In 1870, Hiram Revels became the first African American to serve in Congress. As an African American, he was not alone in serving in government during Reconstruction. Between 1865 and 1877, many African Americans served in state and local politics. Fourteen black men served in the House of Representatives between 1869 and 1877, six served as lieutenant governors, and more than 600 served in southern state legislatures. Reconstruction’s end in 1877, however, allowed white southerners to push African Americans out of government.
The US 9th and 10th Cavalry and the 38th, 39th, 40th, and 41st infantries (first called “buffalo soldiers” by the American Indians they fought in the West) were authorized as the first peacetime all-black regiment in the regular US Army.
Congress passed the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution, providing that the “right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” The provision was intended to buttress the Fourteenth Amendment, which guaranteed equal protection under the law and due process of law to all citizens. Though ultimately a boon to African American men, the amendments were a bitter blow to women’s rights advocates; both measures...
The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, guaranteeing citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States.” The amendment's Equal Protection Clause guaranteed that no state could “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”