Hiram Rhodes Revels
To be a congressman during Revels’ time, one ought to be a citizen for at least nine years. They argue that Revels only became a citizen with the 1866 Civil Rights Act and the 14th Amendment and prior to that, the 1857 Dred Scott decision stated that black people were not U.S citizens.
However, this wasn’t Revels’ main opposition to attaining this great feat, it was the Democrats, a party made up of white southern men who simply did not want any black man in Congress.
All efforts to keep him out of congress proved futile because Republicans proved that he was born a free man in the United States.
“Mr. Revels, the colored Senator from Mississippi, was sworn in and admitted to his seat this afternoon,” reported The New York Times on February 25, 1870.
“Mr. Revels showed no embarrassment whatever, and his demeanor was as dignified as could be expected under the circumstances.
“The abuse which had been poured upon him and on his race during the last two days might well have shaken the nerves of anyone.”