THE COLORED SENATOR.
G. W. Gayles enjoys the distinction of being the only negro Senator, and he has been the solitary representative of his race in that body for several years. His home is in Bolivar county. He might almost be called a professional legislator, for he came here in 1872 as a member of the lower house, and kept on coming in spite of shotgun policy and Yazoo plan. When Chalmers’ first election to Congress left a vacancy in the State Senator Gayles got it, and since then his place has been in this body. He represents the Fusion idea from its inception, the division of offices between the whites and the blacks. When the bonds of Sheriffs and two or three other officers were made so high that negroes couldn’t give them there was nothing to do and maintain peace but divide the honors and let negroes go to the Legislature and fill minor offices while the white took the positions of financial responsibility. The Fusion movement was born. Gayles was one of the first exponents of it. He is a quiet, dignified looking negro, with some Caucasian blood. His retiring manners secure for him a certain degree of consideration from the other Senators, and there is no manifest feeling that his presence is regarded as an intrusion. When Chalmers moved over into another Congressional district, by telegraph, Gayles conceived the idea that he ought to run for Congress. He went down to Greenville and broached the subject to some of the leading colored men. “Don’t make a fool of yourself, Gayles,” they said. “If we send a man to Congress it must be one who will be a credit to our race and do us some good by his intellectual force. You do very well as State Senator, but you are not the man for Congress.” Gayles took the advice without argument and went home. Nobody ever heard of his Congressional aspirations again.