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On this date, Alonzo Jacob Ransier was born in 1834. He was a Black politician and abolitionist.
Born free in Charleston, South Carolina, he received a limited education, becoming a shipping clerk at 16. After the American Civil War, he was appointed as that state’s registrar of elections. Ransier’s activity in gaining equality for Blacks was based on equal rights. He traveled to Washington with a petition from a Charleston meeting of the Friends of Equal Rights, pushing for more consideration for the rights of Blacks.
In 1868, he was a presidential elector for Ulysses S. Grant, and two years later, he was nominated for lieutenant governor. Here Ransier urged Blacks not to support Horace Greeley for president though he was widely admired. In 1872 he ran for and won the second district Republican Congressional seat. Responding to attacks from Democrats, Ransier defended the record of Black soldiers who fought for the Union during the war, recalling their support for President Grant in his 1872 reelection bid.
Soon after he left Congress, his wife Louisa died. He stayed employed as an internal revenue service collector but later fell into poverty. Alonzo Ransier, known for his honesty, died on August 17, 1882.
Black Americans In Congress, 1870-1989.
Bruce A. Ragsdale & Joel D. Treese
U.S. Government Printing Office
Raymond W. Smock, historian and director 1990