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PHOTO ESSAY

Blacks in Politics, Part 2

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Oscar Stanton DePriest

Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Despite the influx of black politicians during the Reconstruction Era, most African Americans had been banished from politics and government by the early twentieth century. One exception was Oscar Stanton DePriest. The son of former slaves, DePriest moved north at a young age as part of the Exodusters migration of freed blacks who moved to Kansas looking for a better way of life. In 1928 DePriest was elected U.S. Representative for Kansas, becoming the first African American U.S. congressman from a northern state, as well as the first black congressman in nearly thirty years. DePriest was a great advocate for racial equality and, despite threats against his person, he spoke in throughout the south, urging black citizens to vote as a way to achieve racial equality.

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