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African American Heritage Trail, Washington, DC

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Blanche Bruce and Josephine Willson

Blanche Bruce and Josephine Willson

Senator Blanche Kelso Bruce (1841-1898) and his wife Josephine Beall Willson Bruce (1853-1923), leaders of Washington's “aristocrats of color,” lived here from 1890 to 1898. Born in Virginia, Blanche escaped slavery during the Civil War, attended Oberlin College, and became the first African American to serve a full term in the U.S. Senate (1874 — 1880), representing Mississippi. Later he was appointed DC recorder of deeds and register of the U.S. Treasury. Josephine helped found the National Association of Colored Women and the Book Lovers Club, which organized the city's first YWCA. After Blanche's death she served as lady principal of Tuskegee Institute

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African American Heritage Trail

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Blanche Kelso Bruce

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Posted By: Ray Gurganus


Updated: 7-17-2020