- Mini Bio
- Name: Blanche Kelso Bruce
- Born: 1st March 1841, Farmville, Virginia, U.S.
- Died: 17th March 1898, Washington, D.C.
- Occupation: Plantation owner and politician
- Political party: Republican
- Famous for: Being the first black elected senator to serve a full term in office
- Trivia: His house at 909 M Street NW in Washington, D.C. was in 1975 declared a National Historic Landmark
- Legacy: A new school built on Marshall Street in Washington, D.C. in 1898 was named the Bruce School in his honour, it has since been combined with another school and renamed Bruce-Monroe school
"They deprecate the establishment of the color line by the opposition"Blanche K. Bruce
"Feeling kindly toward our white fellow-citizens, appreciating the good purposes and politics of the better classes, and, above all, abhorring a war of races. we determined to wait"Blanche K. Bruce
"I have confidence, not only in my country and her institutions, but in the endurance, capacity and destiny of my people"Blanche K. Bruce
"The political system that underlies our Indian policy … is foreign in its character; the individuals and the system of laws are not American"Blanche K. Bruce
"Our Indian policy and administration seem to me to have been inspired and controlled by stern selfishness"Blanche K. Bruce
"The novelty of my position compels me to cultivate and exhibit my honourable associates a courtesy that would inspire reciprocal courtesy"Blanche K. Bruce
"As a class they are free from prejudices, and have no uncharitable suspicions against their white fellow-citizens"Blanche K. Bruce
"In many parts of the State corrupt and violent influences were brought to bear upon the registrars of voters"Blanche K. Bruce
"Differences of religion nationality, or race can neither with safety nor propriety be permitted for a moment"Blanche K. Bruce
"It will not accord with the laws of nature or history to brand colored people a race of cowards"Blanche K. Bruce
"They have attested in blood their courage as well as a love of liberty"Blanche K. Bruce
"We will not forget our instincts for freedom nor our love for country"Blanche K. Bruce
"I am a negro, and proud of my race"Blanche K. Bruce
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Blanche K. Bruce Biography
Blanche K. Bruce was the slave who escaped from the shackles of his position to rise up and become the first African American to be elected to the upper senate and serve a full term. In fairness his life as a slave was not as tough as what most of his contemporaries had to endure.
He was of mixed race and his slave master was also believed to be his father and with this he was granted the privilege of an education in between helping his mother with household chores as she was a domestic slave.
Upon coming of age it was nearing the end of the civil war and as his master was moving to another plantation he escaped with two of his brothers.
The post war period was a time of turmoil and he was able to secure work in Mississippi whereby he saved up enough money to buy a plantation. During the reconstruction era he took an opportunity to run for the United States senate and was duly elected in 1875 to represent Mississippi.
He served with some distinction for 6 years and an articulate speech he made in 1876 to Introduce a Resolution Appointing a Committee to Investigate Election Practices in Mississippi is often quoted for its oratory eloquence. Which nicely sets the tone and leads me to my very own compilation of 13 of the best Blanche K. Bruce quotes.
Quotes About Blanche K. Bruce
The Mississippi Senator Lucius Q. C. Lamar spoke highly of him:
"Mr. Bruce’s conduct in the senate has been such as not to alienate himself from the Southern people. Bruce has not joined in the abusive warfare on the South that many of his Republican colleagues in the Senate Chamber have constantly pursued. He is an intelligent man, and the best representative of his race in public life"
The author Benjamin Brawley described him as:
"Probably the most astute political leader the negroes ever had"
The Mississippi based Raymond Gazette wrote a eulogy about him which concluded:
"To the end of his distinguished career, Bruce was always the gentleman, graceful, polished, self-assured, and never humble. He scorned the use of the phrase 'colored man,' often declaring 'I am a negro, and proud of my race'"