|U.S. Senator Blanche Bruce|
A former slave, Bruce was elected to
the Senate from Mississippi serving
from 1875 - 1881.
(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.)
Blanche Kelso Bruce (March 1, 1841 – March 17, 1898) represented Mississippi as a Republican in the U.S. Senate from 1875 to 1881 and was the first elected African-American senator to serve a full term.
Bruce was born in Prince Edward County, Virginia near Farmville to Pettis Perkinson, a white Virginia plantation owner, and an African-American house slave named Polly Bruce. As Blanche Bruce was born enslaved, because of his mother's status, his father legally freed him and arranged for an apprenticeship so he could learn a trade.
After the Union Army rejected his application to fight in the Civil War, Bruce taught school and attended Oberlin College in Ohio for two years. Then he went to work as a steamboat porter on the Mississippi River. In 1864, he moved to Hannibal, Missouri, where he established a school for blacks.
During Reconstruction, Bruce became a wealthy landowner in the Mississippi Delta. He was appointed to the positions of Tallahatchie County registrar of voters and tax assessor before winning an election for sheriff in Bolivar County. He later was elected to other county positions, including tax collector and supervisor of education, while he also edited a local newspaper.
In February 1874, Bruce was elected by the state legislature to the U.S. Senate as a Republican.
Bruce made repeated though futile attempts to convince his fellow Senators to seat Louisiana's former governor and black political leader, P.B.S. Pinchback. He encouraged the government to be more generous in issuing western land grants to black emigrants and favored distribution of duty-free clothing from England to needy blacks who had emigrated to Kansas from the South. Bruce also appealed for the desegregation of United States Army units and for a Senate inquiry into the violent Mississippi elections of 1875.
As a member and temporary chairman of the Committee on River Improvements, he advocated the development of a channel and levee system and construction of the Mississippi Valley and Ship Island Railroad. On February 14, 1879, during debate on a Chinese exclusion bill that he opposed, Bruce became the first black senator to preside over a Senate session. In April he was appointed chairman of the Select Committee to Investigate the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company. Bruce's six-member committee issued a report naming bank officials who were guilty of fraud and incompetence. Eventually about 61,000 depositors victimized by the bank's 1874 failure received a portion of their money.
On February 14, 1879, Bruce presided over the U.S. Senate becoming the first African-American (and the only former slave) to do so.
In January 1880 the Mississippi legislature, now controlled by Democrats, chose James Z. George to succeed Bruce. Before his term ended the following March, Bruce continued to be an activist senator, calling for a more equitable and humane Indian policy and demanding a War Department investigation of the brutal harassment of a black West Point cadet.
|Senator Bruce received 11 votes for the 1888|
GOP nomination for Vice President.
At the 1880 Republican convention in Chicago, Bruce served briefly as presiding officer and received eight votes for vice president. Following the close of his Senate service on March 3, 1881, Bruce rejected an offer of the ministry to Brazil because slavery was still practiced there.
All but one member of the Mississippi congressional delegation endorsed Bruce for a seat in President Garfield's cabinet, but he instead received appointment as registrar of the treasury and served until the Democrats regained power in 1885. Bruce became a lecturer, an author of magazine articles, and was superintendent of the exhibit on black achievement at the World's Cotton Exposition in New Orleans during 1884-1885.
In 1888 Bruce received eleven votes for vice president at the convention that nominated Benjamin Harrison. Harrison, as president, appointed Bruce recorder of deeds for the District of Columbia in 1889. After leaving this office in 1893 Bruce was a trustee of public schools in Washington, D.C., and again registrar of the treasury from 1897 until his death in Washington on March 17, 1898.
On June 24, 1878, Bruce married Josephine Beal Wilson (1853–February 15, 1923) of Cleveland, Ohio amid great publicity; the couple traveled to Europe for a four-month honeymoon. Their only child, Roscoe Conkling Bruce was born in 1879. He was named for New York Senator Roscoe Conkling, Bruce's mentor in the Senate.
(Blanche Bruce - Wikipedia)
Also see our article:
THE FEDERALIST - "Black Republicans in American history."
Senator Bruce's grave at Woodlawn Cemetery, District of Columbia