|Senator Hiram Rhodes Revels|
The first Black American to serve in Congress.
(Editor - Here is a profile of a great American from the olden days . . . from the days before 90% of Black voters sold their soul to the Democratic Party in return for a few Socialist crumbs form the table of the Big Brother Welfare State.)
Hiram Rhodes Revels (1827 - 1901) was the fist African-American to serve in the United States Senate.
Because he preceded any African American in the House, he was the first African American in the U.S. Congress as well. He represented Mississippi in 1870 and 1871 during Reconstruction.
Revels was born free in Fayetteville, North Carolina, to parents of mixed ancestry.
He studied at a black seminary in Ohio. Revels was ordained a minister in 1845. As a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Revels preached in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Tennessee, Missouri, Kansas and Maryland in the 1850s. "At times, I met with a great deal of opposition," he later recalled. "I was imprisoned in Missouri in 1854 for preaching the gospel to Negroes, though I was never subjected to violence."
As an army chaplain Revels helped raise two black Union regiments during the Civil War in Maryland and Missouri, and took part at the battle of Vicksburg in Mississippi.
In 1866, he was given a permanent pastorship in Natchez, Mississippi, where he settled with his wife and five daughters, continued his ministerial work, and founded schools for black children.
He was elected to represent Adams County in the Mississippi State Senate in 1869.
Elected as a Republican to the U.S. Senate in 1870 he was a vigorous advocate of racial equality. In his maiden speech to the Senate on March 16, 1870, he made a plea to reinstate the black legislators of the Georgia General Assembly who had been illegally ousted by white representatives.
Revels nominated a young black man to the United States Military Academy, although he was subsequently denied admission. Revels was successful, however, in championing the cause of black workers who had been barred by their color from working at the Washington Navy Yard.
After the Senate, Revels served as the first president of Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Alcorn State University) located in Claiborne County, Mississippi, where he also taught philosophy. In 1873, Revels took a leave of absence from Alcorn to serve as Mississippi's secretary of state ad interim.
Republican leader James G. Blaine said "The colored men who took their seats in both Senate and House were as a rule studious, earnest, ambitious men, whose public conduct would be honorable to any race."
|Jefferson Davis at the sight of Black Republican |
Hiram Revels in the U.S. Senate.
In a historical twist of fate, Senator Hiram Revels took the Senate seat formerly held by Jefferson Davis, who had served as president of the Confederate States of America. In this cartoon by Thomas Nast, Revels is welcomed to the Senate chamber by fellow-Republican senators (l-r), Henry Wilson of Massachusetts, Oliver Morton of Indiana, Carl Schurz of Missouri, and Charles Sumner of Massachusetts.
Nast often tapped the plays of Shakespeare, which were well known to nineteenth-century Americans, as sources of inspiration and symbolism. In this illustration, the artist portrays Davis as the evil Iago, who schemed against the innocent Othello, the Moor (African).
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