On this day: February 25, 1870
Hiram Rhodes Revels, a Republican from Natchez, Mississippi was sworn into office as a U.S. senator, becoming the first African-American to sit in Congress.
Revels was sworn in two days after Congress readmitted Mississippi to the Union (February 23, 1870) on condition that it would never change its constitution to Mississippi’s remittance was nine years after the state had seceded to join the Confederacy leading up to the Civil War.
On February 25, 1870, Revels, on a strict party-line vote of 48 to 8, with only Republicans voting in favor and only Democrats voting against, became the first African American to be seated in the United States Senate. Everyone in the galleries stood to see him sworn in.
Revels resigned two months before his term expired to accept appointment as the first president of Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Alcorn State University), a historically black college located in Claiborne County, Mississippi.