Hiram Revels of Mississippi became the first African American senator in 1870.  Born in North Carolina in 1827, Revels attended Knox College in Illinois and later served as minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Baltimore, Maryland.  He raised two black regiments during the Civil War and fought at the battle of Vicksburg in Mississippi.  The Mississippi state legislature sent him to the U.S. Senate during Reconstruction where he became an outspoken opponent of racial segregation.  Although Revels served in the Senate for just a year, he broke new ground for African Americans in Congress.  (Photo: Library of Congress)