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Educational Resources

Chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, <a href="/member-profiles/profile.html?intID=30">Augustus (Gus) Hawkins</a> of California reviews a new elementary basic reader textbook with his staff assistant.Chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, Augustus (Gus) Hawkins of California reviews a new elementary basic reader textbook with his staff assistant.Collection of U.S. House of Representatives

This page features materials designed to help teachers and students use the information presented in Black Americans in Congress in their classrooms. It includes lesson plans on the African-American pioneers who served on Capitol Hill from 1870 to 2007 as well as activities on photographs, objects, and quotations. Also included are a collection of fast facts on black Members of Congress, a link to an interactive map, and a list of online resources. The additional resources are intended to guide students and teachers into the primary sources provided online by the Office of the Clerk and related agencies.

Request a copy of the publication

In an effort to make the publication Black Americans in Congress, 1870–2007 more accessible to students, the Office of History and Preservation will provide a complimentary copy of the book to educators for classroom use, subject to availability. Interested teachers should complete and return the form below to the Office of History and Preservation.

Fast Facts

  • First Black American to serve in Congress
    Hiram Revels of Mississippi began his service in the Senate on February 25, 1870

  • First African-American Representative elected to Congress
    Joseph Rainey of South Carolina began his service in the House of Representatives on December 12, 1870.

  • First African-American Representative to speak on the House Floor
    Jefferson Long of Georgia spoke on the House Floor in 1871.

  • First African-American Representative to preside over a House session
    Joseph Rainey of South Carolina presided over the House in 1874.

  • First African American to chair a congressional committee
    Blanche Bruce of Mississippi became chairman of Senate Select Committee on the Mississippi River in 1877.

  • First African American to chair a standing congressional committee
    William Dawson of Illinois became chairman of the Expenditures in the Executive Departments Committee (later named Government Operations) in 1949.

  • First African American popularly elected to the Senate
    Edward Brooke of Massachusetts was elected to the Senate in 1966.

  • First Black-American woman elected to Congress
    Shirley Chisholm of New York was elected to the House of Representatives in 1968.

  • First Black-American woman elected to the Senate
    Carol Moseley-Braun of Illinois was elected to the Senate in 1992.

  • First African-American Member whose son succeeded him in Congress
    Harold Ford, Sr.’s son Harold Ford, Jr. was elected to his father’s Memphis, Tennessee, seat upon his retirement in 1996.

Online Resources

  • Online Biographical Directory of the United States
    Searchable database that contains biographical information on every person who served in Congress.

  • U.S. House of Representatives, Office of the Clerk, Art & History
    Includes information on the history and art of the U.S. House of Representatives such as weekly historical highlights, the evolution of the Old Hall of the House, the Centennial of the Cannon House Office Building, party divisions, congressional apportionment, leadership and officers, and significant events.

  • Women in Congress
    Includes information based on the book Women in Congress, 1917–2006, such as biographical profiles of former women Members of Congress, links to information about current women Members, essays on the institutional and national events that shaped successive generations of Congresswomen, images of each woman Member, and educational resources.

  • ClerkOfTheHouse YouTube Channel
    Visit the official House of Representatives YouTube channel dedicated to the Office of the Clerk. Videos include “Florence Kahn Congressional Widow to Trailblazing Lawmaker” and excerpts from interviews conducted by the Office of History and Preservation as part of the Oral History of the House project.

  • Senate Historical Office
    Includes information on the history and art of the U.S. Senate such as milestones, historical statistics, featured biographies, and a photographic collection.

  • Library of Congress/THOMAS
    Searchable database of congressional legislation from 1973 to present (bill text and roll call votes are available 1989 to present).

  • GPO Access
    Includes links for searchable databases of the Congressional Record and House Journal (1994 to present) as well as information on how to find the nearest federal depository library.

  • African American History, Library of Congress
    Collections in the Library of Congress catalog pertaining to African-American history.

  • African American Odyssey, Library of Congress
    Online component to the extensive Library of Congress exhibit on African-American history that includes numerous objects such as photographs, plays, manuscripts, and recordings.

  • Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH)
    Includes a range of resources devoted to African-American history and culture.

  • Avoice Online
    Virtual online library documenting African-American political history.

  • Black History—National Archives
    Includes online resources in the National Archives collection, as well as other federal, state, and local sites about African-American history.

  • Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc.
    Includes detailed information on the Congressional Black Caucus and on current public policy issues affecting Black Americans.

  • Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
    Online exhibitions and research tools for the study of African-American culture and history.