List of African-American U.S. state firsts

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African Americans are a demographic minority in the United States. African-Americans' initial achievements in various fields historically establish a foothold, providing a precedent for more widespread cultural change. The shorthand phrase for this is "breaking the color barrier."[1][2]

In addition to major, national- and international-level firsts, African-Americans have achieved firsts on a statewide basis.

19th century[edit]

  • 1868
First elected African-American lieutenant governor: Oscar Dunn, Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana
First 33 African-American legislators in Georgia: see Original 33
  • 1870
May: First African-American acting governor: Oscar James Dunn of Louisiana from May till August 9, 1871, when sitting Governor Warmoth was incapacitated and chose to recuperate in Mississippi. (See also: Douglas Wilder, 1990)
  • 1872
First African-American governor of Louisiana: P. B. S. Pinchback (Also first in U.S.) (Non-elected; see also Douglas Wilder, 1990)
  • 1873
First African-American Speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives, and of any state legislature: John R. Lynch
First African American elected to the Tennessee General Assembly: Sampson W. Keeble
  • 1876
First African American elected to the Illinois General Assembly: John W. E. Thomas
  • 1879
First African American elected to the Wyoming Legislature: William Jefferson Hardin
  • 1880
First African-American elected to the Indiana general assembly: James Sidney Hinton[3][4]
  • 1889
First African-American female principal in Massachusetts and the Northeast: Maria Louise Baldwin, supervising white faculty and a predominantly white student body at the Agassiz Grammar School in Cambridge (renamed the Maria L. Baldwin School in 2004).[5][6]
  • 1893
First African-American member elected to the Michigan House of Representatives: William Webb Ferguson

20th century[edit]

  • 1918
First African-American elected to political office in California: Frederick Madison Roberts, California State Assembly
  • 1920
First African-American elected to the Missouri legislature: Walthall Moore
  • 1924
First African-American elected to the Illinois Senate: Adelbert Roberts
  • 1930
First African Americans elected as judges in the state of New York: James S. Watson and Charles E. Toney[citation needed]
  • 1938
First African-American woman to be elected to the Pennsylvania General Assembly and to any state legislature: Crystal Bird Fauset
  • 1950
First African-American woman to be elected to the West Virginia Legislature: Elizabeth Simpson Drewry
First African-American woman to be elected to the Michigan Legislature: Charline White
  • 1955
First African-American woman elected to the New York State Legislature: Bessie A. Buchanan
First African-American elected to the Maryland State Senate: Harry A. Cole
  • 1957
First African-American woman elected to the New Jersey Legislature: Madaline A. Williams
  • 1958
First African-American women elected to the Maryland General Assembly: Verda F. Welcome and Irma George Dixon
First African-American woman elected to the Illinois General Assembly: Floy Clements
  • 1962
First African-American attorney general of Massachusetts: Edward Brooke. Also first African American to hold Massachusetts statewide office, and first African-American attorney general of any state.
  • 1964
First African-American woman elected to the Indiana Legislature: Daisy Riley Lloyd
First African-American woman elected to the New York State Senate: Constance Baker Motley
  • 1966
First African-American woman elected to the Texas Legislature: Barbara Jordan
First African American known lesbian state legislator: Barbara Jordan
First African-American woman elected to the Georgia General Assembly: Grace Towns Hamilton
First African-American appointed to New York State Board of Regents: Kenneth Bancroft Clark
First African-American senator from Massachusetts: Edward Brooke. (Also first post-Reconstruction African American elected to the U.S. Senate and first African American elected to the U.S. Senate by popular vote).
First African-American woman in the California Legislature: Yvonne Brathwaite Burke
First African-American woman elected to the Tennessee General Assembly: Dorothy Lavinia Brown
First African-American woman elected to the Arizona Legislature: Ethel Maynard
  • 1967
First African-American woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar: Marian Wright Edelman
First African-American woman elected to the Montana Legislature: Geraldine W. Travis
  • 1969
First African-American elected mayor of a Mississippi city since Reconstruction: Charles Evers, in Fayette, Mississippi[7]
  • 1970
First African-American woman elected to the Florida Legislature: Gwen Cherry
  • 1971
First African-American woman elected to the Washington Legislature: Peggy Maxie
  • 1973
First African-American woman elected to the Massachusetts General Court: Doris Bunte
First African-American woman elected to the Connecticut General Assembly: Margaret Morton
  • 1975
First African-American woman elected to the South Carolina Legislature: Juanita Goggins
  • 1977
First African-American to serve on the California Supreme Court: Wiley W. Manuel
First African-American speaker of the South Carolina House of Representatives, and of any state legislature in the United States since Reconstruction: K. Leroy Irvis
First African-American woman elected to the Wisconsin Legislature: Marcia Coggs
First African-American woman elected to the Illinois Senate: Earlene Collins
  • 1978
First African-American woman elected to the Ohio Legislature: Helen Rankin
  • 1979
First African-American elected to a statewide office in Illinois: Roland Burris, office of Comptroller
First African-American elected to a statewide office in Wisconsin: Vel Phillips, office of Secretary of State
  • 1980
First African-American speaker of the California State Assembly: Willie Lewis Brown, Jr.
  • 1981
First African-American woman elected to the Arkansas General Assembly: Irma Hunter Brown
First African-American elected to the Utah Senate: Terry Williams
  • 1984
First African-American elected to a statewide office in Georgia: Robert Benham, Supreme Court of Georgia
First African-American woman to be elected to the Virginia General Assembly: Yvonne B. Miller
  • 1985
First African-American woman to be elected to the Mississippi Legislature: Alyce Clarke
First African-American woman elected to the Oregon Legislature: Margaret Carter
  • 1988
First African-American elected to the Wyoming Legislature: Harriet Elizabeth Byrd
  • 1990
First African-American governor of Virginia: Douglas Wilder (Also first elected governor in US; see also P. B. S. Pinchback, 1872)
  • 1992
First African-American elected to a statewide office in Indiana: Pamela Carter, office of Attorney General
First African-American Minnesota Supreme Court justice: Alan Page
  • 1993
First African-American senator from Illinois: Carol Moseley Braun. (Also first African-American woman elected to the United States Senate, the first African-American U.S. Senator for the Democratic Party, the first woman to defeat an incumbent U.S. Senator in an election, and the first female Senator from Illinois).
  • 1994
First African-American woman elected to the Nevada Legislature: Bernice Mathews
  • 1996
First African-American woman elected to the Oregon Legislature: Avel Gordly
  • 1998
First African-American woman elected State Treasurer and first African-American woman elected statewide in Connecticut: Denise Nappier[8]
First African-American elected to office of Attorney General Georgia: Thurbert E. Baker,

21st century[edit]

  • 2001
First African-American woman elected to the Minnesota Legislature: Neva Walker
  • 2002
First African-American lieutenant governor of Maryland and first elected to statewide office in Maryland: Michael Steele (See also: 2009)
  • 2004
First African-American Oklahoma Supreme Court justice: Tom Colbert
First African-American Wisconsin Supreme Court justice: Louis B. Butler
First African-American Auditor of Accounts of Vermont and first elected to statewide office in Vermont: Randy Brock
  • 2006
First African-American elected governor of Massachusetts: Deval Patrick
First African-American lieutenant governor of New York: David Paterson
  • 2008
First African-American woman elected Speaker of the California State Assembly: Karen Bass
First African-American governor of New York State: David Paterson (elected as lieutenant governor, succeeded on resignation of previous governor)
First African-American women elected to the Nebraska Legislature: Tanya Cook and Brenda Council
  • 2009
First bicameral state legislature to have both chambers headed simultaneously by African Americans: Peter Groff and Terrance Carroll of Colorado.
  • 2010
First African-American attorney general of California: Kamala Harris
First African-American Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court: Roderick L. Ireland
First African-American elected to the Idaho Legislature: Cherie Buckner-Webb
  • 2012
First African-American elected to the Idaho Senate: Cherie Buckner-Webb
  • 2013
First African-American senator from South Carolina: Tim Scott[9] (Also the first African-American to serve both houses of the U.S. Congress.)
First African-American woman to be appointed to a seat on the New York Court of Appeals: Sheila Abdus-Salaam.
  • 2014
First African-American senator elected from the South since Reconstruction: Tim Scott [10]
  • 2015
First African-American elected Speaker of the New York State Assembly: Carl Heastie[11]
First African-American Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky and first elected to statewide office in Kentucky: Jenean Hampton [12][13]
First African-American woman elected to the Utah Legislature: Sandra Hollins
  • 2017
First African-American elected lieutenant governor of New Jersey: Sheila Oliver[14]
First African-American male to female transwoman to be elected to public office in the United States: Andrea Jenkins
First African-American mayor of Saint Paul, Minnesota: Melvin Carter
  • 2018
First female African-American major-party candidate for governor: Stacey Abrams, Georgia

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Juguo, Zhang. W. E. B. Du Bois: The Quest for the Abolition of the Color Line, Routledge, 2001 - ISBN 0-415-93087-1
  2. ^ Herbst, Philip H. The Color of Words: an encyclopaedic dictionary of ethnic bias in the United States, Intercultural Press, p. 57, 1997 - ISBN 1-877864-97-8
  3. ^ Gregg, John. "Standing with Black trailblazer James S. Hinton". Indianapolisrecorder.com. Retrieved 25 October 2017. 
  4. ^ Indiana Black History Public Art Legacy Project Archived 2013-03-16 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Vogel, Nathaniel (April 2002). "The Mismeasure of Maria Baldwin". Peacework Magazine. Archived from the original on October 23, 2007. Retrieved September 24, 2017. 
  6. ^ Dorgan, Lauren R. (May 22, 2002). "Committee Renames Local Agassiz School". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved September 24, 2017. 
  7. ^ Neil R. McMillen, Dark Journey: Black Mississippians in the Age of Jim Crow, Chicago: University of Illinois, 1990, p.26
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-26. Retrieved 2011-04-04. 
  9. ^ "Tim Scott's swearing-in as senator caps his historic rise". McClatchy Newspapers. January 4, 2013. Archived from the original on December 20, 2013. Retrieved January 11, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Political firsts: How history was made this midterm election". Usatoday.com. Retrieved 25 October 2017. 
  11. ^ "New York State Assembly - Carl E. Heastie". assembly.state.ny.us. Retrieved 25 October 2017. 
  12. ^ Phillips, Amber (4 November 2015). "Meet Jenean Hampton, the first black statewide officeholder in Kentucky. And, she's a Republican". Washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 25 October 2017. 
  13. ^ Fund, John (November 3, 2015). "Kentucky's New GOP Lt. Gov. Is Black Tea-Party Activist". National Review. Retrieved November 4, 2015. 
  14. ^ Sheila Oliver becomes New Jersey's first Black lieutenant governor, New York Amsterdam News (November 8, 2017).