1870 – First African American congressman sworn in


Hiram Rhodes Revels, a Republican from Natchez, Mississippi, is sworn into the U.S. Senate, becoming the first African American ever to sit in Congress. During the Civil War, Revels, a college-educated minister, helped form African American army regiments for the Union cause, …read more

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1964 Young Muhammad Ali knocks out Sonny Liston for first world title


February 25

On February 25, 1964, 22-year-old Cassius Clay shocks the odds-makers by dethroning world heavyweight boxing champ Sonny Liston in a seventh-round technical knockout. The dreaded Liston, who had twice demolished former champ Floyd Patterson in one round, was an 8-to-1 favorite. However, Clay predicted victory, boasting that he would “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” and knock out Liston in the eighth round. 

The fleet-footed and loquacious youngster who would later become known as Muhammed Ali needed less time to make good on his claim—Liston, complaining of an injured shoulder, failed to answer the seventh-round bell. A few moments later, a new heavyweight champion was proclaimed.

Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. was born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1942. He started boxing when he was 12 and by age 18 had amassed a record of over 100 wins in amateur competition. In 1959, he won the International Golden Gloves heavyweight title and in 1960 a gold medal in the light heavyweight category at the Summer Olympic Games in Rome. Clay turned professional after the Olympics and went undefeated in his first 19 bouts, earning him the right to challenge Sonny Liston, who had defeated Floyd Patterson in 1962 to win the heavyweight title.

READ MORE: The First Black Man Elected to Congress Was Nearly Blocked From Taking His Seat

Citation Information

Article Title

First African American congressman sworn in

AuthorHistory.com Editors

Website Name

HISTORY

URL

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/african-american-congressman-sworn-in

Access Date

February 24, 2023

Publisher

A&E Television Networks

Last Updated

February 23, 2021

Original Published Date

February 9, 2010

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