Politics and Government

Women in the U.S. Senate

What black woman was the first to be elected to the U.S. Senate?

Carol E. Moseley Braun (1947–) became the nation’s first black woman U.S. senator in 1992. She was elected on November 3 and served one term in the 103rd Congress, representing Illinois. She was also Illinois’ first black senator. In 1995 she became the first woman named to a full term on the powerful Senate Finance Committee. The Chicagoborn attorney was educated at the University of Illinois at Chicago (B.A., 1969) and the University of Chicago (J.D., 1972). She was active in Chicago legal circles and the state legislature, and served as Cook County (Illinois) recorder of deeds/registrar of titles. In 2000 she became ambassador to New Zealand and to the tiny South Pacific state of Samoa (formerly Western Samoa). In fall 2001 she became professor of politics at Morris Brown College in Atlanta. In 2011 she ran, unsuccessfully, in the Chicago mayoral race. She currently runs a private law firm in Chicago.


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