In honor of Black History Month, and at a time when the current government seems hell-bent on deleting every single thing our first African-American president has done, it's appropriate to remember some of the contributions the first African-American legislators in the 1870s made while they were in office.
Sen. Hiram Rhodes Revels fought against school segregation and other discrimination issues and supported amnesty for former Confederates as part of a general program of reconciliation, as did Rep. Benjamin S. Turner, who also worked against a cotton tax that caused hardship for poor farm workers. Josiah T. Walls introduced bills for education funding and veterans' benefits. Joseph H. Rainey and Robert Brown Elliot were instrumental in the passage of the Enforcement Acts against the Ku Klux Klan and in protection of voting rights and the 1875 Civil Rights Act.
By the way, they were all Republicans, which obviously meant something different at the time.