|Tom Rankin, Grave of James D. Lynch, Greenwood Cemetery, Jackson, Mississippi, 2012.|
James D. Lynch (1839–1872) was the first African American to serve as the Secretary of State of Mississippi. Born to a white father and black mother in Baltimore, Maryland, Lynch was trained as a minister at Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, New Hampshire, and then preached in Galena, Indiana until the Civil War. After the war, Lynch preached in South Carolina, and later in Mississippi, where the plight of blacks led him to join the Republican Party. He quickly rose to prominence in the party and in Mississippi politics. Shortly after his death, the Republican-controlled Mississippi legislature voted to invest $1000 in a monument to Lynch to be erected in the previously all-white Greenwood Cemetery in Jackson, Mississippi.