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Were the first 23 Black Senators Republican?

Summary: There have only been 10 black Senators in the US, this is most likely confusing the term Senator with Congressman, of which the first 23 black Congressman were Republican.

Terminology Confusion

This social media meme is most likely the result of confusion of terminologies.  Congress is the bicameral legislature of the United States, one chamber is the House of Representatives, the other being the Senate. Members of Congress are called Congressman or Congresswoman. Members of the Senate are called Senators, and members of the house are Representatives, although sometimes Representatives are called Congressmen.

The reason why I make the assumption, without knowing the creator of the memes intentions, that it’s just a confusion of Congressman with Senator, is the picture given in the meme. From left to right, it shows:

  • Hiram R. Revels, Senator – Mississippi, elected 1870
  • Benjamin S. Turner, Representative – Alabama, elected 1871
  • Robert Carlos De Large, Representative – South Carolina, elected 1871
  • Josiah T. Walls, Representative – Florida, elected 1871
  • Jefferson F. Long, Representative – Georgia, elected 1871
  • Joseph H. Rainey, Representative – South Carolina, elected 1871
  • Robert B. Elliot, Representative – South Carolina elected 1871

As you can most of the people in the image are members of the House of Representatives, not Senators.

Black Members of Congress

The first black members of congress were elected shortly after the end of the Civil War, and the first 23 elected (21 Representatives and 2 Senators) were in fact Republicans. The first Representative and Senator were both elected in 1870. The first Democrat Representative was elected in 1935, and the first Senator in 1993. However, after 1935 a vast majority of the congressmen elected were Democrats.

Complete List of Black Congressmen

Black Senators

1 Hiram Rhodes Revels (Republican) Mississippi, February 25, 1870
2 Blanche Bruce (Republican) Mississippi, March 4, 1875
3 Edward Brooke (Republican) Massachusetts, January 3, 1967
4 Carol Moseley Braun (Democrat) Illinois, January 3, 1993
5 Barack Obama (Democrat) Illinois, January 3, 2005
6 Roland Burris (Democrat) Illinois, January 12, 2009
7 Tim Scott (Republican) South Carolina, January 2, 2013
8 Mo Cowan (Democrat) Massachusetts, February 1, 2013
9 Cory Booker (Democrat)  New Jersey, October 31, 2013
10 Kamala Harris (Democrat) California, January 3, 2017
 

Source: US Senate

Black Members of the House of Representatives

1 Joseph Rainey (Republican) South Carolina, December 12, 1870
2 Jefferson F. Long (Republican) Georgia, January 16, 1871
3 Robert C. De Large (Republican) South Carolina, March 4, 1871
4 Robert B. Elliott (Republican) South Carolina, March 4, 1871
5 Benjamin S. Turner (Republican) Alabama, March 4, 1871
6 Josiah T. Walls (Republican) Florida, March 4, 1871
7 Richard H. Cain (Republican) South Carolina, March 4, 1873
8 John R. Lynch (Republican) Mississippi, March 4, 1873
9 Alonzo J. Ransier (Republican) South Carolina March 3, 1873
10 James T. Rapier (Republican) Alabama, March 4, 1873
11 Jeremiah Haralson (Republican) Alabama March 4, 1875
12 John Adams Hyman (Republican) North Carolina, March 4, 1875
13 Charles E. Nash (Republican) Louisiana, March 4, 1875
14 Robert Smalls (Republican) South Carolina, March 4, 1875
15 James E. O’Hara (Republican) North Carolina, March 4, 1883
16 Henry P. Cheatham (Republican) North Carolina, March 4, 1889
17 John Mercer Langston (Republican) Virginia ,September 23, 1890
18 Thomas E. Miller (Republican) South Carolina, September 24, 1890
19 George W. Murray (Republican) South Carolina, March 4, 1893
20 George Henry White (Republican) North Carolina, March 4, 1897
21 Oscar Stanton De Priest (Republican) Illinois, March 4, 1929
22 Arthur W. Mitchell (Democrat) Illinois, January 3, 1935
23 William L. Dawson (Democrat) Illinois, January 3, 1943
24 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. (Democrat) New York, January 3, 1945
24 Charles Diggs (Democrat) Michigan, January 3, 1955
25 Robert N. C. Nix Sr. (Democrat) Pennsylvania, June 4, 1958
26 Gus Hawkins (Democrat) California, January 3, 1963
27 John Conyers (Democrat) Michigan, January 3, 1965
28 Shirley Chisholm (Democrat) New York, January 3, 1969
29 Bill Clay (Democrat) Missouri, January 3, 1969
30 Louis Stokes (Democrat) Ohio, January 3, 1969
31 George W. Collins (Democrat) Illinois, November 3, 1970
32 Ron Dellums (Democrat) California, January 3, 1971
33 Ralph Metcalfe (Democrat) Illinois, January 3, 1971
34 Parren Mitchell (Democrat) Maryland, January 3, 1971
35 Charles Rangel (Democrat) New York, January 3, 1971
36 Yvonne Brathwaite Burke (Democrat) California, January 3, 1973
37 Barbara Jordan (Democrat) Texas, January 3, 1973
38 Andrew Young (Democrat) Georgia, January 3, 1973
39 Cardiss Collins (Democrat) Illinois, June 5, 1973
40 Harold Ford Sr. (Democrat) Tennessee, January 3, 1975
41 Julian Dixon (Democrat) California, January 3, 1979
42 William H. Gray III (Democrat) Pennsylvania, January 3, 1979
43 Mickey Leland (Democrat) Texas, January 3, 1979
44 Bennett Stewart (Democrat) Illinois, January 3, 1979
45 George Crockett Jr. (Democrat) Michigan, November 4, 1980
46 Mervyn Dymally (Democrat) California, January 3, 1981
47 Harold Washington (Democrat) Illinois, January 3, 1981
48 Katie Hall (Democrat) Indiana, November 2, 1982
49 Major Owens (Democrat) New York, January 3, 1983
50 Edolphus Towns (Democrat) New York, January 3, 1983
51 Alan Wheat (Democrat) Missouri, January 3, 1983
52 Charles Hayes (Democrat) Illinois, August 23, 1983
53 Alton Waldon (Democrat) New York, June 10, 1986
54 Mike Espy (Democrat) Mississippi, January 3, 1987
55 Floyd Flake (Democrat) New York, January 3, 1987
56 John Lewis (democrat) Georgia, January 3, 1987
57 Kweisi Mfume (Democrat) Maryland, January 3, 1987
58 Donald M. Payne (Democrat) New Jersey, January 3, 1989
59 Craig Washington (Democrat) Texas, December 9, 1989
60 Barbara-Rose Collins (Democrat) Michigan, January 3, 1991
61 Gary Franks (Republican) Connecticut, January 3, 1991
62 William J. Jefferson (Democrat) Louisiana’s 2nd
63 Maxine Waters (Democrat) California, January 3, 1991
64 Lucien Blackwell (Democrat) Pennsylvania, November 5, 1991
65 Eva Clayton (Democrat) North Carolina, November 3, 1992
66 Sanford Bishop (Democrat) Georgia, January 3, 1993
67 Corrine Brown (Democrat) Florida, January 3, 1993
68 Jim Clyburn (Democrat) South Carolina, January 3, 1993
69 Cleo Fields (Democrat) Louisiana, January 3, 1993
70 Alcee Hastings (Democrat) Florida, January 3, 1993
71 Earl Hilliard (Democrat) Alabama, January 3, 1993
72 Eddie Bernice Johnson (Democrat) Texas, January 3, 1993
73 Cynthia McKinney (Democrat) Georgia, January 3, 1993
74 Carrie Meek (Democrat) Florida, January 3, 1993
75 Mel Reynolds (Democrat) Illinois, January 3, 1993
76 Bobby Rush (Democrat) Illinois, January 3, 1993
77 Bobby Scott (Democrat) Virginia, January 3, 1993
78 Walter R. Tucker III (Democrat) California, January 3, 1993
79 Mel Watt (Democrat) North Carolina, January 3, 1993
80 Albert Wynn (Democrat) Maryland, January 3, 1993
81 Bennie Thompson (Democrat) Mississippi, April 13, 1993
82 Chaka Fattah (Democrat) Pennsylvania, January 3, 1995
83 Sheila Jackson Lee (Democrat) Texas, January 3, 1995
84 J. C. Watts (Republican) Oklahoma, January 3, 1995
85 Jesse Jackson Jr. (Democrat) Illinois
86 Juanita Millender-McDonald (Democrat) California, March 26, 1996
87 Elijah Cummings (Democrat) Maryland, April 16, 1996
88 Julia Carson (Democrat) Indiana, January 3, 1997
89 Danny K. Davis (Democrat) Illinois, January 3, 1997
90 Harold Ford Jr. (Democrat) Tennessee, January 3, 1997
91 Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (Democrat) Michigan, January 3, 1997
92 Gregory Meeks (Democrat) New York, February 3, 1998
93 Barbara Lee (Democrat) California, April 7, 1998
94 Stephanie Tubbs Jones (Democrat) Ohio, January 3, 1999
95 Lacy Clay (Democrat) Missouri, January 3, 2001
96 Diane Watson (Democrat) California, June 5, 2001
97 Frank Ballance (Democrat) North Carolina, January 3, 2003
98 Artur Davis (Democrat) Alabama, January 3, 2003
99 Denise Majette (Democrat) Georgia, January 3, 2003
100 Kendrick Meek (Democrat) Florida, January 3, 2003
101 David Scott (Democrat) Georgia, January 3, 2003
102 G. K. Butterfield (Democrat) North Carolina, July 20, 2004
103 Emanuel Cleaver (Democrat) Missouri, January 3, 2005
104 Al Green (Democrat) Texas, January 3, 2005
105 Gwen Moore (Democrat) Wisconsin, January 3, 2005
106 Yvette Clarke (Democrat) New York, January 3, 2007
107 Keith Ellison (Democrat) Minnesota, January 3, 2007
108 Hank Johnson (Democrat) Georgia, January 3, 2007
109 Laura Richardson (Democrat) California, August 21, 2007
110 André Carson (Democrat) Indiana, March 11, 2008
111 Donna Edwards (Democrat) Maryland, June 17, 2008
112 Marcia Fudge (Democrat) Ohio, November 18, 2008
113 Karen Bas (Democrat) California, January 3, 2011
114 Hansen Clarke (Democrat) Michigan, January 3, 2011
115 Cedric Richmond (Democrat) Louisiana, January 3, 2011
116 Tim Scott (Republican) South Carolina, January 3, 2011
118 Terri Sewell (Democrat) Alabama, January 3, 2011
119 Allen West (Republican) Florida, January 3, 2011
120 Frederica Wilson (Democrat) Florida, January 3, 2011
121 Donald Payne Jr. (Democrat) New Jersey, November 6, 2012
122 Joyce Beatty (Democrat) Ohio, January 3, 2013
123 Steven Horsford (Democrat) Nevada, January 3, 2013
124 Hakeem Jeffries (Democrat) New York, January 3, 2013
125 Marc Veasey (Democrat) Texas, January 3, 2013
126 Robin Kelly (Democrat) Illinois, April 9, 2013
127 Alma Adams (Democrat) North Carolina, November 12, 2014
128 Will Hurd (Republican) Texas, January 3, 2015
129 Brenda Lawrence (Democrat) Michigan, January 3, 2015
130 Mia Love (Republican) Utah, January 3, 2015
131 Bonnie Watson Coleman (Democrat) New Jersey, January 3, 2015
132 Dwight Evans (Democrat) Pennsylvania, November 8, 2016
133 Lisa Blunt Rochester (Democrat) Delaware, January 3, 2017
134 Anthony G. Brown (Democrat) Maryland, January 3, 2017
135 Val Demings (Democrat) Florida, January 3, 2017
136 Al Lawson (Democrat) Florida, January 3, 2017
137 Donald McEachin (Democrat) Virginia, January 3, 2017
Non-Voting Members of the House
1 Walter E. Fauntroy (Democrat) District of Columbia, March 23, 1971
2 Melvin H. Evans (Republican) Virgin Islands ,January 3, 1979
3 Eleanor Holmes Norton (Democrat) District of Columbia, January 3, 1991
4 Victor O. Frazer (Independent) Virgin Islands, January 3, 1995
5 Donna Christian-Christensen (Democrat) Virgin Islands, January 3, 1997
6 Stacey Plaskett (Democrat) Virgin Islands, January 3, 2015

Source: US House of Representatives


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