Historical Highlights

Representative Alonzo Ransier of South Carolina

August 17, 1882
Representative Alonzo Ransier of South Carolina Image courtesy of National Archives Records Administration Prior to his election to the House, one-term Representative Alonzo Ransier of South Carolina had a successful career in state government.
On this date, South Carolina Representative Alonzo Ransier, a Reconstruction Era African American, died at the age of 48. Elected to a seat previously held by Congressman Robert DeLarge, Ransier represented the black majority district of Charleston for one term in the 43rd Congress (1873–1875). Upon Ransier’s arrival in Congress, an observer on the House Floor (who already admired the South Carolinian for his open support for women’s suffrage) noted that he looked like “a man of great courage and sagacity …Mr. Ransier’s political career has been a varied and powerful one, and his strong, tough, active brain makes him an effective and worthy worker in the House.” Ransier who rose rapidly through the ranks in the South Carolina Republican Party was stymied as a legislator in the House. He introduced measures to erect a public building in Beaufort, South Carolina, and to restore the war-damaged west wing of the Citadel Academy in Charleston. Ransier also requested $100,000 to improve Charleston Harbor. None of these bills, however, passed. Disillusioned with the Republican Party’s lack of support for freedmen, Ransier broke from the party and lost his re-election bid. He never again ran for national office.

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