Hiram Rhodes

Hiram Rhodes

Hiram Rhodes

He was the first African American to serve in the U.S. Congress. The Political party is Republican.With his moderate political orientation and oratorical skills honed from years as a preacher, Revels filled a vacant seat in the United

Congress(es)

41st (1869–1871).States Senate in 1870

Eduation of Hiram Rhodes

2 In an era when educating black children was illegal in North Carolina, Revels attended a school taught by a free black woman and worked a few years as a barber. In 1844, he moved north to complete his education. Hiram Revels was the principal of a black school in Baltimore and subsequently attended Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, on a scholarship from 1855 to 1857. He was one of the few black men in the United States with at least some college education.6

Before of civil war

Before the Civil War, fewer than 1,000 free black Mississippians had access to a basic education. Thus, leadership from freedmen such as Revels became vital to the Republican

Biography

Hiram Rhodes Revels was born to free parents in Fayetteville, North Carolina, on September 27, 1827. His father worked as a Baptist preacher, and his mother was of Scottish descent. He claimed his ancestors “as far back as my knowledge extends, were free,” and, in addition to his Scottish background, he was rumored to be of mixed African and Croatan Indian lineage.2 In an era when educating black children was illegal in North Carolina, Revels attended a school taught by a free black woman and worked a few years as a barber. In 1844, he moved north to complete his education. Revels attended the Beech Grove Quaker Seminary in Liberty, Indiana, and the Darke County Seminary for black students, in Ohio. In 1845, Revels was ordained in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. His first pastorate was likely in Richmond, Indiana, where he was elected an elder to the AME Indiana Conference in 1849.3 In the early 1850s, Revels married Phoebe A. Bass, a free black woman from Ohio, and they had six daughters.4

after the Expiration

After the expiration of his Senate term on March 3, 1871, Revels declined several patronage positions, offered by President Ulysses S. Grant at the recommendation of Senators Oliver Morton of Indiana and Zachariah Chandler of Michigan. He returned to Mississippi to become the first president of Alcorn University (formerly Oakland College), named for his political ally Governor James Alcorn. Located in Rodney, Mississippi, Alcorn University was the first land–grant school in the United States for black students.25 Revels took a leave of absence in 1873 to serve as Mississippi’s interim secretary of state after the sudden death of his friend James Lynch. During this period, Revels grew more critical of the corruption in the Republican Party, and he resigned from his position at Alcorn in 1874 to avoid being removed by his political rival and former Senate colleague, then–Mississippi Governor Adelbert Ames. Revels returned to the ministry, taking a pastorate at a church in Holly Springs, Mississippi. In the violent and controversial 1875 election campaign, he supported several Democrats. In 1876, when a U.S. Senate select committee questioned him about the well–documented fraud and violence in the previous year’s election, Revels testified that to the best of his knowledge, conditions had been relatively peaceful and he was unaware of any widespread violence. His statement was met with skepticism by many Mississippi black voters. Revels returned to his former position as president of Alcorn University in July 1876. He also edited the Southwestern Christian Advocate newspaper, the official organ of the AME Church. Revels retired in 1882 and returned to his former church in Holly Springs. He remained active in the religious community, teaching theology at Shaw University (later Rust College) in Holly Springs, Mississippi, and serving as the AME’s district superintendent. He died of a paralytic stroke in Aberdeen, Mississippi, on January 16, 1901, while attending a religious conference.