Because Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Georgia had the largest African American populations, those states had some of the first black elected politicians beginning in 1867.
John Willis Menard of Louisiana and Jefferson F. Long of Georgia were among the first African Americans elected to Congress (in 1868 and 1870, respectively).
In Louisiana, the black lieutenant governor P. B. S. Pinchback served as acting governor for some time after the white governor was removed from office in 1872. He was later elected to the U.S. Senate. Two black men, Hiram R. Revels and Blanche K. Bruce, became U.S. senators, and some fourteen African Americans served in the House of Representatives.
Thirteen of the fourteen blacks who served in Congress during Reconstruction were ex-slaves, but all were well educated, either self-taught or formally trained. There were seven lawyers, three ministers, one banker, one publisher, two school teachers, and three college presidents among them.
In 1872, Charlotte Ray received her law degree from Howard University Law School, making her the first black woman lawyer.