Black Americans in Congress
Review a brief (PDF) synopsis of Black Americans who have served in Congress. Joseph Rainey, William Dawson, and Gus Hawkins are a few of the African-American Members who made history in the House.
Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
Joseph Rainey of South Carolina was the first African-American Representative to serve in Congress.
This page features materials designed to help teachers and students use the information presented in the Black Americans in Congress
publication in their classrooms. It includes lesson plans on the African-American pioneers who served on Capitol Hill from 1870 to 2007 based on the contextual essays from the Black Americans in Congress
book, as well as activities on photographs, objects, and quotations.
Lesson Plan One: “The Fifteenth Amendment in Flesh and Blood,” The Symbolic Generation of Black Americans in Congress, 1870–1887 - Lesson Plan (PDF) / Essay
Lesson Plan Two: “‘The Negroes’ Temporary Farewell,” Jim Crow and the Exclusion of African Americans from Congress, 1887–1929 - Lesson Plan (PDF) / Essay
Lesson Plan Three: Keeping the Faith: African Americans Return to Congress, 1929–1970 - Lesson Plan (PDF)/Essay
Lesson Plan Four: Permanent Interests: The Expansion, Organization, and Rising Influence of African Americans in Congress, 1971–2007 - Lesson Plan (PDF) / Essay
Lesson Plan Five: Objects in Time - Lesson Plan (PDF) / House Collections Search
Lesson Plan Six: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words - Lesson Plan (PDF)
Lesson Plan Seven: Black Americans in Congress Speak Their Mind - Lesson Plan (PDF) / Quotations (PDF)