(1846-1898) Born a slave on the Waller County plantation of his father, Philip Cuney, Norris Wright Cuney was sent to Wyle Street School in Pennsylvania for an early education. At the age of seventeen he moved to St. Louis and found employment on Mississippi River steamboats. Following the Civil War Cuney moved to Galveston, where in 1867 he helped care for victims of the island's yellow fever epidemic. Interested in politics, he became a leader in the local Republican Party, eventually rising to high office in the state and national party organizations. He served as county agent in 1872, and in 1872 was appointed inspector of customs for the District of Texas, a position he held until he was elected Galveston's first black alderman in 1883. As a leader in the Republican Party, Cuney served as chairman of the state convention in 1882 and as a delegate to the national conventions in 1876, 1880, 1884, and 1888. He was appointed Collector of Customs by President Benjamin Harrison in 1889. Norris Wright Cuney was an important political and civic leader in Galveston. A park was dedicated in his memory in 1937. He is buried in Lake View Cemetery. (1989)
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