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.