Scarce Slave Narrative of J. Vance Lewis, 1910 First Edition

LEWIS, J. Vance (ca 1853-1925). Out of the Ditch: A True Story of an Ex-Slave. Houston: Rein & Sons, 1910.

8vo (145 x 213 mm). Frontispiece and plates throughout. Original pictorial cloth (Very light edge wear, spine titles slightly rubbed, else near fine).

FIRST EDITION. Slave narrative of Joseph Lewis Vance who was freed through emancipation. After attending Leland University in New Orleans, Vance became a teacher in rural county east Texas in order to bolster his finances. He then attended Lincoln University (Pennsylvania) before finishing his education in Ann Arbor, Michigan, graduating in 1894 and being admitted to the Supreme Court of Michigan the same year. In 1897, he was admitted to the US Supreme Court - one of 18 lawyers accepted, he was the only African American. He practiced law in Chicago and New Orleans before returning to Texas, where he was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1904 and established a thriving practice in Houston. Notably, he became the first black lawyer to successfully defend a black client accused of murder in front of a Harris County jury. His law office at 419 1/2 Milam held the offices of other African American professionals including nine other attorneys who served Houston's African American population of about 30,000 in 1915. Quite scarce, OCLC locates 9 copies.


Very light edge wear, spine titles slightly rubbed, very light soiling, pen ownership to front fly leaf, else near fine.

Estimate: $800 - $1,200
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