BLANCHE BRUCE Biography - Polititians


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Name: Blanche Kelso Bruce                                                           
Born: 1 March 1841 Farmville, Virginia, U.S.                                         
Died: 17 March 1898 Washington, D.C., U.S.                                           
Blanche Kelso Bruce (March 1, 1841 – March 17, 1898) was an American politician.   
Bruce represented Mississippi as a U.S. Senator from 1875 to 1881 and was the       
first black to serve a full term in the U.S. Senate. Hiram R. Revels, also of       
Mississippi, was the first to ever serve in the U.S. Congress, but did not serve     
a full term.                                                                         
Bruce was born in Prince Edward County, Virginia near Farmville to Pettis           
Perkinson, a white Virginia plantation owner, and an African American house         
slave named Polly Bruce. He was treated comparatively well by his father, who       
educated him together with his legitimate half-brother. When Blanche Bruce was       
young, he played with his half-brother. As Blanche Bruce was born enslaved,         
because of his mother's status, his father legally freed him and arranged for an     
apprenticeship so he could learn a trade.                                           
In 1850, Bruce moved to Missouri after becoming a printer's apprentice. After       
the Union Army rejected his application to fight in the Civil War, Bruce taught     
school and briefly attended Oberlin College in Ohio. Then he went to work as a       
steamboat porter on the Mississippi River. In 1864, he moved to Hannibal,           
Missouri, where he established a school for blacks.                                 
During Reconstruction, Bruce became a wealthy landowner in the Mississippi Delta.   
He was appointed to the positions of Tallahatchie County registrar of voters and     
tax assessor before winning an election for sheriff in Bolivar County. He later     
was elected to other county positions, including tax collector and supervisor of     
education, while he also edited a local newspaper. In February 1874, Bruce was       
elected by the state legislature to the Senate as a Republican. In 1880, James Z.   
George was elected to succeed Bruce.                                                 
At the 1880 Republican National Convention in Chicago, Bruce became the first       
African-American to win any votes at a major party's nominating convention,         
winning 8 votes for vice president. In 1881, Bruce was appointed by President       
James A. Garfield to be the Register of the Treasury, making Bruce the first         
black whose signature was represented on U.S. paper currency. Bruce served as       
the District of Columbia recorder of deeds in 1891–93, and again as register of   
the treasury until his death in 1898.