Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cut It Out! Recognizing Influential Black Women During Black History Month

Patricia Roberts Harris
(May 31, 1924 - March 23, 1985)

Patricia Harris was the first black woman in the Cabinet when President Jimmy Carter appointed her secretary of housing and urban development (HUD) in 1977.

Harris was born in Mattoon, Illinois. She's a Howard University graduate with a BS in Political Science and Economics (1945). She earned a law degree with honors from George Washington University and was admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Below is a chronology of her professional career*:
  • 1961 - she became Associate Dean of students at Howard University School of Law and in 1963 she was given full professorship
  • 1965 - President Lyndon Johnson appointed Harris Ambassador to Luxembourg. The first black woman ambassador, she served until 1967 when she returned to Howard University as a law professor
  • 1969 - she became Dean of Howard University
  • 1970 - she joined a Washington D.C., law firm practicing corporate law until she was appointed U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare (later named Health and Human Services - DHHS)
  • 1981 - After Jimmy Carter was lost his bid for a second presidential term, Harris resigned as secretary of DHHS.
Find out more about Patricia Harris here.

*Source Unknown for some of the information

Are you a Cut It Out! Girl?!

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