Hiram Rhoades Revels life and biography

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Hiram Rhoades Revels biography

Date of birth : 1822-09-01
Date of death : 1901-01-16
Birthplace : Fayetteville, North Carolina, United States
Nationality : African-American
Category : Politics
Last modified : 2010-07-10
Credited as : Politician and educator, African Methodist Episcopal Church,

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Hiram Rhoades Revels, born September 1, 1822 in Fayetteville, North Carolina, United States - died January 16, 1901 in Aberdeen, Mississippi is an African-American politician, educator and minister and also an African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Hiram Rhoades Revels, an educator, U.S. senator, and minister of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, was of mixed African and Croatian Indian descent and was born to free parents in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He studied at a Quaker seminary in Liberty, Indiana, and at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. Entering the ministry of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1845, he taught school, lectured, and preached in the Midwest for the next eight years. He eventually settled in Baltimore, Maryland, where he pastored a church and served as the principal of a school for Blacks.

After the outbreak of the Civil War, Revels helped to recruit Blacks for the Union Army in Missouri and Maryland. He became chaplain of a black Mississippi regiment in 1864 and, for a short time, served as provost marshal of Vicksburg. He organized several African Methodist Episcopal Church congregations in Jackson, and then settled at Natchez in 1866. He joined the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1868 and in the same year was elected alderman.

Revels entered politics reluctantly, concerned about the potential for racial friction and the possibility that his political activities might interfere with his religious activities. However, he was able to win the support of Whites and to keep his church work separate from politics. He was elected to the state Senate in 1869, and was elevated to the U.S. Senate by the legislature the next year. He served in the Senate until March 4, 1871.

After leaving the Senate, Revels was elected president of Alcorn University, a newly established black school. In the wake of the sudden death of James Lynch, he served a few months as interim secretary of state of Mississippi. He lost his Alcorn position as a result of his dissenting from the activities of the state's "carpetbag" (opportunistic) government, but was restored to that position in 1875 after elections changed the state's administration. He served at Alcorn until 1883.

Revels transferred into the Mississippi Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1875, and was appointed to Holly Springs. He served as a minister without giving up the presidency of Alcorn until 1880. After retiring from Alcorn, he was presiding elder in what became the Upper Mississippi Conference. He passed away while attending the session of the annual conference at Aberdeen.

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