Image courtesy of Library of Congress
Representative Robert De Large rose through state and local politics during the Reconstruction Era to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Representative Robert De Large
of South Carolina—one of nearly two dozen African Americans to serve in Congress during the Reconstruction Era—died on this date. De Large was born free and attained a modest education. During the post-Civil War military occupation of the South, he became a South Carolina state representative in 1868. Two years later, he was elected as a Republican U.S. Representative to the 42nd Congress (1871–1873), joining four other African Americans who served in the House during that term: Joseph Rainey
of South Carolina, Robert Elliott
of South Carolina, Benjamin Turner
of Alabama, and Josiah Walls
of Florida. De Large’s congressional career ended prematurely on January 24, 1873. After a formal challenge by his opponent, the House Committee on Elections declared the seat vacant because of election irregularities. De Large returned to South Carolina and declined to run for the 43rd Congress (1873–1875) due to his declining health. Alonzo Ransier
, an African-American, succeeded De Large in the House.