The other Black man serving as a United States Senator is former U.S. Representative Tim Scott, who was appointed in December 2012 by South Carolina governor Nikki Haley to fill out the remainder of Jim DeMint's term in the Senate.
Cowan will become only the 8th Black person to ever have served as U.S. Senator. Retired Congressman Barney Frank had openly lobbied to be appointed, which would have meant there would have been two openly gay Senators serving simultaneously, but Gov. Patrick chose instead his good friend and longtime close advisor.