Since 1870, when Senator Hiram Revels of Mississippi and Representative Joseph Rainey of South Carolina became the first African Americans to serve in Congress, a total of 162 African Americans have served as U.S. Representatives, Delegates, or Senators. This Web site, based on the book Black Americans in Congress, 1870–2007, contains biographical profiles of former African-American Members of Congress, links to information about current black Members, essays on institutional and national events that shaped successive generations of African Americans in Congress, and images of each individual Member, supplemented by other historical photos.
Read essays that provide historical context about four distinct generations of African Americans in Congress. Among the topics discussed in each essay are institutional developments, legislative agendas, social changes, and national historical events that have shaped the experiences of black Members of Congress since Reconstruction.
This page features materials designed to help teachers and students use the information presented in Black Americans in Congress in their classrooms. It includes lesson plans as well as activities on photographs, objects, and memorable quotations.
In this section, users can find tables and appendices of historical data about Black Americans in Congress, including: African Americans in Congress by Congress; committee and subcommittee leaders; party leadership positions; chairmen and chairwomen of the Congressional Black Caucus.
View artifacts from the House Collection related to the history of Black Americans in Congress, from portraits to political campaign buttons.
Use the interactive map to compile information on the representation of Black Americans in Congress, such as the number of Members who served from a particular state or region and when they served.
Complimentary copies of the Office of the Historian publications Women in Congress and Black Americans in Congress are available for educators, subject to availability.
What is the difference between apportionment and realignment? What is a discharge petition? What does the word quorum mean and how does it relate to the House of Representatives? These and other relevant congressional terms are defined in this glossary.