Little Known Black History Fact: Blanche Kelso Bruce

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After a series of high political positions, Republican Blanche Bruce was elected in 1874, becoming the second black to run for U.S. Senate in Mississippi and the first black to serve a full term in the U.S. Senate by 1881. Bruce’s platform was about the fair treatment of blacks and Indians and he fought against policies excluding Chinese immigrants. He also fought against corruption in Mississippi elections. During his term in the Senate, Bruce served as presiding officer at the Republican National Convention in both 1880 and 1881, both times, being nominated as vice president of the committee.

From the money he earned in politics, Bruce made enough money to buy a plantation in Floreyville, Mississippi. At the end of his term in the U.S. Senate, he was Recorder of the Deeds in D.C. and was later appointed Register of the Treasury for two separate terms.

Blanche Kelso Bruce died in Washington, D.C. on March 17, 1898 from complications related to diabetes. He was survived by his wife, Josephine Beall Wilson, and their son, Roscoe Conkling Bruce.

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