The first Presidential candidate of the Prohibition Party, James Black, was born in Lewisburg, Union county, Pennsylvania,
September 16, 1823. He was the first son of John Black, a [prominent contractor. After going through a common school and the Lewisburg Academy, he began the study of law and was admitted to the bar in 1846. Ten years before this his people had removed to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he lived up to the time of his death, which occurred on December 16, 1893.
When seventeen years of age, Mr. Black joined the Washingtonians, and in 1946 he helped institute a division of the Sons of Temperance. Originally a Democrat, in 1854 he became a Republican, remaining so until the organization of the Prohibition Party.. He was chairman, in 1852, of the Lancaster county Prohibition committee, organized by a convention of men determined to secure a State Prohibitory law like that of Maine. At the Chicago convention in 1869 which organized the Prohibition Party, Mr. Black was permanent chairman. At the new party's convention, held in February, 1872, at Columbus, Ohio, he was nominated as its candidate for President of the United States, and in the election that followed he received 5,608 votes, For the four years, from 1876 to 1880, he was chairman of the National Committee of the Prohibition Party. He was also active along other lines of temperance work. He was one of the founders of the National Temperance Society and Publication House, and was chairman of the committee that prepared its charter, constitution, rules of publication, and secured a capital of $100,000 as a basis of operations. From 1858 to 1862 he was Grand Worthy Chief Templar of the Pennsylvania Good Templars. In 1864 he prepared and presented to President Lincoln a memorial for the abolition of whisky rations; in the United States Army. Mr. Black's library, containing probably a larger collection of temperance literature (over 1,200 volumes) than any other private library in the world, was bequeathed to the National Temperance Society. Among the works published by him are: "Is there a Necessity for a Prohibition Party?" (1875), "A Brief History of Prohibition" (1880), an "A History of the Prohibition Party" (1885).
Prominent as a layman in the Methodist Episcopal Church, he was one of the twenty-six who, in 1869, organized the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, at Ocean Grove, Jew Jersey. Two children survive him.
-- Data from An Album of Representative Prohibitionists (1895)