A former slave, Republican Representative George Murray was the only black Member in the 53rd and 54th Congresses (1893–1897). Murray was highly regarded by his peers because of his position. An 1893 newspaper called him "the most intellectual negro in the [Sumter] county." Employing his formidable oratorical skills, Murray fought the Democrats' disfranchisement laws in the early 1890s.
In prison, Sands became a writer of both journalism and poetry, with work published in the Irish republican newspaper An Phoblacht. In late 1980 Sands was chosen as Officer Commanding of the Provisional IRA prisoners in Long Kesh, succeeding Brendan Hughes who was participating in the first hunger strike.
Former slave John Wesley Cromwell (1846-1927) was an educator, lawyer, Republican, and journalist. He acquired his law degree at Howard University and likely was the first black attorney to argue before the Interstate Commerce Commission. He also published and edited the People's Advocate, a weekly newspaper, organized the Republican Party, and helped found the American Negro Academy.
Eldridge Cleaver (August 31, 1935 – May 1, 1998) was a leading member of the Black Panther Party, a convict, and a writer. As editor of the official Panther's newspaper, Cleaver's influence on the direction of the Party was rivaled only by founders Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. Cleaver and Newton eventually fell out with each other, resulting in a split which weakened the Party. He later turned to the right, becoming a Mormon and a Republican Party member.