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History and GovernmentCongressional BiographiesMississippi

Hiram Rhodes REVELS

(1827-1901)
Senate Years of Service:
1870-1871
Party:
Republican

REVELS, Hiram Rhodes, a Senator from Mississippi; born in Fayetteville, Cumberland County, N.C., on September 27, 1827; attended Beech Grove Quaker Seminary in Liberty, Ind., Darke County Seminary in Ohio, and Knox College, Galesburg, Ill.; barber; ordained a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church at Baltimore, Md., in 1845; carried on religious work in Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri; accepted a pastorate in Baltimore, Md., in 1860; at the outbreak of the Civil War assisted in recruiting two regiments of African American troops in Maryland; served in Vicksburg, Miss., as chaplain of a Negro regiment, and organized African American churches in that State; established a school for freedmen in St. Louis, Mo., in 1863; after the war, served in churches in Kansas, Kentucky and Louisiana before settling in Natchez, Miss., in 1866; elected alderman in 1868; member, Mississippi State senate 1870; elected as a Republican to the United States Senate; presented his credentials upon the readmission of Mississippi to representation on February 23, 1870; took the oath of office on February 25, 1870, after the Senate resolved a challenge to his credentials, and served from February 23, 1870 until March 3, 1871; first African American Senator; secretary of State ad interim of Mississippi in 1873; president of Alcorn University (formerly Oakland College), Rodney, Miss., 1876-1874, 1876-1882; moved to Holly Springs, Marshall County, Miss., and continued his religious work; editor, Southwestern Christian Advocate, official newspaper of A.M.E. Church 1876-1882; in retirement after 1882, taught theology at Shaw University, Holly Springs, Miss.; died from a paralytic stroke in Aberdeen, Miss., January 16, 1901; interment in Hill Crest Cemetery, Holly Springs, Miss.

Bibliography

American National Biography; Dictionary of American Biography; Office of History and Preservation, Office of the Clerk, Black Americans in Congress, 1870–2007. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2008; Libby, Billy W. “Senator Hiram Revels of Mississippi Takes His Seat, January-February, 1870.” Journal of Mississippi History 37 (November 1975): 381-94; Thompson, Julius. Hiram R. Revels, 1827-1901: A Biography. New York: Arno Press, 1982.

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

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