Politics

Harold Washington

Harold Washington

Harold Washington

b. April 15, 1922, Chicago, Ill., U.S.–d. Nov. 25, 1987, Chicago), American politician who gained national prominence as the first African-American mayor of Chicago (1983-87).

Washington graduated from Roosevelt University (B.A., 1949), earned a law degree from Northwestern University (1952), and established a private law practice in Chicago. He succeeded his father, a part-time Methodist minister, as Democratic precinct captain before working as a city attorney (1954-58) and a state labour arbitrator (1960-64). He then served in the Illinois House of Representatives (1965-76), the Illinois State Senate (1976-80), and the U.S. House of Representatives (1980-83).  Continue reading

Carol Moseley-Braun

Carol Moseley Braun

CAROL MOSELEY (b. Aug. 16, 1947, Chicago, Ill., U.S.), U.S. senator from Illinois who, in 1992, became the first African-American woman elected to the U.S. Senate. Moseley-Braun attended the University of Illinois at Chicago and received a law degree from the University of Chicago.

She worked as an assistant U.S. attorney before her election to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1978. During her 10 years there she became known for her advocacy of health-care and education reform and gun control. She was named assistant leader for the Democratic majority.

In 1988-92 Moseley-Braun served as Cook county recorder of deeds. Displeased with U.S. Senator Alan Dixon’s support of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, she ran against Dixon in the 1992 Democratic primary. Though poorly financed, she won an upset victory over Dixon on her way to capturing a seat in the Senate. Continue reading

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

South Africa’s First Black President, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (7/18/1918 – 12/5/2013) was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the first black South African to hold the office, and the first elected in a fully representative election.

His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid through tackling institutionalised racism, poverty and inequality, and fostering racial reconciliation. Politically an African nationalist and democratic socialist, he served as President of the African National Congress (ANC) from 1991 to 1997. Internationally, Mandela was Secretary General of the Non-Aligned Movement from 1998 to 1999.  Continue reading

Alexander L. Twilight

TWILIGHTAlexander Lucius Twilight is the first African American to graduate from a U.S. college, receiving his bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College in 1823. Also a pioneer in Vermont politics, Twilight became the first African American to win election to public office in 1836, joining his home-state legislature. He died in Brownington, Vermont, on June 19, 1857.

Born on September 23, 1795 (though sources vary on the month and day of his birth, with some saying September 26 and others noting July 15), in Corinth, Vermont, where he also grew up, Alexander Lucius Twilight was one of six children born to Ichabod and Mary Twilight. The Twilights were one of the few African-American families living in the area at the time. According to the Old Stone House Museum’s website, Ichabod Twilight served in the American Revolutionary War.  Continue reading

Bakke Decision

Bakke Decision Protesters

Bakke Decision Protesters

Bakke decision, formally Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, ruling in which, on June 28, 1978, the U.S. Supreme Court declared affirmative action constitutional but invalidated the use of racial quotas. The medical school at the University of California, Davis, as part of the university’s affirmative action program, had reserved 16 percent of its admission places for minority applicants.

Allan Bakke, a white California man who had twice unsuccessfully applied for admission to the medical school, filed suit against the university. Citing evidence that his grades and test scores surpassed those of many minority students who had been accepted for admission, Bakke charged that he had suffered unfair “reverse discrimination� on the basis of race, which he argued was contrary to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment.  Continue reading

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