Thursday, December 27, 2007
DE PRIEST, OSCAR
DE PRIEST, OSCAR Born on March 9, 1871 in Florence, Alabama, Oscar De Priest was the first African-American to be elected to the United States House of Representatives in the twentieth century. Having earned a small fortune in real estate and the stock market, De Priest moved to Chicago and decided to enter politics in Cook County. Running as a Republican he was, in 1904, elected to the office of Cook County Commissioner, a post to which he was reelected in 1906. In 1915 he became Chicago's first black alderman. Finally, in 1928, he was elected to the House of Representatives. De Priest served in Congress until 1934. In that year, he was defeated for reelection by Arthur Mitchell, the first black Democrat to win a seat in the House of Representatives. Returning to Chicago, De Priest remained active in local politics and in his real estate business until his death in 1951.