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Black History Month Trailblazers

They Paved the Way in Government

February 23, 2021

In recognition of Black History Month, Citrin Cooperman's CC EDGE will share stories of trailblazers, whose courageous actions continue to pave the way for other black men and women in their industry.

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Throughout history, there have been those driven to make a difference in the world, and others who simply acted with courage and dignity at some point during their lives. In either case, the result was the same – they left a legacy – they paved the way for another to succeed because they did something first. For Black History Month, we are celebrating trailblazers, both past and present, who are paving the way.


Trailblazers: They Paved the Way in Government

Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm

Vice President Kamala Harris

Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm was the first African American woman in Congress (1968) and the first woman and African American to seek the nomination for President of the United States from one of the two major political parties. She served seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and retired in 1983.

In 1964, Chisholm ran for and became the second African American in the New York State Legislature. After court-ordered redistricting created a new, heavily democratic, district in her neighborhood, in 1968 Chisholm sought—and won—a seat in Congress. There, “Fighting Shirley” introduced more than 50 pieces of legislation and championed racial and gender equality, the plight of the poor, and ending the Vietnam War. 

She was a co-founder of the National Women's Political Caucus in 1971, and in 1977 became the first Black woman and second woman ever to serve on the powerful House Rules Committee.

Kamala Devi Harris, became the 49th Vice President of the United States in 2021, in the Democratic administration of President Joe Biden. She is the first woman, the first African American, and first Indian American to hold the post.

After studying political science and economics at Howard University, Vice President Harris earned a law degree from Hastings College, and subsequently worked as a deputy district attorney in Oakland, earning a reputation for toughness prosecuting cases of gang violence, drug trafficking, and sexual abuse.

Vice President Harris rose through the ranks, becoming district attorney in 2004. In 2010 she was narrowly elected attorney general of California – winning by a margin of less than 1% — thus becoming the first female and the first African American to hold the post. In 2017, Harris won a seat in the U.S. Senate, becoming the first Indian American and just the second Black woman.

Trailblazers In Accounting

Trailblazers In Space

Trailblazers In Law