Though Black History is celebrated all year with us, we're sharing a little bit more history this month. You may already know the names and faces of the esteemed leaders listed below, or maybe you don't. The idea is to be mindful of African American political folks who've jumped obstacles parked in their way to move forward and resolve social and economic issues for us all.
During President Lincoln's administration the emancipation proclamation of slaves was passed; the 13th and 14th Amendments were established to abolish slavery for all regardless of geographic boundaries; and African Americans were given the right to citizenship in the United States of America. As President Andrew Jackson took office after the assassination of Lincoln, he sought to manage the aftermath of the Civil war and devised a plan to unify the country by folding in the slave states as well as to create civility between whites and former slaves. This interest was conceived as Johnson's Reconstruction Era[1866- 1877]. In spite of white Southerners' intolerance of black progressiveness, the post Civil War and Reconstruction eras ushered in southern and northern political progressiveness for many blacks. During this time, African Americans were winning elections to southern state legislatures and the U.S. Congress.
Paying homage to our sung and unsung heroes, we're highlighting an African American Senator and State Representatives below. We hope that while you review the list of politicians below you'll learn more about the political advances of African Americans in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Senator Hiram Rhodes Revels [1827 - 1901], was born free in North Carolina and traveled to Indiana and Illinois where he sought to strengthen his educational competencies. After completing graduate work, Revels became involved in politics. With the Civil War behind him and the country, Revels moved to Mississippi to begin his political career. He became the first black member of Congress for the state. Other noteworthy posts indicate that Hiram Rhodes Revels was an ordained minister for the African Methodist Episcopalian church and the first President of Alcorn University (formerly Oakland College).
State Representative Benjamin Sterling Turner [1825 - 1894], was born a slave in Weldon, North Carolina. While in bondage he was moved with his mother to Alabama. With a hunger for learning, Turner was steadfast to be supremely literate by the age of 20. Benjamin Turner worked for his slave owners in their hotel and was allowed to save his money; and become a land owner post slavery. Turner became one of the wealthiest African American freedmen in Alabama. With status and influence, Turner rose to be a public figure serving the United States House of Representatives representing Alabama's 1st congressional district in the 42nd United States Congress.