On January 20, 1870 Hiram Rhodes Revels (1827 – 1901) was the first African American elected to the United States Senate.

Revels was born in Fayette, NC on September 27, 1827 to free parents. He was able to receive an education from a free black woman when it was illegal for blac
k children to receive an education.

During the Civil War, Revels, who was now a minister, was a chaplain for the Union Army and assisted in the formation of African American Army regiments for the Union.

R000166.jpgOn January 20, 1870 the Mississippi legislature elected Revels to fill the Senate seat once held by former president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis. Revels was sworn into office two days after Mississippi was granted representation in Congress. [1]

Although he only served in one year, Revels his time in office paved a path for other African Americans.

Today, more than 140 years after Revels held office, there are 10 African American Senators[2] and a record 52 Congressional[3] members on Capital Hill.





[1] (n.d.). Retrieved from http://history.house.gov/People/Listing/R/REVELS,-Hiram-Rhodes-(R000166)/

[2] (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.senate.gov/history/Photo_Exhibit_African_American_Senators.htm

[3] (n.d.). Retrieved from https://newsone.com/3609009/kamala-harris-mia-love-among-black-congressional-leaders-in-2017/