Member Biography

Charles Alexander Black 

Sessions Office Position District Party
1843       18 Democrat
1845       22 Democrat
1847       22 Democrat

COUNTIES: Fayette, Greene  


1808 - 1889

Born February 6, 1808, the son of Jacob and Margaret (Grinstaff) Black, Senator Black grew up on his father’s farm; attended school whenever circuit teachers were in the area; clerked in his brother’s store in Greensboro; he became an avid reader and quickly a respected scholar.  He read law with Samuel Cleavenger in Waynesboro; was elected to the state Senate for two terms, 1843-1848; selected Secretary of the Commonwealth and Superintendent of Public Instruction (schools) under Gov. William Bigler; wrote the 1854 “Free School Law,” rectifying numerous problems in the original Public School Law of the 1830s; created the district system, creating 12 with one normal school in each; and served as a delegate to the 1872-74 Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention.  The Hon. Charles A. Black died in 1889, and is interred in Green Mount Cemetery, Waynesburg, Greene County.  He married Maria Allison of Fayette County.