Skip to comments.James Rapier, African-American Republican congressman
Posted on 08/08/2010 10:26:17 AM PDT by Michael Zak
On this day in 1878, President Rutherford Hayes (R-OH) appointed James Rapier as a tax collector in the Treasury Department. Rapier, a free-born African-American, hailed from Florence, Alabama and grew up in Nashville. In 1856, he emigrated to Canada for law school and returned to the United States at the end of the Civil War. He soon became a successful cotton planter.
In 1866, Rapier was a delegate to the founding convention of the Alabama Republican Party and then was a member of the state constitutional convention. President Ulysses Grant appointed him to a tax assessor position in 1871. Rapier won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives the folowing year. While in Congress, he denounced the racist policies of the Democratic Party and urged passage of the GOP's 1875 Civil Rights Act.
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Be it noted that James Rapier (R-AL) was a southerner.