Updated: Feb 16, 2021
Kamala Harris becoming the first woman and black and Asian-American vice president of the United States has certainly been a historical feat that will go down in history. However, it’s important to note that Kamala Harris’s ascent to the vice presidency didn’t just come out of nowhere--it was made possible by generations of black women who broke barriers in order to make it possible for the nation to have its first black female vice president. Civic Engagement Minneapolis-St Paul MN
In honor of Black History Month, we want to look back on the accomplishments of some of the many black women who helped to pave the way for Kamala Harris to become the vice president of the United States.
In 1968, Shirley Chisholm became the first African-American woman to be elected to Congress. Moreover, she was also the first Democratic nominated black candidate for U.S. President back in 1972. During her career, Chisholm fought for black women’s reproductive rights, child welfare, and much more.
Barbara Jordan became the first African-American to be elected to the Texas Senate after Reconstruction, and was also the first African-American woman from the South elected to the United States House of Representatives.
Before Kamala Harris’s time, Charlotta Bass was the first black woman to run for vice president, and bid for the position in 1952 to be on the ticket alongside the U.S. presidential candidate Vincent Hallinan.
Patricia Harris was the first African-American woman to serve in the presidential cabinet during the presidency of Jimmy Carter in 1977, and worked alongside several presidents throughout her political career. In 1963, she was named the co-chair of the National Women’s Committee for Civil Rights by President John F. Kennedy, and was also the first African-American woman to be appointed as an American envoy by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965.
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