Spotlight on Blanche Kelso Bruce
Blanche Kelso Bruce was born a slave in 1841. After gaining his freedom, Bruce worked in a various areas, including teaching black children, becoming a cotton planter, and becoming involved with politics in Mississippi. He served as the superintendent of education, supervisor of elections, sheriff, as well as many other important positions before being elected to the U.S. Senate, where he served from 1874 to 1881. Bruce was the second black man to be elected to the US Senate (Hiram Rhodes Revels, also from Mississippi was the first), but the first (and only) to have also been a slave, and the first to preside over the Senate.
Since 1789, there have been 1,949 senators. Of those senators, only 26 have been from a minority race and only 9 have been black. Currently there are 6 senators that identify as a minority race, 2 of which are black: Tim Scott, SC and Cory Booker, NJ.
Overlooked & Overpowered
Scraps, cast aside as trash
Purposely overlooked and discarded
Lonely, in their unfilled lives
Grow weary of their label.
Were not they once grand?
Were not the grand once poor?
Thats when trash overthrows
Some ill fitted label,
Redefines itself and shows potential
Clamors up the ladder of success
And looks convention in the eye.
These scraps are a foundation
Strong and unpredictable--
An underdog waiting to arise--
They have nothing left to lose
And the world is theirs to gain.
Hold fast, theirs is majestic strength
To defy old definitions and rise.
- "US Senate Biography of Blanche Kelso Burce". United States Senate; visited February 2014
- "Senators of the United States". United States Senate, pg. 35; visited February 2014
- "Ethnic Diversity in the Senate". United States Senate; visited February 2014
- “African American Senators”. United States Senate; visited August 2022
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