(Reuters) - Democratic candidate Barack Obama is the first black American with a serious shot at becoming U.S. president. He is also the country’s fifth black senator.
The following list of African American senators and governors can be divided into two parts — during the so called Reconstruction era that followed the civil war and a second period after a landmark voting act in 1965:
Hiram Revels — elected in 1870 to the U.S. Senator as a Republican from Mississippi, where there was a black majority after the civil war. Served until 1871.
Blanche Bruce — elected in 1875 as a Republican from Mississippi. Served until 1881.
Edward Brooke — A Massachusetts Republican, served between 1967 and 1979.
Carol Moseley Braun — An Illinois Democratic senator between 1993 and 1999.
Barack Obama — Became the junior senator from Illinois in 2005.
Pinckney Pinchback - served as Republican governor of Louisiana for 35 days starting in December 1872 after the previous governor was impeached.
Douglas Wilder - a Democrat, he served one term as governor of Virginia from 1990. He was the country’s first elected black governor.
Deval Patrick - was elected Democratic governor of Massachusetts in 2006.
David Paterson - the lieutenant governor of New York became Democratic governor in March when Eliot Spitzer resigned because of a sex scandal.
Compiled by Matthew Bigg in Atlanta; Editing by Michael Christie