Revels, Hiram Rhoades

Life Span
Full name
Hiram Rhoades Revels
Place of Birth
Burial Place
Birth Date Certainty
Death Date Certainty
Sectional choice
Slave State
No. of Spouses
No. of Children
Phoeba A. Bass (wife)
Other Education
Beech Grove Seminary, IN; Darke County Seminary, OH; Knox College, IL
Other Occupation
Relation to Slavery
Free black
Political Parties
Other Affiliations
Abolitionists (Anti-Slavery Society)
US Senate
State legislature
Other state government
Local government

Hiram Rhoades Revels (American National Biography)

The nation's first African-American senator arrived in Washington ten days after his election. He could not present his credentials until Mississippi was formally readmitted to the Union, which finally took place on 23 February [1870]. Three days of contentious debate over whether to seat Revels followed, with the Senate voting forty-eight to eight in favor of accepting his credentials on 25 February. Revels was then sworn in and seated.

Although his brief Senate term was relatively undistinguished, Revels's skill as an orator, honed through decades in the pulpit, earned favorable attention from the national press. He introduced three bills, but only one passed--a petition for the removal of civil and political disabilities from an ex-Confederate. He favored amnesty for white southerners "just as fast as they give evidence of having become loyal men and of being loyal," a stance that drew criticism from some in the black community. Revels served briefly on the District of Columbia Committee and nominated the first African American for enrollment at West Point (the candidate failed the entrance examination).
Kenneth H. Williams, "Revels, Hiram Rhoades," American National Biography Online, February 2000,

Hiram Rhoades Revels (Congressional Biographical Directory)

REVELS, Hiram Rhodes, a Senator from Mississippi; born in Fayetteville, Cumberland County, N.C., on September 27, 1827; attended Beech Grove Quaker Seminary in Liberty, Ind., Darke County Seminary in Ohio, and Knox College, Galesburg, Ill.; barber; ordained a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church at Baltimore, Md., in 1845; carried on religious work in Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri; accepted a pastorate in Baltimore, Md., in 1860; at the outbreak of the Civil War assisted in recruiting two regiments of African American troops in Maryland; served in Vicksburg, Miss., as chaplain of a Negro regiment, and organized African American churches in that State; established a school for freedmen in St. Louis, Mo., in 1863; after the war, served in churches in Kansas, Kentucky and Louisiana before settling in Natchez, Miss., in 1866; elected alderman in 1868; member, Mississippi State senate 1870; elected as a Republican to the United States Senate; presented his credentials upon the readmission of Mississippi to representation on February 23, 1870; took the oath of office on February 25, 1870, after the Senate resolved a challenge to his credentials, and served from February 23, 1870 until March 3, 1871; first African American Senator; secretary of State ad interim of Mississippi in 1873; president of Alcorn University (formerly Oakland College), Rodney, Miss., 1876-1874, 1876-1882; moved to Holly Springs, Marshall County, Miss., and continued his religious work; editor, Southwestern Christian Advocate, official newspaper of A.M.E. Church 1876-1882; in retirement after 1882, taught theology at Shaw University, Holly Springs, Miss.; died from a paralytic stroke in Aberdeen, Miss., January 16, 1901; interment in Hill Crest Cemetery, Holly Springs, Miss.
"Revels, Hiram Rhodes," Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774 to Present,
Chicago Style Entry Link
Thompson, Julius Eric. Hiram R. Revels, 1827-1901: A Biography. New York: Arno Press, 1982. view record
How to Cite This Page: "Revels, Hiram Rhoades," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,