After the Civil War ended, Republicans were determined to secure the rights of the freedmen. The passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were landmark accomplishments in the fight for equal opportunity for African-Americans. Although the end of the Reconstruction Era would see severe challenges and limitations to the rights of the freedmen, history must not forget the initial efforts of those who broke through racial barriers. The first black Americans in Congress would give hope and inspiration to many who were enduring the devastating and cruel treatment of the time. Individuals like Hiram Rhodes Revels, the first black American in Congress, bravely spoke against the harsh treatment of African-Americans, and gallantly persevered through the discrimination from Democrats who detested their presence in Congress. With patience and respect, the first black Americans in Congress courageously laid a foundation that would lead to the greater movement for civil rights and equality over the next century.

Download: First Black Americans in Congress Lesson Plan

Parent resource coming soon!