Hiram R. Revels: the First African American Congressman

On February 25, 1870 Hiram R. Revels became the first African American man to be sworn into Congress.  He was a college educated minister from Natchez, Mississippi.  During the Civil War he helped form African American regiments, started a school for freed men, and was a chaplain for the Union army.  He was posted in Mississippi during the war.  Afterwards, he stayed in the state to enter politics.

The Republican Party dominated Southern politics due to a new politically mobilized African American male population.  Hiram R. Revels was elected to fill the vacant seat that once belonged to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.   Revels and 15 other African American men served in Congress, 600 served in state legislatures, and hundreds more served in local offices during Reconstruction.  The Rebecca Crown Library has some articles, and access to other great resources if you’d like to learn more.

Image credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hiram_Rhodes_Revels_-_Brady-Handy-(restored).png


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