FACT CHECK: Were The First 23 Black Senators Republicans?

Jonathan Fonti | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims the first 23 black senators were members of the Republican Party.

Verdict: False

Only four of the 10 black senators in U.S. history are Republicans.

Fact Check:

The viral post features an illustration, found on Getty Images, depicting the first black senator and congressmen. “History that is never taught,” claims the caption. “The first 23 black senators were all Republicans.”

However, only 10 African Americans have served in the Senate to date, according to the Senate website. Of those 10 individuals, only four are members of the Republican Party. (RELATED: Did Reagan Appoint The First Black National Security Advisor, Hispanic Cabinet Member?)

Republican Mississippi Sen. Hiram Revels became the first black man to serve in either the Senate or the House in 1870. After serving one year, he resigned to become the president of Alcorn State University, known then as Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College.

Blanche Bruce, a Republican senator for Mississippi, served from 1875 to 1881. He was the first black senator to serve a full term of office and, on Feb. 14, 1879, became the first and only person born into slavery to preside over the Senate, according to Politico.

From 1967 to 1979, Republican Sen. Edward Brooke served as one of Massachusetts’ senators, per the biographical directory of the U.S. Congress. He was the first African American elected to the Senate by popular vote, according to The New York Times.

Republican South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott has served in the upper chamber of Congress since 2013. He previously represented the state in the House of Representatives.

The six others are members of the Democratic Party: former Illinois Sens. Carol Moseley Braun, Barack Obama and Roland Burris, former Massachusetts Sen. William “Mo” Cowan, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and California Sen. Kamala Harris.

Jonathan Fonti

Fact Check Reporter
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