• Black Governor-crop

    The Black Governor Who Was Almost a Senator

    Why didn’t more than one black person serve in the Senate during the Reconstruction era — a condition that persisted until this year? Continue reading

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  • Blanche K. Bruce, Frederick Douglass, and Hiram Revels. (Loc. J Hoover 1881).

    Cory Booker and the First Black Senators

    Iin 1870, the senators in power after the Civil War had to settle a fundamental question when it came to seating Hiram R. Revels, the first black senator-elect: Was it too soon, according to the Constitution, for any black man to be legally entitled to serve? Continue reading

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  • Robert Smalls

    Which Slave Sailed Himself to Freedom?

    Just before dawn on May 13, 1862, Robert Smalls and a crew composed of fellow slaves, in the absence of the white captain and his two mates, slipped a cotton steamer off the dock, picked up family members at a rendezvous point, then slowly navigated their way through the harbor. Smalls, doubling as the captain, even donning the captain’s wide-brimmed straw hat to help to hide his face, responded with the proper coded signals at two Confederate checkpoints, including at Fort Sumter itself, and other defense positions. Cleared, Smalls sailed into the open seas. Once outside of Confederate waters, he had his crew raise a white flag and surrendered his ship to the blockading Union fleet. Continue reading

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The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross is a film by Kunhardt McGee Productions, THIRTEEN Productions LLC, Inkwell Films, in assocation with Ark Media.