Blanche Kelso Bruce (R-Miss.)
A former slave, steamboat porter and newspaper editor, Bruce served from 1875 to 1881 as the first African American to complete a full term. On Feb. 14, 1879, he was the first to preside over the Senate. In 1881, Bruce became the first African American appointed registrar of the Treasury and the first whose signature was on U.S. paper currency.
Rady Handy collection/Library of Congress