Remembering Blanche Bruce, The First African-American Elected To A Full Term In The US Senate In 1874

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Blanche Bruce was a remarkable man who rose from slavery to become the first Black person elected to the United States Senate for a full term. Bruce Perkinson was born in 1841 on the Perkinson family plantation in Farmville, Virginia, to a slave mother and his white owner, Pettis Perkinson. Despite being born into slavery, Bruce had the opportunity to receive an education and was treated fairly by his owner.

When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Bruce fled to the north to join the Union army. However, he was turned down because the army was still all-white at the time. He began teaching and eventually established Missouri’s first school for Black children.

Following the war, Bruce relocated to Mississippi as the Reconstruction Era began. He continued to emphasize education for both black and white children, and he rose to become a wealthy landowner and powerful political figure. In 1874, he was elected to the Senate to represent Mississippi, a position previously held by Jefferson Davis, the Confederacy’s president.


Bruce was a staunch supporter of newly freed slaves in the Senate and spoke out against the mistreatment of indigenous Americans and Chinese immigrants. He also worked to improve the lives of African-Americans in Mississippi and throughout the country. Despite strong opposition from white supremacists, Bruce persisted and served a full Senate term.

After his term ended in 1880, white supremacists had retaken control of Mississippi, making a second term virtually impossible for Bruce. He stayed in Washington, D.C., and worked in a variety of government positions before becoming the first Black person to receive votes for nomination to the vice-presidency, an office not held by a Black person until Kamala Harris’s election in 2020.

Blanche Bruce’s journey from slavery to the Senate is an inspiring tale of tenacity and perseverance. Despite the numerous challenges he faced, he was able to overcome them and make a significant impact on the lives of African-Americans in the United States. His legacy as the first Black senator elected to a full term reflects his commitment to improving the lives of others and his belief in the importance of representation.

Bruce was a successful businessman who owned several properties, including a cotton plantation in Mississippi, in addition to his political career. He was known for his intelligence and charisma, and he was admired by both Black and white people for his commitment to bettering the lives of those around him.

Bruce’s influence lasted far beyond his lifetime, as his work laid the groundwork for future Black politicians and leaders. His efforts to improve the lives of Black people, as well as his commitment to justice and equality, remain relevant today and inspire future generations.



Written by How Africa News

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