Alcorn State University to host the Sesquicentennial Celebration of Hiram Revel’s historic election to the U.S. Senate

An iconic Alcorn State University figure known for being a trailblazer for African-American politicians will be celebrated for his historic election to the U. S. Congress 150 years ago.

The university will recognize the 150th anniversary of Hiram Rhodes Revels’ historic election as the first African-American elected to the U.S. Congress by hosting The Sesquicentennial Celebration of The U. S. Senate Seating of The Honorable Hiram Revels on Alcorn’s main campus at 10 a.m. Monday, Feb. 24, at the Oakland Memorial Chapel. Darryl Grennell, mayor for the city of Natchez, will deliver the event’s keynote address.

Grennell’s landslide election as mayor of Natchez in 2016 is unprecedented in modern-day Natchez politics. Running on a platform of transparency, inclusion, accountability, and unity, Grennell received 72 percent of the vote in the Democratic Primary. Later that June, Grennell was elected mayor with 92 percent of the votes. Before becoming Natchez’s mayor, Grennell served as a professor at Alcorn for 27 years.

In February 1870, the Mississippi legislature elected Revels to represent the state, making him the first African-American U. S. Senator in history. He served for a year before leaving to become then Alcorn University’s first president, serving from 1871 to 1882.

Revels was born in North Carolina in 1827. After studying to become a minister at seminaries in Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois, he was ordained in 1845 in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. When the Civil War began, Revels served as a chaplain in Vicksburg, Mississippi. After the war, Revels served as pastor at churches in Kansas, Kentucky, and Louisiana before moving to Natchez and Zion Chapel A.M.E. Church.

President Felecia M. Nave looks forward to being a part of this monumental occasion commemorating one of Alcorn’s historical figures.

“It gives me great pride to pay homage to Hiram Revels because he was the epitome of excellence,” said Nave. “Because of his intelligence, bravery, and willingness to break barriers, African-American politicians can now be elected to multiple seats and bring positive changes to communities around the country and beyond.”

A tree-planting ceremony in honor of Revels will follow the celebration.