Richard Harvey Cain   Leave a comment

Richard Harvey Cain (April 12, 1825 – January 18, 1887) was a minister, abolitionist, and United States Representative from South Carolina from 1873–1875 and 1877-1879. After the Civil War, he was appointed by Bishop Daniel Payne as a missionary of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina.

Early life and education

Richard Harvey Cain was born to free black parents in Greenbrier County Virginia, which is now in West Virginia. He was raised in Gallipolis, Ohio. He attended Wilberforce University and attended divinity school in Hannibal, Missouri.


Cain worked as a barber in Galena, IL before he migrated south. He had been licensed to preach for the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1844.

In 1848 he joined the African Methodist Episcopal Church, an independent black denomination started in Philadelphia. By 1859 he became a deacon in Muscatine, Iowa. In 1861, Cain was called as a pastor in Brooklyn, New York. In 1862, he was ordained as an elder in 1862 and remained at the Brooklyn church until 1865.

After the Civil War, Cain moved to Charleston, South Carolina in 1865 as superintendent of AME missions. The AME Church attracted tens of thousands of converts to its denomination very rapidly.

Cain became active in politics, serving as a delegate to the state constitutional convention in 1868. He represented Charleston County in the South Carolina Senate from 1868 to 1872. He also edited the South Carolina Leader newspaper (later renamed the Missionary Record).

He was elected as a Republican to the Forty-third United States Congress in a newly created at-large district. He did not run for re-election in 1874 after redistricting, but ran for the 2nd district in 1876. He was elected to the Forty-fifth United States Congress. His major congressional effort was advocating the Civil Rights Act of 1875.

In 1880 Cain was elected and consecrated a bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church; he served the episcopal district which comprised Louisiana and Texas. He helped found Paul Quinn College and served as its president until 1884.

He died in Washington on January 18, 1887 and is buried in Graceland cemetery



Posted February 19, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Uncategorized

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