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Hiram Revels: A Featured Biography


Studio photograph of Senator Hiram Revels.

Hiram Revels of Mississippi became the first African American senator in 1870. Born in North Carolina in 1827, Revels attended Knox College in Illinois and later served as minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Baltimore, Maryland. He raised two black regiments during the Civil War and fought at the Battle of Vicksburg in Mississippi. The Mississippi state legislature sent him to fill a vacancy in the U.S. Senate during Reconstruction, and he quickly became an outspoken opponent of racial segregation. Although Revels's term in the Senate lasted just a year, he broke new ground for African Americans in Congress.