The First African American to Serve in the U.S. Congress

by | Feb 19, 2021

Who is Hiram Rhodes Revels?

Hiram Rhodes was the first African American to serve in the United States Congress. He was born on September 27, 1827, and he died on January 16, 1901. Revels served as a Republican U.S. Senator representing Mississippi from the year 1870 to the year 1871, during the era of Reconstruction. Born a free man in an era where slavery was still a common practice in the U.S, Revels was privileged to become an educator, clergyman, and politician associated with the Republican Party. He was married and was the father of five daughters. 

Why is Hiram Rhodes Revels Important to Society?

Revels is a significant figure in the history of African Americans in leadership and politics. He exercised his leadership skills in the church, where he worked as a minister for various churches in the U.S. As a leader, he left a legacy for black people by helping to build schools where black children could receive a quality education. His eloquence, above average intelligence, and natural ability endeared him to the state legislature, leading to his election as a U.S Senator representing Mississippi. He was the only black Senator in the U.S senate at the time, and this made him an object of opposition for Southern Democrats because segregation was rampant in the South. 

However, the Republicans voted in Revels’ favor and he became the first African American to sit in the U.S Senate in the year 1870. As a Senator, Revels left a significant impact on the black community by advocating for equality, moderation, and compromise. He also campaigned for black people arguing that they are intellectually capable human beings who should be treated as equals rather than inferior human beings. 

Lessons for Early-Career Sales Folks and Sales Leaders

Early-career sales folks and sales leaders can learn several lessons from the legacy of Hiram Revels. For instance, his story reminds leaders to be bold and remain persistent in upholding their beliefs, even when they are unpopular. At a time when most of the United States was segregated, Revels did not shy away from taking a position that had been reserved for only white people throughout American history. Rather, he was bold enough to take on the role and embrace its pressures. He also persisted in working for equality and integration, while arguing against segregation, although this was unpopular. 

Sales leaders can also learn from Revels to remain honorable, diligent, and ambitious in pursuing their goals. Good conduct and hard work lead to success as people are attracted to earnest individuals that work with integrity. Revels’ exemplary work in the senate led to his appointment as a college president of Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Alcorn State University). Moreover, sales leaders can learn from Revels to serve a movement of workforce change and evolution. Although Revels worked towards enhancing the lives of fellow Black people, he also advocated for the rights of all ex-confederates, campaigning for amnesty after the Civil War.

As sales leaders that are progressing towards this new world, what do you envision will be your biggest challenges in the next year? five years?

By LaunchSource

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