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Many scholars have identified more than 1,500 African American officeholders during the Reconstruction period (1865–1876). All were Republicans. However, Canter Brown, Jr. makes the salient point that, in some states (such as Florida), the highest number of African Americans were elected or appointed to offices after 1876, after Reconstruction. The following is a partial list some of the most notable of the officeholders pre-1900.

  • Blanche K. Bruce, U.S. Senator from Mississippi.
  • Tunis Campbell, State Senator from Georgia.
  • Oscar James Dunn, Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana 1868-1871, First African-American elected to a state level position in the United States.
  • Robert B. Elliott, State House lawmaker, and U.S. Representative from South Carolina.
  • Jonathan Clarkson Gibbs, Secretary of State and Secretary of Public Instruction of Florida.
  • Mifflin Wistar Gibbs, Arkansas, judge, younger brother of Jonathan Clarkson Gibbs.
  • Thomas Van Renssalaer Gibbs, Florida House of Representatives, son of Jonathan Clarkson Gibbs.
  • John R. Lynch, Mississippi House of Representatives, elected to U.S. House of Representatives.
  • John Mercer Langston, first African-American elected to the U.S. Congress from Virginia. First African-American to hold elected office in U.S. History (Township Clerk in Ohio).
  • James D. Lynch, Secretary of State of Mississippi
  • Samuel A. McElwee, member of the Tennessee General Assembly from 1883 to 1888.
  • Robert Meacham, Florida Senator
  • John Willis Menard, first African American elected to the U.S. Congress (denied his seat)
  • Charles H. Pearce, Florida Senate
  • P.B.S. Pinchback, governor of Louisiana
  • Joseph Hayne Rainey, U.S. Representative from South Carolina, member of the South Carolina Senate. First African American elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • James T. Rapier, United States House of Representatives.
  • Hiram Revels, U.S. Senator from Mississippi. First African American elected to the either house of Congress.
  • Robert Smalls, South Carolina Representative, South Carolina Senator, U.S. Representative
  • Josiah T. Walls, U.S. Representative

See also[]

[[Image:Template:Portal/Images/Default |x28px]] African American portal
  • List of African American firsts

References and external links[]

  • Bailey, Richard. Black Officeholders During the Reconstruction of Alabama, 1867-1878 (Pyramid Publishing) Available from author.
  • Bailey, Richard. Neither Carpetbaggers Nor Scalawags: Black Officeholders During the Reconstruction of Alabama, 1867-1878. Montgomery: Richard Bailey Publishers, 1995.
  • Canter Brown, Jr. Florida's Black Public Officials, 1867-1924. Tuscaloosa and London: The University of Alabama Press, 1998.
  • Eric Foner ed., Freedom's Lawmakers: A Directory of Black Officeholders During Reconstruction Revised Edition. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1996). ISBN 0-8071-2082-0. Between 1865 and 1877, about two thousand blacks held elective and appointive offices in the South. A few are relatively well-known, but most have been obscure and omitted from official state histories. Foner profiles more than 1,500 black legislators, state officials, sheriffs, justices of the peace, and constables in this volume.
  • John Hope Franklin "John Roy Lynch: Republican Stalwart from Mississippi" in Howard Rabinowitz (ed.), Southern Black Leaders of the Reconstruction Era, (Urbana: 1982) and reprinted in John Hope Franklin, Race and History: Selected Essays, 1938-1988, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989
  • Mifflin Wistar Gibbs Shadow and Light: An Autobiography Autobiography with Reminiscences of the Last and Present Century, Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1995.
  • Rabinowitz, Howard N. Southern Black Leaders of the Reconstruction Era (University of Illinois Press: 1982)[1] Section on "Congressmen" includes profiles of "John R. Lynch: Republican Stalwart from Mississippi" by John Hope Franklin, "James T. Rapier of Alabama and the Noble Cause of Reconstruction" by Loren Schweninger, and "James O'Hara of North Carolina: Black Leadership and Local Government" by Eric Anderson.
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