Hiram Rhoades Revels (1827)close
Hiram Revels began his life in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Born a free man of African American and Indian descent, he became the first African American member of Congress.
Revels studied at the Quaker school in Liberty, Indiana and attended Knox College in Ohio. He became an ordained minister of the African Methodist Church and traveled extensively to African American congregations in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, and Kansas. Revels settled in Baltimore in 1845 where he became principal of a school for African Americans as well as pastor of a local church.
During the Civil War, Revels assisted in organizing black volunteers for service in the Union Army and then joined federal forces himself. He was stationed in Mississippi as chaplain to a black regiment. After the war, Revels was appointed alderman by the military governor and was later elected to the state senate. His goal as senator was to restore political rights to former confederates. In 1870, he became the first African American elected to the United States Senate. Senator Revels supported desegregation in education and on the railroads. After his term in the Senate ended, Revels became president of Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College in Mississippi.
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