History March 10, 2020 at 01:00 pm

These were the first seven African-American representatives in U.S Congress

Ama Nunoo March 10, 2020 at 01:00 pm

March 10, 2020 at 01:00 pm | History

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Photo: BlackPast

Robert Carlos De Large

De Large was a wealthy member of Charleston South Carolina believed to be the offspring of a free mulatto couple. He was born in March 1842 and his family were members of the free mulatto elites who owned slaves.

It was his work with a Confederate Navy during the civil War that earned him a decent living and he later donated his earnings to the Republican party. He was an agent in the Freedman’s Bureau working for the Republican State government.

De Large rose through the ranks and became an organizer for the South Carolina Republican Party where he served on several high-profile committees and state conventions.

He became a land commissioner in 1870 when the legislature wanted a black man to fill that position. However, he allegedly embezzled funds to fund his congressional campaign but was never charged.

That same year he got the nod for the Republican nomination over Christopher Bowen, a former Confederate soldier and “one of Governor Scott’s most formidable political enemies” to represent Charleston and south-eastern portion of the state.

Bowen, however, run as an independent Republican against De Large in the 1870 general elections. De Large won the seat by a slim margin regardless of Governor Scott’s political and financial backing.

The election results were contested by Bowen nonetheless, De Large was sworn into the 42nd Congress on March 4, 1871 and was appointed to the Committee on Manufactures. He served from 1871 to 1873.


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