US Congressman. He was born a slave and when it was discovered that he was trying to educate himself he was sold to a new owner in Alabama. He was a slave for the first twenty-five years of his life and was sold on at least eight occasions. When he became a free man following the Civil War he moved back to North Carolina and engaged in agricultural activities. He continued his efforts in pursuit of an education and became interested in politics. He was a delegate to the North Carolina equal rights convention in 1865 and to the state constitutional convention in 1868. He ran successfully for the state senate in 1868 and served for six years. He became the first black to represent North Carolina in the US Congress when he was elected to the Forty-forth Congress in 1874. After failure to be reelected he returned to farming and was a deputy collector of internal revenue for the fourth district of North Carolina for one year. He moved to Washington DC when church members accused him of misappropriating church funds and expressed their displeasure with his ownership of a liquor store. He worked for the United States Postal Service and for the United States Department of Agriculture until his death.
Bio by: Tom Todd