Friday, February 4, 2011

The Urban Politico Celebrates Black History Month: African American Firsts

The Urban Politico would like to celebrate Black History Month by bringing you the first achievements by African Americans. Many African Americans broke down color barriers, forced a culture change or established a new way of doing things. During Black History Month, we will highlight their achievements.

Hiram Rhodes Revels

Hiram Rhodes Revels, a Republican, was the first African American to serve in the U. S. congress as a Senator from the state of Mississippi.  A minister and educator, Revels entered politics reluctantly, fearing racial friction and interference with his religions work.  Eventually, he won a seat in the Mississippi state senate launching his political career.  With the two senate seats vacated by Albert Brown and Jefferson Davis' when Mississippi seceded from the Union, after the Civil War, the state wanted to elect an African American to one of the seats.  Black legislators felt the move would “be a weakening blow against color line prejudice.” The Democratic minority also endorsed the plan, hoping a black Senator would “seriously damage the Republican Party.  After three days and seven ballots, on January 20, 1870, the Mississippi state legislature voted 85 to 15 to seat Hiram Revels in Brown’s former seat.  Highlighting this magnificent accomplishment, in the 140 years since Revels term, there have only been 5 African Americans (and only 1 African American Female) in the U.S. Senate.

Today, The Urban Politico salutes Hiram Rhodes Revels, the first African American to serve in the U.S. Congress.
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