Mary Church Terrell, (1863 – 1954), daughter of former slaves, was one of the first black women to earn a college degree. She became an activist who led several important associations, including the National Association of Colored Women, and worked for civil rights and suffrage. Active in the Republican Party, she was president of the Women's Republican League during W. G. Harding's 1920 presidential campaign and the first election in which all American women were given the right to vote.
Elected to Congress in 1870, Josiah T. Walls became Florida’s first elected black Congressman. Born a slave in 1842, he was conscripted by the Confederate Army and captured in Yorktown by Union forces in 1862. Walls then enlisted in the U.S. Colored Troops Infantry Regiment in 1863 where he rose in rank to First Sergeant. After passage of the U.S. Military Reconstruction Act of 1867, Walls joined the Republican Party and within three years was a member of Congress.