Joseph Rainey, born in 1832 was a former slave and the first African-American member to serve in the United States House of Representatives, and the second to serve in Congress, U.S. Senator Hiram Revels was the first.
Why is it that colored members of Congress cannot enjoy the same immunities that are accorded to white members?
Why cannot we stop at hotels here without meeting objection? Why cannot we go into restaurants without being insulted?
We are here enacting laws for the country and casting votes upon important questions; we have been sent here by the suffrages of the people, and why cannot we enjoy the same benefits that are accorded to our white colleagues on this floor?
We believe that Joseph Rainey had foresight far beyond his time, and have developed this vision channeling his perception.