Hiram Rhodes Revels Was The First African American Senator
For a boy who was born free to African and European parents, tutored by a local black woman for his early education, apprenticed as a barber in his brother’s shop, Revels did come a long way by becoming the first black Senator.
The journey began in 1845 when Revels was ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church where he would at some point be imprisoned for preaching the gospel to Negroes. Revels further took his love for the gospel a notch higher by studying Religion at the Knox College, Illinois, serving in another African church and thereafter as principal of a black college.
He also became a chaplain for the US ARMY taking part in the battle of Vicksburg. He was called as a permanent pastor at a church in Natchez, Mississippi. He resumed his ministerial work, and founded schools for black children. Revels preached racial equality in an out of the church, spoke for comprise and moderation and the ability of African Americans.
His appointment as senator was characterized by senate buildings packed to the brim with spectators eager to experience this historic event, a two day debate which culminated at a voting session on February 25th 1870 where Revels was elected by a 48-8 percent vote.
During his term, he ceaselessly advocated for equality using his great oratorical skills. He fought for the cause of black workers who had been barred from working at the Washington Navy Yard because of their color, nominated a young black man to the military academy and was famous for his great conduct.
He once said; I find that the prejudice in this country to color is very great, and I sometimes fear that it is on the increase.