Today is Election Day in the United States of America. Your vote counts. On this Election Day, the African American Museum and Library at Oakland profiles political figure Frederick Madison Roberts. Roberts was born in Chillicothe, Ohio in 1880 to Andrew J. and Ellen Wales Roberts. From his mother, he acquired the distinction of being the great-grandson of Sally Hemings, a woman reputed to be the mistress of Thomas Jefferson.
There were two milestones in Roberts’ distinguished life. First, Roberts was the first African American to graduate from Los Angeles High School. He went on to attend the University of Southern California for one semester and then transferred to Colorado College, where he received an A.B. in legal studies. He also served in his first civic office, acting as deputy assessor of El Paso County, Colorado.