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Mayor Andrew J. Ginther
City Hall 2nd Floor
90 West Broad Street
Columbus, OH 43215
Office : 614-645-7671
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Rev. Dr. James Preston Poindexter

Image of Reverend Poindexter

Reverend Poindexter

The Rev. Dr. James Preston Poindexter was a highly respected political and social justice leader in Columbus with influence across the state and the nation during the 19th century.

Poindexter was born in Richmond, Virginia, on October 26, 1819. As a young man, he received a formal education only to the age of 10 when he was put to work as an apprentice to a barber. He married at 18 and moved to Columbus in 1838. He lived at 41 N. 4th Street and owned and operated a barbershop across from the Ohio Statehouse.

Rev. Poindexter was called to be the pastor of the Anti-Slavery Baptist Church that started in 1847. The members of the Second Baptist Church, one of the oldest African-American congregations in the city, call Rev. Poindexter to be their pastor in 1858, where he served for 40 years until he retired in 1898. 

Rev. Poindexter was the first African-American to serve on Columbus City Council. As an advocate for education for all children, he was elected to four terms on the Columbus School Board beginning in 1884. Among his many recognitions, he received gubernatorial appointments to serve as a trustee of the State School for the Blind and as a member of the Ohio State Forestry Bureau. He was a leader of black citizens in the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln. He was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1876 and a trustee of Wilberforce University. In 1887, the State University of Louisville, Kentucky, awarded the Doctor of Divinity degree to Rev. Poindexter.

Rev. Poindexter wrote for the Ohio State Journal and was sought out by leaders of both parties, governors and presidents for advice on issues of the day. He spoke against injustice affecting all citizens. He was a voice for the poor, forgotten, and the oppressed, speaking out for reforming schools and civil service. 

Rev. Poindexter’s life work was memorialized in the naming of the one of the first affordable public housing complexes in Columbus and the nation as part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal. President Roosevelt, along with Governor Bricker, Mayor Green and General Hodges, dedicated the newly constructed Poindexter Village complex of 426 apartments on October 12, 1940.