Carol Moseley Braun


Carol Elizabeth Moseley Braun (born August 16, 1947) is an American politician and lawyer who represented Illinois in the United States Senate from 1993 to 1999. She was the first, and to date, the only, African-American woman elected to the United States Senate, the first African-American senator to be elected as a Democrat, the first woman to defeat an incumbent senator in an election, and the first female senator from Illinois. From 1999 until 2001, she was the United States Ambassador to New Zealand. She was a candidate for the Democratic nomination during the 2004 U.S. presidential election.

As an attorney, Moseley Braun was a prosecutor in the United States Attorney’s office in Chicago from 1973 to 1977. An Assistant of United States Attorney, she worked primarily in the civil and appellate law areas and tried cases of national importance.[citations needed] Her work in housing, health policy, and environmental law won her the Attorney General’s Special Achievement Award. She subsequently received over 300 awards for achievements in the public interest.

Moseley Braun was first elected to public office in 1978, as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives. There, she rose to the post of assistant majority leader. As a State Representative, she became recognized as a champion for education, governmental reform, and civil rights.[citations needed] As early as 1984, she proposed a moratorium on the application in Illinois of the death penalty. And in what became a landmark reapportionment case, Crosby vs State Board of Elections, she successfully sued her own party and the state of Illinois on behalf of African American and Hispanic citizens. When she left the state legislature in 1987, her colleagues recognized her in a resolution as “the conscience of the House.”[citations needed] That same year, she was elected as Cook County, Illinois, Recorder of Deeds, a post she held for four years.

In 1991, angered by incumbent Democratic senator Alan Dixon’s vote to confirm Clarence Thomas, Moseley Braun challenged him in the primary election. Candidate Albert Hofeld’s campaign ran many anti-Dixon ads, and Moseley Braun won the primary, ultimately defeating Richard S. Williamson in the Senate election. On November 3, 1992, she became the first African American woman to be elected to the United States Senate. Her election marked the first time Illinois had elected a woman, and the first time a black person was elected as a Democrat, to the United States Senate. She was one of two African-Americans to serve in the Senate in the 20th century, and was the sole African-American in the Senate from 1993 to 1999.



Carol Moseley-Braun: Breaking Barriers by Mellonee Carrigan

Carol Moseley-Braun (African-American Leaders) by Wayne D’Orio

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