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Thu, 03.17.1825

From slavery to congress, Benjamin S. Turner


*This date remembers Benjamin Turner born in 1825. He was a Black businessman, politician.

Born a slave in Halifax County, North Carolina, Benjamin Sterling Turner   was taken to Alabama at the age of five. Educated secretly, Turner eventually became an entrepreneur and stable owner in Selma, Ala.  In 1867, he was elected tax collector and, two years later, city councilman. In 1870, Turner won election as a member of the Forty-second Congress.  He introduced measures to appropriate $200,000 for construction of a Federal Building in Selma and a bill for relief for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of that city.

He also got passage of a bill allowing Black civil war soldiers a pension of eight dollars a month. After politics, he returned to farming, confining his political activities to the county level.  Benjamin Turner, the first Black member of the House of Representatives from Alabama died on March 21, 1894.

Black Americans In Congress 1870-1989.
Bruce A. Ragsdale & Joel D. Treese
U.S. Government Printing Office
Raymond W. Smock, historian and director 1990

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