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Hiram Rhodes Revels (September 27, 1827[note 1] – January 16, 1901) was a Republican U.S. Senator, minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and a college administrator. Born free in North Carolina, he later lived and worked in Ohio, where he voted before the Civil War. He became the first African American to serve in the U.S. Congress when he was appointed to the United States Senate as a Republican to represent Mississippi in 1870 and 1871 during the Reconstruction era.

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Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was an American activist in the civil rights movement best known for her pivotal role in the Montgomery bus boycott. The United States Congress has called her “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement”.

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On February 1, 1960, David Richmond, Franklin McCain, Ezell Blair Jr. (Jibreel Khazan), and Joe McNeil, four African American students from North Carolina A&T State University, staged a sit-in in Greensboro at Woolworth, a popular retail store that was known for refusing to serve African Americans at its lunch counter. Not long after their protest, sit-ins began occurring across the South, including the North Carolina cities of Charlotte, Durham, and Winston-Salem. These young men came to be known as the Greensboro Four.