October 19: Today in 1870, the First Blacks Ever Were Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives

0 Posted by - October 19, 2020 - On This Date

Photo credits: Official Website of the U.S. House of Representatives

On October 19, 1870, the first-ever blacks in America were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Black Republicans won three out of the four seats in the U.S. Congress, which represent the state of South Carolina. Joseph Rainey, Robert Delarge, and Robert Elliot were the three black legislators who won those seats in South Carolina, becoming the first of their kind in history to do it.

Rainey (the first of the three) was elected to a term that had not expired during the tenure of the 41st Congress of the United States of America. Born into slavery, Rainey was officially sworn in on December 12, 1870.

In less than four years, he had established himself as a skilled orator and respected colleague in Congress.

Reference: The Editors of History.house.gov. (2020 September 01) Black Americans in Congress. Retrieved from https://history.house.gov/Exhibitions-and-Publications/BAIC/Black-Americans-in-Congress/

*BlackThen.com writer and historian Victor Trammell edited and contributed to this report.

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