Cora Brown

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Cora Mea Brown (born April 19, 1914 – December 17, 1972), was the first African-American woman elected to a United States state senate, winning a seat in the Michigan State Senate in 1952.[1]

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Cora was Richard and Alice Brown's only child born in Bessemer, Alabama. At the age of eight she and her family moved to Detroit, Michigan.[2] There her father established a tailor shop.

Education[edit]

In 1931, Brown graduated from Cass Technical High School and entered Fisk University,[3] a historically African-American college in Tennessee. There she studied sociology with the renowned sociologist, E. Franklin Frazier[4] and received an A.B. degree.[5] She returned to Detroit to attend Wayne State University's law school while working with the Detroit Police Department from 1941 to 1946.[6] She graduated from Wayne State in 1948.[7] That same year Brown passed the bar exam.

Politics[edit]

In 1950 and 1951 Brown ran for a seat on the Michigan State Senate but was defeated.[8] On November 4, 1952, she ran again and won, and served for two terms (1953–1956).[9] At the time a Michigan state senate term was approximately two years. She served as the state senator for the 2nd district during her first term and served for the 3rd district during her second term. Brown fought strongly for civil rights, but clashed with some of her fellow Democrats because she believed they were too heavily influenced by a federation of industrial unions, the CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations). This prompted Brown to switch to the Republican Party. She supported Dwight D. Eisenhower when he ran in the 1956 election for president. In 1956 she was a candidate in the Democratic Primary for U.S. representative from Michigan's 1st District. The year afterwards she was appointed as the special associate general counsel of the U.S. Post Office in 1957, where she served the remainder of her working life.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]