|Steel engraving (detail), Twenty Years of Congress, 1886, Collection of U.S. House of Representatives |
RAPIER, James Thomas, a Representative from Alabama; born a free black in Florence,
Lauderdale County, Ala., November 13, 1837; educated by private tutors in
Alabama and studied in Canada; studied law and was admitted to the bar; taught
school; returned to the South and traveled as a correspondent for a northern
newspaper; became a cotton planter in Alabama in 1865; appointed a notary
public by the Governor of Alabama in 1866; member of the first Republican
convention held in Alabama and was one of the committee that framed the
platform; member of the State constitutional convention at Montgomery in 1867;
unsuccessful candidate for secretary of state in 1870; appointed assessor of
internal revenue in 1871; appointed State commissioner to the Vienna Exposition
by the Governor of Alabama in 1873; commissioner on the part of the United
States to the Worlds Fair in Paris; elected as a Republican to the Forty-third
Congress (March 4, 1873-March 3, 1875); unsuccessful candidate for reelection
in 1874 to the Forty-fourth Congress; appointed collector of internal revenue
for the second district of Alabama on August 8, 1878, and served until his
death in Montgomery, Ala., May 31, 1883; interment in Calvary Cemetery, St.
BibliographyJames Thomas Rapier in
Black Americans in Congress, 1870-2007. Prepared under the
direction of the Committee on House Administration by the Office of History
& Preservation, U. S. House of Representatives. Washington: Government
Printing Office, 2008; Schweninger, Loren.
James T. Rapier and Reconstruction. Chicago: University of
Chicago Press, 1978.