Hiram Revels (1822-1901) was the first African-American to serve in the United States Senate. Revels was African-American and Native American, born to free people of color. His first career was as a barber in his brother’s barbershop which he took over upon his brother’s death. He started his education at age 22 and was eventually ordained as an African Methodist Church minister.
According to information from the State Library of North Carolina:
“At the conclusion of the [Civil] war, Revels settled in Natchez, Mississippi and joined the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He continued his pastoral duties and founded new churches. In 1868, Revels was elected alderman. Struggling to keep his political and pastoral duties separate and to avoid racial conflict, Revels earned the respect of both whites and African Americans. His success in managing these forces led to his election as a state senator from Adams County, Mississippi. In 1870 Revels was elected as the first African American member of the United States Senate. Ironically, Revels was elected to fill the position vacated by Jefferson Davis almost 10 years earlier. Revels took his seat in the Senate on February 25, 1870 and served through March 4, 1871, the remainder of Davis’ vacated term.”
After his service in the Senate, he served as a university president, and remained active in his ministry. He died in 1901.-Heidi Durrow
Mixed Experience History Month is the annual blog post series created by The New York Times best-selling author Heidi Durrow celebrating the history of the Mixed experience. Established in 2007, Mixed Experience History Month is an effort to highlight the long history of folks and events involved in the Mixed experience. Please look for archived profiles of people, places and events of the Mixed experience every weekday of May at Lightskinned-ed Girl, the blog! Thanks for reading. And check out some of the previous year’s profiles: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014. Copyright 2015.