Senator Blanche Kelso Bruce of Mississippi was the first African-American and only former slave to preside over the U.S. Senate. He was the son of a slave, Polly Bruce, and her Virginia plantation owner, who educated the child. Blanche Bruce became a wealthy landowner in the Mississippi Delta. He was elected to the Senate in 1874. Amidst a storm of publicity, Bruce married socialite Josephine Willson in 1878 and took her on a four-month honeymoon in Europe. During the course of their marriage, the couple traveled the world and enjoyed an elegant lifestyle in Washington D.C.


  • Title: Senator Blanche Kelso Bruce
  • Creator: Mathew Brady
  • Medium: Carte de visite (albumen), 4" x 2 1/2"
  • Date: ca. 1875

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