Loretta Lynch made US history as the first black woman to become Attorney General in 2015. In this story by Francine Kiefer, you'll learn if Loretta was in the chamber when the US Senate confirmed her. Read Loretta Lynch Makes History As First Black Woman To Become Attorney General.
In January, 2010, the 40th anniversary edition of Shirley Chisholm's autobiography, Unbought and Unbossed was published. Here's more about Shirley Chisholm. In Unbought and Unbossed Shirley chronicles how she became America's first African American Congresswoman rising from humble beginnings to the national U.S. stage.
Blanche Kelso Bruce, Hiram Revels, and P.B.S. Pinchback get most of the credit. Right after the Civil War, a very large number of African Americans were elected to Congress, almost exclusively by black constituents. Historian and author Phillip Dray reveals how during Reconstruction, African American legislators by the hundreds took their place in black history. Capitol Men: The Epic Story of Reconstruction Through the Lives of the First Black Congressmen is an eye-opener and a must read. We know how this story ends, with 'black codes,' Jim Crow laws, and blatant discrimination to "zero out" the presence of African American Congressional leadership by the end of the 19th Century. Discover the fascinating story for yourself by learning more about these capitol men.
Arthur, Clarence, and Parren Mitchell, (no relationship), are three former members of the U.S. Congress who combined social activism with legislative power. Arthur W. Mitchell, (1886-1968), was the first black Democrat elected to the U.S. Congress (1934 - 1943). Mitchell studied under Booker T. Washington at Tuskegee Institute. The Congressman, representing the First Congressional District of Illinois, received his law school instruction at Columbia and Harvard. Clarence Mitchell, (1911-1984), earned the nickname the "101st. Senator," thanks to his effective lobbying efforts for civil rights. His influence helped pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Mitchell helped extend a ban against voting literacy tests in 1970. He was instrumental in gaining enforcement powers for the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) in 1972. President Jimmy Carter awarded Mitchell the Medal of Freedom in 1980 for his lifetime battle for civil rights. Parren Mitchell was the first African American to be elected to Congress from Maryland’s 7th District in 1970. He became Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus in 1976. In 1950, he challenged the University of Maryland in the courts to become the school’s first black graduate student.
Long before the presidential aspirations of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Carol Moseley Braun, Alan Keyes, Barack Obama, and others, there was Shirley Chisholm. Shirley St. Hill Chisholm, (1924-2005), was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1968. She was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1924. Shirley was the first African American woman elected to Congress, and the first black to wage a serious campaign for the 1972 Democratic nomination for president. Chisholm retired from Congress in 1982. Listen to Congresswoman Chisholm's historic 2 minute announcement for her candidacy for President of the United States, recorded 36 years ago, in 1972, outside of the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. What remarkable parallels can you hear between Chisholm's diplomatic words and so many similar voices of the candidates of today? Chisholm is truly a black history pioneer in American politics.
Many have come since, but in November, 1967, 40 years ago, these 3 black history people were elected as the first African American mayors of major U.S. cities. Carl B. Stokes was elected mayor of Cleveland, Ohio. Floyd McCree was elected mayor of Flint, Michigan. Richard B. Hatcher was elected mayor of Gary, Indiana. The mid 20th century civil rights movement helped lead to these important political gains.
Azie Taylor Morton, (1936 - 2003), was the first African American woman Treasurer of the United States (1977). Blanche Kelso Bruce was the first black appointed to the position in 1881. Before her post as the 36th Treasurer, Morton, a Dale, Texas native, was a teacher, a U.S. EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) investigator, and a special assistant to the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Morton’s signature appeared on $1, $5, and $10 bills issued between September, 1977 - August 1979. If you have one of these bills, they are very rare.