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Hiram RevelsHiram Rhoades Revels was born a free man of African American and Indian descent in a slave state and became the first African American member of Congress In the process Revels ministered to the spiritual needs and expanded opportunities for education for the African American community He began his life in North Carolina Hiram Revels was born in Fayetteville North Carolina in 1822 but an exact birthplace has not been identified He was born of mixed African and Croatan Indian heritage to free parents On March 8 1838 Revels was apprenticed to his brother Elias B Revels as a barber in Lincolnton North Carolina Although Hiram Revelss apprenticeship was to last until his 21st birthday in 1843 his brother died in 1841 leaving the Hiram to manage the barber shop Litvin Revels apparently left the barber shop to further his education In 1844 he was a student at the Quaker school in Liberty Indiana He also attended school in Ohio and was a student of Knox College Revels was ordained as a minister by the African Methodist Church and traveled extensively ministering to African American congregations in Ohio Indiana Illinois Tennessee Kentucky Missouri and Kansas He eventually settled in Baltimore where he became principal of a school for African Americans as well as pastor of a local church His ministerial and educational work would expand during the Civil War Revels With the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861 Hiram Revels turned his resources toward support for the Union cause in Maryland a border state with divided loyalties Revels aided in the organization of two regiments of African American troops from Maryland Having moved to St Louis to organize a school for African Americans he recruited African American men for service in a Missouri regiment in 1863 His recruiting ability and ministerial training equipped Revels for active service as a Union chaplain serving with a Mississippi regiment of free blacks At one point during
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