March 04, 2023
African American Politicians / African Americans / Blacks In Politics pt . 4 Internet Vol – 4
African Americans politicans-part 4
Hiran Rhodes Revels
Hiran Rhodes Revels was born in Fayetteville NC on September 27, 1827 to free parents. He attended Knox College in Illinois and later became a minister of the African Methodist Episcopal Churches. In 1845 he accepted a pastoral position in Baltimore Md. Revels helped organize churches in several states.
The news of the Civil War spread throughout the south. Both freed northerners and newly freed slaves were ready to enlist in the Union Army. Revels was responsible for recruiting two regiments of troops in Maryland and served as a chaplain for the Negro regiment.
He also established schools in several states for freed persons. After the war was over Revels settled in Natcgez,Mississippi. In 1866 Revels was elected Alderman. In 1870, he was elected to the Senate to fill the Mississippi vacant U.S. Senate seat as the state prepared to rejoin the Union. On September 23, 1870, Revels credentials arrived in the Senate but were immediately blocked.
Senate members did not want to see a Black man serve in congress. They argued that Revels was not a US Citizen. The law required a Senate member be a citizen for at 9 years. The Civil Rights Act on 1866 made them free for just four years prior to the election. Revels fought by saying he had been voting in Ohio for many years before that and therefore he was a citizen.
Revels became an outspoken opponent of racial segration. He served only one term but he broke new ground for African Americans in Congress. His term ended March 3, 1871. After leaving the Senate he returned to Mississippi as president of Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College. In 1882 after a long and successful career he passed away.