1st African-American Senator Confirmed

Today in History, February 25, 1870:

On a strict party line vote (we’ve heard that a lot lately) of 48 Republicans for and 8 Democrats against, Methodist minister Hiram Rhodes of Mississippi is confirmed as the first African-American US Senator, the first African-American member of Congress.

Rhodes had been a minister, had helped raise the first two black regiments to fight in the Civil War, had been a veteran of the Battle of Vicksburg in Mississippi.

Ironically he had served in Lincolnton, North Carolina as a barber with his brother, and served in a seminary in UNION county, Indiana.

Democrats had attempted to use the 1857 Dredd Scott decision, A ridiculous Supreme Court decision that decided black people were not citizens, as a basis for preventing Rhodes from attaining the Senate seat.

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