WHY THE PROJECT’S LEADERS WIN

Learn more about current and past leaders who have overcome many barriers in working to become public servants.

Historical Spotlight

The American idea is not new. Throughout history, diverse leaders have championed it in elected positions.

JOSEPH HAYNE RAINEY

Born into slavery, Joseph Hayne Rainey became the first African-American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and preside over the House. With his tenure stretching from 1870 to 1879, he was the longest serving African-American during the turbulent Reconstruction period and advocated for civil rights.

HIRAM RHOADES REVELS

As a U.S. Senator from Mississippi, Hiram Rhoades Revels was the first African-American to serve in Congress. His also commanded a regiment of the U.S. Army and served as a Presbyterian minister. Born free, Revels led with oratorical skills honed from preaching and moderate political leanings.

ROBERT BROWN ELLIOTT

Robert Brown Elliott helped to organize the Republican parties in rural areas of South Carolina during the Reconstruction. Elliott was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives, then the U.S. House. He returned to South Carolina to fight corruption as state House Speaker from 1874 to 1876.