Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Bruce, Blanche Kelso

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BRUCE, Blanche Kelso, senator, b. in Prince Edward co., Va., 1 March, 1841; d. in Washington, 17 March, 1898. He was born a slave, and received the rudiments of education from the tutor of his master's son. When the civil war began he left his young master, whose companion he had been, and who went from Missouri to join the confederate army. Mr. Bruce taught school for a time in Hannibal, Mo., became a student at Oberlin, afterward pursued special studies at home, and after the war went to Mississippi. In 1869 he became a planter in Mississippi. He was sergeant-at-arms of the legislature, a member of the Mississippi levee board, sheriff of Bolivar county in 1871–'4, county superintendent of education in 1872–3, and was elected U. S. senator on 3 Feb., 1875, as a republican, taking his seat on 4 March, 1875, and serving till 3 March, 1881. He was a member of every republican convention held after 1868. In May, 1881, he entered upon the office of register of the treasury, from which he was removed by President Cleveland. In 1886 he delivered a noted lecture on the condition of his race, entitled "The Race Problem." In 1897 he again became register of the treasury.