African American Congressmen
(This page was developed by a Berea College student as part of a course on Chesnutt)
Although African American played a role in politics from
the earliest days of their arrival in the New World, opportunities to
win elected office were essentially non-existant until after the Civil
War. Between 1869 and 1901, there were twenty blacks in the U.S. House
of Representatives and there were two U.S. Senators. The number of African
Americans in the U.S. Congress would not be this high again until the
1960's. The first two African American Senators were Hiram
Revels and Blanche K. Bruce.
With the end of Reconstruction and the rise of Jim Crow laws, African
Americans in many communities lost voting rights and the chance to win
elected office. The third African American to serve as a U.S. Senator
was Edward E. Brooke who was elected in 1966.
There were two African Americans elected to office who represented the state of Mississippi.
Edward E. Brooke was the third Senator who served in 1966.
U.S. House of Representatives:
Thomas Ezekiel Miller
George Washington Murray - "there is
not a drop of white blood running in his veins, but his voice did
not show his African origin" Tindall, George B., South Carolina
Negros 1877-1900. U of South Carolina Press. 1952.
Jonathan A. Baxter - elected in 1884
Bruce H. Williams - elected in 1884
John W. Bolts - elected in 1898
held office as governor for 35 days till the Ten Acts of the Legislature became Law
Encyclopedia of African - American.
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