John Roy Lynch (September 10, 1847 – November 2, 1939) was an American politician, writer, attorney and military officer. Born into slavery, he became free in 1863. In 1873 he was elected as the first African-American Speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives. During Reconstruction after the American Civil War, he was among the first generation of African Americans elected to the U.S House of Representatives, serving 1874-1877 and again in the 1880s. Of mixed race, he was of majority European ancestry.
After Democrats regained power in the state legislature and Reconstruction ended, in his 50s Lynch studied law; he was admitted to the Mississippi bar in 1896. As the state legislature had disfranchised blacks in 1890 under the new constitution, Lynch left the state and moved to Washington, DC to practice law. He served in the United States Army during the Spanish American War and for a decade in the early 1900s, achieving the rank of major. After retiring, Lynch moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he lived for more than two decades. He was active in law and real estate in Chicago after his military service.
Beginning in 1877, Lynch published four books, analyzing the political situation during and after Reconstruction. He is best known for his book, The Facts of Reconstruction (1913). It is available for free online at the Gutenberg Project. In it, he argued against the prevailing view of the Dunning School, white historians who downplayed African-American contributions and the achievements of the Reconstruction era. He emphasized the significance of ratification of the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, which granted full citizenship without restriction of race or color, and suffrage to minority males.