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Richard Harvey Cain (April 12, 1825 – January 18, 1887) was a minister, abolitionist, and United States Representative from 1873 to 1875 and 1877 to 1879.

He was born to free parents in Greenbrier Countymarker Virginiamarker, which is now in West Virginiamarker. He was raised in Gallipolis, Ohiomarker. He attended Wilberforce Universitymarker and attended divinity school in Hannibal, Missourimarker. He was a barber in Galena, ILmarker before he migratred south. He was licensed to preach for the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1844. He joined the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1848 and became a deacon in Muscatinemarker, Iowamarker in 1859. In 1861, Cain was a pastor in Brooklyn, New Yorkmarker. In 1862, he was ordained as an elder in 1862 and remained at the Brooklyn church until 1865

He moved to Charleston, South Carolinamarker in 1865 as superintendent of AME missions. He was a delegate to the state constitutional convention in 1868. He represented Charleston Countymarker in the South Carolina Senate from 1868 to 1872. He also edited the South Carolina Leader newspaper (later renamed the Missionary Record).

He was elected as a Republican to the Forty-third United States Congress in a newly created at-large district. He did not run for re-election in 1874 after redistricting, but ran for the 2nd district in 1876. He was elected to the Forty-fifth United States Congress. His major congressional effort was advocating the Civil Rights Act of 1875.

He was ordained a bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1880 and served the diocese of Louisianamarker and Texasmarker. He helped found Paul Quinn College and served as its president until 1884. He died in Washington on January 18, 1887 and is buried in Graceland cemetery.


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