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"R" is for Rainey, Joseph Hayne (1832-1887)

South Carolina From A to Z
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“R” is for Rainey, Joseph Hayne (1832-1887). Congressman. Rainey was born a slave, but his father—a barber--was able to purchase his family's freedom. During the Civil War he was forced to serve as a steward on a blockade-runner and to work on Confederate fortifications. In 1862 he and his wife fled to Bermuda where he remained until the war was over. Returning home, he represented Georgetown in the Constitutional Convention of 1868, and both the South Carolina House and Senate. In 1870 he became the first African-American elected to the United States House of Representatives where he advocated passage of an amnesty bill for former Confederates and the Civil Rights Act of 1875. After leaving Congress, Joseph Hayne Rainey was involved in various business enterprises in South Carolina and Washington, D.C.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.