Charles Sumner, U.S. Senator

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Charles Sumner

Birthdate: (63)
Birthplace: Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States
Death: March 11, 1874 (63)
Washington, DC, United States
Place of Burial: Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Charles Pinckney Sumner and Relief Sumner
Ex-husband of Alice Mason Sumner

Occupation: statesman
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Charles Sumner, U.S. Senator

Charles Sumner (January 6, 1811 – March 11, 1874) was an American politician and statesman from Massachusetts. An academic lawyer and a powerful orator, Sumner was the leader of the antislavery forces in Massachusetts and a leader of the Radical Republicans in the United States Senate during the American Civil War and Reconstruction, working to punish the ex-Confederates and guarantee equal rights to the Freedmen.

Sumner changed his political party several times, gaining fame as a Republican. One of the most learned statesmen of the era, he specialized in foreign affairs, working closely with Abraham Lincoln to keep the British and the French from intervening on the side of the Confederacy during the Civil War. He devoted his enormous energies to the destruction of what he considered the Slave Power, that is the efforts of slave owners to take control of the federal government and ensure the survival and expansion of slavery.

In 1856, South Carolina Representative Preston Brooks severely beat Sumner to the point of breaking a cane over his head, leaving him on the floor of the Senate and escalating antebellum tensions. After three years of medical treatment and foreign travel, Sumner returned to the Senate as the war began. Sumner was a leading proponent of emancipating the slaves to weaken the Confederacy. Although he kept on good terms with Lincoln, he was a leader of the hard-line Radical Republicans. As the chief Radical leader in the Senate during Reconstruction, 1865–1871, Sumner fought hard to provide equal civil and voting rights for the freedmen on the grounds that "consent of the governed" was a basic principle of American republicanism, and to block ex-Confederates from power so they would not reverse the North's victory in the Civil War. Sumner, teaming with House leader Thaddeus Stevens, defeated Andrew Johnson's reconstruction plans and imposed Radical views on the South. In 1871, however, he broke with President Ulysses Grant. Grant's Senate supporters then took away Sumner's power base, his committee chairmanship. Sumner, concluding that Grant's corruption and the success of Reconstruction policies called for new national leadership, supported the Liberal Republicans candidate Horace Greeley in 1872 and lost his power inside the Republican party.

Early life, education, and law career

Sumner was born on Irving Street in Boston on January 6, 1811. He was the son of Charles Pinckney Sumner, a progressive Harvard-educated lawyer, abolitionist, and early proponent of racially integrated schools, who shocked 19th century Boston by opposing anti-miscegenation laws. His father had been born in poverty and his mother shared a similar background and worked as a seamstress prior to her marriage. Sumner's parents were described as exceedingly formal and undemonstrative. His father's legal practice was a failure, and throughout Sumner's childhood his family teetered on the edge of the middle class. The family attended Trinity Church, but after 1825 the family occupied a pew in King's Chapel.

Sumner attended the Boston Latin School, where he counted Robert Charles Winthrop, James Freeman Clarke, Samuel Francis Smith, and Wendell Phillips, among his closest friends. He graduated in 1830 from Harvard College, where he lived in Hollis Hall, and in 1834 from Harvard Law School where he became a protege of Joseph Story. At Harvard, he was a member of the Porcellian Club.

In 1834, Sumner was admitted to the bar and entered private practice in Boston in partnership with George Stillman Hillard. A visit to Washington decided him against a political career, and he returned to Boston resolved to practice law. He contributed to the quarterly American Jurist and edited Story's court decisions as well as some law texts. From 1836 to 1837, Sumner lectured at Harvard Law School.

Travels in Europe

From 1837 to 1840, Sumner traveled extensively in Europe. He became fluent in French, Spanish, German, and Italian..He met with many of the leading statesmen in Europe.

Sumner visited Britain in 1838. Lord Brougham declared that he "had never met with any man of Sumner's age of such extensive legal knowledge and natural legal intellect."

Early political career

In 1840, at the age of 29, Sumner returned to Boston to practice law but devoted more time to lecturing at Harvard Law, editing court reports, and contributing to law journals, especially on historical and biographical themes.

In 1845, he delivered an Independence Day oration on "The True Grandeur of Nations" in Boston. He spoke against the Mexican-American War and made an impassioned appeal for freedom and peace.

He became a sought-after orator for formal occasions. His lofty themes and stately eloquence made a profound impression. His platform presence was imposing. He stood six feet and four inches tall, with a massive frame. His voice was clear and of great power. His gestures were unconventional and individual, but vigorous and impressive. His literary style was florid, with much detail, allusion, and quotation, often from the Bible as well as the Greeks and Romans. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote that he delivered speeches "like a cannoneer ramming down cartridges," while Sumner himself said that "you might as well look for a joke in the Book of Revelation."

Sumner worked with Horace Mann to improve the system of public education in Massachusetts. He advocated prison reform and opposed the Mexican-American War. He consider it a war of aggression, but was primarily concerned that captured territories would expand slavery westward. In 1847, Sumner denounced a Boston Representative's vote for the declaration of war against Mexico with such vigor that he became a leader of the Conscience Whigs faction of the Massachusetts Whig Party. He declined to accept their nomination for U.S Representative in 1848.

Instead, Sumner helped organize the Free Soil Party, which opposed both the Democrats and the Whigs, who had nominated Zachary Taylor, a slave-owning Southerner, for President. Sumner ran for U.S. Representative as a Free Soil candidate and lost.

In 1851, Democrats gained control of the Massachusetts state legislature in coalition with the Free Soilers. The Free Soilers named Sumner their choice for U.S. Senator. The Democrats initially opposed hm and called for a less radical candidate. The impasse was broken after three months and Sumner was elected by a one-vote majority on April 24, 1851.

Senate service

Antebellum career

Sumner took his Senate seat in late 1851 as a Democrat. For the first few sessions, Sumner did not promote any of his controversial causes. On August 26, 1852, Sumner, despite strenuous efforts to dissuade him, delivered his first major speech, titled with a popular abolitionist motto: "Freedom National; Slavery Sectional". He attacked the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act.

Though the conventions of both major parties had just affirmed the finality of every provision of the Compromise of 1850, including the Fugitive Slave Act, Sumner called for the Act's repeal. For more than three hours he denounced it as a violation of the Constitution, an affront to the public conscience, and an offense against divine law. The speech provoked a storm of anger in the South, but it made Sumner's reputation in the North.

Attacked by Preston Brooks

In 1856, during the "Bleeding Kansas" crisis, Sumner denounced the Kansas-Nebraska Act. In the "Crime against Kansas" on May 19 and May 20, Sumner attacked the authors of the Act, Senators Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois and Andrew Butler of South Carolina. He said that Butler had taken "a mistress who, though ugly to others, is always lovely to him; though polluted in the sight of the world, is chaste in his sight—I mean, the harlot, Slavery." Sumner's three-hour oration later became particularly personally insulting as he mocked the 59-year-old Butler's manner of speech and physical mannerisms, which were impaired by a stroke. Douglas said to a colleague during the speech that "this damn fool Sumner is going to get himself shot by some other damn fool."

Representative Preston Brooks, Butler's nephew, was infuriated, intended to challenge Sumner to a duel, and consulted with fellow South Carolina Representative Laurence M. Keitt on dueling etiquette. Keitt told him that dueling was for gentlemen of equal social standing, and that Sumner was no better than a drunkard, due to the supposedly coarse language he had used during his speech. Brooks concluded in turn that since Sumner was no gentlemen, it would be more appropriate to beat him with his cane.

Two days later, on the afternoon of May 22, Brooks confronted Sumner as he sat writing at his desk in the almost empty Senate chamber: "Mr. Sumner, I have read your speech twice over carefully. It is a libel on South Carolina, and Mr. Butler, who is a relative of mine." As Sumner began to stand up, Brooks beat Sumner severely on the head before he could reach his feet, using a thick gutta-percha cane with a gold head. Sumner was knocked down and trapped under the heavy desk (which was bolted to the floor), but Brooks continued to strike Sumner until Sumner ripped the desk from the floor. By this time, Sumner was blinded by his own blood, and he staggered up the aisle and collapsed, lapsing into unconsciousness. Brooks continued to beat the motionless Sumner until his cane broke at which point he left the chamber. Several other Senators attempted to help Sumner, but were blocked by Keitt who brandished a pistol and shouted, "Let them be!" Keitt was censured for his actions.

Brooks was later fined $300 for his actions.

The attack revealed the increasing polarization of the United States at that time, as Sumner became a martyr in the North and Brooks a hero in the South. Northerners were outraged. The editor of the New York Evening Post, William Cullen Bryant, wrote:

The South cannot tolerate free speech anywhere, and would stifle it in Washington with the bludgeon and the bowie-knife, as they are now trying to stifle it in Kansas by massacre, rapine, and murder. Has it come to this, that we must speak with bated breath in the presence of our Southern masters? ... Are we to be chastised as they chastise their slaves? Are we too, slaves, slaves for life, a target for their brutal blows, when we do not comport ourselves to please them?

The outrage in the North was loud and strong. Historian William Gienapp has suggested that Brooks' "assault was of critical importance in transforming the struggling Republican party into a major political force." Conversely, Brooks was praised by Southern newspapers. The Richmond Enquirer editorialized that Sumner should be caned "every morning," praising the attack as "good in conception, better in execution, and best of all in consequences" and denounced "these vulgar abolitionists in the Senate" who "have been suffered to run too long without collars. They must be lashed into submission." Many Southerners sent Brooks new canes, in endorsement of his assault.

Absence from the Senate

In addition to the head trauma, Sumner suffered from nightmares, severe headaches, and what is now understood to be post-traumatic stress disorder or "psychic wounds." When he spent months convalescing, his political enemies ridiculed him and accused him of cowardice for not resuming his duties. The Massachusetts General Court reelected him in November 1856, believing that his vacant chair in the Senate chamber served as a powerful symbol of free speech and resistance to slavery.

When he returned to the Senate in 1857, he was unable to last a day. His doctors advised a sea voyage and "a complete separation from the cares and responsibilities that must beset him at home." He sailed for Europe and immediately found relief. During two months in Paris in the spring of 1957, he renewed friendships, especially with Thomas Gold Appleton, dined out frequently, and attended the opera several nights in a row. His contacts there included Alexis de Tocqueville, poet Alphonse de Lamartine, former French Prime Minister François Guizot, Ivan Turgenev, and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Sumner then toured several countries, including Germany and Scotland, before returning to Washington where he spent only a few days in the Senate in December. Both then and during several later attempts to return to work, he found himself exhausted just listening to Senate business. He sailed once more for Europe on May 22, 1958, the second anniversary of Brooks' attack.

In Paris, prominent physician Charles-Édouard Brown-Séquard diagnosed Sumner's condition as spinal cord damage that he could treat by burning the skin along the spinal cord. Sumner chose to refuse anesthesia, which was thought to reduce the effectiveness of the procedure. Observers both at the time and since doubt Brown-Séquard's efforts were of value. After spending weeks recovering from these treatments, Sumner resumed his touring, this time traveling as far east as Dresden and Prague and south to Italy twice. In France he visited Brittany and Normandy, as well as Montpellier. He wrote his brother: "If anyone cares to know how I am doing, you can say better and better."

Civil War

Sumner returned to the Senate in 1859. He delivered a speech entitled "The Barbarism of Slavery" during the 1860 presidential election. In the critical months following the election of Abraham Lincoln, Sumner opposed every scheme of compromise with the Confederacy.

In March 1861, after the withdrawal of Southern Senators, Sumner became chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations. As chairman of the Committee, Sumner renewed his efforts to win U.S. diplomatic recognition of Haiti. Haiti had sought recognition since winning independence in 1804 but faced opposition from Southern Senators. In their absence, the U.S. recognized Haiti in 1862.

During the Civil War, Sumner received letters from prominent British political figures, including Cobden, Bright, Gladstone, and the Duke of Argyll. At Lincoln's request, Sumner read these letters to the Lincoln's Cabinet. They provided critical information on political sentiment in Britain with respect to the Civil War in the U.S.

In the war scare over the Trent affair, Sumner supported Lincoln's decision to return James M. Mason and John Slidell to British custody. Sumner repeatedly used his chairmanship to avoid a war with Britain.

During the war Sumner advocated immediate emancipation of the slaves. Lincoln described Sumner as "my idea of a bishop", and consulted him as an embodiment of the conscience of the American people.

Civil rights

Sumner was unusually far-sighted in his advocacy of voting and civil rights for blacks. His father hated slavery and told Sumner that freeing the slaves would "do us no good" unless they were treated equally by society. Sumner was a close associate of William Ellery Channing, an influential Unitarian minister in Boston. Channing believed that human beings had an infinite potential to improve themselves. Expanding on this argument, Sumner concluded that environment had "an important, if not controlling influence" in shaping individuals. By creating a society where "knowledge, virtue and religion" took precedence, "the most forlorn shall grow into forms of unimagined strength and beauty." Moral law, then, was as important for governments as it was for individuals, and laws which inhibited a man's ability to grow—like slavery or segregation—were evil. While Sumner often had dark views of contemporary society, his faith in reform was unshakeable; when accused of utopianism, he replied "The Utopias of one age have been the realities of the next."

The annexation of Texas—a new slave-holding state—in 1845 pushed Sumner into taking an active role in the anti-slavery movement. That same year, Sumner represented the plaintiffs in Roberts v. Boston, a case which challenged the legality of segregation. Arguing before the Massachusetts Supreme Court, Sumner noted that schools for blacks were physically inferior and that segregation bred harmful psychological and sociological effects—arguments that would be made in Brown v. Board of Education over a century later. Sumner lost the case, but the Massachusetts legislature eventually abolished school segregation in 1855.

Sumner was a longtime enemy of United States Chief Justice Roger Taney, and attacked his decision in the Dred Scott v. Sandford case. In 1865, Sumner said:

I speak what cannot be denied when I declare that the opinion of the Chief Justice in the case of Dred Scott was more thoroughly abominable than anything of the kind in the history of courts. Judicial baseness reached its lowest point on that occasion. You have not forgotten that terrible decision where a most unrighteous judgment was sustained by a falsification of history. Of course, the Constitution of the United States and every principle of Liberty was falsified, but historical truth was falsified also ...

A friend of Samuel Gridley Howe, Sumner was also a guiding force for the American Freedmen's Inquiry Commission. He was one of the most prominent advocates for suffrage, along with free homesteads and free public schools for blacks. Sumner's outspoken opposition to slavery made him few friends in the Senate; after his first major speech in 1852, a Senator from Alabama urged that there be no reply: "The ravings of a maniac may sometimes be dangerous, but the barking of a puppy never did any harm." His uncompromising attitude did not endear him to moderates and sometimes inhibited his effectiveness as a legislator; he was largely excluded from work on the Thirteenth Amendment, in part because he did not get along with Illinois Senator Lyman Trumbull, who chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee and did much of the work on the law. Sumner did introduce an alternate amendment that would have abolished slavery and declare that "all people are equal before the law"—a combination of the Thirteenth Amendment with elements of the Fourteenth Amendment. During Reconstruction, he often attacked civil rights legislation as too weak and fought hard for legislation to give land to freed slaves; unlike many of his contemporaries, he viewed segregation and slavery as two sides of the same coin. He introduced a civil rights bill in 1872 that would have mandated equal accommodation in all public places and required suits brought under the bill to be argued in federal courts. The bill ultimately failed, but Sumner still spoke of it on his deathbed.

In April 1870, Sumner announced that he would work to remove the word "white" from naturalization laws. He had in 1868 and 1869 introduced bills to that effect, but neither came to a vote. On July 2, 1870, Sumner moved to amend a pending bill in a way that would strike the word "white" wherever in all Congressional acts pertaining to naturalization of immigrants. On July 4, 1870, he said: "Senators undertake to disturb us ... by reminding us of the possibility of large numbers swarming from China; but the answer to all this is very obvious and very simple. If the Chinese come here, they will come for citizenship or merely for labor. If they come for citizenship, then in this desire do they give a pledge of loyalty to our institutions; and where is the peril in such vows? They are peaceful and industrious; how can their citizenship be the occasion of solicitude?" He accused legislators promoting anti-Chinese legislation of betraying the principles of the Declaration of Independence: "Worse than any heathen or pagan abroad are those in our midst who are false to our institutions." Sumner's bill failed, and from 1870 to 1943, and in some cases as late as 1952, Chinese and other Asians were ineligible for U.S. citizenship.


Sumner's radical theory of Reconstruction proposed that nothing restricted the Congress in determining how to treat the 11 defeated states. He argued that by declaring secession they had committed felo de se (state suicide) and were now conquered territories that should be treated as if they had never been states. He objected to Lincoln's and later Andrew Johnson's more lenient Reconstruction policies as too generous to the South and an encroachment upon the powers of Congress.

Throughout the war, Sumner had been the special champion of blacks, being the most vigorous advocate of emancipation, of enlisting blacks in the Union army, and of the establishment of the Freedmen's Bureau. As the Radical Republican leader in the post-war Senate, Sumner fought to provide equal civil and voting rights for the freedmen on the grounds that "consent of the governed" was a basic principle of American republicanism and in order to keep ex-Confederates from gaining political offices and undoing the North's victory in the Civil War.

Sumner and his fellow Radicals overrode President Johnson's vetoes and imposed some of their views, though Sumner's most radical ideas were not implemented.

Foreign affairs

Sumner was well regarded in Great Britain, but after the war he sacrificed his reputation in Britain by his stand on U.S. claims for British breaches of neutrality. The U.S. had claims against Britain for the damage inflicted by Confederate raiding ships fitted out in British ports. Sumner held that since Britain had accorded the rights of belligerents to the Confederacy, it was responsible for extending the duration of the war and consequent losses. He asserted that Britain should pay damages not merely for the raiders, but also for "that other damage, immense and infinite, caused by the prolongation of the war." He demanded $2,000,000 for these "national claims" in addition to $125,000,000 for damages from the raiders. Sumner did not expect that Britain ever would or could pay this immense sum, but he suggested that Britain should to turn over Canada as payment.[28] This proposition offended many Britons, and was not taken seriously by anyone. At the Geneva arbitration conference which settled U.S. claims against Britain, these "national claims" were abandoned.

Sumner had some influence over J. Lothrop Motley, the U.S. ambassador to Britain, causing him to disregard the instructions of Secretary of State Hamilton Fish on the matter. This offended President Grant. The final breach between Grant and Sumner came in 1870. Grant proposed that the U.S. annex the Dominican Republic. Grant mistakenly thought that Sumner supported him in this project. Instead, Sumner blocked the annexation treaty in the Foreign Relations Committee. Grant became Sumner's bitter enemy and his Senate allies removed Sumner from his chairmanship in March 1871.

Final years

Sumner now turned against Grant. Like many other reformers, he decried the corruption in Grant's administration. Sumner believed that the civil rights program he championed could not be carried through by a corrupt government. In 1872, he joined the Liberal Republican Party which had been started by reformist Republicans such as Horace Greeley. The Liberal Republicans supported black suffrage and civil rights, but they also called for amnesty for ex-Confederates and an end to military occupation of the South, and became a de facto fusion with the Democrats.

Sumner himself began to adopt some conciliatory positions. In 1872, he introduced a Senate resolution providing that Civil War battle names should not appear as "battle honors" on the regimental flags of the U.S. Army. This offended Union army veterans. The Massachusetts legislature denounced this battle-flag resolution as "an insult to the loyal soldiery of the nation" and as "meeting the unqualified condemnation of the people of the Commonwealth." poet John Greenleaf Whittier led an effort to rescind that censure and succeeded early in 1874.

Sumner remained a champion of civil rights for blacks. He was a co-author of the Civil Rights Act of 1875, which was introduced in 1870, and enacted a year after his death. It was the last civil rights legislation for 82 years. The Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional in 1883 when it decided a group of cases known as the Civil Rights Cases.

Personal life and marriage

Sumner developed friendships with several prominent Bostonians, particularly Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, whose house he visited regularly in the 1840s. Longfellow's daughters found his stateliness amusing. Sumner would ceremoniously open doors for the children while saying "In presequas" in a sonorous tone.

A bachelor for most of his life, Sumner began courting Alice Mason Hooper, the daughter of Massachusetts Representative Samuel Hooper, in 1866 and the two were married that October. Their marriage was unhappy. Sumner could not respond to his wife's humor, and Hooper had a ferocious temper. That winter, Hooper began going out to public events with Friedrich von Holstein, a Prussian diplomat. The relationship caused gossip in Washington, and Hooper refused to stop seeing him. When Holstein was recalled to Prussia in the spring of 1867, Hooper accused Sumner of engineering the action, which Sumner always denied. They separated the following September. Sumner's enemies used the affair to attack Sumner's manhood, calling Sumner "The Great Impotency". The situation depressed and embarrassed Sumner. Sumner obtained an uncontested divorced on the grounds of desertion on May 10, 1873.

Charles Sumner died in Washington, March 11, 1874. He lay in state in the U.S. Capitol rotunda and was buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Historical interpretations

Contemporaries and historians have explored Sumner's personality at length. Sumner's friend Senator Carl Schurz praised Sumner's integrity, his "moral courage," the "sincerity of his convictions," and the "disinterestedness of his motives." However, Sumner's Pulitzer-prize-winning biographer, David Donald, presents Sumner as an insufferably arrogant moralist; an egoist bloated with pride; pontifical and Olympian, and unable to distinguish between large issues and small ones. What's more, concludes Donald, Sumner was a coward who avoided confrontations with his many enemies, whom he routinely insulted in prepared speeches.

Biographers have varied in their appraisal of Sumner. The Pulitzer Prize went to biographer David Donald whose two-volume biography points up Sumner's troubles in dealing with his colleagues:

Distrusted by friends and allies, and reciprocating their distrust, a man of "ostentatious culture," "unvarnished egotism," and "'a specimen of prolonged and morbid juvenility,'" Sumner combined a passionate conviction in his own moral purity with a command of nineteenth-century "rhetorical flourishes" and a "remarkable talent for rationalization." Stumbling "into politics largely by accident," elevated to the United States Senate largely by chance, willing to indulge in "Jacksonian demagoguery" for the sake of political expediency, Sumner became a bitter and potent agitator of sectional conflict. Carving out a reputation as the South's most hated foe and the Negro's bravest friend, he inflamed sectional differences, advanced his personal fortunes, and helped bring about national tragedy."

Moorfield Storey, Sumner's private secretary for two years and subsequent biographer, seeing some of the same qualities, interprets them more kindly:

Charles Sumner was a great man in his absolute fidelity to principle, his clear perception of what his country needed, his unflinching courage, his perfect sincerity, his persistent devotion to duty, his indifference to selfish considerations, his high scorn of anything petty or mean. He was essentially simple to the end, brave, kind, and pure.... Originally modest and not self-confident, the result of his long contest was to make him egotistical and dogmatic. There are few successful men who escape these penalties of success, the common accompaniment of increasing years....Sumner's naively simple nature, his confidence in his fellows, and his lack of humor combined to prevent his concealing what many feel but are better able to hide. From the time he entered public life till he died he was a strong force constantly working for righteousness....To Sumner more than to any single man, except possibly Lincoln, the colored race owes its emancipation and such measure of equal rights as it now enjoys.

Sumner's reputation among historians in the first half of the 20th century was largely negative—he was blamed especially for the excesses or Radical Reconstruction. Both the Dunning School and the anti-Dunning revisionists were especially negative regarding his performance during Reconstruction. However in recent years scholars have emphasized his role as a foremost champions of black rights before, during and after the Civil War; one historian says he was "perhaps the least racist man in America in his day."

Ralph Waldo Emerson, a man not prone to false flattery, wrote of Sumner:

Mr. Sumner's position is exceptional in its honor.... In Congress, he did not rush into party position. He sat long silent and studious. His friends, I remember, were told that they would find Sumner a man of the world like the rest; ‘'t is quite impossible to be at Washington and not bend; he will bend as the rest have done.’ Well, he did not bend. He took his position and kept it.... I think I may borrow the language which Bishop Burnet applied to Sir Isaac Newton, and say that Charles Sumner “has the whitest soul I ever knew.”... Let him hear that every man of worth in New England loves his virtues.


The following are named after Charles Sumner:

Charles Sumner Lofton (1912–2006), pioneering African-American high school principal

Charles Sumner Tainter (1854–1940), American inventor

Charles Sumner Greene (1868–1957), American Arts and Crafts architect

Sumner High School in St. Louis, Missouri, opened in 1875, the first black high school west of the Mississippi.

Sumner Elementary School in Topeka, Kansas, now closed. The school played a key role in the landmark 1954 case Brown v. Board of Education and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Sumner Academy of Arts and Science, (Sumner High School prior to 1978) in Kansas City, Kansas.

The Charles Sumner School Museum in Washington, D.C., listed on the National Register of Historic PlacesCharles Sumner School in Washington, DC (now a museum).

Charles Sumner Post No. 25, Grand Army of the Republic in Chestertown, MD.

Charles Sumner Elementary School in Austin, MN

Charles Sumner Elementary School in Boston, MA

Charles Sumner High School(demolished)and Charles Sumner Field in Holbrook, MA

Charles Sumner Elementary School in Camden, New Jersey

Charles Sumner Elementary School in Scranton, Pennsylvania

Charles Sumner Junior High School in Manhattan, New York (now renamed)

Charles Sumner House, Sumner's home in Boston

Sumner Library in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Sumner County, Kansas.

Sumner, Iowa

Sumner, Nebraska

Sumner, Washington

Sumner, Oregon

Sumner Avenue, Brooklyn, NY (now renamed Marcus Garvey Boulevard)

Sumner Street, Newton, Massachusetts

Sumner Street, North Attleborough, MA

Sumner Avenue, Springfield, MA

Avenue Charles Sumner, in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti

SS Charles Sumner, a World War II Liberty cargo ship.

Avenida Charles Sumner, in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic

Massachusetts politician and abolitionist

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Charles Sumner, U.S. Senator's Timeline

January 6, 1811
Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States
March 11, 1874
Age 63
Washington, DC, United States
Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States