African American Senators Throughout U.S. History

8 men and 1 woman of African American heritage have served in the U.S. Congress's Upper House.

African American Senators throughout US History

As opposed to the presidency, the Senate has had a total of nine African-American office holders throughout the US history. Senate is the legislative branch of the government of the US. Senate plays an important role reviewing and debating bills and also provides oversight to the presidency. Senate consists of the Vice President of the US, party leaders, committee leaders, 20 committees and four joint committees. Congress is made up of 100 senators with two from each state serving a six-year term and can be re-elected. Before the ratification of the US constitution in 1870, no black American served in any elective post in the US. The ratification allowed any citizen of the US to take part in electoral process irrespective of race or color. As a result, many African-Americans began to contest for a position in the Congress. Since then eight men and one lady have been elected to the Senate.

Hiram Rhodes Revels, Mississippi

Hiram was born to parents of European and African origin in North Carolina in 1827. He served as a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church having been ordained in 1845. He also served as preacher in Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Kansas, and Missouri. He also had the privilege of serving as a chaplain in the US army. In 1870 he was elected to the Senate to represent Mississippi State after one of the seats fell vacant. As a senator, he championed for equality and the reinstatement of the black legislators who had been illegally kicked out. His term lasted up to March 3rd 12871.

Blanche Kelso Bruce, Mississippi

Blanche was born in 1841 in Virginia. During his birth, his mother was serving as an African-American domestic slave while his father was a master in the plantation. In 1864 Bruce established a school that catered to the needs of black children. During reconstruction in 1868, Bruce bought a plantation where he became a wealthy man. He was elected to the Senate through a Republican ticket in 1874 where he served until 1881 when he was appointed as Register of the Treaty. He served as the Register until his death in 1898.

Edward William Brooke III, Massachusetts

Edward was born in 1919 in Washington DC to Helen and Edward Jr. he attended one of the prestigious schools for African American and graduated in 1836. He was enlisted in the army in 1941 after his graduation from Howard University. In 1950 he lost his bid for the Massachusetts House of Representative. In 1966 he was finally elected to the Congress on his third attempt where he served for two terms from 1967 to 1979. Brooke championed against discrimination, especially in housing.

Carol Moseley Braun, Illinois

Moseley was and still is the first African-American woman to be elected to the Congress. He represented Illinois from 1993 to 1999. Born in 1947, Carol is a renowned lawyer in the United States, a graduate of the University of Illinois. She was first elected to the Illinois House of Representative in 1978 where she also served as assistant to the Majority leader. In 2004 she vied for the presidency but finished a distant third.


In 2005 Illinois elected Barrack Obama as their representative to the Congress.Obama’s support for the then President, Bill Clinton and his active involvement in the Democrats activities soon gained him popularity across the races in America. In 2008, he became the first African-American senator to be elected president of US.

African American Senators Throughout U.S. History

Senator, StateTerm
Hiram Rhodes Revels, Mississippi1870-1871
Blanche Kelso Bruce, Mississippi1875-1881
Edward William Brooke III, Massachusetts1967-1979
Carol Moseley Braun, Illinois1993-1999
Barack Obama, Illinois2005-2008
Roland W. Burris, Illinois2009-2010
Mo Cowan, Massachusetts2013
Tim Scott, South CarolinaIncumbent
Cory Booker, New JerseyIncumbent

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