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We honor the many African Americans who have enriched the history of the Senate. In 1870 Hiram Revels of Mississippi became the first African American senator. Five years later, Blanche K. Bruce of Mississippi took the oath of office, and served a full term. He became the first African American to preside over the Senate in 1879. It would be nearly another century, until 1967, before Edward Brooke of Massachusetts followed in their historic footsteps.

Illinois' Carol Moseley Braun broke another barrier in 1993 as the first African American female senator. Senator Barack Obama of Illinois took office in 2005, then resigned in 2008 to become the 44th President of the United States. To fill his vacant Senate seat, the Illinois governor appointed Roland Burris. In 2013 Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina took the senatorial oath, the first African American senator since Reconstruction to represent a southern state. When the governor of Massachusetts appointed William "Mo" Cowan on February 1, 2013, to fill a Senate vacancy, this marked the first time in history that two African American senators served simultaneously. Senator Cowan served just a short appointed term, but in October of 2013 Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey won a Senate seat in a special election and joined Senator Scott in the 113th Congress.

These distinguished individuals have enriched the history of the Senate, but the role of African Americans in Senate history is not limited to those who served in elected office.
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