it is a religious duty to do until the Democratic party accept in good faith the constitution as it is, and illustrate that acceptance of it by fitting recognition of capable colored men in official positions.14

In April 1896 Poindexter was appointed by Governor Asa Bushnell a trustee of the combined Normal and Industrial Departments of Wilberforce University. The Ohio State Journal complimented the Governor on his wise choice and congratulated the appointee on the recognition accorded him. It spoke of his being well known everywhere for his honorable achievements and his Christian virtue. The Journal stated that all conceded it to be the best selection which could have been made and hoped that his wise counsel would serve to guide Wilberforce through any struggle that might occur.15

POINDEXTER IN POLIITICS AND CIVIC AFFAIRS

Negro suffrage in Columbus followed, of course, the ratification of   the Fifteenth Amendment. One newspaper in taking note of the circumstance offered some advice to the new voters, saying:

"Every free man above the age of twenty-one years without regard   to color or complexion is entitled to vote on Monday at the City and Township Election. Every colored citizen must, therefore, be at the   polls early and vote as the best interests of the city require. Modesty, calmness and so- briety should mark the behavior of these newly enfranchised voters."16

After the election both the Ohio State Journal and the Ohio Statesman commented favorably on the deportment of these citizens who were voting for the first time, one saying "their record on the day made memorable by their first vote is a very good one. The further comment was that nearly all voted the Republican ticket. While the name of Poindexter is not mentiond in this connection, one may well be sure that he, by both precept and example, set the tone for the Negro vote at that first election.

Shortly after the election, the Negroes of Columbus undertook the celebration of the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment. This was an all-day celebration which got under way with the firing of cannon early in the morning. A parade was next in order with the line of march covering the central portion of the city, and ending at the State Capitol where the speaking took place. Five hundred and sixty-five people took part in the parade and there were 47 carriages in line. The Douglass and Potomac Guards (presumably militia) led the procession. At the head of the Sons of Protection (an organization of some importance paying sick and burial benefits) marched Poindexter, the president of the organization. There was much oratory by prominent men of both races at the afternoon ceremony.

In the evening the celebration was continued at the Opera House. There were more speeches by Governor Rutherford B.Hayes, the Honorable Sam Galloway, the Honorable E. E. White, the Reverend J. P. Underwood, and the Reverend G. H. Graham. But the orator of the evening was Poindexter who made a long speech in which he urged: "Fellow citizens, rejoicing in the liberty which the elective franchise brings, let us look squarely in the face its accompanying duties and earnestly and energetically make the needful preparation to rightly discharge them." In this speech Poindexter showed an extensive knowledge of English and American history.17 The Columbus newspapers gave considerable space to recording the proceedings of the day which gave due emphasis, they felt, to the newly acquired privilege.


13 Ibid., June 10, 1878
14 Ibid., April 17, 1885
15 Ibid., April 19, 1896
16 Ibid., April 2, 1870
17 Ohio Statesman, April 14, 1870.

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