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History and GovernmentCongressional BiographiesAlabama

James Thomas RAPIER

(1837-1883)

RAPIER, James Thomas, a Representative from Alabama; born a free black in Florence, Lauderdale County, Ala., November 13, 1837; educated by private tutors in Alabama and studied in Canada; studied law and was admitted to the bar; taught school; returned to the South and traveled as a correspondent for a northern newspaper; became a cotton planter in Alabama in 1865; appointed a notary public by the Governor of Alabama in 1866; member of the first Republican convention held in Alabama and was one of the committee that framed the platform; member of the State constitutional convention at Montgomery in 1867; unsuccessful candidate for secretary of state in 1870; appointed assessor of internal revenue in 1871; appointed State commissioner to the Vienna Exposition by the Governor of Alabama in 1873; commissioner on the part of the United States to the World’s Fair in Paris; elected as a Republican to the Forty-third Congress (March 4, 1873-March 3, 1875); unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1874 to the Forty-fourth Congress; appointed collector of internal revenue for the second district of Alabama on August 8, 1878, and served until his death in Montgomery, Ala., May 31, 1883; interment in Calvary Cemetery, St. Louis, Mo.

Bibliography

”James Thomas Rapier” in Black Americans in Congress, 1870-2007. Prepared under the direction of the Committee on House Administration by the Office of History & Preservation, U. S. House of Representatives. Washington: Government Printing Office, 2008; Schweninger, Loren. James T. Rapier and Reconstruction. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978.

Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present

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