BK Bruce



Blanche Kelso Bruce (1841-1898) was born a slave in Virginia and after the Civil War became the first elected African-American U.S. Senator to serve a full term, representing Mississippi from 1875 to 1881. His father, the white slave-holder of his black mother, legally freed Bruce who attended Oberlin College for two years. During Reconstruction he moved to Bolivar, Mississippi, and became a plantation owner and and wealthy landowner and was elected to a succession of county offices before his election to the U.S. Senate. After his Senate stint he remained in Washington, D.C., and held several positions including Register of the Treasury. In 1878 he married Josephine Beall Willson (1853-1923) who was a women's rights activist as well as an advocate for racial equality. She also taught at Tuskegee University.

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