February is Black History Month, and what better way to observe it than to look at the achievements of the 11 Black Americans who have served in the United States Senate.
The first was Hiram Revels of Mississippi, who filled a vacant seat in 1870. He was followed by another Mississippi senator, Blanche K. Bruce. Unfortunately, it was almost another century before another Black American became a senator. (Read here about Martin Luther King Jr and 49 other most important civil rights leaders of the 20th century.)
To identify the 11 Black Americans who have served in the U.S. Senate, as well as their time served and in which states, 24/7 Wall St. consulted a number of sources, including the United States Senate and respective member’s websites.
In 1993, there was another first, when Carol Moseley Braun became the first Black American woman to serve as a senator. She represented Illinois until 1999. The next Black American senator also represented the Prairie State – Barack Obama. He went on to become the first Black American president in 2008 and won reelection in 2012. The appointment of William “Mo” Cowan to the Senate in February 2013 marked the first time that two Black Americans held the office simultaneously.
Today there’s another groundbreaking Black American in high office. In 2017, Kamala Harris became the first Black American to represent California in the Senate. She is currently vice president of the United States – the first woman, the first Black American, and Asian American to do so. (Here are 36 Black women who changed American history.)
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