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This Day in History: June 21st

Joseph Rainey, First Black in the U.S. House of Representatives, Was Born

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Born into slavery on June 21,1932 in Georgetown, South Carolina, Joseph Rainey was freed in the 1840s after his father purchased the freedom of his entire family and himself. by his father purchasing the freedom of his entire family and himself. His father, Edward Rainey, had been allowed by his master to work independently to earn money and developed a successful barber business. He paid a portion of his income to his master as was required by law, but was able to save enough to purchase his freedom and that of his wife and two sons.

Here are seven things you should know about Rainey:

He was a Barber by Trade

Rainey followed his father by becoming a barber. In the 1850s, it was afforded him independence and money. It was also a well-respected trade among whites and allowed him to build a wide network in his community.

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