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Black Officeholders in the South

The following six tables provide information about the numbers of African American officeholders in the South during Reconstruction and the backgrounds of those officeholders.

All data adopted from Eric Foner, Freedom’s Lawmakers: A Directory of Black Officeholders during Reconstruction, revised ed. (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1996), xi–xxxii.

Table 1: Black Officeholders during Reconstruction By State

State Number of Officeholders
Alabama 173
Arkansas 46
District of Columbia 11
Florida 58
Georgia 135
Louisiana 210
Mississippi 226
Missouri 1
North Carolina 187
South Carolina 316
Tennessee 20
Texas 49
Virginia 85
Total 15171

Table 2: Black Officeholders during Reconstruction: Federal

Title Number of Officeholders
Ambassador 2
Census Marshal 6
Census Taker 14
Clerk 12
Congressman: Senate 2
Congressman: House of Representatives 14
Customs Appointment 40
Deputy US Marshal 11
Engineer 1
Mail Agent 14
Pension Agent 1
Postmaster/Post Office Official 43
Register of Bankruptcy 1
Timber Agent 1
US Assessor 10
US Grand Jury 3
US Land Office 5
US Treasury Agent 3
Unidentified Patronage Appointment 2
Total 185

Table 3: Black Members of Congress during Reconstruction

State Name
Alabama Jeremiah Haralson
James T. Rapier
Benjamin S. Turner
Florida Josiah T. Walls
Georgia Jefferson Long
Louisiana Charles E. Nash
Mississippi Blanche K. Bruce 2
John R. Lynch
Hiram Revels 3
North Carolina John A. Hyman
South Carolina Richard H. Cain
Robert C DeLarge
Robert B. Elliot
Joseph H. Rainey
Alonzo J. Ransier
Robert Smalls

Table 4: Black Officeholders during Reconstruction: State and Major Black State Officials

Title Number State Name(s)
Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture 1    
Assistant Secretary of State 3    
Assistant Superintendent of Education 2    
Board of Education 1    
Constitutional Convention 1867-1869: Delegate 267    
Constitutional Convention 1875: Delegate (North Carolina) 7    
Deaf and Dumb Asylum, Superintendent 1    
Governor 1 Louisiana P.B.S. Pinchback
Justice of Supreme Court 1 South Carolina Jonathan J. Wright
Land Commission, including County Agents (South Carolina) 10    
Legislative Clerk 7    
Legislator: House of Representatives 683    
Legislator: Senate 112    
Lieutenant Governor 6 Louisiana Caesar C. Antoine
Oscar J. Dunn
P.B.S. Pinchback
Mississippi Alexander K. Davis
South Carolina Richard H. Cleaves
Alonzo Ransier
Lunatic Asylum, Assistant Physician 1    
Lunatic Asylum, Board of Regents 7    
Militia Officer 60    
Orphan Asylum, Board of Trustees 6    
Secretary of State 9 Florida Jonathan C. Gibbs
Louisiana Pierre G. Deslonde
Mississippi Hannibal C. Carter
James Hill
James Lynch
M.M. McLeod
Hiram Revels
South Carolina Francis L. Cardozo
Henry E. Hayne
Speaker of House 4 Mississippi John R. Lynch
Isaac D. Shadd
South Carolina Robert B. Elliott
Samuel J. Lee
State Commissioner 5 Arkansas William H. Grey, Commr. of Immigration and State Lands
James T. White, Commr. of Public Works
Mississippi Richard Griggs, Commr. of Immigration and Agriculture
South Carolina Robert G. DeLarge, Land Commr.
Henry E Hayne, Land Commr.
Superintendent of Education 4 Arkansas Joseph C. Corbin
Florida Jonathan C. Gibbs
Louisiana William C. Brown
Mississippi Thomas C. Cardozo
Treasurer 2 Louisiana Antoine Debuclet
South Carolina Francis L. Cardozo
Total 1200    

Table 5: Black Officeholders during Reconstruction: County or Local

Assessor 32 Harbor Master 3
Auditor 7 Health Officer 1
Board of Education 79 Inspector 10
Board of Health 1 Jailor 9
Chancery Clerk 1 Judge 11
Charitable Institutions, Supervisor of 1 Jury Commissioner 1
City Attorney 1 Justice of the Peace or Magistrate 232
City Clerk 1 Lumber Measurer 1
City Council 146 Mayor 5
City Marshal 7 Notary Public 5
City Officer (unidentified) 3 Ordinary 3
City Public Works Commissioner 2 Overseer of Poor 7
Claims Commissioner 1 Overseer of Roads 1
Clerk 12 Park Commission 1
Clerk of Court 24 Police Officer 71
Clerk of Market 2 Recorder 9
Constable 41 Register of Bankruptcy 1
Coroner 33 Register of Deeds 2
County Attorney 1 Register of Mesne Conveyances 1
County Clerk 2 Registrar 116
County Commissioner 113 Sheriff 41
County Superintendent of Schools 14 Solicitor 1
County Treasurer 17 Street Commissioner 5
Deputy Sheriff 25 Streetcar Commissioner 1
Detective 2 Tax Collector 35
District Attorney 1 Trustee 2
District Clerk 1 Warden 4
Election Officer 52 Weigher 4

Table 6: Antebellum Status of Black Officeholders during Reconstruction

State Slave Free Both Unknown
Alabama 42 9 8 114
Arkansas 12 5 3 26
District of Columbia 0 6 2 3
Florida 15 8 2 32
Georgia 20 15 5 95
Louisiana 33 81 2 93
Mississippi 59 28 6 131
Missouri 0 0 1 0
North Carolina 22 34 3 126
South Carolina 131 88 5 91
Tennessee 4 7 2 7
Texas 28 6 4 11
Virginia 21 40 12 12
Total 387 327 55 741

Citations

  • 1 : Historians estimate the total number of black officeholders is closer to 2,000 but these numbers reflect only those for whom definite records exist.
  • 2 : Served in U.S. Senate.
  • 3 : Served in U.S. Senate.

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