10 groundbreaking Black politicians you've probably never heard of

Most people know about the 13th Amendment and the Civil Rights Movement, but what about the individuals who won smaller, but vital, victories for representation along the way?

THE FIRST COLORED SENATOR AND REPRESENTATIVES
THE FIRST COLORED SENATOR AND REPRESENTATIVES / Historical/GettyImages
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Alexander Twilight

Alexander Lucius Twilight is known as the first Black man to graduate from college in the United States, but he also became the first biracial man to be elected to a state legislature.

Twilight was born in Vermont, and his family was listed on census records as being "Others free except Indians." It's unclear precisely what his racial breakdown was, except that he had African heritage on his father's side. In later censuses, he was recorded as a white man.

At age 26, Alexander Twilight enrolled at Middlebury College, where he earned his bachelor's degree. With that level of education, he was able to become a pastor and headmaster of the Orleans County Grammar School.

After establishing himself in the community, he went on to be elected to the Vermont General Assembly in 1836. In this role, he advocated for better education systems, with an emphasis on quality over quantity. Based on his own experiences, Twilight felt education was vital to personal and communal success.

His home (and school building) now serves as a museum, known as the Old Stone House Museum and Historic Village.