Who Was the First African-American Senator?


Quick Answer

The first African-American U.S. Senator was Hiram Rhodes Revels, a Republican from Mississippi. Officially sworn in on February 25, 1870, he represented Mississippi until 1871 during Reconstruction.

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Full Answer

While Revels was the first African-American to serve in the U.S. Senate, he was also the first to serve in the U.S. Congress. He gained notoriety during the Civil War when he formed two regiments of African-American soldiers, served as a chaplain in the U.S. Army and created schools for freed slaves. Originally elected to the Mississippi Senate, Revels was appointed to fill a U.S. Senate seat left vacant since the Civil War as Mississippi was preparing to join the Union. Following his term, Revels later became president of Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College in Mississippi.

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