Hiram Rhodes Revels (September 27, 1822 - January 16, 1901) was
the first African American to serve in the United States Senate.
Since he preceded any African American in the House, he was the
first African American in the U.S. Congress as well. He represented
Mississippi in 1870 and 1871 during Reconstruction. As of 2007,
Revels was one of only five African Americans ever to have served
in the United States Senate.
On leaving the Senate, Revels became president of Alcorn
Agricultural and Mechanical College, a recently opened institution
of higher education for blacks, near Lorman, Miss. In 1874,
however, he was dismissed from the college presidency. In 1875 he
helped overturn the Republican (Carpetbag) government of
Mississippi, defending his action on the grounds that too many
politicians in that party were corrupt. He was rewarded by the
Democratic administration, which returned him to the chief post at
Alcorn in 1876, where he remained until his retirement.
Revels remained active in his ministry. For a time, he served as
editor of the Southwestern Christian Advocate and taught theology
at Shaw College (now Rust College), founded in 1866 in Holly
Springs, Mississippi, where Revels and his family made their home.
Hiram Revels died on January 16, 1901, while attending a church
conference in Aberdeen, Mississippi.