University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the J. B. Rayner Papers, 1903-1919

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Rayner (J. B.)
Title: Rayner (J. B.) Papers
Dates: 1903-1919
Abstract: Letters, newspaper articles, and clippings relating to J. B. Rayner, leader of the Populist People's Party in Texas and one of the greatest orators of this time.
Accession No.: 73-131
Extent: 5 in.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

John Baptis (J. B.) Rayner (1850-1918) was born to Mary Ricks, a slave, and white congressman and planter Kenneth Rayner. After working on his father’s plantation, Rayner attended Shaw University and St. Augustine’s Normal and Collegiate Institute with help from his father. Rayner became a teacher in Tarboro, North Carolina, where he also held local political offices with the Republican Party during Reconstruction.

Upon Rayner’s return to Texas, he gained notoriety as a proponent of prohibition and soon joined the Populist Party. While touring on behalf of the party, he quickly gained a reputation as one of the greatest orators of the day, regardless of race. Rayner continued his fight for black rights even after the Populist movement collapsed and he returned to the Republican Party. He pushed especially hard for black vocational schools, and served as President of Conroe Porter Industrial College. Rayner dedicated his life to fighting Jim Crow laws, spent his last years pushing for the inclusion of African Americans in the armed forces during World War I.


Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "Rayner, John Baptis" (accessed June 9, 2010).

Scope and Contents

The J. B. Rayner Papers contain correspondence, literary productions, scrapbooks, clippings, and other materials relating to Rayner’s activities as an organizer for the Conroe Porter Industrial College, the Texas Negro Law and Order League, and the Farmers’ Improvement Society.


Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Alsbury, Edward Plummer
Jones, Jesse H. (Jessie Holman), 1874-1956
Kirby, Jonathan
Reagan, John H. (John Henninger), 1818-1905
Rayner, John B., 1850-1918
Subjects (Organizations)
Farmers Improvement Society of Texas
Conroe-Porter Industrial College
Texas Negro Law and Order College
African American educators -- Texas
Populism -- United States -- Texas -- History -- Sources
Populist Party (U.S.) -- Texas -- History -- Sources
Calvert (Tex.)
Conroe (Tex.)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Rayner (J. B.) Papers, 1903-1919, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Robert S. Martin, July 1976.

Detailed Description of the Papers



3F218 Letters, 1906-1919
Literary Productions:
The Federal Government's Best Asset
Good Citizenship and the Negro
The Negro's Heart
The Negro's Opportunity in the South
Pledges and Vows of the International Brotherhood of Christian Laymen
Political Ingratittude
Racial Growth
The Travail of the Soul in its Travel from Imperfection Back to Perfection
Southern Chivalry and the Negro
The Spirit of Abraham Lincoln Calling His Negro Children Whom He Emancipated
Epigrams and Aphorisms
Clippings; Miscellaneous