World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Benjamin S. Turner

Article Id: WHEBN0006097971
Reproduction Date:

Title: Benjamin S. Turner  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: POTD/2013-02-28, African Americans in the United States Congress, History of the United States Republican Party, Alabama, Selma, Alabama
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Benjamin S. Turner

Benjamin Sterling Turner
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alabama's 1st district
In office
March 4, 1871 - March 3, 1873
Preceded by Alfred Buck
Succeeded by Frederick Bromberg
Personal details
Born (1825-03-17)March 17, 1825
Weldon, North Carolina, U.S.
Died March 21, 1894(1894-03-21) (aged 69)
Selma, Alabama, U.S.
Nationality American
Political party Republican

Benjamin Sterling Turner (March 17, 1825, Weldon, North Carolina – March 21, 1894, Selma, Alabama) was an American businessman and politician who served in the United States House of Representatives representing Alabama's 1st congressional district in the 42nd United States Congress.

Early life and education

He was born into slavery in Halifax County, North Carolina near the town of Weldon. His parents were slaves. He was taken with his mother to Alabama at age five, as part of the forced migration of the internal slave trade. Turner received no early education. By clandestine study he obtained a fair education. He seems to have remained enslaved until the Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1863.


Turner engaged in mercantile pursuits. He set up a livery stable in Selma, Alabama. Joining the Republican Party after the Civil War, Turner was elected tax collector of Dallas County, Alabama in 1867. He next served as councilman of the city of Selma in 1869.

Political career

Freedmen were granted the franchise after the Civil War. Turner was unanimously nominated to be the Republican candidate from Alabama's 1st congressional district, which at that point encompassed Southwest Alabama. He was elected as a Republican to the Forty-second Congress (March 4, 1871 - March 3, 1873). He complained that northern Republicans living in his district had not supported him enough in his run for office. In Congress he worked to restore political and legal rights to Confederates who had fought against the United States in the American Civil War. He also fought for the repeal of the tax on cotton, on the grounds that it hurt poor African Americans.

In 1872 Turner was nominated again by the Republican Party in the first district. But another African American, Philip Joseph, ran as an independent. This caused a split in the Republican vote, and allowed F. G. Bromberg, a fusion candidate of the Liberal Republicans and Democrats, to win. Turner was elected in 1880 as a delegate to the Republican National Convention.

After his political career, Turner engaged in agricultural pursuits in Alabama. He died in Selma, Alabama on March 21, 1894, aged 69; he was interred in Live Oak Cemetery.


  • Christopher, Mayrine. America's Black Congressmen. Thomas Y. Crowell Company: New York, 1971. p. 124-127.
  • /james ciment, Atlas of African American History p.97 b. turner, was born in Weldon, N.C. but was congressman from Selma, Ala.

External links

  • Find-A-Grave biography
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Alfred Buck
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alabama's 1st congressional district

1871 – 1873
Succeeded by
Frederick Bromberg
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.