Benjamin Franklin Randolph

Benjamin Randolph served as a senator for Orangeburg County, South Carolina for a brief period during Reconstruction. Sen. Randolph was born a free person of color in Kentucky and relocated to Ohio with his family as a child. He attended Oberlin College from 1854-1861. He initially started his career as a Presbyterian minister and later converted to Methodism.

When the Civil War began Randolph joined the Union Army as a chaplain in the 26th regiment of the USCT. It was during his tour with the Union Army that he would come to South Carolina, arriving first on Hilton Head Island in 1864 then relocating to Charleston after the war.

After the Civil War Randolph co-founded the Charleston Journal Newspaper with Rev. E. J. Adams. Benjamin Randolph also worked for the Freedmen's Bureau in the education division. It was through his work for the Freedman's Bureau that Randolph became interested in politics. He became a senator representing Orangeburg County in 1868 and played a major role in the 1868 South Carolina State Constitutional Convention in which black men and non-property owning white men were granted to right to vote. Randolph also served as chairman of the state Republican Party. Benjamin Randolph's political agenda included promoting universal public education of all South Carolina children and calling for integrated schools for the state. His stance on civil rights issues and his political agenda made Randolph a target for hate groups.

His life was ended in October of 1868 when he was assassinated by a group of armed white men while attempting to board a train in Abbeville County, South Carolina. Benjamin Randolph's body would be re-buried in 1871 at Randolph Cemetery and a monument was placed their in his honor.