A Guide to the J. B. Rayner Papers, 1903-1919
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" http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/RR/fra52.html (accessed June 9, 2010).
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.
This collection is open for research use.
Rayner (J. B.) Papers, 1903-1919, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by Robert S. Martin, July 1976.
Detailed Description of the Papers