Vermont Black History Month

In 1945, segregation kept black legislator out of Montpelier hotels

Republished from Vermont Historical Society Black History Database

Born in 1876 to former enslaved farmer William Anderson and his French-Canadian wife Philomen Langlois in Shoreham, William Anderson, Jr. attended Mount Herman Preparatory School in Massachusetts.

William Anderson

He stayed on at the school to manage their laundry service for a number of years. While there he became active in the Republican Party, attending Gov. Coolidge’s inaugural ceremonies in 1919. In 1920 he returned to Shoreham where he began his orchard business.

In 1935 he was elected the president of the Vermont Horticultural Society. Through his actions, he integrated the Vermont Masons through a unanimous vote by all lodges. He served in a number of elected town offices before his election to the legislature in 1945. With his election, he became the second African American to serve in the Vermont legislature – more than 100 years after Alexander Twilight in 1836. At the time, many Montpelier institutions such as the Pavilion Hotel and the Montpelier Tavern (now Capitol Plaza) were closed to him due to segregation.

At the national level, he worked with U.S. Senator from Vermont Warren Austin to increase the number of black officers in the Army and create a Senior ROTC unit at Tuskegee University.

2 replies »

  1. so a man was prevented in going in a hotel and tavern cause of the color of his skin. dang in little anti slavery vermont.

  2. This post is banned in Florida as it is illegal to be “be made to feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race”

Leave a Reply