Joseph Rainey Park

A small park that leads visitors to the Harborwalk and the waterfront is Joseph Rainey Park, located on the southern end of Front Street. It features benches and a large fountain and is adjacent to the Kaminski House lawn.

The park is named for a Georgetown native, who was the first African-American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. Born to slave parents in 1832, Rainey escaped to Bermuda when the Civil War broke out. After the war, he returned to South Carolina and entered politics. He was a Republican delegate to the state’s 1868 constitutional convention and later was elected to the state senate.

In 1870, Rainey was nominated to fill the Congressional term of a white Republican who had been forced to resign for selling West Point cadet appointments. He was re-elected to four consecutive terms representing the 1st Congressional District. After losing a fifth re-election bid in 1878, he became an internal revenue agent and later unsuccessfully sought to become the first African-American clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. Rainey retired to Georgetown in 1886 and died a year later. The family home where Rainey was raised still stands at 909 Prince Street and has been named a National Historic Landmark.

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