Sunday, January 20, 2013

January 20: 1st Non-White Elected to Congress

On this date in History ..... 1870:

Senator Hiram Revels
Hiram Rhodes Revels was the first non-white elected to the U.S. Congress, serving as Senator from Mississippi during Reconstruction.  He was born free in No. Carolina and attended the Union County Quaker Seminary in Indiana.
His election to the Senate was challenged because election to the senate required a 9-yr prior citizenship. The argument brought forth was that black men were not considered citizens prior to the 1868 passage of the 14th amendment, therefore he was only a “citizen by law” for only 2 years.
The prevailing argument, however, was that the Dred Scott case applied only to those of pure African blood, and since Revels was of mixed ancestry, it didn’t apply to him, therefore he was a citizen.
On Feb 25, 1870 he became the 1st black man to be seated in the Senate.

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