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Achieving the Dream: Carol Moseley-Braun

Achieving the Dream: Carol Moseley-Braun

Carol Moseley-Braun made history in 1992 when she became the first African-American woman elected to the United States Senate. Known as the "Year of the Woman," Moseley-Braun was one of an unprecedented five women sent to the Senate in a single election year. As a well-respected politician and public figure, Braun carried the hopes and aspirations of Illinois women with her when she went to Washington.

Carol Moseley-Braun was born in Chicago in 1947. She attended the University of Illinois, graduated with honors from the University of Chicago Law School, and was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1973.

After three years working as a prosecutor in the office of the U.S. Attorney, Mosley Braun entered politics and was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1978. While there, she garnered a reputation as a persuasive and shrewd advocate for social change, education reform, and efficient government. When Moseley-Braun was selected to serve as assistant majority leader, she became both the first woman and African American in Illinois history to hold the position. In 1988, Moseley-Braun moved into municipal government when she was elected Cook County recorder of deeds.

Carol Moseley-Braun's grassroots senatorial campaign was supported by women in Illinois and across the country looking for change after Anita Hill – Clarence Thomas sexual harassment hearings by the Senate. Once elected, Moseley-Braun served on many powerful committees and once again was an active advocate for social reform in health care, education, and civil and women's rights.

Even though she was praised for her voting record, Moseley-Braun lost her 1998 re-election bid due to nagging questions regarding her personal and campaign finances, and defense of the Nigerian government. In 1999, President Bill Clinton appointed her as ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa. And in 2004, Moseley-Braun kicked off a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination by stating, "It's time to take the 'men only' sign off the White House door." Today, Moseley-Braun heads Good Food Organics, founded in 2005, which follows her commitment to public responsibility through a business approach of financial profitability, environmental sustainability, and social ethics.