TitleThe First Colored Senator and Representatives in the 41st Congress of the United States, 1872
ArtistCurrier and Ives
MediumLithograph
Dimensions24 x 18 in.

The First Colored Senator and Representatives in the 41st Congress of the United States, 1872

L-R: Senator Hiram Rhoades Revels of Mississippi, Representatives Benjamin Turner of Alabama, Robert DeLarge of South Carolina, Josiah Walls of Florida, Jefferson Long of Georgia, and Joseph Rainey and Robert Brown Elliot of South Carolina.

Of the 22 African American men who served in the United States Congress between 1870 and 1901, 13 of them had been born into slavery. Hiram Rhoades Revels, Josiah Walls, and Robert Brown Elliot were born to free parents. Regardless of their backgrounds and the discrimination they faced in securing their seats, these men championed the rights of all Americans, proving that African Americans could succeed in the framework of a democratically elected legislature.