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Lawrence Graham discusses his book, “The Senator and the Socialite.” He begins by explaining that the book is a biography of the first African American to serve a full term in the U.S. Senate, Blanche Kelso Bruce. Graham tells the story of America’s first black dynasty and charts the course of three generations of a family that went from slavery to the U.S. Senate. He tells of the marriage of Bruce to Josephine Wilson, the daughter of a wealthy African American doctor and how Bruce and his socialite wife went on to break racial barriers as a socialite couple in 1880s Washington, D.C. The Bruces hosted gatherings for both white and black Republicans, such as, President Grant and Frederick Douglas. Graham goes on to tell how Bruce gained appointments under four Presidents and was given a Treasury post that placed his name on all U.S. currency. Later in the interview Graham goes into detail about the experiences of Bruce’s son and grandchildren at all-white institutions such as Phillips Exeter and Harvard. Graham also discusses African Americans and politics in the modern times, specifically referencing the then Senator Barrack Obama. When asked if he would ever consider running for an office, Graham shared that it is something he has given a lot of thought to.
Legislators’ spouses - United States - Biography African American legislators - Biography Legislators - United States - Biography United States. Congress. Senate - Biography Bruce family Bruce, Blanche Kelso, 1841-1898 - Family Bruce, Roscoe Conkling, 1879-1950 Bruce, Josephine Bruce, Blanche Kelso, 1841-1898