Library of Congress
REVELS, Hiram Rhodes (1827-1901)
Senate Years of Service: 1870-1871

REVELS, HIRAM RHODES, a Senator from Mississippi; born in Fayetteville, Cumberland County, N.C., on September 27, 1827; attended Beech Grove Quaker Seminary in Liberty, Ind., Darke County Seminary in Ohio, and Knox College, Galesburg, Ill.; barber; ordained a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church at Baltimore, Md., in 1845; carried on religious work in Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri; accepted a pastorate in Baltimore, Md., in 1860; at the outbreak of the Civil War assisted in recruiting two regiments of African American troops in Maryland; served in Vicksburg, Miss., as chaplain of a Negro regiment, and organized African American churches in that State; established a school for freedmen in St. Louis, Mo., in 1863; after the war, served in churches in Kansas, Kentucky and Louisiana before settling in Natchez, Miss., in 1866; elected alderman in 1868; member, Mississippi state senate 1870; elected as a Republican to the United States Senate; presented his credentials upon the readmission of Mississippi to representation on February 23, 1870; took the oath of office on February 25, 1870, after the Senate resolved a challenge to his credentials, and served from February 23, 1870, until March 3, 1871; first African American Senator; secretary of state ad interim of Mississippi in 1873; president of Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College (formerly Oakland College, now Alcorn State University), Rodney, Miss., 1871-1874, 1876-1882; moved to Holly Springs, Marshall County, Miss., and continued his religious work; editor, Southwestern Christian Advocate, official newspaper of A.M.E. Church 1876-1882; in retirement after 1882, taught theology at Shaw University, Holly Springs, Miss.; died from a paralytic stroke in Aberdeen, Miss., January 16, 1901; interment in Hill Crest Cemetery, Holly Springs, Miss.

Many Revels papers were burned in a fire at Alcorn College in Mississippi.

Brown University
Providence, RI
Papers: March 4, 1870. 1 letter. To Mrs. Philip Allen.

Fisk University
Special Collections
Nashville, TN
Papers: Correspondence in the James Dallas Burrus collection, 1827-1929.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division
Washington, DC
Papers: Ca. 14 pages of autobiographical material in the Carter G. Woodson collection.

Mississippi Department of Archives and History
Jackson, MS
Papers: 1870. 1 letter. Also photographs.

New York Public Library
New York, NY
Papers: Ca. 1869-1872. Ca. 17 items. Miscellaneous clippings and speeches in the Schomburg collection; letters from and to Revels mostly concerning family matters; newspaper clippings deal with Senate career; and homilies, poetry, programs, and invitations.

  • Borome, Joseph, ed. "The Autobiography of Hiram Rhodes Revels Together with Some Letters By and About Him.'' Midwest Journal 5 (Winter 1952-1953): 79-92.
  • Christopher, Maurine. Black Americans in Congress. 1971. Rev. and expanded ed. New York: T.Y. Crowell, 1976. Originally published as America's Black Congressmen.
  • Gibbs, Warmoth T. "Hiram R. Revels and His Times.'' Quarterly Review of Higher Education Among Negroes 8 (January 1940): 25-37; (April 1940): 64-91.
  • Gravely, William B."Hiram Revels Protests Racial Separation in the Methodist Episcopal Church (1876)." Methodist History 8 (1970): 13-20.
  • Lawson, Elizabeth. The Gentleman from Mississippi: Our First Negro Congressman, Hiram R. Revels. New York: n.p., 1960.
  • Libby, Billy W. "Senator Hiram Revels of Mississippi Takes His Seat, January-February, 1870.'' Journal of Mississippi History 37 (November 1975): 381-94.
  • Meyer, Howard N. "Two Gentlemen from Mississippi.'' Chicago Jewish Forum 26 (Fall 1967): 28-36.
  • Office of History and Preservation, Office of the Clerk, Black Americans in Congress, 1870-2007. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2008.
  • Sewell, George A. "Hiram Rhodes Revels: Another Evaluation.''Negro History Bulletin 38 (December 1974-January 1975): 336-39.
  • Singer, Donald L. "For Whites Only: The Seating of Hiram Revels in the United States Senate.'' Negro History Bulletin 35 (March 1972): 60-63.
  • Smith, Samuel Denny. The Negro in Congress, 1870-1901. 1940. Reprint. Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press, 1966.
  • ___. "The Negro in the United States Senate.'' In Essays in Southern History Presented to Joseph Gregoire de Roulhac Hamilton, edited by Fletcher Melvin Green, pp. 49-66. James Sprunt Studies in History and Political Science, vol. 31. 1949. Reprint. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1976.
  • Thompson, Julius Eric. Hiram R. Revels, 1827-1901: A Biography. New York: Arno Press, 1982.
  • Wheeler, Gerald E. "Hiram R. Revels, Negro Educator and Statesman.'' Master's thesis, University of California, Berkeley, 1949.