WASHINGTON (CBS News) — Joseph H. Rainey, who was born into slavery in 1832 and went on to become the nation’s first Black congressman, was honored at the U.S. Capitol last week.
“Study the history. Know their history,” said Representative Jim Clyburn in an interview with CBS News. Clyburn noted that when he was elected in 1992, he was only the ninth Black American from South Carolina elected to Congress.
“The problem is there are 95 years between No. 8 and No. 9,” said Clyburn, who is now the Majority Whip and third-most powerful member of Congress. “Anything that’s happened before can happen again. Jim Crow happened once and it can happen again. Study the history.”
Rainey’s great-granddaughter Lorna Rainey said in an interview that her great-aunt, Rainey’s daughter, used to tell her about him since he was in very few history books. Lorna Rainey said her great-aunt would say “Lorna, you’re going to be the one to tell everyone about the Congressman.”