Carol Moseley-Braun – African American Studies Essay (300 Level Course)
Carol Moseley-Braun, the daughter of a Chicago law-enforcement officer, made history in November, 1992 when she became the first black woman ever to be elected to the United States Senate. It was the latest in a string of firsts – first woman and first African American ever to hold executive office in Cook County government and 10 years voted best legislator in the Illinois House.
Carol Moseley-Braun attended Chicago public schools and the University of Illinois at Chicago. Moseley-Braun received her law degree from the University of Chicago and worked for three years as a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s office. her success as a prosecutor earned her the United States Attorney General’s Special Achievement award.
In 1978, Moseley-Braun was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives. She immediately earned a reputation as a dynamic debater and an uncompromising advocate for more efficient and accountable government. Her hallmark has been an ability to build coalitions comprised of people of all races who are committed to the same principles of good government.
During her first election for State Representative, Moseley-Braun pledged to make education her top priority. She was the Chief sponsor of the 1985 Urban School Improvement Act which created and empowered parents’ councils at every school in Chicago. She was the
chief sponsor and prime mover of every school funding bill that affected education in the city of Chicago from 1980-87.
Other education legislation sponsored by Moseley-Braun included a bill, introduced in 1980, that provided for higher salaries for professors and a bill, passed in 1984, which allows public aid recipients to attend college without losing their benefits.
After just two terms in the House, Carol Moseley-Braun was selected to become the first woman and the first black in Illinois history to serve as Assistant Majority Leader.
As the late Mayor Harold Washington’s legislative floor leader, Carol Moseley-Braun was the chief sponsor of bills to reform education and to ban discrimination in housing and private clubs.
Carol Moseley-Braun introduced the bill that barred the State of Illinois from investing funds in South Africa until the apartheid system is abolished. Moseley-Braun also filed, and won, the reapportionment case which affirmed the “one man – one vote” pinciple in Illinois.
For each of her 10 years in the legislature, Carol Moseley-Braun received the “Best Legislator” award given by the Independent Voters of Illinois – Independent Precinct Organization (IVI-IPO).
In 1987, Moseley-Braun was nominated for the office of Recorder of Deeds as part of a multi-ethnic, multi-racial and gender-balanced “Dream Ticket.” Carol Moseley-Braun made history when she was elected Cook County recorder of Deeds with more than one million votes cast in her favor. She became the first woman and first
African American to hold executive office in Cook County
During the campaign for Recorder of Deeds, Carol Moseley-Braun promised to make the office more accessible and efficient. She took over a moribund and inefficient operation that used 19th-century style record keeping and spent more tax dollars than it took in. Today, the Cook County Recorder of Deeds Office operates with
computerized efficiency, greater accessibility, and returns to county government more than two dollars for every tax dollar budgeted for the office.
Moseley-Braun’s 1992 Senate primary victory over two-term incumbent Senator Alan Dixon was a come-from-behind success in which her two opponents outspent her by more than 20-to-1. Moseley-Braun defeated Dixon and personal injury lawyer Al Hofeld in a positive campaign
emphasizing issues over personalities and substance over negative
On November 3, 1993, Carol Moseley-Braun was elected to the United States Senate, beating Republican Richard Williamson with 53% of the vote. She took office on January 5, 1993 to serve the people of Illinois. Upon taking office, she was named to the Judiciary Committee, the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee and the
Small Business Committee.
She serves on the Juvenile Justice and the Courts and
Administrative Practice Subcommittees of the Judiciary Committee. Her subcommittee assignments for the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee are the Housing and Urban Affairs and the Securities Subcommittees. She also serves on the Export Expansion and Agriculture Development and the Urban and Minority-Owned
Business Development Subcommittees of the Small Business Committee.