#TBT: Francis Lewis Cardozo

Thursday, February 9, 2017

In honor of Black History Month the State Treasurer's Office is looking back at the first African American State Treasurer in South Carolina.

Today's #ThrowbackThursday honors Francis Lewis Cardozo, who was also the first African American to hold a statewide office in the United States. Cardozo was a clergyman, politician, and educator. He was born in Charleston, South Carolina.

Francis Lewis Cardozo

Born February 1, 1836, he was the son of Lydia Weston and Isaac Cardozo. After leaving school at the age of 12, he worked as an apprentice and journeyman carpenter. 

In 1858 Cardozo traveled to Glasgow, Scotland to pursue a college education. After graduating, he moved to London and studied at several Presbyterian seminaries.

When Cardozo returned to the United States, he served as a minister in Connecticut until 1865 when he left the ministry and went to work for the American Missionary Association. The A.M.A. sent him home to Charleston where he founded Avery Institute.

Cardozo became active in the Republican Party and was a delegate to the South Carolina Constitutional Convention of 1868.

That same year, Cardozo was elected Secretary of State in South Carolina, making him the first African American to hold a statewide office in the United States.

Cardozo was elected state treasurer in 1872. He was reelected in 1874 and 1876.

Cardozo died July 22, 1903 in Washington, DC. He was 67.

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Interim Media Contact:
Edward Frazier
edward.frazier@sto.sc.gov
803.734.2016

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