Douglas Hales

RODGERS, M. M. (1859–1921). M. M. Rodgers, black Republican politician and businessman, was born on July 13, 1859, in Wharton County, Texas. He received a degree from Prairie View Normal College in 1881. Afterwards he taught at several schools and served as a principal in Fayette County until 1887. Rodgers, a successful businessman, head of the local Negro Business League, and advocate of black "self-help," became deputy collector of internal revenue for the third district in 1887 and held the post until 1909. His friendship with Booker T. Washington, an influential supporter of Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, gave him significant influence over political patronage in Texas. Elected as city alderman of La Grange in 1887, and a five-time delegate to the Republican National Convention, Rodgers also served as Republican chairman of the Eighteenth Senatorial District, composed of Austin, Lavaca, Colorado, and Fayette counties. During the 1890s within the Texas Republican party a serious split developed between a coalition of black and white Republicans, known as the "Black and Tan" faction, and a group of all-white Republicans known as the "Lily Whites." The lily-white movement was determined to purge the party of African-American influence. In 1898 in an attempt to counteract that threat, Rodgers and another influential black American, William McDonald, formed an alliance with the chairman of the Republican State Executive Committee, E. H. R. Green. A further split developed within the black membership, however, which complicated their efforts. By 1902 the split within the black membership appears to have been resolved after the all-white faction gained the majority within the party. Rodgers and McDonald for a short time supported Robert M. La Follette and the Progressive party before returning to the Republican fold and supporting William Howard Taft in 1912. Previously, Rodgers had become active in the prohibition movement, serving as chairman of the statewide black Prohibition League. He was secretary of the Baptist Missionary and Education Convention of Texas and a trustee of Houston College. He died on May 18, 1921.

Alwyn Barr and Robert A. Calvert, eds., Black Leaders: Texans for Their Times (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1981). Paul D. Casdorph, A History of the Republican Party in Texas, 1865–1965 (Austin: Pemberton Press, 1965). Bruce Alden Glasrud, Black Texans, 1900–1930: A History (Ph.D. dissertation, Texas Tech College, 1969). Steve D. Gulley, M. M. Rodgers the Politician (M.A. thesis, Prairie View Agricultural and Mechanical College, 1955). Lawrence D. Rice, The Negro in Texas, 1874–1900 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1971).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Douglas Hales, "RODGERS, M. M.," accessed January 20, 2020,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...