Dec. 12, 2017
Joseph H. Rainey December 12, 1870 The First African American To Serve In The US House of Represent
December 12, 1870, the first African American to serve in the United States House of Representatives and only the second person to serve Congress after U.S. Senator Hiram Revels of Mississippi. He was elected to Congress four times as a Republican, serving until March 3, 1879, which made him the longest-serving black Congressman during the Reconstruction era. In a speech given on the floor of Congress in 1871, Rainey challenges a New York Democratic representative who made disparaging remarks about the black members of the South Carolina state legislature.