Alonzo J. Ransier (1834-1882), born a free African-American in Charleston, was one of two African-American men in South Carolina to achieve the position of lieutenant governor. He held this office from 1870 to 1872 during the governorship of Robert Scott, an Ohioan who came to South Carolina as a Union Army officer and stayed. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1873-1875, where he supported a strong civil rights bill. Disturbed by the corruption in South Carolina politics, he criticized Republican rule in the election of 1874 and lost his reelection bid. Returning to Charleston, he became the Collector of Internal Revenue for his election district. With the end of Radical Reconstruction and Republican rule in South Carolina, he lost all political influence and support. He ended his political career in 1877, became a night watchman at the Charleston Customs House, and was a day laborer for the city of Charleston when he died of malaria in 1882.
Courtesy of the South Carolina Department of Archives and History.