1870 – 1871, The First Black Senator and US Representatives – All Republicans
The first African Americans to serve in the United States Congress were Republicans elected during the Reconstruction Era. After slaves were emancipated and granted citizenship rights, freedmen gained political representation in the Southern United States for the first time. White Democrats regained political power in state legislatures across the South and worked to restore white supremacy. By the presidential election of 1876, only three state legislatures were not controlled by white Democrats.
The Compromise of 1877 completed the period of Redemption by white Democratic Southerners, with the withdrawal of federal troops from the South. State legislatures began to pass Jim Crow laws to establish racial segregation and restrict labor rights, movement and organizing by blacks. They passed some laws to restrict voter registration, aimed at suppressing the black vote.
From 1890–1908, Democratic state legislatures in the South disenfranchised most blacks and many poor whites from voting by passing new constitutions or amendments, or other laws related to more restrictive electoral and voter registration and electoral rules. The Democratic Party essentially dominated the “Solid South” until the 1960s. As a result of the African-American Civil Rights Movement, the U.S. Congress, despite filibusters by the Democratic Party, passed laws in the mid–1960s to end segregation and enforce constitutional civil rights and voting rights.
After the mid-1960’s, the less racist the South got, the more Republican it became . . .
First black Senator and Representatives – All Republicans:
Sen. Hiram Revels (R-MS)
Rep. Benjamin S. Turner (R-AL)
Rep. Robert DeLarge (R-SC)
Rep. Josiah Walls (R-FL)
Rep. Jefferson Long (R-GA)
Rep. Joseph Rainey (R-SC)
Rep. Robert B. Elliott (R-SC)
“We give thanks for our brothers who served so well.” – editor