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First Black Legislators - South Carolina, 1878

First Black Legislators - South Carolina, 1878 African American History American History Civil Rights Government Law and Politics Social Studies Tragedies and Triumphs

After black men were allowed to vote, African-Americans were elected to fill legislative positions.  This 1878 photograph - entitled Radical Members of the First Legislature after the War, South Carolina - shows that blacks outnumbered whites. 

The Library of Congress provides more background about the picture and its time frame:

Because blacks in South Carolina vastly outnumbered whites, the newly-enfranchised voters were able to send so many African American representatives to the state assembly that they outnumbered the whites. Many were able legislators who worked to rewrite the state constitution and pass laws ensuring aid to public education, universal male franchise, and civil rights for all.


Media Credits

Radical Members of the First Legislature after the War, South Carolina

Photograph, 1878

Library of Congress, Reproduction Number LC-USZ62-28044 (5-11)

Quoted passage from African-American Odyssey, Library of Congress.

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