Legislative Interests 

Black Congressmen’s committee service underscored their lack of power in the House Chamber. Most black Members had low-ranking committee assignments. Though two men—Richard Cain and Robert Smalls—served on the prestigious Agriculture Committee, their power was limited.67 Certainly, the brevity of African-American careers during this era contributed to their lack of seniority and influence on committees, but it does not fully explain their inability to secure prominent committee assignments.

Blanche Bruce/tiles/non-collection/b/baic_cont_1_blanche-_bruce_smithsonian_AC0618_004_0000653.xml Image courtesy of Scurlock Studio Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution The second African American to serve as a Senator, Blanche K. Bruce of Mississippi later noted that success in the Senate required managing his relationship with all of his colleagues: “The novelty of my position [compels me] to cultivate and exhibit my honorable associates a courtesy that would inspire reciprocal courtesy.”
Beginning in the 1840s in the Senate and in the post–Civil War era in the House, length of service began to determine the committee hierarchy; the more terms in Congress, the higher the rank. But this process of broad and multidecadal centralization within the House evolved slowly and, until the 1910s, seniority was not the primary determinant of committee hierarchy.68 Perhaps of greater consequence to black Members during Reconstruction was their relative isolation from the key individuals in the party leadership who had power to procure or assign plum committee posts. Even the longest-serving black Member of the period, Joseph Rainey, had difficulty rising in the ranks in his nine years in Congress. GOP leadership consistently assigned Rainey a rank lower than his seniority permitted. Most blatantly, Rainey was the last-ranking GOP Member on the newly created Select Committee on the Freedmen’s Bank in the 44th Congress, even though he had more terms of service than any other Member on the committee.69 No black Member chaired any House standing committee. Senator Blanche Bruce chaired two select committees: the Select Committee to Investigate the Freedmen’s Savings and Trust Company and the Select Committee on Levees of the Mississippi River, which oversaw development of the river’s delta region.70

The House and Senate Education and Labor committees were the most common assignments for black Congressmen.71 Senators Hiram Revels and Blanche Bruce served on the Senate panel. Five men took seats on the equivalent House committee. Black Congressmen vocally supported the sale of federally owned land in the South and West to fund public education. But even congressional allies considered such a program controversial. Opponents feared federal funding for schools would impede states’ rights and blocked black Members’ efforts to enact such legislation. Josiah Walls, one of the most vocal supporters of the program, insisted the national government must provide for education of southern blacks because, left to their own devices, southern state governments would not act. “It is useless to talk about patriotism existing in those states …who now and always have believed that it was wrong to educate the Negro and that such offenses should be punishable by death or a lash,” Walls chided. “Away with the patriotism that advocates and prefers ignorance to intelligence!” Joseph Rainey was so desperate to fund normal schools, he even supported a $1 poll tax (which would have disfranchised many newly freed slaves) to directly fund public education. “Do you suppose I want my two children hindered in the enjoyment of educational opportunities in this country,” Rainey asked, “merely on account of their color when we are taxed to support those schools?”72

First Colored Congressmen/tiles/non-collection/b/baic_cont_1_first_reps_senator_41st_-442nd_-LC_USZC2_2325.xml Image courtesy of Library of Congress This famous print titled “The first colored senator and representatives—in the 41st and 42nd Congress of the United States” was published by Currier & Ives in 1872. The group portrait assembled Robert De Large of South Carolina, Jefferson Long of Georgia, Hiram Revels of Mississippi, Benjamin Turner of Alabama, Josiah Walls of Florida, Joseph Rainey of South Carolina, and Robert Elliott of South Carolina.
Absent key committee assignments and leadership positions, the relatively small number of black Members lacked the ability to drive a legislative agenda. Most introduced bills on the House or the Senate Floor only to have them die in committee. The near-universal desire among black Congressmen to reimburse depositors to the Freedmen’s Bank illustrates how both the House and the Senate rebuffed black legislators’ dogged efforts. Congress established the bank in 1865 to help freedmen manage their money; however, reckless loans and corruption depleted the bank’s $57 million in deposits, forcing it to close in 1874. Mismanagement and a lack of resources continued after the bank’s failure. Three commissioners were appointed to reimburse depositors, but shortly afterward they were criticized for failing to complete their overwhelming task. The bank’s failure had far-reaching effects on black businesses that continued well into the late 1890s.73 Nearly every black Member of Congress sponsored a bill to provide financial relief to African Americans who lost their savings when the Freedmen’s Bank failed. However, no one was a greater advocate than Senator Blanche Bruce, who took the reins of the Select Committee to Investigate the Freedmen’s Savings and Trust Company in April 1879. Bruce’s committee was unable to convince the Senate to reimburse depositors. Yet Bruce used some of his own personal fortune as well as his political clout to raise funds to reimburse a small portion of depositors.74

Lacking any qualitative institutional power, African Americans in Congress were relegated for the most part to ancillary, passive support roles for legislation shaped almost entirely by their House and Senate colleagues. Rather than acting as legislative entrepreneurs or public advocates, black Members of Congress were resigned to those roles the institution’s leaders tolerated: cheerleading for reform legislation or providing firsthand accounts of civil rights abuses to sway public opinion. Where Congress’s true power lay—behind the closed doors of committee meetings and markup sessions—African-American Members had virtually no influence.

Ku Klux Klan and Amnesty Acts

KKK Bill/tiles/non-collection/b/baic_cont_1_grant_signing_kkk_bill_1871_frank_leslie_lc_usz6287440.xml Image courtesy of Library of Congress On April 20, 1871, President Ulysses S. Grant, shown with Secretary of the Navy George M. Robeson and presidential advisor General Horace Porter in this Frank Leslie’s Illustrated print, signed the Third Ku Klux Klan Act, which enforced the 14th Amendment by guaranteeing all citizens of the United States the rights afforded by the Constitution and providing legal protection under the law.
Reconstruction-Era Congresses were preoccupied with curbing racial violence that afflicted the postwar South. Disturbing reports about the activities of the KKK, as well as other white supremacist groups, inspired congressional leaders to pass a series of three Ku Klux Klan Acts (also known as the Force Acts) during the 41st and 42nd Congresses (1869–1873).75 The first reinforced the 15th Amendment (universal manhood suffrage), the second placed all southern elections under federal control, and the third protected the voter registration and justice system from infiltration and intimidation by Klansmen. The 10 black Members who served in the Congresses voting on these bills universally supported the legislation. Most significantly, their electoral struggles confirmed the need for such measures. “If you cannot protect the loyal men of the South,” Robert Elliott warned in April 1871, “then have the loyal people of this great Republic done and suffered much in vain, and your free Constitution is a mockery and a snare.”76

Yet Congress softened the forceful nature of the Ku Klux Klan legislation by enacting generous pardons for former Confederates. The bill offered near blanket amnesty, excepting former public servants and military personnel who resigned their positions to join the Confederacy. Senator Hiram Revels and Representatives Joseph Rainey, Robert De Large, and Benjamin Turner voted for the bill in their respective chambers. “We are desirous, sir, of being magnanimous,” Rainey told his congressional colleagues in May 1872. “We have open and frank hearts toward those who were our former oppressors and taskmasters. We foster no enmity now, and we desire to foster none for their acts in the past to us, nor to the Government we love so well.”77 Rainey was among those who cast a “yea” vote for amnesty provided the Ku Klux Klan Acts remained enforced. Robert De Large pledged his support only if former Confederates swore a formal oath of allegiance to the Union. One of the more conservative black politicians, Turner, expressed no animosity towards former slaveowners—though he had been a slave—and focused on procuring economic aid for his war-torn state. “I have no coals of fiery reproach to heap upon [former Confederates] now,” Turner informed his congressional colleagues. “Rather would I extend the olive branch of peace, and say to them, let the past be forgotten.”78 Not all black Members agreed; Representatives Jefferson Long of Georgia and Robert Elliott voted against the bill, primarily out of their wish to solidify black rights in the South before restoring former Confederates to full political participation.

Civil Rights Bill of 1875

No issue preoccupied black Representatives more than the 1875 Civil Rights Bill (18 Stat. 335–337). Neither the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which guaranteed citizens the right to enter into contracts and to purchase, sell, or lease property, nor the series of Ku Klux Klan Acts, which had incrementally outlawed discrimination in voter registration in local and congressional elections and empowered circuit judges to appoint election supervisors, satisfied ardent reformers, such as Senator Charles Sumner. He introduced legislation on May 13, 1870, that provided the basis for the Civil Rights Bill of 1875.79 Senator Sumner envisioned a far more sweeping bill that would fully enforce and expand upon the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments.The centerpiece of his original bill outlawed racial discrimination in juries, schools, transportation, and public accommodations. However, Illinois Senator Lyman Trumbull, chairman of the powerful Judiciary Committee, disapproved of the bill and trapped it in his panel for more than two years.

Benjamin Butler/tiles/non-collection/b/baic_cont_1_butler_benjamin_lc_dig_cwpbh_03771.xml Image courtesy of Library of Congress As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Representative and Civil War Brigadier General Benjamin Butler of Massachusetts submitted his own version of the Civil Rights Bill in 1874.
On December 2, 1873, the opening day of the 43rd Congress, Sumner dutifully submitted his civil rights bill.80 On December 18—bolstered by the GOP’s 111-Member majority—House Judiciary Committee Chairman Benjamin Butler submitted his own bill, which echoed much of Sumner’s language.81 A former states’ rights Democrat, Butler changed his party allegiances and his attitude toward African Americans while serving as a brigadier general in the Civil War. Recalling the deaths of black Union soldiers on the battlefield, Butler declared, “May my right hand forget its cunning and my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth if I ever fail to defend the rights of these men who have given their blood for me and my country …God helping me, I will keep that oath.”82

Opponents lined up to denounce the bill when it came to the House Floor the following January, railing against the measure’s perceived threat to incite “a war of the races, [in which] the black race in this country will be exterminated,” in the words of Representative Milton Durham of Kentucky.83 Democrats stood up one by one, claiming that the Civil Rights Bill attempted to enforce rights beyond the scope of the Constitution, usurped states’ power to regulate common (public) schools, and forced the undesired social mixing of the two races. Amendments aimed at killing the Civil Rights Bill soon flooded in at such an alarming rate that Butler was forced to recommit the bill to the House Judiciary Committee on January 7 for consideration.

In the Senate, Sumner’s passing breathed new life into his legislative agenda. On his deathbed on March 11, 1874, Sumner allegedly repeated at least three times to Representative George Hoar: “You must take care of the civil rights bill—my bill, the civil rights bill—don’t let it fail!”84 Primarily out of respect for their deceased colleague, Senators passed the bill—29 to 16—two months later.85 The legislation was referred to the House Judiciary Committee on June 18, leaving the lower chamber to consider both pieces of legislation.86

A GOP debacle in the 1874 midterm elections further endangered the Civil Rights Bill. Sixty-two House Republican incumbents failed to win re-election; 43 hailed from northern or western states. The large GOP majority in the House during the 43rd Congress gave way to a 79-Member Democratic advantage in the 44th Congress.87 A financial panic in 1873 and the resulting depression, as well as multiple charges of corruption in Republican President Ulysses S. Grant’s administration, were primarily blamed for the loss.88 However, growing public disinterest in and frustration with civil rights legislation were also at fault. A top House Republican, James Garfield of Ohio—where GOP electoral losses were especially devastating—noted “a general apathy among the people concerning the war and the negro.”89 James Sener, a scalawag from Virginia, blamed prolonged congressional debate on the Civil Rights Bill for his electoral loss. Noting that he continually opposed the bill during the first session of the 43rd Congress, he claimed his constituents feared that “under the whip and spur of party pressure,” Sener might “yield my honest convictions to the will of the majority.”90 Among those who lost their elections was Benjamin Butler, who succumbed to Democrat Charles P. Thompson with 47 percent of the vote as compared to Thompson’s 53 percent.91 However, the electoral loss also rallied Republican Representatives, who returned to the lame duck session in 1875 determined not to leave office without passing some form of civil rights legislation.

John Harris/tiles/non-collection/b/baic_cont_1_harris_john_va_lc_dig_cwpbh_03706.xml Image courtesy of Library of Congress A six-term Representative from Virginia, John Harris belittled his black congressional colleagues by questioning their right to be called men.
The victorious Democrats, however, believed their mandate included scuttling the Civil Rights Bill. They continually halted business by submitting multiple motions to adjourn every time Butler attempted to place the legislation on the House Calendar for debate. A top GOP lieutenant, John Cessna of Pennsylvania, attempted to circumvent Democrats by drastically changing House Rules, disposing of all dilatory motions (those put forward strictly to stall consideration of legislation) for the remainder of the term. The change failed to achieve the two-thirds majority needed to alter House Rules after 15 Republicans defected. But over strong Democratic objections, Cessna worked with Speaker Blaine to broker a compromise, restricting the use of dilatory motions and opening an opportunity to debate civil rights legislation.92

During the precarious lead-up to the 1874 elections, few white GOP supporters spoke on the House Floor on behalf of the Civil Rights Bill. Facing some of the former Confederacy’s great orators, the black Representatives carried the debate on the measure throughout the 43rd Congress by making some of their most famous and impassioned speeches. The record-breaking seven black men on the House Floor was, in itself, an argument in favor of the bill. As one scholar notes, “their presence demonstrated that equality in politics could work [and] …signaled the drastic change that had overtaken the country’s political order.”93 The climax of the first session was Robert Elliott’s eloquent rebuttal to former Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens of Georgia on January 6, 1874. Elliott’s speech, in which he asserted that the federal government’s highest duty was to protect African Americans, received attention and praise from newspapers nationwide.94 The Chicago Tribune—a newspaper typically favorable to black Representatives—delivered a glowing review of the South Carolinian’s speech: “Mr. Elliott has demonstrated the real force of the new order of things.”95

Voters/tiles/non-collection/b/baic_cont_1_frank_leslie_1800_voting_lc_usz62_53727.xml Image courtesy of Library of Congress By 1880, partisan politics began to divide the black vote, as depicted in this Frank Leslie’s Illustrated, portraying Democrats taunting Republican voters en route to the polls.
As southern Democrats denied any racial discrimination on the part of southern railroads, hotels, theaters, and restaurants, the black Representatives provided vivid anecdotes of personal experiences with racism and segregation in public accommodations as evidence of the need for a Civil Rights Bill. Joseph Rainey claimed he was unable to procure first-class tickets on some railway lines and pointed out that he could not eat in the first-class dining room on a boat from Washington to Norfolk. Forced to wait for a table in the servants’ dining room, Rainey had shouted, “I’d starve first,” and thereafter brought his own meals while traveling. Rainey drilled this injustice into the heads of his colleagues: “Do you think it is right that when I go forth from this capital as an honored member of Congress that I should be subjected to the insults from the lowest fellow in the street if he should happen to feel so inclined?”96 When traveling from his district to the nation’s capital, John Lynch noted, “I am treated, not as an American citizen, but as a brute. Forced to occupy a filthy smoking car both night and day, with drunkards, gamblers, and criminals; and for what? Not that I am unable or unwilling to pay my way; not that I am obnoxious in my personal appearance or disrespectful in my conduct; but simply because I happen to be of a darker complexion.”97 James Rapier pointed out the irony of the second-class treatment he received while traveling though he had a privileged role as a Representative. “Just think that the law recognizes my right upon this floor as a law-maker, but that there is no law to secure me an accommodation whatever while traveling here to discharge my duties as a Representative…. Is not this most anomalous and ridiculous?” Rapier reminded his colleagues that, “Every day my life and property are exposed, are left to the mercy of others, and will be so long as every hotel-keeper, railroad conductor, and steamboat captain can refuse me with impunity.”98

Opponents argued that regulating discrimination in public accommodations and transportation was beyond the scope of the Constitution. The Reconstruction Amendments, which already guaranteed the basic political rights afforded to all male citizens, extended the federal government’s power to its limit. “The colored people are now in substantial enjoyment of their full rights and privileges granted by the recent amendments to the Constitution,” argued Democrat John Storm of Pennsylvania. “This bill is thrust upon us now for no other purpose than exciting bad feelings.” Virginian Thomas Whitehead added “now the colored man is a citizen. He can vote. He can hold office…. He can hold property. He can do in my state just what any other man can do…. Now, what is the object of this bill?”99 While the Constitution could provide political equality before the law, southerners argued that it could not enforce social equality. John Harris of Virginia declared that the racial division was “a natural prejudice that God himself placed in the hearts of southern children,” adding that a Representative of any race could be “thrust from a particular railroad car when his high position was not known.”100 Representative Whitehead observed that “the Almighty has given [black men] what he cannot get rid of—a black skin! …You have not the power to make him white and he will never be satisfied short of that.”101 James Blount of Georgia observed that Black Americans in the South did not care for equal access to theaters, hotels, and streetcars. “These people are poor,” he observed, “and these things they care nothing about…. They are especially often involved in criminal charges…. [Judicial rights] are the rights of most practical value to them.”102

Many southern Democrats’ greatest fear was enforced social mixing between blacks and whites. “There are in the Southern States two races, as distinct in their social feelings and prejudices as in color,” declared Representative Blount. “The sooner they are recognized by our rulers the better for both races and the country.”103 Democrat Charles Eldredge of Wisconsin blamed the unrest in the South on the “unnatural relation in which two races have been placed to each other,” adding, “it is a result…which may always be expected when it is attempted to subject men of culture …to the domination and rule of brute force.”104 Despite their idealism, most Radical Republicans also believed African Americans belonged to a separate social sphere. Even Benjamin Butler admitted, “We do not propose to legislate to establish any equality.” However, he clearly believed that equality did not divide on racial grounds: “Not all men are equal, but every man has the right to be the equal of every other man if he can. … And all constitutions, all laws, all enactments, all prejudices, all caste, all custom, all contravention of that right is unjust, impolitic, and unchristian.”105

Shackle Broken/tiles/non-collection/b/baic_cont_1_shackle_broken_robert_elliott_LC_USZ62_2247.xml Image courtesy of Library of Congress
Titled “The shackle broken–by the genius of freedom,” this print memorialized a defining moment in South Carolina Representative Robert Elliott’s congressional career, his 1874 speech in support of the Civil Rights Act.
The African-American Members displayed considerable political pragmatism when addressing the issue of using legislation to compel social equality of the races. Richard Cain noted that “no laws enacted by legislators can compel social equality.”106 James Rapier claimed that the Civil Rights Bill “does not and cannot contemplate any such idea as social equality; nor is there any man upon this floor so silly as to believe that there can be any law enacted or enforced that would compel one man to recognize the other as his equal socially.” However, he also rejected segregation as a caste system that prevented social mobility, calling such a method “an anti-republican principle in our free country.”107 John Lynch pointed out the hypocrisy of the argument that social equality divided on racial grounds: “I have never believed for a moment that social equality could be brought about even between persons of the same race. … But those who contend that the passage of this bill will have a tendency to bring about social equality between the races virtually and substantially admit that there are no social distinctions among white people, whatsoever.”108 As white southerners made dire predictions about the deleterious effects of the Civil Rights Bill on white southern culture, Richard Cain responded with his characteristic good humor: “I think [that if] so harmless a measure as the civil-rights bill, guaranteeing to every man of the African race equal rights with other men, would bring death to the South, then certainly that noble march of Sherman to the sea would have fixed them long ago.”109

The sticking point on the final version of the Civil Rights Bill of 1875 became the section providing federal funding for and oversight of public education. Traditionally, states and local municipalities controlled public schools. Throughout the South, local prejudice led to uneven educational opportunities. The most controversial component, however, was the provision to desegregate public schools. Both Southern Democrats and moderate Republicans greatly feared angry white parents would pull their children out of mixed race schools, effectively ending public education in the South. “The great evil this bill has in store for the black man is found in the destruction of the common schools of the South,” declared Roger Mills of Texas. “When the common schools are broken up in all the Southern States…what is to become of the children of the colored people? Are they to grow up on ignorance and vice?”110 Milton Durham argued that his white constituents paid the bulk of the taxes and that many took advantage of public schools. “Should this bill pass,” Durham warned, “and the children of freedmen demand admission into these schools, I believe the system in Kentucky will be so injured as to become worthless.”111 Moderate Republicans were wary of the education clause as well. Though Barbour Lewis of Tennessee supported the Civil Rights Bill, noting that “the colored people deserve this measure,” he argued that integrated schools were unacceptable to all “because people of their own choice … simply as a matter of taste, have maintained separate schools.”112

Stephen Kellogg/tiles/non-collection/b/baic_cont_1_kellogg-Stephen-of-CT-LC-DIG-cwpbh-00436.xml Image courtesy of Library of Congress To aid the passage of the 1875 Civil Rights Bill, three-term Representative Stephen Kellogg of Connecticut stripped the bill of all references to education.
To move the bill out of the Judiciary Committee in the face of such broad opposition, Butler amended the education clause by inserting language that called for “separate, but equal” public schools.113 By the time the bill came to a vote on February 4, 1875, three versions existed, each differing only on the education provisions: the amended House bill, calling for “separate, but equal” public schools; the Senate bill, which included the legislation’s original intent to desegregate and federally fund common schools; and an amended version offered by Stephen Kellogg of Connecticut, stripping the bill of all references to public education.

Black Members vigorously defended the education clause, preferring almost unanimously the Senate version of the bill.114 John Lynch contended that increased federal funding for education was the most harmless provision of the bill: “All share its benefits alike,” he said.115 Richard Cain sharply admonished his southern colleagues: “Examine the laws of the South, and you will find that it was a penal offense for anyone to educate the colored people there…. You robbed us for two hundred years. During all that time we toiled for you. We have raised your cotton, your rice, and your corn…. And yet you upbraid us for being ignorant—call us a horde of barbarians!”116 Alonzo Ransier had great faith that equal rights and opportunities in education would allow talented black men to earn good standing in their communities and would in turn curb discrimination. “Let the doors of the public school house be thrown open to us alike,” he declared, “if you mean to give these people equal rights at all, or to protect them in the exercise of the rights and privileges attaching to all freemen and citizens of our country.”117

By the time the Civil Rights Bill came to a vote, the measure had been gravely wounded. The bill’s last days were filled with desperate pleas from its supporters. “Spare us our liberties; give us peace; give us a chance to live; …place no obstruction in our way; give us an equal chance,” Richard Cain pleaded. “We ask no more of the American people.”118 James Rapier despaired, “I have no compromise to offer on this subject…. After all, this question resolves itself into this: either I am a man or I am not a man.”119 Minutes before the final measure came to a vote in the House, Members passed Kellogg’s amendment eliminating all references to public education, 128 to 48. A motion replacing the House version with the Senate bill failed soon afterward, 148 to 114. The battered Civil Rights Bill finally passed 162 to 99. The measure provided no mechanism to regulate public schools, but stipulated equal use of public transportation and accommodations regardless of race. It also prohibited the exclusion of African Americans from jury service. Black Members received the final version of the bill with mixed reactions: Richard Cain, John Lynch, Joseph Rainey, and James Rapier voted in its favor, despite its diluted form, but Alonzo Ransier and Josiah Walls were so disappointed by the elimination of the education clause, they declined to vote.120 The legislation passed the Senate on February 27. On March 1, President Ulysses S. Grant signed it into law.121 The fact that Republicans, who within days would be relegated to minority status, managed to steer such a bill through the chamber at the conclusion of a lame duck session represented a considerable legislative victory. But in their desperation to pass the measure, Republicans had left the Civil Rights Act of 1875 in such a weakened state that it did little to impede the creation of a system of segregation in the South. Moreover, the limited protection it did afford would soon be stripped by the courts.

Next Section


67Charles Stewart III ranks the House Agriculture Committee as the chamber’s eighth most desirable panel for this era. However, no black member of the Agriculture Committee rose above the second-to-last ranking GOP Member. For more information, see Stewart, “Committee Hierarchies in the Modernizing House, 1875–1947,” American Journal of Political Science 36 (1992): 845–846. See also Canon et al., Committees in the U.S. Congress, 1789 to 1946, Volume 3.

68On the general topic of centralization of power in the House, which gave rise to the hierarchical committee system, see Peter Swenson, “The Influence of Recruitment on the Structure of Power in the U.S. House, 1870–1940,” Legislative Studies Quarterly VII (February 1982): 7–36. For an analysis of committee seniority see, Michael Aboam and Joseph Cooper, “The Rise of Seniority in the House of Representatives,” Polity 1 (Fall 1968): 52–84. For an analysis of factors that mitigate seniority as the determining factor in committee hierarchy as well as a discussion of when the seniority system solidified in the House, see Nelson Polsby, Miriam Gallaher, and Barry S. Rundquist, “The Growth of the Seniority System in the U.S. House of Representatives,” American Political Science Review 63 (September 1969): 787–807.

69Canon et al., Committees in the U.S. Congress, 1789 to 1946, Volume 4: 295.

70Representative James O’Hara was an unofficial subcommittee chairman on the Committee on Invalid Pensions in the 49th Congress. See Appendix F, Black-American Chairs of Subcommittees of Standing Committees in the U.S. House and Senate, 1885–2007.

71The names and jurisdictions of these panels changed during the Reconstruction Era. In the House, the Education and Labor Committee was created in 1867 but was terminated in 1883 in favor of a Committee on Education and a Committee on Labor. In the Senate, the Education Committee was established in 1869 and was renamed the Committee on Education and Labor one year later. See Canon et al., Committees in the U.S. Congress, 1789 to 1946, Volume 1: 65; ibid., Volume 2: 77.

72Congressional Globe, House, 42nd Cong., 2nd sess. (23 February 1872): 809; quoted in Christopher, Black Americans in Congress: 33.

73For further reading, see Carl R. Osthaus, Freedmen, Philanthropy, and Fraud: A History of the Freedmen’s Savings Bank (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1976).

74Graham, The Senator and the Socialite: 120–121.

75These were: the Ku Klux Klan Act (16 Stat. 140–146, approved 31 May 1870), sometimes referred to as the Civil Rights Act of 1870; the Ku Klux Klan Act (16 Stat. 433–440, approved 28 February 1871), sometimes referred to as the Civil Rights Act of 1871; and the Third Force Act (17 Stat. 13–15, approved 20 April 1871).

76Congressional Globe, House, 42nd Cong., 1st sess. (1 April 1871): 392.

77Congressional Globe, House, 42nd Cong., 2nd sess. (13 May 1872): 3382.

78Congressional Globe, Appendix, 42nd Cong., 2nd sess. (30 May 1872): A530–531. The Congressional Globe was the precursor to the Congressional Record as a printed source for congressional debates, the last in a long series of privately published volumes. The increase in legislation and debate during the Civil War eventually overwhelmed the Globe’s printers. In 1873, Congress transferred authority for publishing the debates to the Government Printing Office (GPO), which publishes them under the title Congressional Record. For more on this topic, see Elizabeth Gregory McPherson “The History of Reporting the Debates and Proceedings of Congress” (Ph.D. diss., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1940).

79For a concise summary of congressional civil rights legislation in the 19th and 20th centuries, see Donald Bacon et al., The Encyclopedia of the United States Congress, Volume 1 (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995): 354–363. See also Appendix J, Constitutional Amendments and Major Civil Rights Acts of Congress Referenced in the Text

80See S. No. 1, Congressional Record, Senate, 43rd Cong., 1st sess. (2 December 1873): 2.

81See S. No. 1, Congressional Record, Senate, 43rd Cong., 1st sess. (2 December 1873): 2.

82Congressional Record, House, 43rd Cong., 1st sess. (7 January 1874): 458.

83Congressional Record, House, 43rd Cong., 1st sess. (6 January 1874): 406.

84Edward L. Pierce, Memoir and Letters of Charles Sumner, Volume 4 (New York: Arno Press, 1969): 598.

85Congressional Record, Senate, 43rd Cong., 1st sess. (22 May 1874): 4176.

86Congressional Record, House, 43rd Cong., 1st sess. (18 June 1874): 5162–5163.

87Office of the Historian, “Party Divisions,” http://history.house.gov/Institution/Party-Divisions/Party-Divisions/.

88Steven W. Stathis, Landmark Legislation, 1774–2002: Major U.S. Acts and Treaties (Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Press, 2003): 111.

89Quoted in Foner, Reconstruction: 555.

90Congressional Record, House, 43rd Cong., 1st sess. (4 February 1875): 978.

91Dubin et al., U.S. Congressional Elections, 1788–1997: 231.

92Asher C. Hinds, Hinds’ Precedents of the House of Representatives, Volume 4 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1907): 353–354; Foner, Reconstruction: 555; Wilson, The Reconstruction Desegregation Debate: 38. Republicans lost some support in the final vote on the Civil Rights Bill because of the rule change. In a speech denouncing the bill, William Phelps of New Jersey noted, “In order to pass this bill we have altered the rules of procedure under which for fifty years this House has transacted its business.” See Congressional Record, House, 43rd Cong., 2nd sess. (4 February 1875): 1001. Debate was often very contentious, with Butler facing the brunt of the attacks. On February 3, 1875, Butler found himself squaring off in the center aisle of the House Chamber with William McLean of Texas when the latter accused Butler of denigrating the South. McLean hurled a personal insult at Butler, in violation of House Rules, and later retracted his comment. See Congressional Record, House, 43rd Cong., 2nd sess. (3 February 1875): 940–941, 943. The following day, John Brown of Kentucky declared, “If I wished to describe all that was pusillanimous in war, inhuman in peace, forbidden in morals, and infamous in politics, I should call it ’Butlerism.’” Brown was censured for his remarks. See Congressional Record, House, 43rd Cong., 2nd sess. (4 February 1875): 985–992. An attempt to strike Butler’s words from the Congressional Record failed just before the Civil Rights Bill passed. See Congressional Record, House, 43rd Cong., 2nd sess. (4 February 1875): 1008. Though they overwhelmingly favored censuring Brown, black Members remained silent during the more heated bickering on the House Floor.

93Wilson, The Reconstruction Desegregation Debate: 25.

94See, for example, “Congress,” 7 January 1874, New York Times: 1.

95“Congressman Elliott’s Speech,” 8 January 1874, Chicago Daily Tribune: 4.

96Christopher, Black Americans in Congress: 32–33.

97Congressional Record, House, 43rd Cong., 2nd sess. (3 February 1875): 945.

98Congressional Record, House, 43rd Cong., 1st sess. (9 June 1874): 4782–4785.

99Congressional Record, House, 43rd Cong., 2nd sess. (3 February 1875): 951, 952–953.

100Congressional Record, House, 43rd Cong., 1st sess. (5 January 1874): 377.

101Congressional Record, House, 43rd Cong., 2nd sess. (3 February 1875): 953.

102Congressional Record, House, 43rd Cong., 2nd sess. (4 February 1875): 978. For further discussion of the constitutional arguments made during Civil Rights Bill debate, see Wilson, The Reconstruction Desegregation Debate: 151–181.

103Congressional Record, House, 43rd Cong., 1st sess. (6 January 1874): 411.

104Congressional Record, House, 43rd Cong., 2nd sess. (4 February 1875): 983 (emphasis his).

105Congressional Record, House, 43rd Cong., 1st sess. (7 January 1874): 455–456 (emphasis his).

106Congressional Record, House, 43rd Cong., 1st sess. (10 January 1874): 565–567.

107Congressional Record, House, 43rd Cong., 1st sess. (9 June 1874): 4782–4785.

108Congressional Record, House, 43rd Cong., 2nd sess. (3 February 1875): 944.

109Congressional Record, House, 43rd Cong., 1st sess. (24 January 1874): 901–903. For more on the equality debate in the Civil Rights Bill, see Wilson, The Reconstruction Desegregation Debate: 77–120.

110Congressional Record, House, 43rd Cong., 1st sess. (5 January 1874): 385.

111Congressional Record, House, 43rd Cong., 1st sess. (6 January 1874): 406.

112Congressional Record, House, 43rd Cong., 2nd sess. (4 February 1875): 998–999.

113Wilson, The Reconstruction Desegregation Debate: 37.

114Most black Members preferred the Senate version of the Civil Rights Bill. See, for example, Congressional Record, House, 43rd Cong., 2nd sess. (4 February 1875): 1001. Richard Cain expressed lukewarm support for Kellogg’s version, probably because of his firm rejection of the compromise “separate, but equal” legislation. See Congressional Record, House, 43rd Cong., 2nd sess. (4 February 1875): 982.

115Congressional Record, House, 43rd Cong., 2nd sess. (3 February 1875): 943–947.

116Congressional Record, House, 43rd Cong., 1st sess. (24 January 1874): 901–903.

117Congressional Record, House, 43rd Cong., 1st sess. (7 February 1874): 1314.

118Congressional Record, House, 43rd Cong., 2nd sess. (4 February 1875): 982.

119Ibid., 1001.

120Ibid., 1011.

121Congressional Record, Senate, 43rd Cong., 2nd sess. (27 February 1875): 1870; Congressional Record, House, 43rd Cong., 2nd sess. (1 March 1875): 2013.