Benjamin S. Turner

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Benjamin Sterling Turner
Benjamin S. Turner - Brady-Handy.jpg
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
Died March 21, 1894(1894-03-21) (aged 69)
Selma, Alabama
Political party Republican

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

He was born near in Halifax County, North Carolina near the town of Weldon. His parents were slaves. He was taken to Alabama at age five. 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. He engaged in mercantile pursuits. He set up a livery stable in Selma, Alabama. He was also elected tax collector of Dallas County, Alabama in 1867; then later councilman of the city of Selma in 1869.

Turner was unanimously nominated to be the Republican candidate from the Alabama First District which at that point encompassed South-west Alabama. He was elected as a Republican to the Forty-second Congress (March 4, 1871 - March 3, 1873). He did feel that the northern Republicans living in his district had not supported him in his run for office enough. In congress he worked to restore political and legal rights to those 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 again received the Republican nomination in the first district. However 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 a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1880.

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


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

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