Six different documents (deeds) signed by Blanche K. Bruce. Washington, DC: These deeds were signed by Bruce when he served as Recorder of Deeds (1890-1893), a position appointed to him by President Benjamin Harrison replacing Frederick Douglass.
BACKGROUND: Blanche Kelso Bruce, the son of a black slave and a white plantation owner, was the first African-American to serve a full term in the U.S. Senate. Bruce was born into slavery in Virginia, but escaped at the start of the Civil War and made his way to Ohio, where he attended Oberlin College. After the Civil War he moved to Mississippi and got involved in local politics. In 1875, during the post-war Reconstruction Era, Bruce was elected by the Mississippi legislature to become one of the state's two U.S. senators. When his term was over in 1881, Bruce was appointed by President James Garfield to the office of Register of the Treasury. As such, Bruce was the first African-American to be represented on U.S. currency. Bruce served as the Register of the Treasury until his death in 1898, when African American, Judson W. Lyons took over.