The Last Black Senator

Barack Obama has been all over the news of late with hints that he may run for president. So, I wondered what the Senate would look like without him. It turns out that, if he leaves, there will be no more black folks in the Senate at all. He is the only black senator — but it doesn’t end there. Digging a bit deeper, I discovered that there have only been 5 African Americans elected to the Senate. Ever.

Give that a minute to sink in. Of the roughly 2700 Senate elections held since 1789, only 6 were won by an African American (Ed Brooke won re-election). That’s .2% or 1/5 of one percentage point. Considering that black folks have made up a fairly steady 10% of the population, this is a pretty serious reminder of how far the land of the free still has to go.

Of course, there are lots of factors that muddy the water. I’m not sure how many black folks were up for election or even ran in primaries. And this doesn’t take into account that there was a long period of time when black folks couldn’t run for any office, let alone Congress.

But none of that changes the fact that the Senate hasn’t seen nearly as many African Americans as it should have and that gives me pause. It also gives me pause that the first black senator, Hiram Revels, resigned his office after serving less than one year. How must he have been treated for him to decide, after making such a dramatic leap for his race, that he should give it all up almost immediately? I can’t imagine.

If the fifth African American senator decides to leave office prematurely, though, it does seem like he might do it for quite a different reason. And I must say that I’m more than happy to lose the last black senator if the result is the first black president. Hot damn.

Update: If you like Obama, check this poster.

with thanks to Mom; photo via Slate

6 Responses to “The Last Black Senator”


  1. 1 Aparna

    I certainly hope the voting populace is above the dirty GOP attacks on his middle name ‘hussein’ – only the replublicans would stoop that low. The sad thing is this kind of childish kindergarden crap may actually resound with some of the idiots who make their way to the polling booths. I mean, hell, these are the same people who thought saddam had anything to with al quaeda. Pah! There should be a ban on ignorance at the voting booth – can they give people some kind of test to see if they qualify or know enough about their candidate. Yikes that sounds a little fascist I guess.

  2. 2 Jason

    And don’t forget what happens if you take Obama and trade the b for an s. Barack Hussein Osama! Now would you vote to elect a known terrorist (twice over) president of freedom central? I certainly hope not.

    Yeah, I agree that there should be an intelligence test required to vote and I’d like to propose a procreation IQ requirement as well. Don’t worry about the fascist bit. We shall administer the tests ourselves. Fascism’s only fascism when it doesn’t go your way. ;-)

  3. 3 LorriM

    I would welcome him as president, as, in my opinion, his race/ethnicity does not enter into the equation, when I vote.

    Congratulations on making it into 9rules. You have a nice site, here.

    I have been a member since Round 4.

  4. 4 Jason

    Good to hear from another Obama supporter. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the run-up to the election.

    Thanks on 9rules and for the kind words on my site. The more I interact with 9rules folks, the more I’m happy to be a member!

  5. 5 kevin

    Well here we are in March, 2008 and it looks like your man Obama stands a helluva shot at the white house. Could it be? Can we finally get a moral, intelligent administration that makes the best decisions for the good of our country and our integrity? Obama may be too good to be true. Then again, there is no perfect candidate, but Obama seems to be the closest I’ve seen in my lifetime.

  1. 1 ArcaNext

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