Whenever possible, I will share photos and newspaper clippings I find about my family. They’ll be posted in random order, because that’s how it goes for me when I’m digging for stuff. I might start out looking for information about one relative and end up finding a treasure trove about another. So I just roll with it.
My mother was ten years old when her mother, Henrietta, died. As a result, Mama didn’t know a lot of things about the Bruce side of her family. My grandfather was left with three little girls to raise, and I’m sure regaling family history could not have been farther from his mind. Henrietta’s father was Henry Bruce, son of Sandy Bruce who was Polly’s firstborn.
Blanche, known to family as simply “B.K.”, was sworn in as a senator for the state of Mississippi on March 5, 1875. He sat in Seat No. 2 in the Senate Chamber. On February 14, 1879, he became the only former slave to preside over Senate proceedings. He holds that distinction to this day. I have several photos of B.K. that I will share later.
The commissioning for this portrait was approved in 1999 by the Senate Commission on Art. Simmie Knox was chosen to paint the portrait based upon a photograph taken by Mathew Brady, The portrait was unveiled in the Senate wing in September of 2002. I look forward to visiting the Capitol and seeing this portrait of my uncle hanging alongside others who have served with distinction.
My brother, Kenneth, bears a strong resemblance to the old uncle, right down to the receding hairline. I’ve read several articles in historical newspapers that describe B.K.’s physical appearance. Most say he was about six feet in stature, portly in build, impeccably dressed and possessing a jovial demeanor. That pretty much describes my brother, Kenneth, with the one exception being the attire. Kenneth’s daily attire was overalls and a plaid shirt, but I suppose that could be considered impeccably dressed for one who liked to fish and hunt…