More than one hundred delegates from six states held a Black convention in Philadelphia. John Mercer Langston, one of the first Blacks to win public office, elected clerk of Brownhelm Township, Lorain County, Ohio. In 1856 he was elected clerk of the township of Russia, near Oberlin. In 1857 he was elected to the council of the incorporated village of Oberlin. From 1871 to 1878 Langston was president of the board of health of Washington, D.C. In 1889 he was elected to the U.S. Congress from Virginia. The pioneer Black lawyer also served as minister to Haiti and Vice President of Howard University.