William 'Mo' Cowan

In light of John Kerry headed back to Washington to assist President Barack Obama as Secretary of State, the state of Masschusetts was in need of someone to take Kerry’s vacant seat in the U.S. Senate.

Although former Congressional representative Barney Frank was heavily pushing for the position, Massachusetts state governor Deval Patrick opted instead to appoint political upstart William “Mo” Cowan as Kerry’s replacement today. Cowan will serve as an interim Senator for now, until the state conducts a special election in June in which voters will officially elect someone to fill the Senate seat.

Cowan, a North Carolina native and graduate of Duke University and Northeastern University Law School, will be the first African-American Senator for Masschusetts since 1978. In addition to joining Elizabeth Warren – who became Massachusetts’ first female senator in state history – as a state Senator, Cowan’s appointment has special historical significance. With Republican Tim Scott currently serving as a Senator in South Carolina, this will mark the first time in United States history that two African-Americans will serve as senators at the same damn time during the same legislative session.

It remains to be seen if Cowan will make an attempt to go after the open Senate seat in June once his temporary tenure is up, but this is certainly interesting news heading into Black History Month.

[via NewYork Magazine]