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.

Where Else Would We Find Him?

Today in History, February 21, 1848:

“Where else would we find him?”

Former President, former Secretary of State, Former US Senator from Massachusetts, current Representative to the House John Quincy Adams, collapses after suffering a stroke while vehemently stating his opinion on the House floor.

Adams had, by most reports, been a mediocre President.

However he had authored the Monroe Doctrine telling European nations that America was in charge of police actions in the Western Hemisphere; he had served as the Ambassador to the Court of St. James (England); had negotiated the ceding of Florida to the US from Spain; had acted as the attorney for the slaves in the Amistad Trial; stated his vehement abolitionist views, and served 17 years in the House after his Presidency…because that’s what a servant to the people was supposed to do.

His contemporaries were not surprised that he would die while serving the people. He was carried to the office of the Speaker of the House, where he would die two days later. What an example!