Little-known African Americans whose signatures have been on U.S. currency

Mildred Europa Taylor Nov 28, 2018 at 02:00pm

November 28, 2018 at 02:00 pm | History

Mildred Europa Taylor

Mildred Europa Taylor | Associate Editor

November 28, 2018 at 02:00 pm | History

Pic credit: Alchetron

Blanche Kelso Bruce

He was the first African American to serve a full term in the U.S. Senate, representing Mississippi as a Republican from 1875 to 1881. As a senator, Bruce, born enslaved in Farmville, Prince Edward County, Virginia, not only spoke up about civil rights of African Americans and Native Americans and argued for political reforms, levee systems and railroad construction, among others.

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After his term ended, the successful banker was appointed to three posts by Republican Presidents. In 1881, President James Garfield named him Register of the Treasury, a post he held until 1885. This made Bruce the first African American to have his signature featured on U.S. paper currency.

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