Hiram Rhoades Revels was elected the first African American senator in the United States in 1870 and served until March 4, 1871. He was born in Fayetteville, NC, in about 1827. His date of birth has not been clearly identified. His parents were free people of mixed African and Croatan Native American descent.
Revels began to manage a barbershop, after his brother, whom he worked under at the barbershop, died in 1841. Three years later, he left the barbershop to obtain an education at Beech Grove Quaker Seminary in Liberty, Ind., and also attended Knox College in Ohio.