The first Black public official was William A. Leidesdorf, who was named sub-consul to the Mexican territory of Yerba Buena (San Francisco) in October, 1845. In September, 1847, Leidesdorf was elected to the San
Francisco town council, receiving the third highest vote. He became the town treasurer in 1848 and served on the three-man committee which established San Francisco's first school.
The first Black elected to public office in a settled community was John Mercer Langston, who was elected clerk of Brownhelm township, Lorain County, Ohio, in the spring of 1855. In 1856 he was
elected clerk of the township of Russia, near Oberlin. In 1857 he was elected to the council of the incorporated village of Oberlin.
The first Black diplomat and the first Black to receive a major government appointment was Ebenezer Don Carlos Bassett, principal of the Institute for Colored Youth, Philadelphia, who was named minister to Haiti on April 6,
1869, by President Grant.
The first Black to receive a major government appointment in the United States was Frederick Douglass, who was named U.S. marshal of the District of Columbia on March 18, 1877. After a bitter fight he was confirmed
by the Senate, 30-12.
The first Black male to head a major agency of the U.S. government was Robert C. Weaver, who was sworn in as administrator of the Housing and Home Finance Agency on February 11, 1961.
The first Black cabinet member was Robert C. Weaver who was named secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development by President Johnson. He was sworn in on January 18, 1966.
The first Black to head a U.S. embassy in Europe was Clifton R. Wharton Sr., who was confirmed as minister to Rumania on February 5, 1958. He was later named ambassador to Norway.
The first Black United Nations ambassador was Andrew Young, who was named to the post by President Carter. Ambassador Young was confirmed on January 26, 1977.
The first Black named to the U.S. delegation to the United Nations was Chicago Atty. Edith S. Sampson, who became an alternate delegate on August 24, 1950. She was appointed by
The first Black named a permanent delegate to the Untied Nations was Charles Mahoney, a Detroit insurance executive, who was appointed by President Eisenhower and confirmed by the Senate
on August 7, 1954.
The first Black U.S. Senator was Hiram Rhodes Revels, who was elected to the Forty-first Congress to fill the unexpired term of Jefferson Davis. Senator Revels was elected by the
Mississippi legislature on January 20, 1870, and was seated on February 25, 1870. He was the first Black in Congress.
Political Firsts Continued...
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