Our Only Black Senator Steps Down

Bob Sackamento at mydd.com (HT/John) has a good overview titled, “Today, the US Senate lost another rising star,” on Senator Obama resigning his Senate seat, with an interesting biographical take on the five (and only five!) African Americans who have ever served in that political body, probably the most powerful legislative body on earth.

The first two black senators served during the Reconstruction era (see some history here and here), when this country’s whites had the chance to abandon this country’s racist foundation but did not do so. They were Hiram Rhodes Revels (1870-1871) and Blanche Bruce (1875-1881), both Republicans from, guess where, Mississippi. The only other black senators have been the Republican Edward Brooke (1967-1979), from Massachusetts and the Democrat Carol Moseley Braun (1993-1999), from Illinois. Braun is the only black woman to ever serve in that relatively exclusive, mostly white men’s, rather undemocratic political club called the U.S. Senate.

Now that Senator Obama is stepping down, there are no black senators in that body. This is yet another signal of how systemic racism still is in the United States. There is speculation that the governor of Illinois may appoint a black person as the new senator in Obama’s place. It is time, in my view, for another African American woman.