November Firsts: African-Americans Who Broke Barriers in Politics

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  • Edward William Brooke III elected the first African-American from Massachusetts
  • Julia May Carson elected Indiana's first Black congresswoman
  • Yvonne Brathwaite Burke was first Black female from California elected to the U.S. House of Representatives
  • Charles Coles Diggs Jr. elected Michigan's first Black congressman
  • Roland Burris elected Illinois' first Black comptroller
  • Barack Obama elected first Black president of the United States
  • Shirley Chisholm becomes the first Black woman elected to Congress
  • Colin Powell named White House National Security Adviser
  • Condoleezza Rice nominated to U.S. Department of State
  • Carol Moseley-Braun elected first Black female U.S. Senator
  • Louis Stokes elected first African-American elected congressman of Ohio
  • Mervyn M. Dymally elected first Black person to hold statewide office
  • Eva M. Clayton elected North Carolina's first Black congresswoman
  • George L. Brown elected first Black lieutenant governor of Colorado
  • L. Douglas Wilder elected the first elected Black governor of Virginia,

Yvonne Brathwaite Burke

Yvonne Brathwaite Burke's political career included several firsts: she was the first Black female elected to the California assembly in 1966 and the first Black female from California elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1972. She also served as the first woman chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. 

(Photo: US Government House of Representatives)

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