Carol Moseley Braun
First female African-American Senator, and the first woman to defeat an incumbant senator
"Carol Moseley Braun is an American diplomat, politician and lawyer who represented Illinois in the United States Senate from 1993 to 1999. She was the first female African-American Senator, 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. She was the only female U.S. Senator from Illinois until Tammy Duckworth who became the U.S. Senator from Illinois in January 2017. From 1999 until 2001, she was the United States Ambassador to New Zealand. She was a candidate for the Democratic nomination during the 2004 U.S. presidential election. Following the public announcement by Richard M. Daley that he would not seek re-election, in November 2010, Braun began her campaign for Mayor of Chicago. The former Senator placed fourth in a field of six candidates, losing the February 22, 2011, election to Rahm Emanuel.
As an attorney, Moseley Braun was a prosecutor in the United States Attorney's office in Chicago from 1973 to 1977. An Assistant United States Attorney, she worked primarily in the civil and appellate law areas. Her work in housing, health policy, and environmental law won her the Attorney General's Special Achievement Award.
Moseley Braun was first elected to public office in 1978, as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives. There, she rose to the post of assistant majority leader. As a State Representative, she became recognized as a champion for liberal social causes. As early as 1984, she proposed a moratorium on the application in Illinois of the death penalty. And in what became a landmark reapportionment case, Crosby v. State Board of Elections, she successfully sued her own party and the state of Illinois on behalf of African-American and Hispanic citizens. When she left the state legislature in 1987, her colleagues recognized her in a resolution as "the conscience of the House." That same year, she was elected as Cook County, Illinois, Recorder of Deeds, a post she held for four years.
In 1991, angered by incumbent Democratic senator Alan Dixon's vote to confirm Clarence Thomas, Moseley Braun challenged him in the primary election. She was backed by the political coalition from the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago that had previously backed the campaigns of Harold Washington and Jesse Jackson. Democratic candidate Albert Hofeld's campaign ran many anti-Dixon ads, and Moseley Braun won the Democratic primary.
On November 3, 1992, she became the first African-American woman to be elected to the United States Senate, defeating Republican Richard S. Williamson. Her election marked the first time Illinois had elected a woman and the first time an african amarican was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate. She (along with Republican Edward Brooke) was one of two African Americans to serve in the Senate in the 20th century and was the sole African American in the Senate for her entire term. She was the first woman to serve on the Senate Finance Committee.
Carol Moseley Braun was a one-term Senator, losing to Republican Peter Fitzgerald in her re-election bid in 1998.
On October 8, 1999, President Clinton nominated Moseley Braun to be the United States Ambassador to New Zealand. Although her nomination ran into token opposition from her old adversary, Jesse Helms, and the senator who defeated her, Peter Fitzgerald, the Senate confirmed her on November 10, 1999, in a 96–2 vote. She served until the end of Clinton's presidency.
She announced her intention to run for the Democratic Party presidential nomination in February 2003. On January 15, 2004, two days after a disappointing third place showing in the D.C. primary and four days before the Iowa caucuses, Moseley Braun dropped out of the race and endorsed Howard Dean.
In November 2010, Moseley Braun announced she would run in the 2011 Chicago mayoral election, after mayor Richard M. Daley announced he would not be seeking re-election. In early 2011 potentially strong African-American candidates congressman Danny Davis, and state senator James Meeks left the race and endorsed Moseley Braun, making her the so-called consensus black candidate.
*In a debate on January 30, 2011, she accused another candidate, Patricia Van-Pelt Watkins of "being strung out on crack" for 20 years.
Moseley Braun came in fourth in the field of six, receiving about nine percent of the vote. In her concession speech, she remarked that her young niece could become the first female mayor of Chicago, neglecting to mention Jane Byrne, Chicago's first female mayor, who served from 1979 to 1983.
In 2007 Carol Moseley Braun was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame as a Friend of the Community.
Braun is on the advisory board of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.
An elementary school in Calumet City, Illinois bears her name." (1)