National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Born Boston, Massachusetts
In the decade before the Civil War, Massachusetts senator Charles Sumner numbered among the most vehement critics of slavery in Congress. In fact, the harshness of his antislavery speeches led to one of the most dramatic events in Senate history-a physical attack on him in the Senate chamber by a southerner, which left him gravely injured. After the Civil War, Sumner became an ardent champion of the effort to ensure a full measure of rights for the South's newly freed slaves.