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James T. Rapier served in Congress as a U.S. Representative from Alabama. He was one of only three black congressmen during Reconstruction and helped to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1875.
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James T. Rapier was born on November 13th 1837 in Florence, Alabama. The son of a successful African-American barber, Rapier became a U.S. Representative from Alabama in 1872. One of only three black congressmen during Reconstruction, Rapier helped pass the Civil Rights Act of 1875. After his time in office, Rapier worked as a labor organizer and edited the Montgomery Sentinel. He died in 1883.
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African-Americans have a long history of activism in America, from fighting for the right to vote to pushing for integrated public spaces. Activists like Stokely Carmichael organized freedom rides, James Meredith fought to integrate blacks and whites at the University of Mississippi, and Rosa Parks instigated the Montgomery Bus Boycott. These protests were often legal and nonviolent, and made a powerful impact on civil rights in the United States. With the help of activists like these—and many others—the country slowly worked to acknowledge the basic rights and contributions of African-Americans. Activists outisde of the U.S. include Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela, who have fought against apartheid in South Africa. Learn more about the many black activists who fought against the odds in order to achieve equality.
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