Author: Lisa Clemmer


Fountain M. Perkins (1816 or 1817–1896)

Fountain M. Perkins was born into slavery and later served one term in the House of Delegates (1869–1871). An overseer on his owner’s farm, by 1867 he was a preacher and had become a political figure. A local official with the Freedmen’s Bureau considered him a prominent man in Louisa County. Perkins began speaking at political meetings and was considered a candidate for the Constitutional Convention of 1867–1868, the first election in which Virginia’s African American men could vote. In 1869 he won one of the county’s two seats in the House of Delegates. He voted to ratify the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which the state was required to do before being readmitted to the United States. Perkins did not run for reelection in 1871 but stayed active in politics during the next two decades, attending local Republican meetings, sitting as an election judge, and serving on the state central committee. He acquired property and farmed, and then, in 1896, died of the effects of paralysis in Louisa County.