Oscar Stanton De Priest (March 9, 1871 – May 12, 1951) was an American politician and civil rights advocate from Chicago. A member of the Illinois Republican Party, he was the first African American to be elected to Congress in the 20th century. During his three terms, he was the only African American serving in Congress. He served as a U.S. Representative from Illinois' 1st congressional district from 1929 to 1935. De Priest was also the first African-American U.S. Representative from outside the southern states and the first since the exit of North Carolina representative George Henry White from Congress in 1901.
Born in Alabama to freedmen parents, De Priest was raised in Dayton, Ohio. He studied business and made a fortune in Chicago as a contractor, and in real estate and the stock market before the Crash. A successful local politician, he was elected to the Chicago City Council in 1914, the first African American to hold that office.
In Congress in the early 1930s, he spoke out against racial discrimination, including at speaking events in the South; tried to integrate the House public restaurant; gained passage of an amendment to desegregate the Civilian Conservation Corps, one of the work programs under President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal; and introduced anti-lynching legislation to the House (it was not passed because of the Solid South Democratic opposition). In 1934, De Priest was defeated by Arthur W. Mitchell, the first African American to be elected as a Democrat to Congress. De Priest returned to Chicago and his successful business ventures, eventually returning to politics, when he was again elected Chicago alderman in the 1940s.