First Black Senator - History

First Black Senator - History

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On February 25th, Hiram Revels became the first Black Senator. He took Mississippi's Senate seat, formerly occupied by Jefferson Davis.

Warnock makes history as the first Black senator in Georgia

The results of the runoff election signal a major political shift.

  • Georgia voters elected the state’s first Black senator, Rev. Raphael Warnock.
  • Prior to Warnock’s election, just 10 Black Americans have served in the U.S. Senate.

For the first time in state history, Georgia has elected a Black American to be senator, as Rev. Raphael Warnock (D) defeats Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler on Wednesday.

Warnock’s win is a major chapter in Black American history, as he becomes the first Black senator to represent Georgia, a former Confederate state. Following the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020, the increase in representation breathes hope into issues that disproportionately affect Black Americans, such as criminal justice reform and voting rights.

Warnock’s historic achievement also helps put the Senate majority within the Democrats’ reach, as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take office on Jan. 20.

The New York Times tracked 98 percent of the votes cast in the special election between Warnock and Loeffler, and The Associated Press (AP) reported the win on Wednesday.

In a live streamed broadcast, Warnock claimed victory, The Washington Post reports.

“We were told that we couldn’t win this election,” he said. “But tonight, we proved that with hope, hard work and the people by our side, anything is possible.”

Prior to being an elected official, Warnock was the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church based in Atlanta, the same church where civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. preached. As one of 12 children, Warnock grew up in public housing and was the first in his family to graduate college, according to AP.

Historically , just 10 Black Americans have served in the Senate’s two century history, with two being Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and former President Barack Obama.

In 1870, Hiram Revels was the first African American to serve in the Senate, representing the state of Mississippi.

Eyes are now on the second race between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican David Perdue. Ossoff is leading, but AP reports as of Wednesday the race was still too close to officially call. Ossoff declared victory, saying on social media: “ Whether you were for me, or against me, I’ll be for you in the U.S. Senate. I will serve all the people of the state.”

The special election in Georgia saw the participation of both President-elect Biden — supporting Warnock and Ossoff — and President Trump, vocally supporting Sens. Loeffler and David Perdue in the race.

Black-American Members by State and Territory, 1870–Present

The table is supplemented by an interactive map of the United States and is based on information drawn from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Names are followed by the Congress in which the Representative or Senator first took office.

The following states and territories have never elected or appointed an African American to Congress: Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, Arkansas, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming.

State or Territory Name First Took Office Service
AL TURNER, Benjamin Sterling 42nd (1871-1873) House
AL RAPIER, James Thomas 43rd (1873-1875) House
AL HARALSON, Jeremiah 44th (1875-1877) House
AL HILLIARD, Earl Frederick 103rd (1993-1995) House
AL DAVIS, Artur 108th (2003-2005) House
AL SEWELL, Terri 112th (2011-2013) House
CA HAWKINS, Augustus Freeman (Gus) 88th (1963-1965) House
CA DELLUMS, Ronald V. 92nd (1971-1973) House
CA BURKE, Yvonne Brathwaite 93rd (1973-1975) House
CA DIXON, Julian Carey 96th (1979-1981) House
CA DYMALLY, Mervyn Malcolm 97th (1981-1983) House
CA WATERS, Maxine 102nd (1991-1993) House
CA TUCKER, Walter R., III 103rd (1993-1995) House
CA MILLENDER-MCDONALD, Juanita 104th (1995-1997) House
CA LEE, Barbara 105th (1997-1999) House
CA WATSON, Diane Edith 107th (2001-2003) House
CA RICHARDSON, Laura 110th (2007-2009) House
CA BASS, Karen 112th (2011-2013) House
CA HARRIS, Kamala Devi 115th (2017-2019) Senate
CO NEGUSE, Joseph 116th (2019-2021) House
CT FRANKS, Gary A. 102nd (1991-1993) House
CT HAYES, Jahana 116th (2019-2021) House
DE BLUNT ROCHESTER, Lisa 115th (2017-2019) House
District of Columbia
DC FAUNTROY, Walter Edward 92nd (1971-1973) House
DC NORTON, Eleanor Holmes 102nd (1991-1993) House
FL WALLS, Josiah Thomas 42nd (1871-1873) House
FL BROWN, Corrine 103rd (1993-1995) House
FL HASTINGS, Alcee Lamar 103rd (1993-1995) House
FL MEEK, Carrie P. 103rd (1993-1995) House
FL MEEK, Kendrick B. 108th (2003-2005) House
FL WEST, Allen 112th (2011-2013) House
FL WILSON, Frederica 112th (2011-2013) House
FL DEMINGS, Valdez 115th (2017-2019) House
FL LAWSON, Alfred, Jr. 115th (2017-2019) House
FL DONALDS, Byron 117th (2021-2023) House
GA LONG, Jefferson Franklin 41st (1869-1871) House
GA YOUNG, Andrew Jackson, Jr. 93rd (1973-1975) House
GA LEWIS, John R. 100th (1987-1989) House
GA BISHOP, Sanford Dixon, Jr. 103rd (1993-1995) House
GA MCKINNEY, Cynthia Ann 103rd (1993-1995) House
GA MAJETTE, Denise L. 108th (2003-2005) House
GA SCOTT, David 108th (2003-2005) House
GA JOHNSON, Hank 110th (2007-2009) House
GA HALL, Kwanza 116th (2019-2021) House
GA MCBATH, Lucy 116th (2019-2021) House
GA WARNOCK, Raphael Gamaliel 117th (2021-2023) Senate
GA WILLIAMS, Nikema 117th (2021-2023) House
IL DE PRIEST, Oscar Stanton 71st (1929-1931) House
IL MITCHELL, Arthur Wergs 74th (1935-1937) House
IL DAWSON, William Levi 78th (1943-1945) House
IL COLLINS, George Washington 91st (1969-1971) House
IL METCALFE, Ralph Harold 92nd (1971-1973) House
IL COLLINS, Cardiss 93rd (1973-1975) House
IL STEWART, Bennett McVey 96th (1979-1981) House
IL SAVAGE, Gus 97th (1981-1983) House
IL WASHINGTON, Harold 97th (1981-1983) House
IL HAYES, Charles Arthur 98th (1983-1985) House
IL MOSELEY BRAUN, Carol 103rd (1993-1995) Senate
IL REYNOLDS, Mel 103rd (1993-1995) House
IL RUSH, Bobby L. 103rd (1993-1995) House
IL JACKSON, Jesse L., Jr. 104th (1995-1997) House
IL DAVIS, Danny K. 105th (1997-1999) House
IL OBAMA, Barack 109th (2005-2007) Senate
IL BURRIS, Roland 111th (2009-2011) Senate
IL KELLY, Robin L. 113th (2013-2015) House
IL UNDERWOOD, Lauren 116th (2019-2021) House
IN HALL, Katie Beatrice 97th (1981-1983) House
IN CARSON, Julia May 105th (1997-1999) House
IN CARSON, André 110th (2007-2009) House
LA NASH, Charles Edmund 44th (1875-1877) House
LA JEFFERSON, William Jennings 102nd (1991-1993) House
LA FIELDS, Cleo 103rd (1993-1995) House
LA RICHMOND, Cedric 112th (2011-2013) House
LA CARTER, Troy 117th (2021-2023) House
MD MITCHELL, Parren James 92nd (1971-1973) House
MD MFUME, Kweisi 100th (1987-1989) House
MD WYNN, Albert Russell 103rd (1993-1995) House
MD CUMMINGS, Elijah Eugene 104th (1995-1997) House
MD EDWARDS, Donna F. 110th (2007-2009) House
MD BROWN, Anthony Gregory 115th (2017-2019) House
MA BROOKE, Edward William, III 90th (1967-1969) Senate
MA COWAN, William (Mo) 113th (2013-2015) Senate
MA PRESSLEY, Ayanna 116th (2019-2021) House
MI DIGGS, Charles Coles, Jr. 84th (1955-1957) House
MI CONYERS, John, Jr. 89th (1965-1967) House
MI CROCKETT, George William, Jr. 96th (1979-1981) House
MI COLLINS, Barbara-Rose 102nd (1991-1993) House
MI KILPATRICK, Carolyn Cheeks 105th (1997-1999) House
MI CLARKE, Hansen 112th (2011-2013) House
MI LAWRENCE, Brenda L. 114th (2015-2017) House
MI JONES, Brenda 115th (2017-2019) House
MN ELLISON, Keith 110th (2007-2009) House
MN OMAR, Ilhan 116th (2019-2021) House
MS REVELS, Hiram Rhodes 41st (1869-1871) Senate
MS LYNCH, John Roy 43rd (1873-1875) House
MS BRUCE, Blanche Kelso 44th (1875-1877) Senate
MS ESPY, Alphonso Michael (Mike) 100th (1987-1989) House
MS THOMPSON, Bennie 103rd (1993-1995) House
MO CLAY, William Lacy, Sr. 91st (1969-1971) House
MO WHEAT, Alan Dupree 98th (1983-1985) House
MO CLAY, William Lacy, Jr. 107th (2001-2003) House
MO CLEAVER, Emanuel, II 109th (2005-2007) House
MO BUSH, Cori 117th (2021-2023) House
NV HORSFORD, Steven 113th (2013-2015) House
New Jersey
NJ PAYNE, Donald Milford 101st (1989-1991) House
NJ PAYNE, Donald, Jr. 112th (2011-2013) House
NJ BOOKER, Cory Anthony 113th (2013-2015) Senate
NJ WATSON COLEMAN, Bonnie 114th (2015-2017) House
New York
NY POWELL, Adam Clayton, Jr. 79th (1945-1947) House
NY CHISHOLM, Shirley Anita 91st (1969-1971) House
NY RANGEL, Charles B. 92nd (1971-1973) House
NY OWENS, Major Robert Odell 98th (1983-1985) House
NY TOWNS, Edolphus 98th (1983-1985) House
NY WALDON, Alton R., Jr. 99th (1985-1987) House
NY FLAKE, Floyd Harold 100th (1987-1989) House
NY MEEKS, Gregory W. 105th (1997-1999) House
NY CLARKE, Yvette Diane 110th (2007-2009) House
NY JEFFRIES, Hakeem 113th (2013-2015) House
NY DELGADO, Antonio 116th (2019-2021) House
NY BOWMAN, Jamaal 117th (2021-2023) House
NY JONES, Mondaire 117th (2021-2023) House
NY TORRES, Ritchie 117th (2021-2023) House
North Carolina
NC HYMAN, John Adams 44th (1875-1877) House
NC O'HARA, James Edward 48th (1883-1885) House
NC CHEATHAM, Henry Plummer 51st (1889-1891) House
NC WHITE, George Henry 55th (1897-1899) House
NC CLAYTON, Eva M. 102nd (1991-1993) House
NC WATT, Melvin L. 103rd (1993-1995) House
NC BALLANCE, Frank W., Jr. 108th (2003-2005) House
NC BUTTERFIELD, George Kenneth (G.K.), Jr. 108th (2003-2005) House
NC ADAMS, Alma 113th (2013-2015) House
OH STOKES, Louis 91st (1969-1971) House
OH JONES, Stephanie Tubbs 106th (1999-2001) House
OH FUDGE, Marcia L. 110th (2007-2009) House
OH BEATTY, Joyce 113th (2013-2015) House
OK WATTS, Julius Caesar, Jr. (J. C.) 104th (1995-1997) House
PA NIX, Robert Nelson Cornelius, Sr. 85th (1957-1959) House
PA GRAY, William Herbert, III 96th (1979-1981) House
PA BLACKWELL, Lucien Edward 102nd (1991-1993) House
PA FATTAH, Chaka 104th (1995-1997) House
PA EVANS, Dwight 114th (2015-2017) House
South Carolina
SC RAINEY, Joseph Hayne 41st (1869-1871) House
SC DE LARGE, Robert Carlos 42nd (1871-1873) House
SC ELLIOTT, Robert Brown 42nd (1871-1873) House
SC CAIN, Richard Harvey 43rd (1873-1875) House
SC RANSIER, Alonzo Jacob 43rd (1873-1875) House
SC SMALLS, Robert 44th (1875-1877) House
SC MILLER, Thomas Ezekiel 51st (1889-1891) House
SC MURRAY, George Washington 53rd (1893-1895) House
SC CLYBURN, James Enos 103rd (1993-1995) House
SC SCOTT, Tim 1 112th (2011-2013) House
TN FORD, Harold Eugene 94th (1975-1977) House
TN FORD, Harold, Jr. 105th (1997-1999) House
TX JORDAN, Barbara Charline 93rd (1973-1975) House
TX LELAND, George Thomas (Mickey) 96th (1979-1981) House
TX WASHINGTON, Craig Anthony 101st (1989-1991) House
TX JOHNSON, Eddie Bernice 103rd (1993-1995) House
TX JACKSON LEE, Sheila 104th (1995-1997) House
TX GREEN, Al 109th (2005-2007) House
TX VEASEY, Marc 113th (2013-2015) House
TX HURD, William Ballard 114th (2015-2017) House
TX ALLRED, Colin 116th (2019-2021) House
UT LOVE, Ludmya Bourdeau (Mia) 114th (2015-2017) House
UT OWENS, Burgess 117th (2021-2023) House
Virgin Islands
VI EVANS, Melvin Herbert 96th (1979-1981) House
VI FRAZER, Victor O. 104th (1995-1997) House
VI CHRISTENSEN, Donna Marie 105th (1997-1999) House
VI PLASKETT, Stacey E. 114th (2015-2017) House
VA LANGSTON, John Mercer 51st (1889-1891) House
VA SCOTT, Robert C. 103rd (1993-1995) House
VA MCEACHIN, Aston Donald 115th (2017-2019) House
WA STRICKLAND, Marilyn 117th (2021-2023) House
WI MOORE, Gwendolynne S. (Gwen) 109th (2005-2007) House

TIL that during the 1870s, 16 Black Members held seats in Congress—14 in the House, two in the Senate, and each one a Republican from the South with Hiram Revels of Mississippi having been appointed the first Black Senator in February 1870

And then reconstruction ended and the south implemented Jim Crow laws, and many of those states have still yet to elect a black Senator since.

The more I learn about the last quarter of the 1800's, the more suspicious I become that a lot of our country's problems were born in that era. It seems like there was actually less racism in the immediate postwar period, and something caused it to ramp up just before the 1900's, along with nationalism and proto-fascism. It's not a period well-covered by standard public school history classes.

The more I learn about the last quarter of the 1800's, the more suspicious I become that a lot of our country's problems were born in that era. It seems like there was actually less racism in the immediate postwar period, and something caused it to ramp up just before the 1900's, along with nationalism and proto-fascism. It's not a period well-covered by standard public school history classes.

There was a disputed presidential election which was resolved by withdrawing Federal troops. Without Federal protection this was immediately followed by the Jim Crow system. Later during the early 1900s Civil War veterans started having reunions as their fellow comrades were dying off. This lead to resurgence of interest in the Civil War and the development of the "Lost Cause" ideology (which essentially romanticized the South as a noble struggle).

Reconstruction was an absolute shitstorm. There's no doubt that it's where many of the problems the country faces today originate.

My history teacher used to say (thankfully with a disgusted attitude towards the South) that "The South lost the war, but they won the peace".

It seems like there was actually less racism in the immediate postwar period, and something caused it to ramp up just before the 1900's, along with nationalism and proto-fascism.

There was just as much, if not more, racism, but a lot of the people who used to have the power to enact it had been stripped of their ability to, y'know, do anything for a while. But then those people decided to become terrorists and put on hoods and white robes.

There was plenty of racism.

But blacks, who made up the majority in a couple southern states and close to a majority in many other southern states, gained the right to vote, while at the same time confederate officers lost the right to vote and run for office. And many of these same confederate leaders were taxed to pay for many Reconstruction programs.

The echos of this fight you’ll see in southern states’ constitutions: they aimed to limit the black franchise and government’s ability to tax.

It’s because after the South lost the Civil war in 1865 the North occupied the south for a couple decades. They kept soldiers stationed in forts all around the south to keep the peace. They also helped rebuild the south’s cities and economy. It’s actually a pretty cool period in American History called the “Reconstruction”. After the northern troops left around the late 1870s is when you started seeing Jim Crows Laws being used. The north and south were basically two separate countries until the Spanish-American War (1898) revived a sense of nationalism between them and tensions lowered. I remember reading the President at the time asked a retired Confederate General to lead the US forces in invading Cuba and he reluctantly accepted. It was the first time a Northern army had marched through to south since the Civil War and with a Confederate General leading that army it united the country once again.

There wasn't less. In the South in the postwar period, there were significant number of Whites and former Confederates who formed terrorist groups to harass and oppress Blacks as well as Republican Whites. Had the Federal government done more to eradicate them, things might have turned out far better.

Reconstruction had the potential to remake America and unfortunately it failed.

The thing that really stuck out to me about the period is that even in the 19th century, enough people knew that discrimination was wrong to make constitutional amendments that stand up to the moral standards of today. Reading the 15th amendment and learning that it is from 1870 is like discovering a bicycle in Ancient Rome- theoretically it’s possible, but you don’t expect it.

It’s helpful in many ways to look at the popular culture of the period to get an idea of how things were. The same society that produced Uncle Tom’s Cabin also produced minstrel shows. If you look at the way Southern Planter dominated society saw itself, in many ways they considered themselves like a society out of Sir Walter Raleigh’s stories about knights and chivalry.

What is indisputable though, is that people had far less belief in the idea that wealth was virtuous. Socialist and anarchist thought was a significant political influence during the period, with all sorts of variations flowing through American political life at the time. I would argue that the collapse of the Free Silver movement and various populist movements was probably more responsible for the shift towards authoritarian policies that characterized the post reconstruction period.

As soon as federal troops were pulled out of the south, those deeply conservative forces began to rebuild a society ordered along lines that were practically feudal. Except this time, they had experienced the trauma of losing a war and the political radicals in the 1880s espousing ideas like suffrage, anarchism, socialism, syndicalism, and even early forms of communism must have seemed positively terrifying compared to the radicals in the 1850s.


1 Charles Coles Diggs, Jr. resigned on June 3, 1980, and was succeeded by George Crockett on November 4, 1980.

2 Katie Beatrice Hall was elected on November 2, 1982, by special election, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Adam Benjamin Jr.

3 Eva M. Clayton was elected on November 3, 1992, by special election, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Walter Beaman Jones Sr.

4 William Herbert Gray III resigned on September 11, 1991, and was succeeded by Lucien Edward Blackwell on November 5, 1991.

5 Michael Alphonso (Mike) Espy resigned on January 22, 1993, and was succeeded by Bennie Thompson on April 13, 1993.

6 Kweisi Mfume resigned on February 15, 1996, and was succeeded by Elijah Eugene Cummings on April 16, 1996.

7 Juanita Millender-McDonald was elected on March 26, 1996, by special election, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Walter R. Tucker III.

8 Mel Reynolds resigned on October 1, 1995, and was succeeded by Jesse L. Jackson, Jr., on December 12, 1995.

9 Walter R. Tucker III resigned on December 15, 1995, and was succeeded by Juanita Millender-McDonald on March 26, 1996.

10 Donna M. Christensen served under the name Donna Christian-Green in the 105th and 106th Congresses (1997–2001).

11 Ronald V. Dellums resigned on February 6, 1998, and was succeeded by Barbara Lee on April 7, 1998.

12 Floyd Harold Flake resigned on November 17, 1997, and was succeeded by Gregory Meeks on February 3, 1998.

13 Barbara Lee was elected on April 7, 1998, by special election, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Ronald V. Dellums.

14 Diane Edith Watson was elected on June 5, 2001, by special election, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Julian Carey Dixon.

15 Frank W. Ballance, Jr., resigned on June 11, 2004, and was succeeded by George Kenneth (G. K.) Butterfield, Jr., on July 20, 2004.

16 Julia May Carson died on December 15, 2007, and was succeeded in a special election by her grandson André Carson on March 11, 2008.

17 Donna F. Edwards was elected on June 17, 2008, by special election, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Albert Russell Wynn.

18 Marcia L. Fudge was elected on November 18, 2008, by special election, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Stephanie Tubbs Jones.

19 Stephanie Tubbs Jones died on August 20, 2008, and was succeeded in a special election by Marcia L. Fudge on November 18, 2008.

20 Juanita Millender-McDonald died on April 21, 2007, and was succeeded in a special election by Laura Richardson on August 21, 2007.

21 Barack Obama resigned on November 16, 2008, having been elected the 44th President of the United States on November 4, 2008.

22 Laura Richardson was elected on August 21, 2007, by special election, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Juanita Millender-McDonald.

23 Albert Russell Wynn resigned on May 31, 2008, and was succeeded by Donna F. Edwards on June 17, 2008.

24 Roland Burris was appointed to the United States Senate on December 31, 2008, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Barack Obama however, Burris's credentials were not in order until January 12, 2009. He took the oath of office on January 15, 2009, and served until November 29, 2010, when he was succeeded in a special election by Mark Kirk.

25 Donald Milford Payne died on March 6, 2012, and was succeeded in a special election by his son Donald Payne, Jr., on November 6, 2012.

26 Tim Scott resigned his House seat on January 2, 2013, to be appointed to the United States Senate.

27 Alma Adams was elected on November 4, 2014, by special election, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Melvin L. Watt.

28 Appointed as a Democrat to the United States Senate on February 1, 2013, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Senator John F. Kerry. William (Mo) Cowan did not seek election to the full term and left the Senate on July 15, 2013.

29 Robin L. Kelly was elected on April 9, 2013, by special election, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Jesse L. Jackson Jr.

30 Dwight Evans was elected by special election on November 8, 2016, to succeed Chaka Fattah.

31 Chaka Fattah resigned on June 23, 2016.

32 John Conyers, Jr., resigned on December 5, 2017, and was succeeded by Brenda Jones on November 6, 2018.

33 Brenda Jones was elected on November 6, 2018, by special election, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of John Conyers Jr.

34 Elijah Eugene Cummings died on October 17, 2019, and was succeeded in a special election by Kweisi Mfume on April 28, 2020.

35 Kwanza Hall was elected on December 1, 2020, by special election, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of John R. Lewis.

36 John R. Lewis died on July 17, 2020, and was succeeded in a special election by Kwanza Hall on December 1, 2020.

37 Kweisi Mfume was elected on April 28, 2020, by special election, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Elijah Eugene Cummings.

38 Troy Carter was elected on April 20, 2021, by special election, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Cedric Richmond.

History: First black senator elected

February 23, 1870: Hiram Revels became the first African American elected as U.S. Senator, taking the Mississippi seat once held by Jefferson Davis, the former President of the Confederacy. He served only one year.

February 23, 1929: Baseball catcher Elston Gene Howard was born in St. Louis, Mo. In 1955, he became the first African-American player to sign with the New York Yankees. In 1963, the Gold-Glove catcher became the American League’s Most Valuable Player, the first black player to do so. He won four World Series as a player and two more as a coach.​

February 24, 1956: U.S. Sen. Harry F. Byrd Sr. called for a policy of massive resistance to unite white leaders in Virginia in their campaign to preserve segregation. Virginia passed laws to deny state funds to any integrated school. After the courts ordered desegregation in a few schools, Gov. James Lindsay Almond Jr. ordered those schools closed. The courts eventually ordered the reopening of those schools.

February 25, 1946: Columbia, Tenn., was the spot of many post-World War II “race riots.” Many African-Americans soldiers were unwilling to accept mistreatment after returning from war. In this case, after a white clerk threatened his mother, James Stephenson, a U.S. Navy veteran from the Pacific theater, wrestled with the clerk, who crashed through a department store window. He was initially arrested for disturbing the peace and then for assault with intent to murder charge. A white mob surrounded the courthouse, and after the shootings of several white officers, state highway patrolmen entered the African-American community, shooting randomly, seizing all weapons and arresting more than 100. Later, Columbia policemen shot to death two African-American prisoners. Twenty-five black men were tried for the shootings of the white officers, leading to one conviction. No one was ever tried for killing the African-American prisoners.

February 25, 1948: Martin Luther King Jr. became associate minister of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Ga., at the age of 19. The previous summer he had delivered his first sermon.

February 26, 1870: Wyatt Outlaw, the first African-American town commissioner of Graham, N.C., was lynched by members of the Ku Klux Klan. Outlaw served as president of the Alamance County Union League of America, an anti-Klan organization, and had advocated establishing a school for African Americans. Dozens of Klansmen were indicted for his murder, but no one was ever prosecuted. His lynching, along with the assassination of State Senator John W. Stephens at the Caswell County Courthouse, prompted Governor William Woods Holden to declare martial law in the area.

February 27, 1942: Charlayne Hunter-Gault was born in Due West, S.C. In 1961, she became one of the first two African-American students to attend the University of Georgia. She married and became a successful journalist, winning two Emmys and a Peabody with The News Hour With Jim Lehrer. She also worked for The New York Times, CNN and National Public Radio.

February 27, 1853: The first African-American Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) was organized in New York City and lasted through the Civil War. When the YMCA movement began in America in 1851, minorities were excluded.

February 27, 1967: Wharlest Jackson, the treasurer of the NAACP branch in Natchez, Miss., had just been promoted to a whites-only position at his job in Natchez, Miss. His civil rights activities had caused him and other African Americans to receive threats from the Ku Klux Klan. Minutes after leaving work, a bomb planted beneath his truck exploded, killing him instantly. His killers were never prosecuted. He is among 40 martyrs listed on the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Ala.

February 27, 1988: Debi Thomas became the first African American to win an Olympic medal in figure skating. During the Olympic games, Thomas was also a full-time pre-med student at Stanford University. Thomas went on to become an orthopedic surgeon and now practices in Richlands, Virginia.

February 28, 1879: African Americans living in the South fled political and economic exploitation in what came to be known as the “Exodus of 1879.” A leader of this movement was Benjamin “Pap” Singleton, who led people from the South to Kansas and points west.

February 28, 2003: A U.S. District Court jury in Jackson, Miss., convicted Ernest Avants on federal murder charges — the first federal murder charges connected to the pursuit of unpunished killings from the civil rights era. Avants received a life sentence for joining other Klansmen in killing an African-American handyman, Ben Chester White, near Natchez, Miss. The Klansmen had hoped to lure Martin Luther King Jr., who was taking part in a march in Mississippi, to the area by killing White. The plot failed. White is among the 40 martyrs listed on the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Ala.

February 29, 1940: Hattie McDaniel became the first African American to win an Oscar, playing the role of the servant Mammy in the film Gone With the Wind. In the years that followed, she drew criticism from some for playing such roles. She replied, “I’d rather play a maid and make $700 a week than be one for $7 a week.”

FACT CHECK: Were The First 23 Black Senators Republicans?

An image shared on Facebook claims the first 23 black senators were members of the Republican Party.

Verdict: False

Only four of the 10 black senators in U.S. history are Republicans.

The viral post features an illustration, found on Getty Images, depicting the first black senator and congressmen. &ldquoHistory that is never taught,&rdquo claims the caption. &ldquoThe first 23 black senators were all Republicans.&rdquo

However, only 10 African Americans have served in the Senate to date, according to the Senate website. Of those 10 individuals, only four are members of the Republican Party. (RELATED: Did Reagan Appoint The First Black National Security Advisor, Hispanic Cabinet Member?)

Republican Mississippi Sen. Hiram Revels became the first black man to serve in either the Senate or the House in 1870. After serving one year, he resigned to become the president of Alcorn State University, known then as Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College.

Blanche Bruce, a Republican senator for Mississippi, served from 1875 to 1881. He was the first black senator to serve a full term of office and, on Feb. 14, 1879, became the first and only person born into slavery to preside over the Senate, according to Politico.

From 1967 to 1979, Republican Sen. Edward Brooke served as one of Massachusetts&rsquo senators, per the biographical directory of the U.S. Congress. He was the first African American elected to the Senate by popular vote, according to The New York Times.

Republican South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott has served in the upper chamber of Congress since 2013. He previously represented the state in the House of Representatives.

The six others are members of the Democratic Party: former Illinois Sens. Carol Moseley Braun, Barack Obama and Roland Burris, former Massachusetts Sen. William &ldquoMo&rdquo Cowan, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and California Sen. Kamala Harris.

Hiram Rhodes Revels (1827-1901)

Hiram Rhodes Revels was a Republican U.S. Senator, minister in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, and the first African American to serve in the U.S. Senate. Revels was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina on September 27, 1827, to a family that had been free for several generations. His father was an African American and his mother was of Scottish descent. Revels was home schooled by a local African American woman. The family moved to Lincolnton, North Carolina in 1838, and Revels trained and worked as a barber in the shop of his older brother, Elias. After Elias died in 1841, his wife, Mary, deeded the shop to Hiram, who was then fourteen-years old.

Revels attended Beech Grove Quaker Seminary in Indiana and Darke County Seminary in Ohio in 1844. Although his education was incomplete, he was ordained into the African Methodist Episcopal Church, at Allen Chapel, Terre Haute, Indiana, in 1845. Revels traveled extensively, preaching in Illinois, Ohio, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee. He spent a brief time in jail in Missouri in 1854 “for preaching to negroes.” From 1855 to 1857, Revels took additional classes at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, graduating with a degree in divinity and theology. He then took a minister position in Baltimore, Maryland and also served as principal at a local black school.

At the start of the Civil War in 1861, Revels joined the Union Army in Maryland and became a chaplain. He helped raise the first two regiments of African American soldiers in Maryland and Missouri and took part in the Battle of Vicksburg in Mississippi. Revels also established a school in St. Louis, Missouri for freedmen in 1863. He left the AME church in 1865 and joined the Methodist Episcopal church he was briefly assigned to churches in New Orleans, Louisiana and Leavenworth, Kansas. It was during this time that he met and married Phoebe A. Bass, and the couple had eight children together, five girls and three boys. In 1866, Revels took a position as pastor at a church in Natchez, Mississippi, and founded more schools for African American youth. He was later elected presiding elder of his church and the southern portion of the state.

In 1868, Revels was elected alderman in Natchez, and the following year he was elected to the Mississippi State Senate. On February 25, 1870, after a two-day debate, Revels was elected by a vote of 81 to 15 in the Mississippi State Senate to finish the term of one of the state’s two seats in the U.S. Senate, which had been left vacant since the Civil War by Albert Brown. With this election, Revels became the first African American in the U.S. Senate. His term ended on March 3, 1871 and it would be 100 years until the next African American was elected.

Revels later served as the first president of Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Alcorn State University). He held that position from 1871 to 1874, and again from 1876 to 1882. In 1873, he briefly served as Mississippi Secretary of State. During the last several years of his life, Revels taught theology at Shaw College (now Rust College), where he also served on the Board of Trustees. He also remained active as a minister in Holly Springs, Mississippi. Revels died at a church meeting in Aberdeen, Mississippi on January 16, 1901. He was 73 at the time of his death.


ASSOCIATED PRESS – Democrat Raphael Warnock won one of Georgia’s two Senate runoffs Wednesday, becoming the first Black senator in his state’s history and putting the Senate majority within the party’s reach.

A pastor who spent the past 15 years leading the Atlanta church where Martin Luther King Jr. preached, Warnock defeated Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler. It was a stinging rebuke of outgoing President Donald Trump, who made one of his final trips in office to Georgia to rally his loyal base behind the state’s Republican candidates.

In an emotional address early Wednesday, he vowed to work for all Georgians whether they voted for him or not, citing his personal experience with the American dream. His mother, he said, used to pick “somebody else’s cotton” as a teenager.

“The other day, because this is America, the 82-year-old hands that used to pick somebody else’s cotton picked her youngest son to be a United States senator,” he said. “Tonight, we proved with hope, hard work and the people by our side, anything is possible.”

His victory marks a “reversal of the old southern strategy that sought to divide people,” Warnock told ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

The focus now shifts to the other race between Republican David Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff.

Ossoff held a small lead as of Wednesday morning, though it was too early to call the race. Under Georgia law, a trailing candidate may request a recount when the margin of an election is less than or equal to 0.5 percentage points.

If Ossoff wins, Democrats will have complete control of Congress, strengthening President-elect Joe Biden’s standing as he prepares to take office on Jan. 20.

This week’s elections mark the formal finale to the turbulent 2020 election season more than two months after the rest of the nation finished voting. The unusually high stakes transformed Georgia, once a solidly Republican state, into one of the nation’s premier battlegrounds for the final days of Trump’s presidency — and likely beyond.

Warnock’s victory is a symbol of a striking shift in Georgia’s politics as the swelling number of diverse, college-educated voters flex their power in the heart of the Deep South. It follows Biden’s victory in November, when he became the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry the state since 1992.

The Associated Press declared Warnock the winner after an analysis of outstanding votes showed there was no way for Loeffler to catch up to his lead. Warnock’s edge is likely to grow as more ballots are counted, many of which were in Democratic-leaning areas.

Loeffler refused to concede in a brief message to supporters shortly after midnight.

“We’ve got some work to do here. This is a game of inches. We’re going to win this election,” insisted Loeffler, a 50-year-old former businesswoman who was appointed to the Senate less than a year ago by the state’s governor.

Loeffler, who remains a Georgia senator until the results of Tuesday’s election are finalized, said she would return to Washington on Wednesday morning to join a small group of senators planning to challenge Congress’ vote to certify Biden’s victory.

Georgia’s other runoff election pitted Perdue, a 71-year-old former business executive who held his Senate seat until his term expired on Sunday, against Ossoff, a former congressional aide and journalist. At just 33 years old, Ossoff would be the Senate’s youngest member.

“This campaign has been about health and jobs and justice for the people of this state — for all the people of this state,” Ossoff said in a speech broadcast on social media Wednesday morning. “Whether you were for me, or against me, I’ll be for you in the U.S. Senate. I will serve all the people of the state.”

Trump’s false claims of voter fraud cast a dark shadow over the runoff elections, which were held only because no candidate hit the 50% threshold in the general election. He attacked the state’s election chief on the eve of the election and raised the prospect that some votes might not be counted even as votes were being cast Tuesday afternoon.

Republican state officials on the ground reported no significant problems.

Both contests tested whether the political coalition that fueled Biden’s November victory was an anti-Trump anomaly or part of a new electoral landscape. To win in Tuesday’s elections — and in the future — Democrats needed strong African American support.

Drawing on his popularity with Black voters, among other groups, Biden won Georgia’s 16 electoral votes by about 12,000 votes out of 5 million cast in November.

Trump’s claims about voter fraud in the 2020 election, while meritless, resonated with Republican voters in Georgia. About 7 in 10 agreed with his false assertion that Biden was not the legitimately elected president, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of more than 3,600 voters in the runoff elections.

Election officials across the country, including the Republican governors in Arizona and Georgia, as well as Trump’s former attorney general, William Barr, have confirmed that there was no widespread fraud in the November election. Nearly all the legal challenges from Trump and his allies have been dismissed by judges, including two tossed by the Supreme Court, where three Trump-nominated justices preside.

Even with Trump’s claims, voters in both parties were drawn to the polls because of the high stakes. AP VoteCast found that 6 in 10 Georgia voters say Senate party control was the most important factor in their vote.

Turnout exceeded both sides’ expectations.

Even before Tuesday, Georgia had shattered its turnout record for a runoff with more than 3 million votes by mail or during in-person advance voting in December. Including Tuesday’s vote, more people ultimately cast ballots in the runoffs than voted in Georgia’s 2016 presidential election.

Many in Georgia’s large African American community were ecstatic when they awoke to news of Warnock’s win on Wednesday.

Tracey Bailey, a 58-year-old assistant community manager at an apartment complex in downtown Atlanta, said she jumped for joy.

“It’s going to be great for Georgia, and it’s going to be great for our Black community as a whole,” she said. “I think he’s going to be a fair guy for the people, and that’s for all people.”

Meet Black US Senators In American History

Below is a list of Black U.S. Senator in American history

Hiram Rhoades Revels

The African American clergyman was the first black person to be elected to the US Senate.

He was elected in 1870 in Mississippi after reconstruction but only served two years.

Blanche K. Bruce

Bruce was elected to the US Senate in 1874. He was the first African American to serve a full term in the Senate.

Edward Brooke III

He was elected senator of Massachusetts as a Republican in 1966. He was the first black senator elected since reconstruction.

He was also the first African American elected to the Senate by popular vote.

Carol Moseley Braun

Braun was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1992 and served a single term. She was the first black woman elected to the US Senate.

Barack Obama

Obama was elected to the United States Senate in 2004, making him the fifth black person to serve in the Senate.

He would go on to become the first black president of the United States after serving only a portion of his first and only term in the US Senate.

Roland Burris

He replaced Obama. He served in the Senate until late November 2010 when his successor was chosen in a special election.

Scott in 2013 became the first African American since Reconstruction to represent a southern state in the Senate.

The Republican was appointed to the US Senate during his first term as a member of the US House of Representatives.

William “Mo” Cowan

Cowan was named interim US senator of Massachusetts in January 2013. Then a senior advisor to Gov. Deval Patrick, Cowan filled the position until a successor was named for departing Senator John Kerry, who was appointed by Obama.

Cory Booker

Booker became New Jersey’s first black US Senator after winning a special election in 2013.

He was elected to a full term in 2014 and re-elected to another this past November following an unsuccessful presidential campaign.

Kamala Harris

Harris became the first black person — man or woman — to serve as US senator for the state of California.

She was elected in 2016. Her inaugural term was cut short after she was elected the first black vice president of the United States as Joe Biden’s running mate in 2020.


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