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The Senator and the So...
Lawrence Otis Graham
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The Senator and the Socialite

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  101 ratings  ·  26 reviews

This is the true story of America's first black dynasty. The years after the Civil War represented an astonishing moment of opportunity for African-Americans. The rush to build a racially democratic society from the ruins of slavery is never more evident than in the personal history of Blanche Kelso Bruce and his heirs.

Born a slave in 1841, Bruce became a local Mississippi

Kindle Edition, 512 pages
Published (first published 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 323)
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We had an African-American Senator, born a slave in 1841, that served his full term (six years in office), in 1880.
Brandie Course
Mar 17, 2015 Brandie Course rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to know more about Mississippi history.
The Senator and the Socialite is the true story of Blanche K. Bruce, a Mississippian who was the first elected black senator to serve a full term in the U.S. Senate. In the book, Graham chronicles the Bruce family’s rise to prominence during the 19th Century, a time when blacks were truly on the bottom rungs of society. Graham also relates the story of the family’s subsequent decline in the 20th Century.

As a black Mississippian, I’d heard of Bruce before reading this book. He was one of the famo
Jun 12, 2012 Elle rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Elle by: not recommended - I found it by chance.
A historical account of a little known fact – Blanche K. Bruce was born a slave in 1841 and rose to become the 1st African-American man to serve a full term in the United States Senate. He also served as Register of the Treasury; both high-ranking government positions that provided significant wealth and prestige. Together with his wife, Josephine, they produced a son, Roscoe C. Bruce Sr., who with his wife Clara, produced a son, Roscoe C. Bruce Jr., who eventually – through his overblown ego, a ...more
Jean Perry
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A tale of pulling yourself up by your boot straps. The story of Blanche Kelso Bruce is intriguing journey of slavey to a national powerbroker. Its interesting to note that many of the same conditions that occurred in Bruce's day are repeating themselves today - speculation, war, economic downturn, and class segregation between elitists in both the White and Black community versus working class and middle class Americans.

I was also amazed that although Bruce was light complected, his wife's fami
Interesting story, to a degree, but unfortunately not told well. As a historian Mr. Graham has his research and sources down pack, anyone into history, in particular Black history and the Reconstruction era, will love the backdrop he paints. However, not really sure there was enough to make a story out of, or perhaps he just did not choose or craft the stories well. A lot of repetition of fact, and when you see that, it tends to tell me there's not a lot of story here. If this subject matter is ...more
Anne Harm
I think this book is fabulous -- providing inspiring to dispiriting views of human nature, inclusion, exclusion, and the decisions we make. The exquisite relationship between family, personality and social convention is well-supported by a solid academic framework. The Cast of Characters in front, Timeline in back provided steady and loyal guidance throughout the growth and development of the family tree. Our book club questioned the use of the term 'dynasty' in the subtitle, one of many potenti ...more
Blanche Bruce of Mississippi was the first black elected to a full term in the U.S. Senate. But, unlike say Frederick Douglass, he doesn't come off as a terribly inspiring figure, since he seemed to be more focused during his time in Reconstruction with building a family dynasty and ensuring federal appointments. His descendants do even worse, and reminded me of Thurgood Marshall's barely veiled criticism of Clarence Thomas that "there's no difference between a white snake and a black snake. The ...more
Very interesting.
Frederick Douglass
To this day there have only been six black American members of the United States Senate, five elected. Only three have served full-terms. The six are Revels (R) Mississippi, Blanche Kelso Bruce (R) Mississippi [full-term], Washington, DC’s own Edward Brooke (R) Massachusetts [full-term, 2], Carol Mosley Braun (D) Illinois [full-term], Barack Obama (D) Illinois (vacated his seat when he won the 2008 Presidential race), Roland Burris (D) Illinois (filled seat vacated by Obama).
I wasn't able to finish it but it was extremely interesting to me given that my family has roots in mississippi. I also found it intriguing that the descendants of these families are no longer involved in politics and don't really associate with the family name. Its a shame but appearance can do to a family and a people.
Wonderful book, wonderful writer, disturbing conclusion. It begins well, first full term Black senator Blanch K. Bruce gathers wealth and power but ends horribly with a grandson going to jail and his own son dying poor and unknown. Graham is a gifted story teller who makes all the numbers and facts fun and informative.
Dione Richards
This book was enlightening to the world of the Black "elite" that was "created" during the Reconstruction Period. As I read, I didn't know whether to be awed or disgusted by the lengths that African- Americans took to maintain the approval/acceptance of this group.
such an interesting book on America's first black dynasty... blanche bruce went from slavery to the first african american to be elected into senate, then the treasury... beyond amazing that a former slave was now signing every dollar bill in the united states.
Allyson Wilson
I absolutely loved this book and highly recommend it to everyone looking to acquire a better understanding of black politicians post-reconstruction.
Very interesting book. It actually read as a novel. I have just never known this aspect of american history.
Mrs. T
Sep 15, 2008 Mrs. T rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: yes
Very interesting and informative about Reconstruction America, Post reconstruction politics & the Black Elite
Sep 02, 2007 Kristen marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Just picked this up at Border's today after admiring it for a while. I love politics and socializing :)
Great bio. Almost read like a novel (makes the fact that it's a true story even sweeter)
Kenne Jones
I enjoyed learning about this man. Surprised to not have known of him before.
This book was great. I learned SO much about American History in the 1800's.
Very interesting family but poorly written.
Thoroughly researched and very informative.
Apr 23, 2009 Wilhelmina marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Just ordered for my summer reading list.
History. Glad someone told this family's story
Brooke Somerville
Brooke Somerville marked it as to-read
Jul 02, 2015
Laronica Conway
Laronica Conway marked it as to-read
Jun 14, 2015
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