Named For

John Henninger Reagan (14)


John H. Reagan was a Confederate officer who served as postmaster general of the Confederacy. His reputation has been white-washed by Confederate sympathizers who have painted him as a moderate who renounced slavery and secession and who supported the idea of slaves voting. His own 1906 memoir shows the truth to be distinctly different from this rosy picture.

In his memoir, John Reagan stated that what he advocated in regard to formerly enslaved people. A letter Reagan wrote state that the “elevation of the slaves to all the dignities of citizenship “was an evil” that needed to be prevented; he advised that instead the South should “make such concessions (to the Union) as we would inevitably be required to make…to save us form universal negro suffrage.”

Reagan was arguing for limiting the voting rights of freed Black people. The various poll taxes, literacy tests and property ownership tests he wanted to establish as prerequisites to voting were exactly the disenfranchisement that necessitated the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.