African American Women in Congress: Forming and Transforming History / Edition 1

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Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman in the U.S. House of Representatives, was elected in 1968. That was nearly a hundred years after the election of the first African American man to Congress and fifty years after the first woman. A quarter of a century after Chisholm's election, the first Black woman, Carol Moseley-Braun, was elected to the United States Senate. It was not until 1993, when ten additional Black women won seats in the 103rd Congress, that African American women were allowed to serve their country and their constituencies in any substantial numbers. In 1997 that historic moment will very likely be lost as congressional districts are redrawn by court order. This remarkable book by LaVerne Gill preserves the history of the struggles and accomplishments of these fifteen courageous women, and will move others to learn from and follow their example.

African American Women in Congress details the life and career histories of Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordan, Yvonne Burke, Cardiss Collins, Katie Hall, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Maxine Waters, Barbara-Rose Collins, Carol Moseley-Braun, Corinne Brown, Carrie Meek, Cynthia McKinney, Eva Clayton, Eddie Bernice Johnson, and Sheila Jackson-Lee. Each profile contains a picture of its subject, interview material, and resumés. Arranged chronologically, the book introduces the reader to issues of vital importance to the Black community—Reconstruction, enfranchisement, lynchings and harassment, civil rights struggles, the founding of advocacy groups, the power of the Congressional Black Caucus, the creation of majority minority districts that allowed greater representation in Congress, the struggle of largely Black Washington, D.C., for representation, and the recent dismantling of past gains by a Republican majority. Gill also describes the uphill battles for social justice and the rights of women that the fifteen women had to wage even within their own political parties, political organizations, and districts.

For general readers, high school and college students, and anyone interested in the political process, this book is illuminating and inspiring reading.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In the nearly 30 years since Shirley Chisholm became the first African American woman elected to Congress, only 14 other women of color have followed her. This book provides in-depth profiles of those women with descriptive biographies of each, including their legislative triumphs and personal challenges. Gill, a print and broadcast journalist who was a member of the Congressional Press Gallery, begins each profile with a "rsum" that outline the subject's vital statistics; educational, professional, and political backgrounds; and congressional data. The profiles offer objective evaluations of the congresswomen's abilities, personalities, strengths, and weaknesses and tell of the many obstacles each of them overcame to reach such a high level of government. An appendix lists the names and dates of all African Americans who have served in Congress, and there is an extensive bibliography. These features make this work a potentially valuable reference tool. Recommended for public and academic libraries.Jill Ortner, SUNY at Buffalo Libs.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813523538
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1997
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.98 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Introduction 1
Pt. 1 The Trailblazers
Ch. 2 Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm (D-N.Y.) 1969-1982 13
Ch. 3 Barbara Charline Jordan (D-Tex.) 1973-1978 35
Ch. 4 Yvonne Brathwaite Burke (D-Calif.) 1973-1978 55
Ch. 5 Cardiss Robertson Collins (D-Ill.) 1973-1996 67
Ch. 6 Katie Beatrice Green Hall (D-Ind.) 1982-1984 85
Pt. 2 The Urban Women of the 102d Congress
Ch. 7 Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) 1991- 97
Ch. 8 Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) 1991- 115
Ch. 9 Barbara-Rose Collins (D-Mich.) 1991-1996 133
Pt. 3 The U. S. Senate
Ch. 10 Carol Moseley-Braun (D-Ill.) 1993- 147
Pt. 4 The Southern Women of the 103rd and 104th Congresses
Ch. 11 Corrine Brown (D-Fla.) 1993- 167
Ch. 12 Carrie Pittman Meek (D-Fla.) 1993- 181
Ch. 13 Cynthia Ann McKinney (D-Ga.) 1993- 191
Ch. 14 Eva McPherson Clayton (D-N.C.) 1993- 205
Ch. 15 Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Tex.) 1993- 221
Ch. 16 Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Fla.) 1995- 233
Ch. 17 Epilogue 245
Appendix African Americans in the U.S. Congress, 1870-1996 249
Notes 253
Bibliography 259
Index 261
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